TS King George V  
part of the Clyde Turbine Steamers website from paddlesteamers.info 

KGV Oban KW.jpg
King George V at Oban in 1973. Photo by kind courtesy of Kenny Whyte
Launched on April 29th 1926 by William Denny and Bros at Dumbarton
Engines : 7 turbines by Parsons Marine Engineering Ltd
Dimensions : 260.6 ft x 32.1 ft
789 Gross Registered Tons

Set the standard for spacious accommodation with an enclosed promenade deck
Employed an advanced arrangement of turbines and two very high pressure boilers.
Trouble with the boilers led to replacement in 1929 and again in 1935
In 1935 one turbine was removed to simplify the power system
Two new, slightly broader funnels were also fitted in 1935
Generally used on the Inveraray service but also visited Campbeltown
Passed to MacBrayne ownership in October 1935 on the dissolution of Turbine Steamers Ltd
Employed on cruises from Oban, especially to Iona
Requisitioned in World War II as a troop transport, initially based in Southampton
In 1940 was involved in evacuating troops from Rotterdam, Ostend, Calais, Boulogne and famously, Dunkirk, landing 4300 men at Dover
Returned to the Clyde in 1941 for tendering duties, with one famous passenger being Sir Winston Churchill
Made occasional return visits to the Clyde, including the summer Ardrishaig mail service in 1946 and on charter to the CSP in early 1971.
Displaced by MV Columba in 1974 and withdrawn from service
Sold to interests in south Wales (Nationwide Transport Ltd) and towed to Cardiff Docks in 1975, but remained laid up.
In 1981 as there was a real hope of preservation as a pub at London to replace PS Caledonia when she was bought by Bass-Charrington
King George V was burnt out when being refitted in dry dock at Cardiff on August 26th, 1981.
Towed out of the Mount Stuart Dry Dock and laid up in Roath Basin until 1984 when she was moved to a tidal "berth" outside Alexandra Dock for dismantling

The revolutionary King Edward, built in 1901 for Clyde service was the world's first steam turbine powered passenger ship, using a form of propulsion first demonstrated by the engineer Charles Parsons on the launch Turbinia in 1896. A more efficient user of steam, the turbine was to replace the reciprocating engine as the main power source for screw steamers and the speed and economy of King Edward soon made the turbine the chosen method of propulsion for Clyde steamers on the long-haul cruise routes such as to Campbeltown and Inveraray.

King Edward was followed on the Clyde by Queen Alexandra in 1902 and the CSP's Duchess of Argyll in 1906. Queen Alexandra was seriously damaged by fire and replaced by a similar vessel of the same name in 1912. After a long hiatus during which very few steamers were built for the Clyde, the CSP replaced their ageing and expensive to run paddler Glen Sannox with a new "Sannox" in 1925. This vessel was little different to her half-sisters built 20 years earlier and indicated that the CSP had lost the pioneering spirit which had led it to embrace technological advances in the 1890s and early 1900s.

King Edward and Queen Alexandra were run by Turbine Steamers Ltd, a company established in association with John Williamson, a Clyde captain and steamboat owner and younger brother of James and Alexander, respectively marine Superintendents of the Caledonian and Glasgow & South Western Railway fleets. In 1926, Turbine Steamers teamed up with the Parsons company who had become well established as leaders in the manufacture of turbines, Yarrow Boilers and the William Denny shipyard at Dumbarton to produce King George V, a genuine development on the vessel introduced a quarter of a century earlier.

In outward appearance, King George V was a striking looking ship, her promenade deck saloon was extended the full width of the hull and ran for half the length of the vessel amidships, allowing an extended observation deck above and giving the impression of a mini-liner. The increased passenger accommodation allowed the restaurant to be moved to the main deck aft where large observation windows enabled diners to enjoy the passing scenery. The design was repeated in two later tubines which were to become among the most loved of all Clyde steamers.

In terms of machinery, the main development was the the use of higher pressure in the turbine, linked by gears to twin propellors. The experiment with high pressure had disastrous effects and the boiler had to be replaced twice after tubes burst. The first incidence occurred off Irvine as the ship approached the port for her winter lay-up after the 1927 season. Two firemen were killed as a result of burns following the explosion. A second, in Kilbrannan Sound, thankfully caused no loss of life, but no further risks could be taken.

King George V continued in operation and was to give almost 50 years loyal service. Although transferred to David MacBrayne's fleet in 1936 as a result of the break up of the Turbine Steamers and Williamson - Buchanan Steamers companies, she was still seen on her new owners' Gourock - Ardrishaig mail service from time to time. Normally based at Oban and cruising around Mull, she was reunited with one of her surviving ex-fleetmates when the Caledonian and MacBrayne operations were merged from January 1973. She sailed for a further two summers before being sold for potential use as a pub on the River Thames at London. Whilst under conversion at Cardiff in 1981 a serious fire broke out and the remains of the hull were finally scrapped in 1984.

In 1973 King George V added the Caledonian lion rampant to her red MacBraynes funnels - for a last campaign ..... 

Many thanks to Kenny Whyte for allowing his collection to be shown 

Above: With Caledonian-MacBrayne - and now seeing more time in "Caledonian" waters ...... here at Gourock


Above : At "Caledonian" headquarters, Gourock, with the Clyde's passenger cruiser Maid of Cumbrae, in her second season as a makeshift car ferry

Above : Back at "MacBraynes" headquarters ........ Oban

Above : Full decks as King George V loads at Gourock

Above : Winter lay-up at Greenock alongside car ferry Bute


Above : At Wemyss Bay, the mainland railhead for car-ferry services to Rothesay on Bute


Above : Home port for most of her life - Oban

Above : Winter lay-up at Greenock

Leaving Scotland for the last time .......
King George V : at Cardiff


Above : King George V was moved out of the dry dock in which she was lying when the fire broke out  - and eventually scrapped. Her hull was floated out on to tidal sands off Cardiff and she disintegrated at the hands of tide and time
Below : KGV at Cardiff courtesy of Stuart Cameron

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