Roy Thornton CollectionTS Maid of Kent (III) – Past and Present

TS Maid of Kent (III)

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Steel twin screw turbine steamer, built and engined by Denny’s of Dumbarton (Yard No. 1492) for the British Transport Commission’s cross-Channel car ferry service in 1959 

Technical Data

  • Length: 113.69m (373 ft) (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 18.38m (60.2 ft) (extreme)
  • Draught: 3.96m (13 ft) (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 3,920 gross, 1,335 net, 917 deadweight
  • Engines: 2 Pametrada steam turbines, double reduction gearing, connected to two screw shafts
  • Power: 11,500 shp
  • Speed: 19 knots (service), 20 knots (max)
  • Capacity: 1,000 passengers, 180 cars
  • Call Sign: GCHJ
  • IMO Number: 5217531
  • Official Number: 300433
  • Registry: United Kingdom

History

September 1955: Ordered at an initial cost of £1,671,004.

Roy Thornton Collection  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Roy Thornton Collection (left) National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library (right)

November 27th 1958: Launched and given the title “The Pocket Liner” in view of her appearance resembling a large passenger liner. She was a one class vessel and although a drive-on, drive-off stern loading vehicle ferry she was fitted with two turntables to speed loading and unloading of cars. She was also the first British car ferry to be built with a hydraulic stern door.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

May 4th 1959: Sea trials.

May 13th 1959: Delivered to British Transport Commission, Southern Region, London, England.

Stéphane Poulain Collection  Courtesy of Michael Woodland

Stéphane Poulain Collection (left) Courtesy of Michael Woodland (right)

May 27th 1959: Inaugural sailing.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Stéphane Poulain Collection  Stéphane Poulain Collection

Stéphane Poulain Collection

May 28th 1959: Commenced service between Dover – Boulogne.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

March 1962: Dry-docked at Southampton

January 1st 1963: British Railways Board succeeded British Transport Commission.

Roy Thornton Collection  Stéphane Poulain Collection

Roy Thornton Collection (left) and Stéphane Poulain Collection (right)

1964: Vessels painted in the new livery of British Railways, (blue hull and red funnels) and the “Double – Arrow”

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  Stéphane Poulain Collection

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library (left) and Stéphane Poulain Collection (right)

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

September 1967: In collision with the piling at the southern end of the jetty at the entrance to the Camber (Dover) during severe south-west gales, and holed above the water line.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

November 1969: It was announced that British Rail’s Shipping and International Services Division (S.I.S.D.) had adopted the new brand name Sealink and as a consequence all vessels were painted in the new house colours.


National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Roy Thornton Collection


August 5th 1970: Collided with the quayside in Dover, damaged her stern and repaired in Rotterdam.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

© Ken Larwood  Roy Thornton Collection

© Ken Larwood

© David Ingham  © David Ingham

© David Ingham (both)

1973: Sealink trading name painted on hulls

June 12th 1973: Off service this week after crushing in her bows when she rammed the submarine pens at Dover’s Eastern Docks. The ship was not on service but changing its berth from the Western Docks to the Eastern Docks in thick fog. No one was hurt. A spokesman for British Rail said the ship would probably be off service for several days. Damage was above the waterline so repairs could be carried out while the ship was afloat. Passengers and cars booked on the MAID OF KENT were transferred to the HOLYHEAD FERRY I and the DOVER.

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

September 10th 1973: Collided with the breakwater in Boulogne. Towed to Dunkerque for remedial repairs before she sailed to Holyhead to be prepared for the new Weymouth – Cherbourg route.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

March 2nd 1974 – October 12th 1974: Operated between Weymouth – Cherbourg.

Roy Thornton Collection  National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Roy Thornton Collection

April 8th 1974 – May 30th 1974: Off service with turbine problems.

March 31st 1975 – April 29th 1975: Operated between Stranraer – Larne.

January 1976: Operated as a freight only ferry for two weeks, shipping trade cars, between Harwich – Zeebrügge.

March 1976: Short period of service between Fishguard – Rosslare. Then returned to Weymouth.

October 1976: Relief at Fishguard.

October 19th 1976: Resumed service between Weymouth – Cherbourg.


Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby


October 1978: Operated as support vessel Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

April 1st 1979: Registered to Sealink U.K. Ltd.

April 6th 1979: Commenced service between Weymouth – Cherbourg.

© Tony Garner

Weymouth 27/6/79 © Tony Garner

October 31st 1979: For a short while operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

Courtesy of Chris Howell   Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell (Weymouth January 1980)

April 10th 1981: Operated summer season between Weymouth – Cherbourg.

© Brian Fisher   © Peter Longhurst

© Brian Fisher (left) and © Peter Longhurst (right)

October 2nd 1981: Final day operating between Weymouth – Cherbourg.

October 1981 – October 30th 1981: Operated between Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey.

© Ken Larwood

November 24th 1981: Laid up in Newhaven.

January 1982: Mini refit at Weymouth.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

April 6th 1982: Sold to Desguaces Aviles S.A, San Esteban de Pravia, Spain for £79,756.

April 10th 1982: Left Newhaven for San Esteban de Pravia, Spain.

April 21st 1982: Arrived at Desguaces Aviles S.A, San Esteban de Pravia, Spain for scrapping.


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Micke Asklander (Faktaomfartyg), Brian Fisher, Tony Garner, Chris Howell, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Peter Longhurst, Stéphane Poulain and Michael Woodland  for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Special thanks go to Jim Ashby, Ted Ingham and National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library .

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)


3 Comments

  1. Great Site…. however can you check ‘Maid of Kent III’ information,. We went to France and back on her from Weymouth – Cherbourg – Weymouth in July/Aug of 1976. According to the info she never returned to this route until Oct 19th 1976 and it states she was doing Fishguard – Rosslaire before this.

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