Page last updated4-3-2015

Built 1857 by Money Wigram and Sons,  Northam, Southampton. Wooden Paddle Tug, carvel built. L120'. B20.4'. D11.3'. 157grt. 100ihp 2cyl 34"x48" side lever steam engine by J. Stewart, London. Acquired 1857. Lost 1881. ON19885 Callsign MTSN
1857 Delivered to William Watkins, London. 30-1-1858 Attending launching of Leviathan at Millwall. 4-12-1863 Towed storm and collision damaged brigantine Belle into Ramsgate.  13-6-1865 Departed Plymouth towing HMS Andromeda, an old wooden frigate, for London. 7-1870 New boilers and major engine room overhaul at Wigrams, £4000. 1876 Overhaul and new boilers £3000. Coal consumption 19 tons per day. Old boiler overhauled and installed in Renown.  17-9-1879 Arrived Gravesend ex Dunkirk. 17-7-1880 Whilst towing sailing vessel Hydaspes off Dungeness in fog, Hydaspes collided with SS Centurion and sank. Hydaspes crew rescued by tug and steamer.  3-12-1880 Refloated Araby Maid aground off Kingsdown and towed to London. 14-10-1881 Assisting sailing vessel Allanshaw in distress in hurricane force storm off North Foreland was overwhelmed and sank with loss of Captain W Houghton and eight crew. One victim, James William Carter, aged 28, is remembered on the headstone of the Carter family grave in Chalk Churchyard, near Gravesend, although no record of his burial here can be found in the parish records.
(Chartered 1915 - 1918)
Built 1883 by Sir W G Armstrong, Mitchell and Co. Ltd., Low Walker. YN452. Iron Screw Tug. L100'. B19.8'. D10.1'. 122grt. 600ihp 2cyl 21"x38"x24" compound steam engine by Ross and Duncan, Glasgow. Official No. 84878.
PoR 1883 N. Shields. 1891 Swansea. 1906 S. Shields.
 01-1883 Completed as Africa for C Dyble, N. Shields, used as trawler. 1891 Sold to C Hooper, Swansea. 1896 Sold to African Tug Co. Ltd., Swansea. 1903 Sold to Lawson Steam Tug Co., Newcastle. 1906 renamed Nestor. 1915 Chartered by Watkins due to wartime shortage of tugs on Thames. 2-1918 Req by RN renamed Velmar. 12-1918 Returned to Lawson's renamed Nestor. 6-1920 Transferred to Lawson-Batey Tugs Ltd. 6-1937 Sold for £460 to Clayton and Davey Ltd, Dunston for demolition.

Photo A Duncan

Built 1890 by Westwood Baillie Ltd., Poplar. Steel Screw Tug. L87.6'. B18.6'. D10.7'. 102grt. 350ihp 3cylTE 12.5"x19"x32" 20" stroke 135psi steam engine by John Stewart & Son Ltd., Blackwall. Coal consumption two pounds per HP per hour.  Acquired 1890. Disposed 1935. Scrapped 1935. Official No. 98149. Call sign MQGP.
1890 Delivered to William  Watkins, London. 11-2-1892 Arrived Gravesend ex Dunkirk. 1894 Repaired boiler ex Mustang fitted. 11-9-1894 Assitance to SS Lady Wolseley, aground on Goodwin Sands. Later awarded £800. 3-1-1895 Towed leaking barquentine Anna and Ottilie to Gravesend ex North Sea. 17-10-1897 £300 salvage award for towing Gulf of Akaba off Girdler Sand. 1-12-1899 Damaged by steamer Turret Cape, whilst laying at buoy off Gravesend. 1900 Transferred to William Jr. & John S. Watkins. 25-3-1901 At Falmouth. 1-4-1901 At South Shields. 1902 Reboilered. 1914 Transferred to John S. & Alfred Watkins.  1917 Owners restyled William Watkins Ltd. 1920 Reboilered and hull and engine repairs. 193? Laid up at Ramsgate. 5-1935 Sold for £140 to  G Cohen and Sons, Canning Town, for demolition.

