D.U.K.W.s to Water

D.U.K.W.s to Water

27 August – 24 September 2022

Free Entry. Monday – Saturday. 10am – 4pm.
Location: Foyer, ground floor

Closed Sundays & Bank Holidays.
Plan your visit here.

In the late 1990s the last of the red and cream D.U.K.W. Sefton Rescue vehicles was decommissioned.

The six-wheel-drive amphibious trucks, used by the Sefton Lifeguards from 1951-1998, were originally designed by the American General Motors Corporation during World War Two to transport goods and troops over land and water.

Commonly known as ‘ducks’, the name D.U.K.W. refers to a manufacturer’s code. ‘D’ indicates the model year as 1942, ‘U’ refers to the utility (amphibious) body style, ‘K’ for all-wheel drive, and ‘W’ for dual rear axles.

The veteran vehicles dutifully patrolled the beaches of Southport, Ainsdale, and Birkdale for five decades. Their crews of Lifeguards and Sea Rangers were guardians of the dangerous beaches and seas of the Sefton coast. The rescue service never lost a victim, never lost a crew member and though very close at times, never lost a D.U.K.W..

Wanting to show his appreciation of the D.U.K.W. Sefton Rescue Service, local author and historian Peter Dyer set out to share their incredible story. Using archive images and material directly drawn from the experiences of the heroic crews, Peter published D.U.K.W.s to Water in 2020. Peter went on to author and illustrate a children’s book in 2022, Duke the Duck.

The display in The Atkinson’s foyer will include Peter Dyer’s research material for both publications and include archive photographs, dioramas, and original illustrations.

Books are available to purchase from The Atkinson’s shop

D.U.K.W.s to Water by Peter R. Dyer – £18

From the WW2 bloody beaches of Anzio, D-Day and countless Pacific amphibious D.U.K.W. campaigns, the revolutionary military vehicle became a legend forged in fire and war. Once the guns fell silent, the engines of the D.U.K.W. did not, as they found new waters, in a new role in a career that would bring them right to our doorstep. Unpublished archives now relate a fascinating story of courage and heroism on the coastline of Northern England, as the six wheeled amphibian, together with its crews of weather hardened Lifeguards, saved the lives of over 600 men, women and children over four decades. If that was not enough, the D.U.K.W. became a favourite with the public at large.

Duke the Duck by Peter R. Dyer – £12

This is a tale of the sea. The rivers and oceans near you are a treasure and all therein, so guard them well. When you meet the ocean, always respect its hidden power and you will stay safe.


Posted on 25 August 2022 under Exhibition, General news

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