Memories of a pleasure steamer which regularly visited Largs and Millport played a significant role in one of the major turning points in the Second World War.

Alastair Chisholm from the Cathedral of the Isles provided the D-Day address at the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial in Millport.

He recounted his days as a boy growing up the 1950s and 60s on holiday on the Isle of Cumbrae.

He said: "Millport had its very own paddle boat – the “Talisman”. She looked like a one-funnelled version of the “PS Waverley” – but she was noisy.

"All summer she sailed from Millport to Largs, Wemyss Bay and Rothesay and every night she moored at Millport Pier.

"She was a happy ship and the crew became our friends. They took part in island life and some even married here and made Millport their home.

"What most of us did not realise was that in the Second World War she had been present at some of the major events. As “H.M.S. Aristocrat” the highest point of her naval career came on D-Day, 6th June 1944, when as part of that great armada of ships she sailed from Portsmouth to Normandy. She was bound for Arromanches beach, and was stationed there as the HQ ship for the landings on that beach.

"So 75 years ago our own “Talisman” was playing a significant role in the greatest invasion of all time. Yet again there was a Millport link.

"A little more than 50 years ago “Talisman” was scrapped but her bell came to Millport Town Council and to this day is on display in the Garrison.

"In the same way that we have encountered war veterans without being aware of their own stories so “Talisman” was a familiar part of our lives, though she too had gone to hell and come back.

"For those of us born in the peace, it gives us pause for thought."

Colour pic: Thomas C Goold