British Railways Board (BRB)FerriesPast and PresentStoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland (SMZ)

MV Koningin Emma – Past and Present

MV Koningin Emma

ex HMS Queen Emma, Queen Emma, Koningin Emma

Koningin Emma – Roy Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built in 1939 by Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde, Vlissingen, Holland (Yard No. 209), for Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland N.V. Hook Van Holland, Holland as a passenger and cargo vessel

Technical Data

  • Length:¬†115.79 m (overall) 106.77 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 14.38¬†m
  • Depth:¬†8.53 m
  • Draught: 7.75 (max)¬†– 4.42 m
  • Tonnage:¬†4135 – 4353 gross/2100 – 2188 net/750 850 (at max draught)
  • Engines:¬†Two SA 10-cylinder De Schelde-Sulzer diesels.
  • Power: kW/12,500 bhp
  • Speed:¬†23 knots (max)
  • Capacity:¬†1,800 passengers (day), 297 (night), 35 cars. 1,200 Passengers (1948)
  • Crew: 58
  • Call Sign:¬†PFKT
  • ID Number: 519295
  • Number in Book (Lloyd’s¬†Register 1945 -46):¬†27932 Official Number:
  • Port of Registry:¬†Hook of Holland
  • Sister-Ship: Prinses Beatrix


December 1937: Ordered.

May 7th 1938: Keel struck.

January 14th 1939: Launched by Queen Wilhelmina. The first diesel ship for the Company.

May 19th 1939: Sea trials.

June 1939: Delivered to Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland N.V. Hook Van Holland, Holland.


June 4th 1939: Introduced between Flushing – Harwich. Had a grey hull.


September 2nd 1939: Laid up in Flushing.

May 10th 1940: Moved, via the Downs, to London.

May 12th 1940: Arrived in the Thames.

May 17th 1940: Taken over by the Ministry of War Transport, U.K. and sailed to Plymouth.

June 2nd 1940: Made three return crossings repatriating French servicemen to Brest.

June 16th 1940: Again at Brest to transport 2,037 British troops to Plymouth.

June 22nd 1940: Second evacuation, after taking her to La Pallice and Bayonne, concluded.

June 26th 1940: At Milford Haven to be available to embark a Royal Marines brigade to Ireland. She was later relieved of this commitment.

July 30th 1940: Proceeded to the Clyde for a trooping voyage which took her to Reykjavik, then continued to Akureyri on the north coast.

August 17th 1940: Left Iceland.

August 22nd 1940: Taken over by the Admiralty.

August 28th 1940: Arrived in Belfast to start her conversion to,what became known as, a ‚ÄėLanding Ship, Infantry(Medium)‚Äô.

September 1940: Rebuilt at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as an assault landing ship. Pennant L 4.180. (‚Äú‚ĶSuperstructure was stripped down to the weather deck and gravity davits fitted to carry six assault landing craft (LCAs) and two larger tank landing craft (LCTs) which could also carry 70 troops. A raised gun platform was placed on the forecastle in front of the new naval-type bridge and the original funnel was replaced by a low structure with slanting top immediately abaft a tall signal mast‚ÄĚ)

October 4th 1940: Renamed QUEEN EMMA.

January 14th 1941: Commissioned as Renamed H.M.S. QUEEN EMMA.

January 31st 1941: Sailed from Belfast.

February 22nd 1941: Arrived at Scapa Flow.

March 1st 1941: She headed into the Arctic Circle, west of Norway.

March 4th 1941: Took part in the Lofoten Islands raid carrying 500 troops and 50 demolition Royal Engineers.

August 18th – August 19th 1941: Took part in ‚ÄúOperation Jubilee‚ÄĚ, the Dieppe Raid.

November 1941: Took part in the North African landings.

December 9th 1941: Took troops from Freetown to Ascension Island.

1942: At Takoradi (Gold Coast) and Lagos in Nigeria.

February 14th 1942: Left Freetown for the Clyde.

April 2nd 1942: Left Falmouth on Operation Myrmidon,to harass German coastal defences in the SW of France and divert enemy forces to the area.

April 7th 1942: Returned to Falmouth, then sailed for the Clyde.

April 23rd 1942: Sustained minor damage in collision with MALAYAN PRINCE

August 18th 1942: Left Portsmouth Harbour for (Operation Rutter, renamed, the cancelled raid on Dieppe due to have taken place in July) Operation Jubilee.

