SS Royal Daffodil

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Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
  • SS Daffodil (1906-1918)
  • HMS Daffodil (1918)
  • SS Royal Daffodil (1918-1938)
Builder: Robert Stephenson and Company, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Yard number: 101
Launched: 20 April 1906
  • Daffodil
  • HMS Daffodil (1918)
  • Royal Daffodil (1918)
Completed: June 1906
In service: 1906
Out of service: 1938
Identification: UK Official Number 123974
Fate: scrapped 1938
General characteristics [1]
Displacement: 482 GRT
Length: 159 ft (48.46 m)
Depth: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Propulsion: Twin screw, triple expansion, by D Rollo & Sons.
Capacity: 1,735 passengers

SS Royal Daffodil was built in 1906 and scrapped in 1938. She was built as Daffodil for service on the River Mersey and renamed Royal Daffodil in recognition of her part in the Zeebrugge Raid.


Pre war[edit]

Daffodil was built by Robert Stephenson & Sons as yard number 101. She was launched on 20 April 1906 and completed in June 1906.[2] She was put into service as one of the Mersey ferries operating between Liverpool and Wallasey.

Zeebrugge Raid[edit]

In 1918, she was requisitioned for war service and became HMS Daffodil. Her sister ship Iris was also requisitioned and became HMS Iris. In preparation for the raid, all furniture and fittings were stripped and armour fitted to the superstructure of the Iris and Daffodil. The ferries were chosen because of their shallow draught and double hulls.[3] They were towed across the Channel by HMS Vindictive and took part in the Zeebrugge Raid on 23 April 1918.[4] The raid was an effort to stop Germany using Zeebrugge as a submarine base. The role of the Daffodil was to carry the one of four seamen raiding parties, known as "C" Company and commanded by Lieutenant Cecil Dickinson, specifically tasked with using explosives for demolition work.[5] Daffodil was hit in the engine room by two shells, but was able to maintain her position holding Vindictive against the wall of the Mole.[6] Eight VCs were awarded.

Return to Liverpool[edit]

Iris and Daffodil returned to the Mersey on 17 May 1918, to a heroes' welcome. After repairs at Chatham, both vessels returned to service on the Mersey.[4]

Post war[edit]

After the raid, she was renamed Royal Daffodil on command of King George V[7][8] and returned to the Mersey, bearing shrapnel marks from the raid. In 1932 she succeeded PS Royal Iris on excursion work and in 1934 Royal Daffodil was sold to the New Medway Steam Packet Co. (NMSPC). She was used on the Rochester - Strood - Sheerness - Southend route. The NMSPC was taken over by the General Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. in 1936 and in 1938 Royal Daffodil was sold for scrapping in Belgium.[9]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Maund pp194-5
  2. ^ "1123974". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 11 October 2009. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "The Raid on Zeebrugge - 23rd April 1918". Colin MacKenzie. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  4. ^ a b "The "Iris" and "Daffodil"". Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  5. ^ Keyes, Roger, ed. (1918), Reports on Zeebrugge and Ostend operations., Admiralty, pp. 14, 60, 66–67, 80–82, ADM 137/3894 
  6. ^ "The Raid on Zeebrugge - 23rd April 1918". Colin MacKenzie. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  7. ^ "Royal Daffodil (1936-1938)". Ian Boyle. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  8. ^ Collard p38
  9. ^ "Royal Daffodil (I)". Tom Lee. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 


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