The Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre has this week announced the arrival of the nationally important Cavell Van for display for 10 days in July.

The Cavell Van transported the repatriated body of Harwich war hero Captain Charles Algernon Fryatt to London in 1919 and then on to Dovercourt where he is buried. The carriage also repatriated the body of nurse Edith Cavellfor burial in Norwich and the remains of the Unknown Warrior who is now famously interred in Westminster Abbey.

July 8th 2019 marks the centenary of the repatriation of the body of Captain Fryatt, following his capture and execution by the German army in July 1916 for his attempt to ram a U-boat.  Captain Fryatt received a State funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral and is buried in All Saint’s church yard in Upper Dovercourt.  His grave has recently been restored with the support of the Rail Heritage Trust.

We are hosting a large number of commemorative events while the Cavell Van is with us most of them themed to tie in with the 1900’s time period :-

  • The van will be open daily for the public to view from Saturday 6th – 14th July from 12pm- 5pm alongside two exhibitions dedicated to Captain Fryatt and U-boats.
  • “The Music Hall comes to Harwich” an outdoor music hall themed variety show.
  • Outdoor screenings of  the films “Stan and Ollie” and “Chaplin”
  • Archive films fish and chip supper on board a sailing barge with live piano accompaniment
  • Special talks by both a Captain Fryatt and Edith Cavell expert
  • Performances by Harwich Sing and Harmony Rose Dance Studio
  • 1900’s style dinner with period entertainment.
  • Shotley U-boat walk
  • Recreation of a WW1 Kitchen
  • A number of displays and stalls from local organisations and community groups
  • Guided tours of our Railway and Shipping Museum available on request.
  • Special Captain Fryatt themed train leaving Manningtree at 11pm travelling via all stations to Harwich Town.


Entrance to the van only will be on a donation basis or to visit the van, both exhibitions and for a tour of the railway museum (if required) there will be an admission charge of £5 or £3 for Harwich residents. Special events will be individually priced.

We anticipate significant public interest in this commemoration as when the carriage was displayed in Norwich it attracted over 10,000 visitors.

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