August 19th 1942: As part of Group G, lowered her craft to take British and Canadian forces to Blue Beach at Dieppe. Returned to Portsmouth, to await her landing craft, all but one of which returned safely.

October 26th 1942: Left Clyde as part of the Operation Torch (the British-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African Campaign of the Second World War) fleet heading for North Africa.

November 8th 1942: Reached Oran (allocated to take army reinforcements and stores to the advance base at Bone.

1943: Involved in Operation Corkscrew (code name for the Allied invasion of the Italian island of Pantelleria (between Sicily and Tunisia)).

July 8th 1943: Left Sfax for Operation Husky (a major campaign of World War II, in which the Allies took the island of Sicily from the Axis powers (Italy andNazi Germany). It was a large amphibious and airborne operation, followed by a six-week land campaign and was the beginning of the Italian Campaign.) to put troops ashore, two days later, at Bark South beach-head in SE Sicily

July 17th 1943: At anchor in Augusta harbour with Commandos billeted on board, when a stick of bombs fell close to her port quarter, followed immediately by others to starboard. Splinters perforating her side caused heavy casualties and she sustained considerable structural damage, only two of her landing craft being left operative. The ship retired to Malta, en-route burying at sea 18 men, who had not survived , of a casualty list in excess of 90. Consequently the vessel played no part in the landings at Salerno.

October 27th 1943: Returned to UK for refit on the Tyne.

January 1944: Moved southwards to prepare for the Normandy Landings.

June 5th 1944: Left the Solent as part of Assault Convoy 19 and landed her troops next morning at Juno beach-head.

November 9th 1944: Duties at Cherbourg.

November 12th 1944: Duties at Ostend.

December 1944: Called at Calais before continuing to London for refit and tropicalization for service in the East.

May 5th 1945: Left Clyde.

May 26th 1945: At Bombay. She was due to sail from Madras as part of Group 5 for Operation Zipper (the landings in the Port Dickson and Port Swettenham area of Malaya), but the Japanese surrender on August 14th caused a change of plan.

August 17th 1945: Having been assigned to Operation Jurist (the code name for the liberation of Japanese-occupied Penang Island) left Trincomalee as part of Force 11, which paused at the Nicobar Islands.

August 28th 1945: Proceeded to Panang.

September 3rd 1945: Disembarked her Royal Marines and a ceremony was held to mark the end of the Japanese occupation.

© Imperial War Museum A30439

September 6th 1945: Arrived at Rangoon to transport members of the RAF Regiment assigned to replace the Royal Marines at Penang.

September 13th 1945: With Marines aboard, left Penang.

September 14th 1945: At Sabang ((northern end of Sumatra).

October (early) 1945: Carried French troops to Saigon and, in the process, set off a mine.

October 7th 1945: Left Saigon.

October 10th 1945: Damaged and under tow, arrived at Singapore for repairs.

December 1st 1945: Sailed for Surabaya.

December 15th 1945: At Batavia.

January 6th 1946: At Semarang.

January 26th 1946: At Padang on the west coast of Sumatra.

January 31st 1946: Her Far East duties complete, made her final departure from Singapore for the UK.

March 6th 1946: Arrived at Portsmouth.

April 29th 1946: ‚ÄúPaid Off‚ÄĚ.

April 13th 1946: Returned to her owners.

April 29th 1946: Arrived in Flushing to be re-converted back into a passenger ferry. Renamed KONINGIN EMMA.

February 28th 1948: Sea trials.


March 5th 1948: Commenced service between Hoek Van Holland – Harwich in the night service in charter of British Railways.

June 15th 1948 РSeptember 30th 1948: Chartered to Wm. H. Muller’s Batavier Line and operated Rotterdam РTilbury.

October 1948: In service, permanently transferred to the Hook of Holland – Harwich.

John Hendy Collection  John Hendy Collection

John Hendy Collection

John Hendy Collection

1960: Relegated to extra vessel.

John Hendy Collection  John Hendy Collection

October 17th 1968: Final crossing.

December 18th 1968: Towed to Antwerp for scrapping by Jos De Smedt, Antwerp.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. Many thanks to John Hendy for his assistance in producing this feature.

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


  1. My brother served in the Royal Navy aboard the Queen Emma. Quite a coincidence that I sailed to Holland for a holiday break aboard her in around 1953

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