Dutch ‘invasion’ heading up Thames to land at St Katharine’s-by-the-Tower

PUBLISHED: 19:54 10 September 2015 | UPDATED: 19:54 10 September 2015

Dutch rowers setting off from Roterdam for London

Dutch rowers setting off from Roterdam for London

Dutch rowers

The Dutch are heading an “invasion” of London with a party of marines set to land at St Katharine’s-by-the-Tower—followed by a landing from the Dutch Navy.

Rowers begin trek across North SeaRowers begin trek across North Sea

A fleet of 12 sloops set off from Rotterdam on Saturday with 120 volunteer marines who have been rowing in relays across the North Sea for the past six days.

They are stiill on the High Seas, but fast approaching the Thames Estuary ready to make their way upriver to the ancient docks by the Tower of London.

The volunteers are rowing 350 kilometres—230 miles—from Rotterdam to mark the 350th anniversary of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps.

They will be met by British marines off Sheerness to be escorted upriver to St Katharine’s, expected to arrive at noon this Saturday to be greeted by welllwishers after their long-haul fundraising row for Dutch charities supporting wounded veteran marines. The volunteers are also taking part in the weekend’s Great River Race.

Crew of HMS Defender pay 'Constable's Dues' earlier this year at Tower of LondonCrew of HMS Defender pay 'Constable's Dues' earlier this year at Tower of London

Then on Monday, the crew of a Dutch naval vessel take one of this year’s honours to present the traditional ‘Constables Dues’ at the Tower of London, where a barrel of rum is ceremoniously presented to the Chief Yeoman for “protection” while moored in the Pool of London, a maritime tradition going back to the Middle Ages.

The last ‘rum do’ was earlier this year when the crew of HMS Defender (pictured) presented their dues.

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