A ship-shaped sojourner with an intriguing past paid a visit to the Helford River recently.
Originally built in 1927 in the style of a French Tunnyman fishing boat, “Mutin” was first used as a pilot training vessel.
Early in the 1940s she was requisitioned by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), which was based in a house called Ridifarne on the north shore of the Helford River at the time.
She carried out clandestine operations into German occupied France on “extremely hazardous missions,” according to visiting classic boat enthusiast Nick Farmer.
“Several local men served on Mutin during these missions, which involved transporting supplies, documents and personnel to and from the French coast,” he said.
“She was attacked several times but always managed to escape capture.”
Mutin is now a sail-training ship with the French Navy, with a permanent crew of ten and up to five students at any one time.
Her home port is Brest, and she arrived in the Helford via La Rochelle before sailing for Dartmouth and the Classic Sailing Regatta which ran until July 15.
During Mutin's visit to the Helford, members of the crew visited the exhibition on her wartime history at Flambards in Helston and also visited the house, Ridifarne, where the Special Operations Executive was headquartered.