Photog unknown
Photo A Duncan
Built 1889 by Gourlay and Co., Dundee. YN136. Twin Screw Tug. L110.5'. B19.5'. D10.9'. 311grt. (1902 337grt). 160nhp 900ehp 2 x 2cyl 19"x36"x27"s  compound steam engines by builder. Coal consumption one pound per HP per hour.  Acquired 1889. Lost 1918. Official No. 95549.
27-3-1889 Launched. 1889 Delivered to William Watkins, London. 4-6-1890 Departed Gravesend for Madeira. 15-9-1890 Departed Downs towing disabled SS Stakesby for London. 27-1-1891 At Algiers to tow SS Arbid Brothers to London. 14-11-1891  In collision with Newcastle collier SS Elemore off Coal House Point whist towing a brig. Run aground in sinking condition. No casualties. Salved and repaired. 29-11-1892 Arrived Gravesend towing Foudroyant from Swinemunde. 26-1-1893 Foremast carried away and other damage following collisio n with SV Brilliant whilst attempting to take her under tow. 1-8-1894 Passed Flamborough Head, northbound, towing dismasted sailing vessel. 12-1-1896 70 miles NE of Finisyerre towing dredger Isula Di Chio.  3-9-1897 Arrived Gravesend ex Havana. 27-4-1897 At Madeira.  30-6--1899 Coaling at Portland ex Pernambuco towing SS Avery Hill. 4-12-1899 Departed Fayal towing disabled SS Vulcan for Havre. 1900 Transferred to William Jr. & John S. Watkins. 11-5-1900 At Portland. 22-8-1900 Passed Dover towing SS Denton Grange to River Tyne. 7-12-1900 Sailed  Gravesend for St Helena. 1902 Whilst connecting tow to the clipper Orontes near the Goodwin Sands port propeller came into contact with the tow, sinking Orontes and stripping prop blades of tug. 1905 Towed oil hulk Tancarville from Portland to Sumatra, 8,200 miles in 45 days at average speed of 7 knots. This was the longest tow undertaken by any tug at this time. 1908 Reboilered and alterations to bridge at Eltringhams. 1908 Towed MM liner Esmeralda from Bordeaux to La Spezia for scrapping. 11-6-1908 Departed Castellamare towing paddle steamer Lady Rowena for Newhaven. 8-1908 Departed Barrow towing grain elevator for Montreal. Towline parted 400 miles NW of Tory Island and fouled prop. Twelve days spent searching for elevator which meanwhile had been found by two trawlers and towed into Stornaway. Tow later completed without further problems. 23-12-1909 Whilst being transferred to German liner Salatis aground off Dungeness, tugs master Captain Fred Rennings was washed out of the tugs boat and drowned. 25-1-1910 Towed collision damaged SS Frascati from off Lundy into Barry. 20-4-1910 Arrived Aden towing SS Sir Trevredyn Wynne. 17-3-1913 Arrived St Vincent CV on passage Port Talbot to Simonstown. 1914 Transferred to John S. & Alfred Watkins. 3-8-1914 Req by RN renamed HMS Cerebus. Initially served examination service but being twin screw was unsuited. Then used for coastal towing and finally attached to Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow. 1917 Owners  restyled William Watkins Ltd.  1917 Renamed HMS Oceana. 8/10-8-1917 Involved in salvage of SS Othalia. 18-10-1918 Run down and sunk by Tug Stobo Castle, C102, W73, 1917/280grt (with reinforced icebreaking bow), whilst at anchor in Orkney northern islands. Posn 59-12.4N 00-.44.6W. 31-1-1919 Declared total loss. [The wreck has been dived and identified and lies in 14m of water in Mill Bay, Orkney.] 2009 Wreck dived by Scarborough sub-aqua club and telegraph recovered.
Sailing Vessel. Acquired 1883. Disposed 1902.
1883 Acquired by Watkins and converted to stores hulk, moored off Blackwall. 1902 Sold to Dutch breakers but foundered off Sunk light vessel, whilst under tow to Holland.
 Photog unknown
Built 1916 by I J Abdela and Mitchel Ltd., Queensferry. YN395. Steel Screw Tug. L76.6'. B18.1'. D10.2'. 95grt. 350ihp 2cyl  15"x31.5" 24" stroke 180psi compound steam engine by A Dodman and Co., Kings Lynn. Acquired 1920. Disposed 1939. Scrapped 1960's. Official No. 137528.
12-1916 Completed as Sloyne for Alexandra Towing Co. Ltd., Liverpool. 1920 Acquired by William Watkins Ltd, London, renamed Palencia.  1923 Gill shrouded prop fitted (forerunner of Kort nozzle), giving 9.5 knots, 305ihp at 119rpm. 1939 Sold to Hemsley Bell Ltd., Liverpool. 9-1939 Req by RN. 1-1-1942 Based Loch Alsh. 20-7-1944 Departed Seine Bay in convoy FTC42. 21-7-1944 Arrived Southend.  26-1-1945 Allocated to relieve Empire Folk at Calais. 16-11-1945 Returned to owner. 1948 Sold to Shell Oil Co. Ltd., Gibraltar and towed to Gibraltar by tug Superman. 1948 Reengined   380 I.H.P. C.2-cyl. 16" & 32" x 21"s  engine made by Bow, McLachlan & Company Ltd., Paisley. 1949 Replacement boiler fitted from tug Welshman. 1950 Converted to oil fired boiler. 1955 Sold to Spanish owners. 1968 Reported Scrapped.
Built 1847 by John Bond,  Millwall Docks and Eng. Works, Millwall.  Wooden Paddle Tug, clench built. L80'. B15'6''. D8.7'. 83grt. 39nrt. 35nhp 2cyl steam engine. Acquired 1847. Disposed 1866. ON12757. Callsign LDFM
1847 Delivered to William Watkins, London. 1858 New boilers and patent paddles fitted. 1865 Repairs £408. 1-12-1866 Sold to Hockley, Gill and Co. (Commercial Towing Co.) for £500. 1869 Owners F F White et al, London. 1881 Owner Henry Mason, Deptford Lower Rd., Rotherhithe. 1881 Owners Alfred Shepperson and Francis Durbridge, Hull. 1882 Sold to Charles Mortimer, Hull, 1885 Sold to William Stephenson, Grimsby & Thomas Richardson, Hull. 188? Sold to Mrs June Mortimer, Hull. 1887 Scrapped.

