Builders: W Hamilton & Co Ltd Port Glasgow 1916
Propulsion type: Paddle compound diagonal
Owner: Royal Navy, New Medway Steam Packet Co Ltd, Southampton, Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Co Ltd
Service dates: 1916 - 1951
Tonnage: Net 382 Gross 792
Built as the minesweeper HMS Melton for the Royal Navy in the Great War, she was purchased from the shipbreakers yard by the New Medway Steam Packet Co Ltd in 1929 and converted to a pleasure steamer. Her career was similar to that of Queen of Kent except that she suffered more from reliability than her quasi sister.On one occasion in 1949 she had trouble with her reversing gear and she snapped her top mast after going under the Royal Pier at Southampton. She took part in the Dunkirk evacuation and made four trips, rescuing 4000 men, including 2000 in one go from the LNER steamer Prague, who had been damaged by the enemy. In service for the Red Funnel fleet she was renamed Solent Queen (II) operated as a day excursion steamer from Southampton, sailing to Ryde, Southsea, Shanklin and either Bournemouth, Swanage or "Round the Island". She was scrapped in 1951 at Dover after she had suffered a serious fire whilst undergoing survey and overhaul at Whites shipyard. As she was not in service she was underinsured and whilst the company were still interested in repairing her, the breakers offered more money and she was scrapped.
This wonderful picture comes from the G Burnham Lee collection.
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