|The Mutin was built as a fishing vessel (fishing cutter) in 1926 and she is the oldest vessel in the French Navy. She has traditional rigging like all fishing vessels from that time in the area around Sables d’Olonne, but never served as such. Starting in 1927 she was used to train pilots for the Sailing School of Saint-Servan in the vicinity of Saint-Malo in France.
But this little ship has a brave history. In 1940 the Mutin arrived in England where she was noted by the Commanding Officer of Special Operations, Gerald Holdsworth. He was tasked with creating a transport route from and to Brittany for people and goods. To that purpose a house was bought in a remote place on the banks of the river Helford. Mutin became the mothership of the ‘Helford Flotilla’. Secret agents were trained to sail up and down the river.
In June 1941 the Mutin was attacked by German fighters deadly injuring one of those onboard, the Frenchman Jean Piron. Other vessels in the ‘Helford Flotilla’ were a French Coaster, a Ketch and a Trawler. In 1942 Mutins name was changed to Jean Piron in honour of the deceased crewmember. Later she was repainted to make her look more like a real French fishing vessel. In cooperation with the RAF she joined the French tuna fishermen in the Gulf of Biscay. It was here that the crewmembers developed the idea to use plastic (harmless looking) Tuna replica’s filled with explosives against the Germans. The Mutin operated throughout the war as a ship for the French Resistance directed by the ‘Helford Flotilla’. After the war she was repaired in Fowey and she returned to France where she still works as a training vessel for the French Navy. Her heroic past deserves the greatest respect from all those that will visit her!