FerriesPast and PresentSouthern Railway

TS Maid of Kent (II) – Past and Present

TS Maid of Kent (II)

ex HM Hospital Carrier No 21

Roy Thornton Collection

Maid of Kent (II) © Roy Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw turbine ship, built and engined by Denny’s of Dumbarton (Yard No 1174) for the Southern Railway in 1925 as a passenger and mail vessel. Launched August 5th, 1925

Technical Data

  • Length: 104.24m (342 ft) (overall), 100.43m (329.5 ft) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of Hull: 13.75m (45.1 ft)
  • Draught: 3.69m (12.10 ft) (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 2,657 – 2,693 gross/1,101 net
  • Engines: 4 x Parsons steam turbines in two independent sets each working one of two screws.
  • Power: 8,500 shp
  • Speed: 22 knots (service), 22.12 knots (trial)
  • Capacity: 1,400 (maximum, in 2 classes)
  • Call Sign: GLNS
  • LR Number (1940): 78747
  • Official Number: 148694
  • Registry: United Kingdom


1924: Ordered for Southern Railways along with her sister ISLE OF THANET.

August 5th 1925: Launched (cost £190,000).

October 1925: Completed.

October 16th 1925: Trials.

October 26th 1925: Maid of Kent (II) delivered to Southampton (she was regarded as the slightly better of the pair).

October 28th 1925: Arrived at Dover and introduced between Dover – Calais. Acted as the stand-by ship when CANTERBURY was unavailable for the “Golden Arrow” service.

November 6th 1925: Replaced the ISLE OF THANET which transferred to Folkestone.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

November 1925: Hit Calais East Pier; repaired at Southampton.

March 9th 1926: Collided with the Southern Breakwater at Dover, damaging her bows.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

February 13th 1927: Struck the western block-ship at the entrance to the harbour by the Admiralty Pier.

September 2nd 1939: Made routine sailing Folkestone – Boulogne then sent direct to Southampton, arriving 2 hours after the declaration of war.

September 1939: Taken over and fitted out as HM HOSPITAL CARRIER No. 21.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

September 10th 1939: Left Southampton after fitting out to sail Newhaven – Dieppe. Newhaven being No. 1 Hospital Port.

May 11th 1940: Sailed from Dieppe with 249 sick and wounded servicemen and after arriving at Newhaven sailed immediately back to Dieppe.

May 14th 1940: Again sailed carrying 249 wounded.

May 18th 1940: Sailed from Newhaven at 17.15hrs arriving in Dieppe by 21.20 hrs. During an air attack nine bombs fell in the vicinity of the ship. Her master sought permission to move the vessel to the tidal berths for more speedy departure, but she was unable to leave because of jammed lock gates.

May 21st 1940: She was struck by four bombs from a Luftwaffe air-raid. One entered the engine room, causing a fire which spread so fast that it was necessary to abandon ship. The ship was completely destroyed and sank. She was later raised by the Germans and deposited in deeper water outside the confines of the harbour.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

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.

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

One Comment

  1. There is a memorial plaque, photograph and her Red Ensign in the Church of St Mary and St Eanswythe in Church Street/The Bayle, Folkestone. These are registered as a War Memorial.

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