3rd May 1918 Duchess of Devonshire

Supporting the preservation and operation of paddle steamers Waverley and Kingswear Castle

3rd May 1918 Duchess of Devonshire

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On Friday 3rd May 1918 Duchess of Devonshire was at her home port of Exmouth being prepared for her second season running a makeshift Cardiff/Weston ferry service for P & A Campbell all of whose own ships were away on war service. At 170ft LOA and only 221 GRT  Duchess of Devonshire was small compared with other Bristol Channel steamers. And with a speed through the water of around 11 knots she wasn’t a fast ship either to cope with the ferocious Bristol Channel tides which when they were against her could knock her speed over the ground back to 7 or 8 knots. But a ferry service of some sort anyway was felt necessary between Wales and Somerset. She was free. And so for the second year running she was taken on charter for this route for which in better times she would have been thought unsuitable.

Duchess of Devonshire loading over the bow on the Devon Coast.

She returned for 1919 too but by then there was competition from the newly formed Yellow Funnel Fleet. And also by then P & A Campbell had started to claim back some of their own steamers so she spent much of this her last season as a Bristol Channel steamer based at Newport.

Duchess of Devonshire aground at Sidmouth.

After that from 1920 she was back on her old routes from Exmouth and Torquay. There she lasted until 1934 when she came to grief broaching broadside on to the beach at Sidmouth. From this she did not recover and it is there that she was dismantled.