Waverley 1947 – Trials
The picture above is the official trials picture of paddle steamer Waverley issued by her builders and owners.
The trials took place on the Measured Mile off Skelmorlie between the 2nd and the 5th of June 1947. On the final day of trials, with a full load of coal and water, and with additional weight to simulate 50% of her full complement of 1,350 passengers she achieved a maximum recorded speed of 18.37 knots on the Measured Mile. She is said to have achieved over 19 knots once the machinery “settled-in”, though that speed was never officially validated.
Completion of trials signified the end of Waverley’s prolonged build period. Her keel had been laid at A & J Inglis shipyard in Glasgow on 27th December 1945. The build time had been prolonged by material shortages in the post World War II period and priorities in getting existing vessels, returning from war service, fit to return to civilian duties. It had also been the intention was to burn fuel oil in the new vessel but those material shortages enforced a change to coal firing. She was eventually fitted with a Howden oil firing system in 1957.
After the completion of trials she spent 10 days at Craigendoran, base of her owners, London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), before her scheduled first day of service on 16th June 1947.
The first Master of the new Waverley, Captain John Cameron DSC, had been civilian Master and Navigating Officer of HMS Waverley (III) which was bombed and sunk by the Luftwaffe in the English Channel on 29th May 1940.
In retirement Captain Cameron served as the President of the West of Scotland Division of the Dunkirk Veterans Association and was a regular visitor to Waverley in her early preservation years in the 1970s and 1980s.