Builders: Samuel White of Cowes 1925
Propulsion type: Paddle, oil burning
Owners: General Steam Navigation Co Ltd
Service dates: 1925 - 1940
Tonnage: Net 579 Gross 1110
This picture has been kindly supplied by John Perthen whose father took the picture in 1932. From the wake the picture was probably taken from another paddler, possibly PS Golden Eagle, which was about to be passed by her faster fleetmate. The picture shows off Crested Eagles fine lines and I am indebted to John for allowing me to share it with you here
My father, Gordon Lee, could remember the introduction of Crested Eagle in 1925 and the fact that some parts of the ship still smelled of paint. The magnificent engines of the ship, her speed and the lines of her hull held a special place in his heart to the end of his life. His last trip on her was in 1939 to Clacton, when she had her new funnel and deck shelter.
Designed to pass under London Bridge, Crested Eagle had a telescopic funnel, hinged mast and squat structure, which enabled her to use Old Swan Pier. She was known as the "Greyhound of the River" according to a General Steam postcard of her Captain and she sailed the Essex and Kent coasts, as well as to Felixstowe. Crested Eagle was sunk at Dunkirk when she was bombed between the funnel and the engine room. As she sunk her fuel oil ignited and the blaze that followed claimed over 300 lives. My father told me how he remembered feeling sick at the news of her loss. Her hulk still lies on the Dunkirk beaches and it was featured in a BBC documentary in late 2010.
Dad told me that in the early 1930's her Captain, Capt. Cole, always wore kid gloves when berthing at piers on a Sunday. He could not vouch for weekdays as it was always Sunday when the family travelled on the "Crested" as this was the only day that his father had a whole day off.
For two, previously unpublished, photographs of her First Officer JWS Charman and Capt. Cole, please click here.
For three family photos on board in 1936 please click here.
For a picture of her magnificent triple expansion engines please click here.
For an onboard picture of her alongside Southend Pier in between the wars, please click here.
For a picture of her at Old Swan Pier in London circa 1927, please click here.
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