SS Victoria (1907)

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Victoria entering Douglas Harbour.
Victoria
Career
Name: Victoria
Owner:

1907–1928: South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company.

1928-1957: Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Port of registry:

1907-1928: London

1928-1957: Douglas, Isle of Man
Builder: Wm Denny & Co. Dumbarton
Cost: Not Recorded. Purchased by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for an initial sum of £25,000 in 1928. Following alterations the total purchase cost was £37,550 (£1,974,022 in 2014).[1]
Yard number: 789
Launched: 27 February 1907
Maiden voyage: 28 April 1907
Out of service: 1957
Identification:

Official Number 123811
Code Letters H K N R
ICS Hotel.svgICS Kilo.svgICS November.svgICS Romeo.svg

G N T F
ICS Golf.svgICS November.svgICS Tango.svgICS Foxtrot.svg
Fate: Scrapped at Barrow 1957
Status: Scrapped
General characteristics
Type: Packet Steamer.
Tonnage: 1,641 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 311 feet (95 m)
Beam: 40 ft 1 in (12.2 m)
Depth: 16 ft 6 in (5.0 m)
Installed power: 7,500 shp (5,600 kW)
Propulsion: Twin-geared turbines. Working at 7,500 ihp (5,600 kW) producing 22 knots (25 mph)
Capacity: 1,536 passengers
Crew: 41

SS (RMS) Victoria was a packet steamer originally owned and operated by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company, who sold her to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in 1928 for the sum of £25,000 (£1,314,262 in 2014).[1]

Victoria during her South Eastern and Chatham Railway Company service.

Construction & dimensions[edit]

Victoria was a steel; triple-screw turbine driven vessel. She was built at Dumbarton by William Denny and Brothers in 1907.

Length 311'; beam 40'1"; depth 16'6". Victoria had accommodation for a crew of 41, and was certificated to carry 1,536 passengers. Her engines developed 7,500 i.h.p. which gave her a service speed of 22 knots.

Crew of Victoria, 1929, with Capt. Jack Morrison pictured centre.

She was purchased by the Steam Packet for £25,000 (£1,314,262 in 2014),[1] but with alterations the final cost to the Company was £37,550 (£1,974,022 in 2014).[1]

Service life[edit]

Victoria berthed alongside the Battery Pier, Douglas.

Sister ship of the Mona's Isle, Victoria saw service to the various ports then served by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

She was chartered by the London Midland & Scottish Railway for one day to assist in the August Bank Holiday traffic on the Holyhead - Dun Laoghaire route in 1938. She made only one return crossing with 1,541 passengers in all, and the fee charged was £450 (£25,070 in 2014).[1]

Victoria approaches Douglas

War service[edit]

On the home front, the Steam Packet Company's war work was mainly concerned with the maintenance of the Island's lifeline between Douglas and Liverpool, and at the outbreak of war, it was decided that this would become the primary duty of the Victoria and the Rushen Castle.

Minefields were laid by the Royal Navy around the approaches to the Mersey as a protection against enemy U-boats, and Steam Packet Company Captains would be given orders on how to proceed.

Victoria is generally regarded as having spent the war years plying from Douglas, at first to Liverpool and then to Fleetwood. This she did for much of the time.

Victoria was the only Company ship to be struck by a mine in the Irish Sea. This occurred on 27 December 1940, when she was homeward bound with passengers from Liverpool, under the command of Captain John Keig. She was holed by a magnetic mine when northwest of the Bar Lightship.

Some of her passengers, of whom there were more than 200, were taken off by the trawler Yulan, and taken on to Douglas where they were landed safely. Others were returned to Liverpool by the pilot boat, whilst the Victoria was taken under tow back to Liverpool.

There were no casualties, but the incident had important consequences for the Company.[clarification needed]

The Victoria was later fitted out as a LSI (H) - Landing Ship Infantry (Hand Hoisting) - after her mine damage had been repaired, and she then worked out of the Firth of Forth as a target ship. After an overhaul in Leith and service from Dundee, she was ordered to Southampton in the summer of 1943, where she was employed on training infantry for the forthcoming assault on Occupied Europe. She did this work for some months, mainly under Portland Command, practicing landings.

On D-Day, 6 June 1944, Victoria was one of the vessels scheduled to land assault forces on the western extreme of the small bay of Arromanches, which was one of the three British Army spearheads into Occupied France.

Whilst the landing was successfully executed, a German flack-ship on routine anti-invasion exercise was in the bay and was able to produce superior fire power to the wave of assault craft which were discharging the troops. Nevertheless, despite losses, the bridgehead held and was able to support the construction of one of the Mulberry Harbours.[clarification needed][citation needed]

During this time, the Victoria's crew retained Steam Packet men as officers, and she continued to fly the Red Ensign under the command of Capt. Keig. Her landing craft however, were manned by naval men, whose officers were mainly R.N.V.R.

Some days after D-Day, the Victoria landed American assault forces on Utah beach, where resistance had been encountered. She then proceeded to service the harbour at Arromanches, landing troops and supplies.

As the war moved east, Victoria reverted to work as a personnel carrier. She became something of an emergency hospital ship, lifting sick and injured troops and ferrying them mainly to shore based hospitals around Dieppe. When not engaged in this line of work, the ship was used to return troops to England for leave.

Gallery[edit]

RMS Victoria.
Victoria in operational service. 
Victoria (left) and Mona's Isle (right), laid up at the Tongue, Douglas

Post-war Service[edit]

Victoria resumed her duties with the Steam Packet fleet following the defeat of Germany in 1945.

With the introduction into service of the six sisters, the decision was taken to dispose of her at the end of the 1956 tourist season. Victoria was the last triple-screw direct drive turbine steamer in the Company's fleet.

Disposal[edit]

Victoria was sold in January 1957, and broken up at Barrow.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
Bibliography