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PS Emperor of India (ex - Princess Royal)


Photograph by kind courtesy from the Nigel Lawrence collection


Built in 1906 by J I Thornycroft at Southampton
Engines : Compound Diagonal, 30 and 57 x 60 in by builders
Dimensions : 195.6 ft (later 217.2 ft) x 25.1 ft
428 Gross Registered Tonnes (as built)

Built for the Southampton, Isle of Wight & South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Co
Undertook trial on May 28, 1906 and despite a poor speed attained, went into service in the early part of the 1906 summer season
Vessel found to be less than satisfactory and returned to her builders pending negotiations regarding the costs of alteration
Lengthened by 21 ft 8 in to improve speed and buoyancy
Bought by Cosens & Co in 1908 for service out of Weymouth as PS Emperor of India.
Operated successfully in 1908 but further alterations after that season (including plating to bow) affected her performance
Served as trooper and minesweeper in the Mediterranean in World War I as HMS Mahratta
Returned to service for the 1920 season, stationed at Bournemouth.
Operated on the Sussex coast under charter to the Cinque Ports Steam Navigation Co in 1922
Spent World War II based on the Thames as a minesweeper then anti-aircraft vessel.
Returned to service in 1948 after a refit, including oil-fired boiler, larger funnel and wheelhouse
Despite siting even lower in the watter and achieving ever poorer speed, she remained in service until after the 1956 season.
Left Weymouth under tow on January 24th, 1957 for scrapping at Bruges in Belgium.

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Southampton, Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company
Cosens & Co
Cinque Ports Steam Navigation Co
British Paddle Steamer Index