British Railways Board (BRB)British Transport Commission (BTC)FerriesLondon Midland and Scottish RegionPast and PresentRequests

TS Princess Maud (II) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 5284912

TS Nybo

ex Venus, Princess Maud (II)

© National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

© National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

Steel twin screw steam turbine vessel built in 1934 by William Denny & Brothers Ltd., Dumbarton (Yard No 1265) as a passenger, vehicle and cargo ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 100.58 m (overall) 97.23 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 14.93 m
  • Depth: 5.18 m (to main deck)
  • Draught: 3.57m
  • Tonnage: 2883 – 3022 gross/1154 net/1658t deadweight
  • Engines: four self reduction Parsons-type geared steam turbines (initially coal then fired)
  • Power: kW/1375nHP
  • Speed: 21 knots (max) 19.84 knots (average trial)
  • Capacity: 938 1st   class (161 berthed), 547 3rd class (62 berthed) passengers./43,000 cu. ft. cargo/169 cattle, 22 horses./24 cars (1933), 100 cars (1965)
  • Crew: 62
  • Call Sign: GWRT
  • IMO Number: 5284912
  • ID Number (LR ): 71994 – 134673
  • Official Number: 134673
  • Port of Registry: Stranraer/UK 🇬🇧
  • Sister Ship: Princess Margaret (1252)


1933: Ordered, on the same hull design, as an improved version of PRINCESS MARGARET but was the first cross channel ship with automatic Erith-Roe stokers.

December 19th 1933: Launched in thick fog, by Lady Craigavon, wife of the Prime Minister for Northern Ireland, was to have been named PRINCESS VICTORIA III agreed at a meeting in September 1933, but the decision was reversed the following month as not to cause confusion. During fitting out a cowl top was fitted to her funnel, but this was removed prior to sea trials.

Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

February 15th 1934: Conducted sea trials. Fitted with Grinnelli automatic Quartzoid sprinkler and fire alarm system (supplied by Mather & Platt Ltd., Manchester). During her trial a cabin was deliberately set on fire and it was extinguished by the overhead sprinklers. She was the first British ship fitted throughout with a fire alarm and sprinkler system.

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

February 18th 1934: At Stranraer. Cost £158,301.

February 27th 1934: Special sailing for invited guests.

1934: Delivered to London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company (Stranraer Section)

March 1st 1934: Made her maiden sailing and continued between Stranraer – Larne, also included excursion trips to Bangor on a fortnightly basis.

September 15th 1935: Excursion trips ceased.

July 27th 1937: Used as a “gangway” between the quayside at Stranraer and the tender DUCHESS OF ABERCORN, (being used to convey King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the royal yacht VICTORIA AND ALBERT which was anchored in Loch Ryan). Used again for the same purpose on the Queen’s return on July 30th 1937.

Royal Yacht- Victoria and Albert

1937 – 1938 (winter): Improvements were made to her passenger accommodation (dining facilities etc.)

1939: Converted, at her builders, from coal to oil burning.

March 1939: Underwent Sea trials.

April 17th 1939: Resumed service between Stranraer – Larne.

September 5th 1939: Left Stranraer.

September 8th 1939: Arrived in Southampton having been requisitioned by the Admiralty

September 10th 1939: First sailing as a troop carrier operating a regular pattern of crossings to France.

October 27th 1939: While leaving Cherbourg for Southampton she struck the quay wall, buckling plates, setting her stern out of line and causing slight leakage.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

December 12th 1939: Transferred to Dover, still acting as a trooper, and served as a leave ship from Boulogne, for men of the British Expeditionary Force.

January 5th 1940: In the outer harbour at Dover slightly bent her stern an immobilised her rudder in a collision with the Polish vessel KORAB II.

1940: Engaged in the evacuation of Dunkirk “Operation Dynamo”.

May 30th 1940: Hit by shells off Gravelines, one of which tore a hole in the ship’s side and killed four of her crew. The vessel limped back to port and temporary repairs were undertaken in the Ferry Dock.

June 3rd 1940: Again set out for Dunkirk. Arriving at the port at midnight revealed a  port  under fire, ablaze and crammed with vessels. She was slightly damaged on the starboard side by COTE D’ARGENT and on the port quarter by a French trawler.

