Famed navy ships of Scarborough's Peasholm Park ready for summer of battles once more

Dubbed the "smallest manned navy in the world", the battleships of Peasholm Park can appear deceptively charming.

The Scarborough Naval Warfare Battle ships are currently in storage at Scarborough's Council depot where maintainance is taking place before the season starts..Naval Warfare Coordinater Damien Rhodes painting one of the boats . Image by Richard Ponter

But the replica boats, put into action when reenacting battles at sea, can be found taking potshots at one another most summers on its lake near Scarborough's North Bay.

The boats have now been brought in for a repainting ahead of the season, with the ambition being for events to begin again this summer.

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Damien Rhodes, naval warfare coordinator for Scarborough Council, said the days when they are put into action can prove really popular with visitors.

The Scarborough Naval Warfare Battle ships are currently in storage at Scarborough's Council depot where maintainance is taking place before the season starts..Trevor Frankland working on the boats electrics... Image by Richard Ponter

"It's always one of the things people remember, and recount from years ago," he said. "They still manage to surprise people, which is really special."

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The battles here have played out for more than 80 years, first with man-powered model boats, then when this proved hard work, some were converted to electricity in 1929. The majority today are still powered by council employees.

In the early days, the models were First World War battleships, called Dreadnaughts, mystery ships called Q-ships, a passenger liner called Orantes and a U-boat.

The Scarborough Naval Warfare Battle ships are currently in storage at Scarborough's Council depot where maintainance is taking place before the season starts..Trevor Frankland working on the boats electrics... Image by Richard Ponter

After the Second World War, the fleet was replaced with new vessels – recreating the Battle of the River Plate with HMS Ajax, Achilles and Exeter.

More ships were added to the fleet in the 1960s, including HMS Ark Royal, with the sound of gunfire and smoke still filling the air when they are put into action.

The boats, measuring 21ft long, are deceptively large underwater and seven are still manned by people. Three are drone-powered, and two that 'tip over' when hit by explosives.

Now being repaired and repainted, the hope is that they can be back on the lake for July 1, with a schedule of event days to run through August.

The Scarborough Naval Warfare Battle ships are currently in storage at Scarborough's Council depot where maintainance is taking place before the season starts..Trevor Frankland working on the boats electrics... Image by Richard Ponter

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Peasholm Park in summer
The battleships in the water on sunnier days