No.1 Jetty And The Tsmv New Prince Of Wales 1, S.M.N.Co. - a Memory of Southend-on-Sea.

This twin screw motor vessel at the Jetty belonged to our family company, the Southend Motor Navigation Co. Ltd. She was built for the company in the 1920's by the local Hayward's Boatyard, Beach Road, Southend and was commandeered by the Royal Navy for the Dunkirk Evacuation Operation Dynamo in May, 1940. She served through the rest of the War as an inshore minesweeper, and was returned by the RN to the SMNCo in November, 1945. Refitted by Cooks' Boatyard, the Hythe, Maldon, over the winter of 1945/spring1946 – the “New Prince of Wales 1” was in service by May 1946 for the first post-war holiday season; following a really scary voyage from the R. Blackwater back to Southend through the coastal minefields. I know it was scary because my dad took me along, despite my mother's objections! My father sold the “NPoW1” in the mid-1960's( when cheap air charter flights were killing-off so many of the British seaside towns by taking the London holiday makers abroad for better weather and cheaper holiday breaks) to some entrepreneurs from a Yorkshire port – Whitby, I think. But due to the sloppy seamanship and poor voyage preparation by the new owners, she was wrecked. Driven ashore after her engines failed during bad weather, was declared a “total constructive loss”. For a further history of the company and the little ships it owned – see “Southend Excursion Vessels” at Ian Boyle's “simplon” website. How do I know all this? I am probably the small boy in the photo, and I was the last Skipper to qualify as a Coasting Master for the SMNCo. (One of the advantages of being the oldest son of one of the Co-Owners).
Oh, and the pleasure-boat behind the New Prince of Wales1 in your picture, was the converted “sailing-yawl lifeboat” the “Dreadnought” - also described on the Simplon website. I think the Dreadnought was converted from a Sailing Yawl to be a TSMV during the winter of either 1949 or 1950 by Johnson & Jago, the long-established Leigh-on-Sea Boatbuilders. I'm sure “Dreadnought” did the first few summer seasons post-war under her original Sailing Yawl rig, until her owner was able to buy a pair of ex-Naval marine engines and their shafts and propellors from an Admiralty Small-Craft Disposals Auction at Sheerness Dockyard. That being the only way he could afford to motorise Dreadnought, because all new marine Engines were “Export Only” at that date. Even if he could have obtained the necessary Ministry of Export Exemption Permit to buy new engines, he wouldn't have been able to afford the new Prices because of the Labour Government's imposition of Purchase Tax!..


A memory shared by Julian Wilson on Sep 10th, 2013.
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