Builders: William Denny & Bros Ltd., Dumbarton 1937
Propulsion type: Twin Screw Motor Vessel.
Owners: New Medway Steam Packet Co Ltd
Service dates: 1937 - 1940
Tonnage: Net 827 Gross 1527
In December 1936 the New Medway Steam Packet Co Ltd was bought out by the General Steam Navigation Co Ltd. Royal Sovereign III was ordered by the former company in 1936 as an enlarged version of their ship the Queen of the Channel. She had provisionally been given the name of Continental Queen and it is likely that the GSN Co takeover was the principal reason for the change of name as they had owned the first Royal Sovereign and briefly Royal Sovereign II. Royal Sovereign III had sponsons fitted, although not a paddler, and the three uppermost decks extended beyond the sponsons to give additional deck space and to provide stability in inclement weather.
Immediately prior to the outbreak of the Second World War she was employed on the weekend service from Tower Pier, London, to Ostend and she carried around five thousand day excursionists per week when she carried passengers to Bolougne and Calais.The Ostend trip was made on a "no passport" basis and an all in ticket, inclusive of hotel accommodation was 45/- (£2.25 in todays money!).
In Autumn 1939, she was involved in the evacuation of children and expectant mothers from Dagenham and Gravesend to Great Yarmouth. One of the visitors to this site, Mr Ken McTigue, remembers being evacuated on 1 September 1939 at the tender age of 8, in just this way. Royal Sovereign III later became a troop transport ship between Southampton and Cherbourg and later still a unit of the Fleet Air Arm. In this guise she was damaged by a torpedo off the Isle of Wight. She also saw service at Dunkirk, where she undertook 9 trips, rescuing 16,000 troops. When requisitioned by the Admiralty as HMS Royal Scot she was mined in the Bristol Channel and was lost. Her brief but eventful career was ended. After the war she was replaced by a further and last Royal Sovereign.
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