Autumn 1969

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

Autumn 1969

PS Ryde – At Ryde no casual traveller would know that there is a Clarence Pier and South Parade Pier service, and it is little better at Southsea itself. One would think that BR would wish to hammer home the fact that the last paddle steamer on the south coast is sailing daily. It will not be difficult to prove that fewer people used Ryde in 1969 than ever before. Andrew Patrick writes to express appreciation to the officers and crew of PS Ryde for a splendid day out on the CCA charter “Particular thanks must go to the stokers who were on duty for about 13 hours in a stokehold where the temperature rose to 90°F. The Ryde covered 80 nautical miles at an average of over 9.5 knots. Approaching Portsmouth that evening pressure was 150 psi and speed 44 rpm”.

Two paddle tugs preserved – The Reliant left Seaham Harbour on June 10th – towed by tug to the Thames. She has been acquired by the National Maritime Museum. Arrangements were made by Mr Collard Stone for a party of members to visit her and they spent an interesting afternoon inspecting and photographing the vessel. For more than a year the San Francisco Maritime Museum has been making enquiries with a view to preserving a paddle tug. With Reliant destined for the NMM, Eppleton Hall was found to be still intact. This was sheer coincidence, for the breakers had already commenced demolition. A matter of days before the hull and engines were due to be cut-up however, several trawlers arrived for scrapping and the “Effie’s” breaking was delayed. At this point the Americans bought her.

Captain Leonard Horsham – Members will deeply regret the death of Captain Horsham, Master of PS Medway Queen during her last 16 years of service. He was Capt. Aldis’s first officer on PS Queen of Thanet soon after he had joined the New Medway Steam Packet Co. In 1935 they both transferred to the first MV Queen of the Channel. Captain Horsham’s first command came two years later, becoming master of PS City of Rochester. The last occasion he took her down the River Orwell was a historic one – she had more passengers than usual – war was imminent. Next day City of Rochester was recalled to the Medway. He took over as master of Medway Queen for her peacetime role. He was a good master, obtained the best from his crew, the result of which was the secret of the ship’s immaculate condition.

From the left: Capt Leonard Horsham, Capt Tommy Aldis, unidentified second mate. Capt Horsham moved as chief officer with Capt Aldis as master to the new diesel passenger ship Queen of the Channel in 1935 and then in 1937 to the new Royal Sovereign on which the above picture was taken at Ostend.

Scottish notesWaverley had the first three Saturdays of the season on Talisman’s old run at Millport. On each Saturday she had a full load at Largs – in fact on one of them she had to leave over 400 passengers behind. Waverley deputised on the Round Bute excursion on June 15th and despite dead low water in the evening she completed the turbine’s run only 10 minutes late. She performed the Brodick and Pladda excursion on June 16th – one of her few opportunities to visit Arran. The Clyde is the last place in the country where there are four excursion steamers in the same fleet – it is surprising that many enthusiasts have never been north of the border. Soon, all too soon, Duchess of Hamilton, Queen Mary II, Caledonia and Waverley will be all but memories.