British Railways Board (BRB)British Transport Commission (BTC)FerriesLondon & North Eastern RegionPast and Present

TS Vienna (II) (1929) – Past and Present

Official Number: 161034

TS Vienna (II)

Ex HMS Vienna, Vienna


Steel twin screw turbine steamer built in 1929 at John Brown & Co Ltd, Clydebank (Yard No 527) as a passenger and mail ferry for the British Transport Commission (London & North Eastern Railway Company).

Technical Data

  • Length: 107.04 m (overall) m (between perpendiculars)
    Breadth: 15.25 m
    Depth: 7.93 m
    Draught: 4.65 m
    Tonnage: 4227 gross/1985 net/3028t deadweight
    Engines: 4 SR Brown/Curtis steam turbines
    Power: kW/1520 bHP
    Speed: 21.0  knots
    Capacity: 444 1st class passengers/ 104 2nd class passengers
    Call Sign: GTBR
  • Register Number (1945):  92455
    Official Number:
    Port of Registry: Harwich/UK🇬🇧 , London/UK🇬🇧
    Sister Ships: Amsterdam (II) (529), Prague (528)


She was designed by F W Noal and Capt. R Davies (Marine Superintendents), and was the first ferry to have a shop on board.

April 10th 1929: Launched.

Vienna (Launching)

June 28th 1929: Completed steaming trials.

June 1929: Delivered to London & North Eastern Railway Company

July 15th 1929: Entered service between Harwich and the Hook of Holland.


1932: Started cruising, and in 1936 after a few years experience the boat deck was extended to the aft-well to provide more sheltered space. This work was done at Parkeston Quay by the Marine Workshops.

1935: Attended Naval Review at Spithead.

August 24th 1939: Last time at Hook of Holland, pre-war.


September 1939: Held at Harwich in readiness for the evacuation of British subjects from the Netherlands.

December 10th 1939: Sailed to Southampton for forces leave service.

December 17th 1939: First crossing to France then frequent sailings to Le Havre and Cherbourg. These continued into May 1940.

May 31st 1940:  Carried troops from Cherbourg into Weymouth.

June 1st 1940: Carried 937 soldiers out of Weymouth.

June 7th 1940: Sailed from Cherbourg to Southampton then made an intermediate crossing.

June 12th 1940: Lifted 1,100 troops from Le Havre for Cherbourg and Southampton.

June 17th 1940: Arrived in Plymouth having embarked 2,346 servicemen from Brest.

July 5th 1940: Sent to Swansea for lay-up.

October 30th 1940: Having been selected, in place of her sister PRAGUE, for commissioned service as a “Fast Oiler”, she was transferred to the Navy.

November 1st 1940: Left Swansea to be fitted out in Portsmouth.

November 8th 1940: Arrived in Portsmouth.

December 1940: Work was put in hand for the considerable structural strengthening and modifications needed to make her suitable for use in refueling destroyers at sea, over the stern and alongside. Her armament was to be one 4 inch, one 3 inch and two 2pdr pom-poms. She was also to be converted from coal to oil burning. The requirement was subsequently modified to enable her to carry 1,550 tons of fuel oil, 200 tons diesel and 24,00 gallons of petrol. The view was expressed that she would probably be incapable of serving again as a peacetime passenger ship and would be retained after the war as a permanent unit in the fleet.

April 28th 1941: Work suspended.

June 1941: Plans made for an alternative conversion.

July 12th 1941: Left the Solent for the Tames Estuary anchorage.

July 13th 1941: Involved in collision with the vessel TAMWORTH.

July 14th 1941: Work was put in hand in London to a Coastal Forces Depot Ship to enable her to act a “mother ship” to 16 MTB’s (Motor Torpedo Boats).

August 21st 1941: Purchased for the Navy for the sum of £257,500.

September 1941: Suggestion that she should become a Netlayer but this idea was not followed up and the Depot Ship conversion progressed

June 15th 1942: Commissioned as HMS VIENNA.

HMS Vienna © Imperial War Museum

November 16th 1942: Following the Operation Torch (allied invasion of French North Africa) arrived in Algiers to be a base ship in North Africa.

HMS Vienna © Imperial War Museum (Algiers, April 1943)

May 28th 1943: Mover to Bizerta for the Operation Husky landings (invasion of Sicily).

July (End) 1943: Moved to Bone, then to Malta.

September 6th 1943: Sailed for Augusta and Taranto.

December 2nd 1943: Sustained mage in an air raid on Bari.

February 6th 1943: Having been withdrawn to Brindisi she was again damaged.

April 4th 1943: Left Brindisi for Taranto.

September 15th 1943: Having remained at Taranto she sailed for the UK.

October 8th 1943: Arrived in the Mersey.

October 31st 1943: “Paid Off”.

March 27th 1945: Left the Mersey.

April 1st 1945: Took up duty on the Tilbury – Ostend route.

August 1st 1945: Switched to the Harwich – Hook of Holland military leave service.

1947: Refitted as a permanent leave ship for the British occupation forces with a total of 1,048 berths. At first she had a black hull and grey upper-works but ………


………………was repainted later with a grey hull carrying a blue “trooping” band and her funnels lost their black tops.


February 11th 1952: Suffered a boiler explosion, killing two.

July 2nd 1960: Made her last trip, arriving at Parkeston Quay.

September 2nd 1960: Left under tow of the tug MERCHANTMAN, to Ghent (Belgium).

September 9th 1960: Arrived in Gent to be scrapped by Van Heyghen Freres.


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.

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


  1. Some of the location dates are wrong, looks like the years have been entered incorrectly, the Bari event was 2/12/ 1943, not ’42.
    My Father, Stanley Wall, was a Stoker first class on the Vienna during WW2

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