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Paddle steamer, one of the little ships of Dunkirk

03 July 2015


From Mr Terry Sylvester

Sir, - The report "France salutes the little ships" (News, 29 May) included a graphic description of the sinking of the Crested Eagle. The ship is described each time as an "MV", i.e. motor vessel. The Crested Eagle was not a motor vessel: she was a 299-feet-long, 1100-ton paddle steamer of the General Steam Navigation, used for pleasure-steamer sailings from London and down the Thames, and built by J. Samuel White & Co. at Cowes in 1925.

As she was an up-to-date pleasure steamer, not coal-fired like many of her predecessors, Crested Eagle's boilers burnt oil. Thus, when she was bombed, she rapidly became a blazing furnace, after the ignition of the oil in the bunkers.

Although basically a traditional paddle steamer, Crested Eagle had a modern appearance compared with other ships in the General Steam Navigation Company's Thames Fleet at the time she was built.


Former Chairman and Managing Director of Paddle Steamer
Gwalia Buildings
Barry Docks CF62 5QR

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