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TS Invicta (III) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 5162217

TS Invicta (III)

Courtesy of Derrick Packman

Courtesy of Derrick Packman

Steel twin screw turbine steamer built and engined by Denny’s of Dumbarton (Yard No 1344) for the Southern Railway in 1940. 

Technical Data

  • Length on Deck: 106.16m (348 ft), 117.19m (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 15.94m (52.3 ft)
  • Depth: 5.03m (16.5 ft)
  • Draught: 3.87m (12.75 ft) (loaded)
  • Tonnage: 4,178 gross, 1,937 net
  • Engines: 4 Parson’s steam turbines, single reduction gearing, in two independent sets, each driving one screw. Fitted for coal burning when built, adapted for oil burning in 1946.
  • Boilers: 2 x Yarrow three drum w/t 250lb/sq in
  • Power: 11,000shp
  • Speed: 22 knots
  • Capacity: 1304 passengers
  • IMO Number: 5162217
  • Official Number: 167606
  • Call Sign: GLJQ
  • Registry: London/UK 🇬🇧


February 13th 1939: Ordered.

December 14th 1939: Launched at an initial cost of £276,434.

June 27th 1940: Left Dumbarton.

July 1st 1940: Delivered to Southern Railways, Dover, England. War intervened during her construction and she was taken over by the Admiralty.

Following her completion she lay at anchor near Clynder on the Clyde for a year until the Admiralty decided to convert her to a Landing Ship Infantry. Work was undertaken by Barclay Curle at Elderslie and her livery during that period being an overall buff save for a black hull and funnel top.

Fitted with six LCAs held in special davits attached to the side of her superstructure she could accommodate 250 troops.

June 3rd 1942: Commissioned.

© Imperial War Museum © Imperial War Museum  

© Imperial War Museum © Imperial War Museum  

© Imperial War Museum (July 22nd 1942)

© Imperial War Museum  © Imperial War Museum 

© Imperial War Museum

© Imperial War Museum

August 19th 1942: Took part in the Dieppe raid.

October 1943: Came under command of Force “J” in preparation for Normandy.

1944: Took part in the Normandy invasion.

December 1944: Home port became Tilbury.

October 9th 1945: Paid off and refitted and returned to Southern Railways, Dover.

December 21st 1945: Appeared at Dover again, but with only one mast and her promenade deck still plated in.

December 27th 1945: Collided with BEN-MY-CHREE in Dover due to a bridge telegraph defect.

January 24th 1946: Her 4th Engineer was crushed by a watertight door and sadly killed.

World Ship Society (East Kent Branch) Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection

Courtesy of World Ship Society (East Kent Branch) and John Hendy

December 26th 1945 – April 1946: Chartered by the Government to carry leave and Demobilisation troops between Dover and Calais

April 23rd 1946: Left for the Tyne to be refitted for the “Golden Arrow” service.

October 14th 1946: Refitted after her release from war service, at the Naval Yard of Walker, of Messr’s Vickers-Armstrong Ltd., during which she was converted to an oil-burner, she made an inaugural Channel cruise.

Roy Thornton Collection  © Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

October 15th 1946: Made her first peacetime crossing under the Southern Railways banner from Dover to Calais

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

1947: It had originally been intended to fit her with stabilisers but these were omitted due to her rapid construction and were fitted later.

Stéphane Poulain Collection Stéphane Poulain Collection

Stéphane Poulain Collection

January 1st 1948: Registered to the British Transport Commission, Southern Region.

January 1959: Collided with the pier at Calais and suffered minor damage.

© John Clarkson

© John Clarkson

Postcard Postcard


April 26th 1963: First vessel to pass through the re-opened Western entrance at Dover Harbour, following the removal of wartime block-ships.

Roy Thornton Collection  © John Hendy  

Roy Thornton Collection (Left) and September 1964 © John Hendy (Right)

© William Macdonald

© William Macdonald

Courtesy of Michael Woodland 

© Fotoflite

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

© David Ingham

© John Hendy  © John Hendy 

© John Hendy (April 1966 (Left) and July 1966 (Right)) 

© A G Jones

© A G Jones  © A G Jones  

© A G Jones  © A G Jones 

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (27/11/1966) (all)

January 1st 1967: Vessels painted in the new livery of British Railways, (blue hull and red funnels) and the “Double -Arrow”, and registered to British Railways Board.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood 

© Ken Larwood (both)

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones (05/07/1969) (both)

May 23rd 1970: Unusually chartered for a special sailing between Dover and Ostend.

© Brian Fisher  © A G Jones 

© Brian Fisher (Left) © A G Jones (Right)

© Michael Woodland

© Michael Woodland

© John Hendy © John Hendy © John Hendy © John Hendy © John Hendy                                                         © John Hendy © John Hendy © John Hendy

🆕 © John Hendy

August 8th 1972: Made her last sailing between Dover and Calais, and, after de-storing made her way to Newhaven for lay-up. Some interest was shown in her by a Greek company, but this came to nothing.

© John Hendy

© John Hendy

© John Hendy  © Ted Ingham 

© John Hendy (Arriving in Newhaven, August  1972)(Left) and © Ted Ingham (Right)

September 21st 1972: Sold to Machinehandel en Scheepssloperij “de Koophandel”, Rotterdam, Holland she was towed away by the German tug MICHEL PETERSEN for demolition at Nieuw Lekkerland by the Dutch ship-breakers.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors and omissions. All items included in this article are subject to ©. We would like to thank: Brian Fisher , Fotoflite,  Imperial War Museum, Ted Ingham, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, William Macdonald, Derrick Packman, Stéphane Poulain, Michael Woodland, World Ship Society (East Kent Branch) and John Hendy (Ferry Publications) for their assistance in producing this feature.

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


  1. This maid my day to see the Invicta again its been a very long time now as I was work on this on its last day. its a day I will never for get wonderful day that was very happy memories. so thank you. and to see all the other ships from the Past. brilliant job you are all doing again thank you. T.R. Osborne Asst cook. the good old days.

  2. At age 24 in June 1961 I sailed with my family from Dover to Calais on Invicta. In mid channel we had an encounter with a HMS (destroyer/frigate ?). There was much signalling by lights and manoeuvring.to avoid each other.
    Keith Thompson
    Canmore Alberta Canada

  3. Hi,

    My Grandad served on this ship during the War, I have a copy of the photo aswell. His name was William Walker

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