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daggers

paddle steamer 'La Marguerite'

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daggers

I'm not sure where to post this as it is sea-related but linked to the 6th Bn, City of London Regiment.

Reading a small book on Liverpool to North Wales Pleasure Steamers I found pages devoted to this vessel, nicknamed 'Maggie'. The Battalion were the first troops to be carried by her, from Southampton to Le Havre during WW1. She covered over 52,000 miles during the war and carried some 360,000 troops to France. After she was broken up in 1925 her bell was presented to the City of London Rifles at a ceremony at their HQ, 57a Farringdon Road, EC1 on 10th March 1927.

This graceful old lady was in the company's service from 1904, and from 1908 to 1921 was under one Master, Captain John Young.

The book has several photos of the ship showing excursion passengers and some of the North Wales calling-points, but, sadly, none of her wartime service. I found the odd reference by using the Forum's search, but no detail.

Does anyone know more, or the whereabouts of the bell?

PS - the book includes a mock 'mourning card' produced for her last trip, with this verse:

We sailed upon you 'Maggie',

In sunshine and in rain:

But when you turned our 'tummies' up,

We came back on the train.

Daggers

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seetomorrowtoday

Sorry for the delay in replying he said. The ships bell was removed when it was scrapped and presented as you say to The City Of London regiment.

Today it hangs in the chapel at St. Sepulchre Church, London - the memorial chapel of the regiment.

I did some research on the vessel for an old chap who drank in my Pub. He knew of a family connection, an uncle who was killed on the ship.

It turned out he was a stoker when the vessel used to do pleasure trips from Liverpool to Landudno before WW1. The ship was requisitioned by the

Admiralty, which of course included the crew, but they were still classed as merchantmen. The vessel did so many trips that it was worn out and this

resulted in a boiler explosion which killed four of the engineroom crew, including William Tipping (stoker) my friends Uncle. At the end of the war it was

handed back to its owners but it was well worn and eventually scrapped.

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daggers

Thanks for that information - I had forgotten my original post. It is good to know that the bell remains as a memorial of the vessel and her adventures.

D

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MONICA

La Marguerite was my great grandfather's ship - Captain John Young.  I'm afraid I don't have any wartime pictures either though - will ask my aunt.

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Ben75

Hi seetomorrowtoday - would love to see any further information you managed to find on La Marguerite and its requisition during the war. Co-incidentally, one of the other four stokers to die in the 1915 explosion (Frederick William Scott) was my great great great uncle. He survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, only to die on La Marguerite three years later.

 

Ben

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seetomorrowtoday

Not sure if this is allowed but here is the story of the La Marguerite.  This is quoted from the small book about the pleasure steamers to North Wales.

 

The Paddle Steamer PS LA MARGUERITE

The vessel was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd at Govan, Glasgow in 1894.  The vessel was propelled by paddles, driven by compound diagonal steam engines.

Dimensions of the vessel were 350.2 ft long x 40 ft beam displacing 1554 tons.

 

In 1891, the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company had placed their excellent steamer St Tudno (2) in service with the Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Company. This was a great success, and Fairfields looked elsewhere to position other steamers. They entered into an agreement with the VSA ( Victoria Steamboat Association ) to build three large paddle steamers at their own expense, which the VSA would purchase by instalments.

 

The first of these steamers was the Koh-I-Noor of 1892, followed by the similar Royal Sovereign (2) the following year. The three steamers were to be owned by separate companies, all under the management of the VSA. They eclipsed the standards of all other Thames steamers, and were not surpassed for many years. The first two steamers operated from Old Swan Pier in central London, sailing to Southend and Essex and Kent resorts, in competition with both Belle Steamers and the General Steam Navigation.

 

The third steamer of the trio, La Marguerite, was delivered in 1894 to Palace Steamers, but mortgaged to and operated by the VSA like the others. She was really a cross channel steamer, being quite large. After the 1894 season, the Victoria Steamboat Association was unable to pay its instalments, and Fairfields foreclosed and took possession of their three steamers. A new company was formed, New Palace Steamers, and the services were operated much as before. the funnels of all three ships were then painted buff.

 

La Marguerite sailed for ten years, Saturday to Thursday, from Tilbury (reached by train from London) to Margate and Boulogne. In 1897, another Fairfield-owned steamer, La Belgique, was added to the fleet on charter. She sailed from Tilbury to Ostend, but was probably too slow, and the charter was not continued. However, La Marguerite began to sail to Ostend on two days a week from 1898, and also added Calais as a destination.

 

Although easily the most popular excursion ship in the country, La Marguerite, was regarded as the second largest passenger paddler on British short-sea and coastal service and set a pattern for size and grandeur but was an extremely expensive vessel to run.  La Marguerite was not profitable and was moved in 1904 to the Liverpool & North Wales Steamship Company, another company with extensive Fairfield involvement. This was to undertake the popular Liverpool to Llandudno excursion route The Koh-I-Noor and Royal Sovereign (2) continued until the war, but were sold in 1918.

 

 With the outbreak of the First World War at the height of the 1914 season brought a premature reduction in traffic.

 

Koh-i-Noor was sent to Scotland for refitting, but work never started and she remained laid-up throughout the hostilities and was never reactivated.

 

Royal Sovereign was also laid up but sold in 1918 for further use on the Thames as Fairfield closed its operation. 

  

La Marguerite was requisitioned for use as a cross channel troopship where she did sterling work.  Some ferries were converted to Minesweepers and sunk but the La Marguerite survived the war undamaged but worn out.  She had travelled about 52,000 miles and carried 360,000 troops.  There was however one mishap in 1917 when, now becoming worn, there was a boiler explosion which resulted in the deaths of four of the crew.

  

After the war she was leased to The Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. for one year on the Liverpool to Isle of Man route.  Thence she returned to her previous Liverpool to Llandudno route.

 

 The extensive war work had however worn her out and she suffered a series of breakdowns and in 1925 she was taken out of service and scrapped.  Her ships bell was given to the City of London Rifles, who were the first troops she carried, and now forms part of a war memorial in St. Sepulchre’s Church, Holborn.

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Alan24

There are some other details on this thread which may interest followers of this one.

 

 

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