Roy Thornton CollectionTS St Patrick (III) (1948) – Past and Present

TS Agapitos I

ex Thermopylae, St Patrick (III)

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw turbine ship, built by Cammell Laird & Co Ltd, Birkenhead (Yard No 1183) for Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours Co, in 1947 as a passenger and mail vessel

Technical Data

  • Length: 97.96m (321.4 ft) (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 15.40m (50.5 ft) (extreme)
  • Draught: 4.05m (13.3 ft) (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 3,482 gross (1948), 3,460 (1961), 3,147 (1972), 1,402 net (1948), 1,318 (1961), 1,21 (1972), 459 deadweight (1972)
  • Engines: 4 Parsons steam turbines, single reduction gearing, in two independent sets driving one screw
  • Power: 8500 bhp
  • Speed: 19 knots
  • Capacity: 1,200 passengers, 28 cars
  • Call Sign: MJNY (1949), SXBE (1972)
  • ID Number: 530658
  • Official Number: 181830
  • Registry: London (1947 – 1972), Piraeus (1972)
  • Sister-Ship: St David


May 20th 1947: Launched.

January 23rd 1948: Sea trials.

January 23rd 1948: Delivered to Fishguard & Rosslare Railway & Harbour Co, London, England.

January 27th 1948: Vessel was displayed in Cardiff.

February 4th 1948: Commenced service between Weymouth – Channel Islands.

Courtesy of William Macdonald

🆕Courtesy of William Macdonald

October 1948 – 1963: Laid up in Fishguard during the winter months.

January 1st 1950: Registered to British Railways, Midland Region, London, but this did not stop the vessel moving round to Weymouth each summer.

September 17th 1950: During heavy storms ran aground in St Helier. Repaired later at Penarth.

September 14th 1953: Had a two-week spell on the Southampton – Le Havre route, covering for the NORMANNIA.

December 17th 1959: Sold to British Transport Commission, Southern Region, England, and following her refit early in 1960, she returned to service on February 27th, in full British Railways livery with a yellow funnel.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

1960 – 1961: Rebuilt and modernized at Mount Stuart Dry Dock Company, Cardiff, Wales.

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

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

October 10th 1963: Completed her service between Weymouth – Channel Islands.

October 10th 1963: Commenced service between Southampton – Le Havre.

1963 – 1964: Vessels painted in the new livery of British Railways, (blue hull and red funnels) and the “Double – Arrow”

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

April 17th 1964: After winter lay up left Cardiff for Weymouth.

April 21st 1964: Commenced service between Weymouth – Channel Island sometimes Southampton – Le Havre.

Roy Thornton Collection  © Andy Gilbert

Roy Thornton Collection (left) and © Andy Gilbert (right)

May 10th 1964: Service between Southampton – Le Havre closed, thereafter operating between Southampton – St Malo

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

September 27th 1964: Final day operating between Southampton – St Malo then left for for Newhaven and overhaul. Then to Smith’s Dock Co., South Shields for alterations.

December 15th 1964: Arrived at Dover and replaced CANTERBURY.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

May 29th 1965: Commenced service between Folkestone – Boulogne.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Courtesy of William Macdonald

Courtesy of William Macdonald (Folkestone, 13/08/1966)

© David Ingham  © Ted Ingham

© David Ingham

February 27th 1967: Refit at Humber Graving Dock & Engineering Co., Immingham, England.

August 23rd 1967: For a short while operated between Weymouth – Channel Islands.

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones (both)

May 8th 1970 – May 11th 1970: Operated between Guernsey – Jersey – St Malo.

April 30th 1971 – May 8th 1971: Operated between Guernsey – Jersey – St Malo.

September 25th 1971: Final day in service between Folkestone – Boulogne.

September 29th 1971: Laid up in Newhaven.

© A G Jones  Courtesy of William Macdonald

© A G Jones (Newhaven, 04/12/1971) (Left) 🆕Courtesy of William Macdonald (Newhaven, 11/12/1971) (Right)

February 23rd 1972: Sold to Gerasimos S. Fetouris, Piraeus, Greece for £42,000. Renamed THERMOPYLAE.

March 9th 1972: Left Newhaven for Piraeus.

© Trevor Jones

© Trevor Jones

March 28th 1972: Arrived in Piraeus.

1973: Sold to Agapitos Bros., Piraeus, Greece. Renamed AGAPITOS I.

© A Scrimali, Roy Thornton Collection

© A Scrimali, Roy Thornton Collection

1973: Operated between Piraeus – Cyclades Islands – Tinos – Mykonos.

1976: Laid up.

1980: Broken up in Perama, Greece.

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: Andy Gilbert, Ted Ingham, A G Jones, Trevor Jones, Ken Larwood and William Macdonald for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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


  1. Please note that St. Patrick was not converted to carry cars. This is absolutely incorrect and I have checked with members of her former crew on this matter. A reliable source is Gerry Sutton at Dover Transport Museum.

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