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Boat that carried Churchill’s body to be auctioned

DEC. 6 -- Havengore, the wooden hydrographic survey boat that carried the coffin of British statesman Winston Churchill, is set to be auctioned this month in London.

The auction is scheduled for Dec. 15, and will be located on New Bond Street in London, according to information on Sotheby’s Web site . The boat is up for an estimated $1.7 million, a news report says.

“This is perhaps the ultimate piece of Churchilliania for any collector,” Sotheby’s specialist Peter Selley says in the report.

Winston Churchill, England’s prime minister during World War II, died Jan. 24, 1965 after suffering a series of strokes. After a ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Churchill’s body was transported to Tower Hill where his coffin was placed onto Havengore’s aft deck and taken down the Thames River to Waterloo Station. From there, the coffin was put onto a train that took Churchill to his birthplace of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.

Churchill was one of only two British commoners to receive a state funeral in the 20th century. The ceremony was attended by leaders of more than 100 nations and watched by an estimated 350 million people, the report says.

Havengore was commissioned in 1954 by the Port of London Authority, and was built at Toughs Boatyard in Teddington, England. The 87-foot wooden survey boat, powered by twin Gardner diesel engines, was the PLA’s longest-serving vessel, having been decommissioned in 1995.

Havengore since underwent an eight-year restoration that included refastening and recaulking the teak decks, a re-wiring and the installation of new generators. Havengore will be moored at St. Katherine’s Dock in London where she can be viewed by appointment.

— Jason Fell