3rd May 1947

“Twink” goes missing on its way to Guernsey

When Twink, a 30ft yacht captained by Peter Hellyer of Beverley, Yorkshire, went missing on its way to the Channel Islands, it sparked a full-scale air and sea search.

Hellyer, a 24-year-old pilot of the Air Fleet Arm, left Lulworth Cove on 3 May. He’d given the impression he was heading for Brixham harbour.

Whether his plans changed, or he’d never intended to do as he said it unclear. However, his actual target was Guernsey. At the time, only he was aware of that fact. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, Hellyer and Twink had disappeared as soon as they’d left Dorset.

Major sea search

The RAF sent out rescue planes, and the navy dispatched a frigate, the Burgh Head Bay. Over two days, the aircraft flew more than 5000 miles, and the frigate covered 500 miles. Neither of their crews saw a thing and the search was called off on the assumption – or hope – that Hellyer had reached a French port or was heading north to Yorkshire.

There had been a brief moment of hope when a burnt-out boat was found drifting close to Twink’s intended route. Although its state was far from encouraging, it might at least have given Hellyer’s family some closure.

But the boat wasn’t Twink. At 50ft, it was almost twice as long, and the family was kept waiting a full week longer.

All shipping in the Channel was given Twink’s description (mahogany underneath, white on top) and asked to keep an eye out in case they should spot it.

Twink reappears

Nobody did see Twink she arrived in St Peter Port. By then, it was Friday, 10 May, and Hellyer had been missing for a week.

Upon tying he up, he was bemused to discover that his trip had caused such a fuss. He believed, rightly, that with the war over the previous year, all restrictions had been lifted. Hellyer hadn’t thought it necessary to tell anyone that he intended to sail to Guernsey.

He spent the weekend on the island, then turned back and headed for home.

 

FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.

 

Other events that occured in May

Priaulx Library opens for the first time 1st
Horse racing returns to L’Ancresse race course 2nd
Guernsey deportee, nurse Gladys Skillett was born
“Twink” goes missing on its way to Guernsey 3rd
Role of Chief Minister of Guernsey abolished 4th
Guernsey Airport opened for business 5th
Alderney debated in the House of Commons 6th
Songs of Praise comes from Guernsey 7th
Final issue of Deutsche Guernsey-Zeitung was published 8th
Guernsey was liberated from German occupation 9th
A Guernsey retiree’s £1m offer attracts 57,000 requests 10th
A liberation celebration ended in disaster 11th
Guernsey plays Tottenham Hotspur 12th
Guernsey’s telephone wars broke out 13th
British papers reported Dame of Sark’s deportation 14th
The States of Guernsey bought Aurigny 15th
Alderney was liberated at the end of the second world war 16th
Herm goes back on the market 17th
A mainland murder with a Guernsey connection 18th
Guernsey declared a State of Emergency 19th
Wartime diplomat Wilfred Gallienne born in Guernsey 20th
Hauteville House is bequeathed to the City of Paris 21st
Guernsey poet and painter Denys Corbet was born 22nd
John Doyle was appointed Lieutenant-Governor 23rd
The Imperial Hotel opened for the first time 24th
Elizabeth College is founded in St Peter Port 25th
Game of Thrones actor Roy Dotrice was born 26th
Head of Guernsey CID is shot in St Peter Port 27th
Work started on the Victoria Tower
Guernsey’s first paid constables were hired 28th
Guernsey woman advised to leave for her safety 29th
Occupation stories occupy the mainland papers 30th
“Overdose” verdict in Guernsey farmer’s death inquiry 31st