IRVINE’S Scottish Maritime Museum has begun the conservation of one of the only two surviving ships from the Dunkirk evacuations.

The Skylark IX Recovery Project has begun the conservation of Skylark IX, a historic vessel believed to be one of only two ‘Dunkirk Little Ships’ from the World War II Operation Dynamo surviving in Scotland.

The initial conservation work on Skylark IX, which is also listed on the National Historic Ships UK Register, centred on preserving her name, a highly significant feature of the vessel and, before now, in danger of being lost.

The project is now finalising a schedule of further repairs to ensure that the historic wooden hulled vessel, which sank in the River Leven in West Dunbartonshire in 2010 and lay half-submerged for two years, is stable enough to be transported back to Dumbarton in coming years.

Skylark IX will then be transported by road on a custom-built cradle from her temporary home in Irvine to the grounds of the Museum’s Denny Tank in Dumbarton. There, it is hoped, funding allowing, she will sit at the heart of a new £3million Spirit of Skylark Centre.

Claire McDade, project manager at the Skylark IX Recovery Project, told the Times: “Over the last two years, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to build a true picture of Skylark’s condition and significance and develop a Conservation Management Plan.

“Although, sadly, we have had to accept that Skylark IX will never sail again, our new Conservation Management Plan provides us with a clear pathway for the short, medium and long term repairs needed to care for such a significant historic vessel and keep Skylark and her nationally and locally important stories alive.”

For more info search Skylark IX.