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Independent shipping news, photography and more from the Dover Strait.
Independent shipping news, photography and more from the Dover Strait.

Sealink British Rail

The William Denny built Normannia alongside in the Wellington Dock in December 1972. Sporting the  British Rail livery of blue hull, red funnel and reversed double arrow logo. At this point in her career she was operating between Dover and Zeebrugge, having completed a two week summer charter to Townsend Car Ferries. Just after this photograph was taken she was sold to SNCF and ran a rather odd Dover to Calais and then Boulogne to Dover service in rotation. By 1973 she was back in British Rail ownership on the western channel service. Returning to Dover in 1974, she had been on the Dover to Boulogne service for just one week when she came into contact with a submerged jetty when she was relocating to a berth on the Admiralty Pier. After a lengthy and colourful career she was finally broken up at Gijon in Spain during the last months of 1974.

Another fine Denny of Dumbarton built cross channel ferry, the Maid of Kent of 1959. Seen here in the Granville Dock in May 1972. A Dover to Boulogne vessel, she also saw service on many other routes operated by Sealink throughout her career. She had many a scrape too during her service! She was sold to Spanish breakers in 1982 just four months before the Falklands conflict. I wonder if she would have been one of the many ships taken up from trade to form part of the task force if she had hung on another few months?

The turbine steamer Invicta, a true classic. One of many Denny built cross channel steamers, she was built in 1939. Originally destined for Southern Railway ownership, the outbreak of war saw her go into service for the Admiralty. She saw action in the daring Dieppe Raid in 1942 and in 1944 she participated in the D Day invasion of Normandy. In the closing weeks of 1945 she returned to Dover and was chartered to carry troops travelling between here and Calais. Perhaps she is best remembered as the Golden Arrow steamer she was the first vessel to enter the Western Entrance after block ships had been removed. In 1967 she had the livery applied that she has here where she is seen about to enter the port. She lasted until 1972 when she was laid up in Newhaven until in September of that year she was towed away to Dutch Breakers.

The Transcontainer 1 built in 1968. I always thought this to be a bit of an odd one! Originally on SNCF's Harwich to Dunkerque service, she took up the Dover to Dunkerque service in 1974 after receiving alterations to convert her to a train ferry. She had a varied career returning to serve on the Harwich route, Felixstowe and then Portsmouth to Dieppe. In 1986 she was sold, I think to Jordanian interests and subsequently saw further service in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic before being broken up at Alang, India in 2000. 

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