June 4th 1940: Managed to get alongside. There were no gangways but 1,270 troops embarked. She cast off and shell burst in the berth just vacated.

June 4th 1940: Reached Folkestone.

June 5th 1940: Sailed to Plymouth.

June 10th 1940: Having stayed in Plymouth and at 01.32 hrs on the 12th she was ordered to close St Valery-en-Caux to rescues stranded troops “Operation Cycle and Aerial”. While off the coast, the cargo vessel GOLDFINCH came alongside to transfer 500 men. She eventually got away with a total of 600 British and 400 French troops on board.

June 10th 1940: Reached Southampton.

June 16th 1940: Heading in the direction of St Malo where she embarked 2,500 troops.

June 17th 1940: Sailed for Southampton.

June 18th 1940: Left Southampton for Plymouth and subsequently underwent repairs in Glasgow.

July 5th 1940: Returned to her owners but almost immediately was again taken up as a troopship.

July 31st 1940: Began carrying troops between Stranraer and Larne.

December 6th 1940: At anchor in Loch Ryan when, in a gale, SHEPPERTON FERRY dragged her anchor when a collision took place. PRINCESS MAUD damaged her starboard quarter. She was also used to cover commercial sailings and tendering duties between large troopships at anchor in the Firth of Clyde.

1941: Attacked and machine gunned by an enemy aircraft returning from a bombing raid on Campbeltown. One soldier was slightly wounded but the ship suffered only superficial damage. The vessel was released from troop carrying when required to relieve her older sister PRINCESS MARGARET on the mail schedule.

September 6th 1942: Damaged a lifeboat against QUEEN ELIZABETH in the Tail of the Bank anchorage.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

November 1943: Ordered to Liverpool to undergo alterations for invasion purposes. She was adapted (Pennant P4.414) to carry three landing craft on each side and once this work was completed she was engaged in exercises on the South Wales coast and in Loch Fyne in preparation for D-Day.

June 5th 1944: Left Weymouth Bay as part of an enormous convoy from Portland Bay for the Normandy beaches. She carried over 16,00 troops of the invasion force. She was the first vessel to enter Ostend and she made several trips there.

October 21st 1944: Arrived at Dover from Arromanches, but was sent to Southampton for a refit and restoration of superstructure following removal of Landing Craft.

December 7th 1944: With CANTERBURY re-opened the Dover – Ostend duty route until the end of the month.

January 4th 1945: First arrival in Calais, relieving CANTERBURY.

March 5th 1945: Recorded as having carried 65,500 troops inbound and over 50,600 outbound.

May 13th 1945: Grounded when leaving Calais for Folkestone, on a very low tide. Troops were disembarked.

May 14th 1945: Re-floated and sailed to Dover for damage inspection.

May 16th 1945: Back in service.

September 3rd/4th 1945: Visited Guernsey on a round trip from Southampton.

September 29th 1945: Arrived back at Stranraer having on war duty carried an estimated 1,360,870 troops.

October 1st 1945: Resumed on the mail roster. With some of her military equipment removed she maintained the Larne route.

February 1946: Proceeded to D & W Henderson’s yard at Glasgow where she underwent an extensive refit.

August 1st 1946: Returned to service Stranraer – Larne.

September 18th 1946: Transferred to Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

October 1946: Returned to Stranraer to cover PRINCESS MARGARET off for several weeks on overhaul.

December (2nd week) 1946: Returned to Holyhead.

1947: During the coal crisis and being the only oil fired ship, she operated by The London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

1948: The London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company became part of the British Transport Commission trading under British Railways

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

1949 (summer): Became stand-by vessel. Relieved at other ports such as Harwich, Southampton and the Channel Islands.

March 1950: During a gale her steering gear failed while proceeding to Waterford causing her to change course for Rosslare and navigate stern first, using the bow rudder for steering.

July 14th 1951: First arrival at Guernsey and after a brief stay south returned to Holyhead/Heysham and Stranraer as stand-by.

Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

February 2nd 1953: Brought bodies to Stranraer recovered after the PRINCESS VICTORIA disaster.

