British Railways Board (BRB)FerriesPast and PresentSouthern Railway

TS Whitstable – Past and Present

Official Number: 148656

TS Whitstable

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw steamer, built and engined by D. & W. Henderson, Glasgow, in 1925 (Yard No 707) for the Southern Railway.

Technical Data

  • Length on Deck: 69.82m (220.7 ft)
  • Breadth of Hull: 10.24m (33.6 ft)
  • Depth: 3.924m
  • Tonnage: 687 (1925), 985.46 (1939), 787 (1941) gross/270 (1925), 270 (1939) 289 (1941) 310 (1947) net/298 deadweight
  • Engines: Two Self-Reduction 6-cylinder 15”,25”,41”-24”steam turbines
  • Power: 1,850 ihp
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Capacity: 5 passengers, 30,000 cu ft of cargo space
  • Call Sign: MNKG
  • Number in Book (Lloyds Register) 1930: 88672 
  • Official Number: 148656
  • Registry: London/UK  🇬🇧
  • Sister Ships: Deal (818), Minster (634), Tonbridge (633), Hythe (II) (706), Fratton (720), Maidstone (II)(729), Haslemere (719) Ringwood (730)


From 1924 to 1928 nine new twin-screw cargo steamers were put into commission on the Dover, Folkestone and Southampton services by the new Company (Southern Railway) ; the above seven were allocated to Dover and Folkestone, the remainder being based at Southampton, though a certain amount of interchanging has occurred from time to time. These ships were all alike though their gross tonnage varied between 680 and 750; they came from Meadowside Yard of Messrs. D & W Henderson, Glasgow, the firm so closely identified with the old Anchor Line. They were handsome ships of their class, each with a single funnel, two masts and cruiser stern. They appear to be credited with a maximum speed of 15 knots.

1925: Ordered as BEXHILL

June 26th 1925: Launched, as WHITSTABLE, at a cost of £41,450.

August 16th 1925: Based at Dover.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

May 1st 1929: Commenced first Folkestone – Boulogne car carrying service.

1940: Military transport.

May 31st 1940: Bray beach 5 miles east of Dunkirk to evacuate troops.

June 12th – 15th 1940: Made two departures from Southampton.

June 19th 1940 – June 27th 1940: Assisted in the evacuation of the Channel Islands.

June 28th 1940: Laid up at Plymouth.

March 21st 1941: At Plymouth had her deck-house destroyed when incendiary bombs were dropped on the ships in the port.

October 21st 1941: Sent to start two months service between Penzance – Scilly Isles.

January 1942: Took up cargo sailings between Fishguard – Rosslare.

January 20th 1942: At Rosslare, suffered minor damage after colliding with ALCRITY.

May 1942: Laid up in the River Torridge

November 1st 1943 – March 15th 1944: Served on the Special Milk Service between Larne – Stranraer.

March 6th 1944: Collided with HAMPTON FERRY in Loch Ryan.

May 22nd 1944: Assigned to US Navy to carry salvage gear and personnel.

June 23rd 1944: At Falmouth.

July 22nd 1944: Left Southampton for the Clyde.

August 1st 1944: At Plymouth.

October 11th 1944: At Cherbourg.

October 16th 1944: Departed Havre for Falmouth.

October 29th 1944: Arrived at Penzance

January 1st 1945 – 14th January 1945: Served on the Special Milk Service between Larne – Stranraer.

May 1945: To Manchester for reconditioning.

July 14th 1945: At Southampton to help to restore services to the Channel Islands and remained on the station until April 1947.

November 1945: Made first resumed Jersey – Granville service.

October 13th 1947: Re-opened Dover – Dunkirk for cargo, while awaiting the return of the train-ferries.

Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection  

Roy Thornton Collection

May 1948: Returned to the Channel Islands service and then remained on the Southampton strength, though she spent brief periods on other routes.

January 1st 1948: Became the possession of Southern Railway.

May 1957: Relieved at Weymouth during overhauls.

March 25th 1959: Made her last voyage was to Jersey and she returned “light” back to Southampton.

1959: Sold for scrap.

April 28th 1959: Arrived in Rotterdam (Nieuw Lekkerkerk) for breaking.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright.

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


  1. Hi
    Thanks for this interesting article about the TS Whitstable. I have a copy of the photograph of the ship and was looking for further information about its history,
    which is more than covered here. I couldn’t help noticing that there is a typo error in the text – Whitstable is incorrectly spelt under the photos as Whistable



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