PIONEER lying off the Nothe at Mersea in the 1950s.
In the 1930s PIONEER was sold to the steward of the East Mersea Golf Club and was towed across the Colne to a mudberth close to the clubhouse. A deckhouse was added and part of the deck cut away but work was halted in 1939. Rumour has it that a gun was mounted on her foredeck. The Navy wanted her moved so local Mersea fisherman Bobby Stoker towed her round to what could have been her final resting place in the Strood channel. Moored up forlorn and neglected she was left, and in a gale she parted her lines, laid over and sank - and never floated until rescued years later. Vic Michell had acquired the boat when Bobby Stoker towed her round - he later passed her on to Ronnie Garriock.
The next 55 years she did not float and gracefully decayed, her name and purpose barely remembered. The 1953 floods destroyed the deckhouse, the 1987 hurricane made the bows collapse and by 1998 most of the boat above the mud had eroded away, eaten by shipworm and rot.
This image is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection.