Page last updated 2-3-2015

Built 1847 by Thomas D Marshall,  South Shields. Iron Paddle Tug. L81'. B17.7'. D9'. 83grt. 40nhp 2cyl side lever steam engine probably by builder. Acquired 1856. Disposed 1871. ON16954 Callsign MDQG

1847 Delivered to Peter Tindall Sr & Jr, Alexander Hunter & Edward Gregory, London. 1856 Acquired by  William Watkins, London. 1860 Reboilered. 1861 Sold to John Brodie and Mary Croshaw, London. 1869 Reboilered. 1871 Sold to East and West India Dock Co., London for £1300. 1885 Scrapped.


Built 1841 by Daniel Bider, Jarrow.  Wooden Paddle Tug, clench built. L72'2''. B14'9''. D8.4'. 45grt. 100ihp Single cylinder steam engine. Acquired 1855. Disposed 1866. Scrapped 1866. ON4279 Callsign JRTG

1841 Delivered to Mark Melville, William Milburn and John Newton, Newcastle. 1845 Sold to Governor and Company of Copper Mines, Swansea. 1852 Sold to Henry M. Sheldon, Gloucester.  1854 Sold to William Hughes Jnr., Limehouse for £410. 1855 Sold to William Watkins, London. 26-8-1856 Assisting foreign vessel off Newhaven. 1864 Chartered to West India Dock Co. 1862 Laid up. 1866 Sold for scrap for £55.


Photo Gould colln/TT
as EURO. Photog unknown.
Built 1909 by Philip and Son, Dartmouth. YN346. Steel Screw Tug. L96.2'. B20.6'. D10.9'. 150grt. 500ihp 3cylTE 13"x21"x34"x24"stroke 165psi  steam engine by builder. Acquired 3-1909. Disposed 1947. Scrapped 1957. Official No. 125767. Call sign MCXT.

5-1-1909 Launched. 3-1909 Delivered to William Watkins Jr & John S. Watkins, London. 18-2-1910 Engaged £20 for tide plus £50 bonus if refloated, assisting Marechal Suchet, grounded on West Shingles whilst in tow of Guiana. Awarded. 11-2-1910 £800 salvage award for assistance in salvage of Salatis, aground off Dungeness. 23-2-1910 Salvage award £750 for assisting salvage Blackbraes aground Newcombe Bank, Dungeness and towing to London. 1914 Transferred to John S. & Alfred Watkins, London. 30-7-1914 Req by RN. 28-12-1916 Involved in salvage of SS Navigator. 1917 Owners  Restyled William Watkins Ltd., London. 23-2-1917 Involved in salvage of SS Ethelwynne. 20/21-6-1918 Involved in salvage of SS City of Manila. 2-1-1919 Returned to Watkins. 6-7-1926 Towed yacht Norada, Dover to Gosport. 28-9-1939 Req by RN based Naval Control, Southend. 5-1940 Under Master A W Mastin served as inspection vessel and was at sea for most of the Dunkirk operation. 31-5-1940 09.30 Landed 90  Dunkirk evacuees at Ramsgate. 16-10-1940 Returned to owners. 6-1942 Req by Admiralty. 1943 Stationed at Southampton under control of Risdon Beasley Ltd. 25-6-1944 Under COTUG control pumping out stored Phoenix units off Dungeness. 19-5-1945 Returned to owners. 27-3-1946 Returned to Watkins. 11-1947 Sold to Romochiatori Riuniti Genoa, renamed Euro.  29-11-1947 Left Ramsgate in tow of Empire John. 1954 Renamed Venezuela. 1956 Renamed C[h]ile. 1957 Scrapped.


Photo courtesy Nick Clifton

Photo courtesy Nick Clifton
Excerpts of the log of this vessel whilst under COTUG control appear on the Mulberry Tug Log pages.
[Chartered Vessel]
Built 1943 by Clelands [Successors] Ltd, Tyneside. YN67. Steel Screw Tug. Englishman standard class. L136'. B31.1'. D15.3'. 479grt. 1150ihp 3cylTE 16.5"x27"x46"x30"s 113rpm oil fired steam engine by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd, Tyneside. Boiler forced draught 16'dia x L11.25'. 215psi. Area 3090 sq ft. Bunkers [oil] 340 tons. Four bladed prop, 11.5' dia., 11.87'  pitch. Prop surface 50 sq ft. BP approx 14.5 tons. Complement 20, Master, Ch/Off, 2nd/O, Ch/Eng, 2nd/E, 3rd/E, Steward, W/O, 12 hands. [plus 4 gunners wartime]. Acquired 1946 (On long term Charter). Disposed 1951. Scrapped 1965. Official No. 169171. Call sign MQVJ.
21-4-1943 Launched. 4-10-1943 Completed for Ministry of War Transport, London and handed over to William Watkins Ltd as managers. 5-11-1943 Departed Liverpool convoy OS58/KMS32G.  19-11-1943 Arrived Gibraltar ex convoy OS58/KMS32G. 6-1944 Allocated to escort/place blockships off Normandy in Gooseberry 1. 11-6-1944 Departed Seine Bay with convoy FBC1. 13-6-1944 Arrived Bristol.  14-6-1944 12.00 Arrived Mulberry A towing whale unit 516/L1. 12.30 Released. 26-6-1944 Off Normandy beaches under control of COTUG. 1944 Management transferred to Lawson-Batey Tugs Ltd., Newcastle. 9-12-1944 Weatherbound in Downs with tow for Antwerp. 12-1944 Towed timber raft ex Marchwood to Terneuzen.  1945 Management transferred to William Watkins Ltd, London. 2-1945 Towed 30 ton crane ex London to Le Havre.  4-1945 Towed LCT7065 ex Ramsgate to Southampton. 4-1945 Towed with Griper after end of SS Empire Portia ex Cowes to Mumbles. 4-1945 Towed HMS Selkirk ex Cardiff to Milford. 5-1945 Towed USS Donnell ex Portland to Plymouth. 5-1945 Towed pontoon drydock ex Salcombe to Southampton. 5-1945 Towed barges Result & Antrim ex Southampton to Gravesend. 1946 Long term chartered by Watkins. 27-9-1946 Towing SS Kindesley, loaded with obsolete ammunition, from Bristol Channel to 48.38N 6.62W [Biscay] for scuttling. 21-8-1947 Damaged, near Kiel, when she passed over a mine which fortunately exploded astern, whilst on passage Harwich to Copenhagen, towing a corvette. Repaired at Kiel. 1951 Charter terminated. 1951 Sold to Dominion Coal Co., Canada without name or registry change. (PoR Newcastle). 1965 Sold to Commonwealth Metals Ltd., Canada for demolition and resold to Cia. Espanola de Demolicion Naval, Madrid. 2-11-1965 Arrived Bilbao in tow of Praia d'Adraga    [516/52]. 12-1965 Demolition commenced.
Discharge book of Peter Clifton, a crew member of Empire John 1944/45. Courtesy Nick Clifton.
Photographer unknown D Aprey colln

Built 1868 by John Stewart and Son,  Blackwall. Iron Screw Tug. L65'. B12.7'. D6.5'. 30grt. 24nhp 60psi 2cyl 13"x16"x16"s 130rpm Stewart and Nicholson continuous expansion steam engine. 3 blade prop 5' dia. Variable pitch 8'6" to 10'6". Lowerable funnel. Speed 13 knots. Acquired 1868. Disposed 1882. Official No 60986.

Watkins first screw tug. Fitted with Varley's Patent Prop Shaft Splicing Apparatus.
1868 Delivered to William Watkins, London. 2-9-1869 On trials on Thames. 1874 Reboilered. 1878 Towed Cleopatras Needle up river "under bridges"  to its position on the Thames Embankment near Charing Cross. 31-5-1878 Positioned Cleopatra at Adelphi Stairs. 5-1882 Sold to James Beckett, Bethnal Green for £800. 1887 Sold to Alfred and Joseph Hooker, Ipswich. 1897 Sold to John G Hammond, London. 1897 Sold to Alfred Watkins, London. 1898 Transferred to Era Tug Co Ltd., London [Alfred Watkins manager].1906 Sold to Arthur Clifton, London. 1906 Sold to French owners for service on lower River Seine and register closed. No further trace.
Not a great success and used more as a launch than a tug. Much in demand for viewing University boat races etc. Coal consumption was reported as being one and threequarter pounds per HP per Hour.

Built 1856 at South Shields. Iron Paddle Tug. L88.9'. B18.6'.D10.1'.  94grt. 50nhp 2cyl side lever steam engine by J P Almond, South Shields. Acquired 1864. Disposed 1880. Scrapped 1898. ON17036 Callsign MDWQ

1856 Built for Alexander Hunter, Edward Gregory, William Gunn and John Wood, Gravesend. 1864 Acquired by William Watkins, London. 1876 Boiler ex Britannia fitted. 7-1880 Sold to Mrs. Caroline Jackson, Milford Haven. 11-1887 Sold to John Henry Coram, Neyland, Pembs, converted into trawler, registered Milford Haven. 19-11-1895 Registration cancelled as 'unserviceable'. 12-1898 Scrapped.



Built 1919 by Edwards and Co., Millwall. YN752.  Steel Screw Tug. L85'. B20.9'. D10.6'. 151grt. 450ihp 2cyl compound 15"x32"x24" stroke 130psi steam engine by Plenty and Son, Newbury. Acquired 4-1920. Disposed 1946. Scrapped 1956. Official No. 144445. Call sign MJXP.

1919 Built for War Dept. as HS85. 1919 Transferred to Admiralty renamed Wendy.  1920 renamed Early. 4-1920 Acquired by William Watkins Ltd., London as compensation for war loss, renamed Fabia. 9-1-1929 In collision with anchored S/B Invicta in Limehouse reach after sudden alteration of course to avoid running down launch tug Ikanopit which suddenly crossed her bows. 1938 Laid up at Ramsgate. 1939 Req by RN and served in Thames Estuary servicing barrage balloon vessels under RAF control. 13-11-1939 0910 Departed Ramsgate to assist Minelayer HMS Adventure which had been mined in the Thames Estuary. Enroute diverted to assist Destroyer HMS Blanche, which had also been mined. HMS Blanche eventually foundered whilst under tow for Sheerness in position 51.29N 01.30E, her crew being rescued by the tug. 1940 Downs Patrol vessel. 5-1940 Under Master F Smith crossed to Dunkirk towing various craft and worked off beaches. 1941 Stationed at Londonderry. 5-12-1945 Departed Londonderry. 27-3-1946 Returned to Watkins. 1946 Sold to Hemsley, Bell and Co., Southampton for £7500. 31-3-1946 Passed Lizard westbound with tow.  1947 Sold to Liverpool Screw Towing Co., renamed Moorcock. 12-4-1956 Scrapped by T W Ward Ltd., Preston.



Built 1840 by James Downey, North Shields. Wooden Paddle Tug. L69.5'. B16.3'. D8.5'. 78grt. 20nrt. 1cyl Steam engine. Acquired 1840. Disposed 1847.

1840 Delivered to William Watkins, London. 4-11-1840 Registered. 24-12-1840 Caught fire and burnt to waterline at Gravesend. Sank in 7 fathoms. 6-2-1841[by] Recovered and being rebuilt. 10-8-1841 Re-registered.  8-10- 1841 Transferred to John R. Watkins, London.  1843 Returned to William Watkins, London. 1847 Sold to John Bond, Millwall. 1848 Sold to William and Richard Sutcliffe, Millwall. 1860 Register closed as "missing".



A Mystery!! It is only a possibility that the details below refer to this vessel. As Watkins only showed ownership for five months, they may have performed a delivery voyage to South Africa. (Following info courtesy of David Asprey) 

Built 1877 by Thames Ironworks, Blackwall. Iron Tug. L76'. B14.5'. D8.4'. 55grt. 13nrt. 35nhp 2cyl compound steam engine by John Stewart, London. Acquired 10-1877. Disposed 2-1878. Scrapped 1923. Official No. 79602.

1877 Delivered to  Donald Currie, London. 10-1877 Acquired by William Watkins, London. 2-1878 Sold to Towage and Lighterage Co., Durban. 29-8-1878 Arived Table Bay SA after 41 day passage from UK. 17-9-1878 in service for Donald Currie Line at Port Natal. 1882 Owner Lord Brassey, James Cowan and John Nixon, [Natal Shipping Co Ltd.] Durban SA. 19-3-1912 Sold to  The African Boating Co. 4-1912 Sold to  Sole Robinson, Durban. 6-1912 Sold to The African Fishing and Trading Co., and Charles Johnson, Capetown SA. 31-1-1913 Sold to Irvin and Johnson Ltd., Capetown, used as fishing vessel. 12-1922 Owner restyled as Irvin and Johnson (South Africa) Ltd., Capetown. 8-1927 Registry cancelled with note 'broken up many years ago'.



(Chartered 1915-1918)

Built 1895 by John Shearer and Son, Kelvinhaugh, Glasgow. Steel Screw Tug. L96.0'. B18.5'. D9.7'. 110grt. 2nrt. 400ihp 2cyl 19"x38"x24"s compound steam engine by Muir and Houston, Glasgow. Official No 105174.

1895 Built for John Guthrie and Thomas Heywood, Cardiff. 1896 Owned by John Guthrie at Penarth and lengthened from 85.5' to 96'. 1901 Owners Cardiff Steam Towing Co. Ltd., Cardiff. 1905 Sold to George Robinson, Middlesbrough. 5-1909 Owners Tees Tug Co. Ltd., Middlesbrough. 1915-1918 Chartered by William Watkins Ltd for work on Thames.  30-7-1920 Owners Tees Towing Co. Ltd., Middlesbrough. 22-4-1926 Sold for scrap to Hughes Bolckow Shipbreaking Ltd., Blythe. 30-4-1926 Departed Tees for breakers.



