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Post by davidships » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:59 pm

In mid-1915 when the Admiralty were scratching around for everything suitable as an auxiliary paddle minesweeper for the Dardanelles and home waters, they were offered two of the laid-up ex-London County Council "penny steamers" from 1905 - they were in the hands of the liquidator of the City Steamboat Co Ltd which had taken over the service when the uneconomic original LCC project stopped in 1909.

Despite opinions that they were unsuitable as too flimsy and with too low a freeboard to operate in anything other than a dead flat sea, CHRISTOPHER WREN and EDMUND IRONSIDE were requisitioned on 30/8/1915 to serve in the "inner area of the Nore" (ie between The Nore and The Tongue), towed to Green & Silley Weir drydock for preparation and were allocated Admiralty numbers 931 and 932 respectively [is there a list of these numbers somewhere?].

At the yard it became clear that with the additional hull-strengthening required, crew sleeping accommodation and the mine-sweeping equipment, the additional weight would sink them! On 17/9 they were released from requisition and returned to the owner.

However, along with four others, they were later purchased by India Office for service as river tugs in Mesopotamia, and steamed out to Basra in the Spring of 1916.

[info from file TNA MT 23/411]
David Asprey

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Post by yorkieman » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:04 pm

That rings a bell with me David, I had TURNER from this fleet on Riversea with this caption, were the others also Clyde-built?

A splendid little Thames paddler!
(limited info mainly from 'Marine News' July and November 2005)
1905, 116grt, 130ft x 18ft.
Napier & Miller, Glasgow (138) for London County Council
(intended name KING ALFRED*)
One of a large fleet built for a river service which was unprofitable and lasted only a few years.
Reported sold by 1909 and later in service on the Rhine ... final history not known

*BUT ... Tom Lee kindly sent this photo of the L.C.C. steamboat service being officially opened by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales on a vessel KING ALFRED, so it seems that she was completed under this name, unless it was taken by a later vessel
George Robinson
Freeman of Eriskay

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