Tuesday, 7 August 2012
PS Empress Queen
P.S. Empress Queen launched 4-3-1897 Gross Tonnage 1,240. 23 Length (OA) 372ft. Pass Acc 1st Class 1509. 3rd Class 485 Trial speed 21:75 knots. Named in honour of Queen Victoria’s jubilee.
P.S. Empress Queen was the largest and fastest paddle steamer built for cross-Channel service. She was the first Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ship to be fitted with wireless and her speed was such that she recorded a voyage from the Rock Light, New Brighton to Douglas Head in 2 hours and 57 minutes. However she was to be the last paddle steamer ordered from a shipyard by the Steam Packet Co She set a trend in design for all. Subsequent Steam Packet Company ships by being fitted with a bow rudder to increase manoeuvrability.
In World War 1 being requisitioned by the Admiralty she served as a troop ship ferrying soldiers between Southampton and Le Havre This beautiful ship met her end on 12-1-1916 when she ran aground in thick fog on the Bembridge Ledge, Isle of Wight, whilst carrying 1300 troops returning to England on leave, attendant destroyers took off the troops safely but an ensuing gale smashed the ship beyond salvage.
In a letter dated 27th July 1912 to Lowry, Florence Bell mentions seeing the PS Empress Queen in the River Mersey from the deck of the RMS Teutonic.