GONDIA at the 1953 Spithead Naval Review. Photo Rosemary Fox colln

Built 1927 by Cochrane and Sons, Selby. YN1001. Steel Screw Tug. L100'. B25.1'. D11.8'. 200grt. 760ihp 3cylTE 14"x28"x38"x27" stroke steam engine by Crabtree and Co., Great Yarmouth. Acquired 1927. Disposed 1966. Scrapped 1966. Official No. 149941. Call sign MDWJ. Passenger licence for 200.


 5-4-1927 Launched. Completed 11-1927 for William Watkins Ltd., London. 1939 Req by RN. 1940 Stationed at Dover. 17-3-1940 With Lady Brassey refloated Norwegian steamer Vespasian from Copt Point, Folkestone. 5-1940 Under Master C Pratt stationed at Dover assisting vessels berthing and refuelling during Dunkirk operation. 31-5-1940 With Simla towed damaged sloop Bideford into Dover.1940 Working at Milford Haven. 17-4-1942 Departed Loch Ewe in convoy UR20 towing Rudderman.  22-4-1942 Arrived Reykjavik, Iceland. 2-4-1944 Departed Reykjavik convoy RU114. 7-4-1944 Arrived Loch Ewe. 21-8-1944 Returned to Watkins. 4-6-1946 Arrived Dover on passage Flushing to Poole. 1950 Ship Towage (London) Ltd, appointed as managers.  3-1966 Laid up at Ramsgate. 6-1966 Scrapped by Jos De Smedt, Antwerp.


Log excerpts for this tug appear in the DUNKIRK and MISC LOGS pages

GONDIA Engine Room 1960's




Photo Gould colln/TT


Built 1886 by Uskside Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Newport Mon. Designed by James Pollock and Sons Ltd., London, ship No. 28. Iron screw Tug. L110'. B19'6''. D11'10''. 152grt. 70nhp 3cyl steam engine by Newall and Co., Bristol. 15''x23''x40''x 27'' stroke. Boiler 12'diax10'3'' 150psi. Acquired 1889. Lost 1918. ON91809. Callsign QCWH.

11-1885 Launched. 1886 Completed as Power, operated by South West Steamship Co Ltd., Plymouth. 20-2-1889 Towed into Plymouth with disable engine.  3-1889  Brought by Gravesend syndicate headed by Mr Alfred Tolhurst, a Gravesend solicitor. 6-1889 Acquired by William Watkins, London and renamed Guiana [by 7-7-1890]. 16-7-1889 Arrived Gravesend with defective engine. 9-6-1891 Towed Grimsby to Gravesend with defective engine. 7-5-1892 Passed Dungeness towing barque for London. 1894 Reboilered. 29-11-1894 passed Lizard towing a dredger.  8-1896 New boiler and engine room modifications at Eltringhams. 7-1897 Chartered to Dutch owners for six months. 3-1898 Sold to Dutch owners. 5-1898 Repurchased by William Watkins, London. 26-7-1899 Departed Gravesend for Norway. 1900 Transferred to William Jr. & John S. Watkins. 12-5-1900 Arrived Southern Ireland  towing steamer Ville D'Anvers from Havre. 9-9-1901 Collided with Cocoanut Stairs Causeway whilst assisting SS Dido off Millwall. 20-1-1905 Beached at entrance to Folkestone harbour in sinking condition after springing leak in English Channel. 28-7-1905 Attending Channel swimmer at Dover. 12-12-1905 Assistance to SS Partheon, aground near Newcombe Buoy. Later awarded £750. 6-9-1906 Assitance to collision damaged SS Cambric off Dungeness. Later awarded £800. 2-4-1908 Towed collision damaged S/V Kircudbrightshire into Plymouth. 17-5-1910 Departing Port Talbot for Hamburg. 1914 Transferred to John S. & Alfred Watkins. 7-11-1914 Hired by Admiralty as dockyard tug at Newhaven and in Scottish Waters. 1917 Owners  Restyled as William Watkins Ltd. 29-1-1918 Run down and sunk by RN destroyer HMS Bat off Whitby in posn 54.37N 00.36W. Four lives lost.



Built 1854 by M Byers and Co., , Monkwearmouth. Full rigged sailing vessel. 848grt. L160.6'. B28.1'. Acquired 1854. Lost 1854.

1854 Delivered to John R Watkins, James Thompson, and John Davidson, London. 1-3-1854 Taken up by British Government for Crimean War transport duties. 1854 Maiden voyage Woolwich to Constantinople for orders, carrying horses, fodder, ammunition and guns. Discharged at Varna and then worked locally in Black Sea. 14-11-1854 Anchored off Eupatoria when caught in hurricane and driven ashore, along with many other vessels. Being a young, strong vessel salvage was a strong possibility, but before an attempt could be made she was hacked to pieces by the freezing troops for use as firewood.