July 1958: Having been the spare boat at Holyhead since her transfer in 1946 and served on various routes she appeared on the Heysham – Belfast service.

July 12th 1958: Damaged when in collision with DUKE OF LANCASTER in Heysham harbour.

September 4th 1965: Made her last sailing to Holyhead. Although the new colour scheme was now in operation throughout British Railways the vessel was allowed to finish her service in the old colours.

1965: Sold to Lefkosia Compania Naviera S.A., Panama and renamed VENUS. Her port of registry was transferred from Stranraer to Famagusta, Cyprus.

September 17th 1965: Left Holyhead for Piraeus, where she was refitted (including swimming pool) for a cruising programme.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

🆕 Roy Thornton Collection (Both)

June 15th 1966: Commenced cruising between Brindisi – Piraeus – Limassol – Haifa (managed by Cyprus Sea Cruises (Limassol) Ltd. P.O.Box 127, 5, Akti Miaouli, Piraeus)

August 1969: Called at Dover en-route to Copenhagen.

1969: Sold to Burmeister & Wain (Denmark) and renamed NYBO. She was to be used as an accommodation ship at Copenhagen for shipyard workers.

© Arnold Kludas

© Arnold Kludas (Copenhagen)
Roy Thornton Collection
Roy Thornton Collection

1972: Sold for breaking.

January 2nd 1973: Left Copenhagen in tow for Bilbao.

January 13th 1973: Arrived in Bilbao for breaking.

Courtesy of John Hendy

Courtesy of John Hendy

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. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: John Hendy and National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library for their assistance in producing this feature.

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


  1. Thank you Ray for the great history of the ‘RMS Princess Maud, much appreciated. It is said of her in Holyhead that she would roll
    on a damp sponge! But she was a much admired ship. An old engineer, who had sailed for many year on ‘The Maud’ once told
    me that even after being offered for sale her engine room shone and sparkled as if she had just left Denny’s yard. Interesting to read
    that she had a ‘coming together’ with the Queen Elizabeth, the mighty Cunarder had a lucky escape there! [Speaking as one who made
    many trips on the old Maud and served as a deck cadet with Cunard Line! ]
    Thank you again, you made my day.
    Dafydd Edwards.

    1. Hi Dafydd,

      I wish I could take the credit for this one but it’s all down to Nigel Thornton’s hard work and his extensive library. One of the things that has become apparent to myself and Nigel over the last 7 weeks is the genuine interest in shipping and the website. I hope that we can take people back to happier memories rather than the current situation.

      I am sure I can speak on behalf on Nigel here when I say that we publish these articles and sometimes we are not always sure if they actually get read or not!

      Nigel opened up the floor to requests at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown and I have been very surprised by the sheer number of requests that have been received.

      I have even found the website to be a great escape as I am currently separated from my partner and young daughter at the moment due to the fact that I have been designated a key worker through my job in food distribution and I didn’t want to expose either of them to the virus.

      Many thanks for your kind words and praise, we really do appreciate it.


      1. I sure did read it thank you, I was born in stranraer in 1941 and in 1956 as a dead boy I joined the Canterbury then the isle of thanet and many numerous other cross channel ferries we sold out of Dover and Folkestone I was 16 years old 1957 and from them I got my steering certificate which I was proud of and I went deep water after that,all over the world loved every minute of it. Barry bosun

  2. Ray,
    Then please pass on my sincere thanks to Nigel and all his hard work, that must be some library. Now suffering from library envy!
    Thanks to you both again, may you and your dear ones stay safe – don’t forget to was your hands!

  3. Good afternoon! (morning for me at the moment, in North Carolina…) This page was such a pleasure to read. I’ve been studying the mission of the combat engineers on Omaha Beach, many of whom came across the channel aboard Princess Maud. A few years have passed since I last looked her up, and of course I’m stunned at the details people have posted! I wonder if Mr. Thornton might correspond with me regarding how to discover more about her details on that single mission. Thank you so much!

  4. Just read your article and was amazed at the history. This would make a wonderful film.
    All what she went through.
    Thank you so much I really enjoyed it.

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