Photo Gould colln/TT
Built 1902 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd, Selby. YN293. Steel Screw Tug. L94'. B19.6'. D11.0'. 146grt. 9nrt. 450ihp 99nhp 3cylTE 13"x21.5"x34.5"x24"s steam engine by J Stewart and Son, Blackwall. Acquired 1902. Lost 1908. ON114382.
30-10-1901 Launched by Mrs Cochrane. 2-1902 Delivered to William Watkins Jr & John S. Watkins, London. 14-12-1904 Arrived Shields towing Belgian SS Iris from London. 1906 Sunk by screw of P and O liner Marmora. Salved and repaired. 1907 New high pressure cylinder. 9-12-1907 Towed collision damaged barque Forfarshire Folkestone to London. 10-4-1908 Whilst seeking out of Harwich sank following collision with SS Hugenot approx 3 miles North-east of Sunk light ship. All crew saved and landed by Hugenot at Lowestoft 11-4-1908. 12-12-1908 The wreck was dispersed by Guncotton.
Photog unknown. B Hunt colln
Built 1932 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd, Selby. YN1106. Steel Screw Tug. L95'. B24.1'. D11.2'. 165grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x25"x40" 27" stroke 180psi steam engine by Earles Ltd, Hull. Acquired 1937. Disposed 1967. Scrapped 1967. Official No. 162684. Call sign MLNF.
2-1932 Completed as Dongara for Albert Pattison,  United Steam Tug Co., London.  1937 Acquired by William Watkins Ltd., London. 1938 renamed Persia. 29-5-1940 Towed sailing barges Glenway and Lark  laden with food and ammunition to Dunkirk from Dover under Master A Aldrich. 30-5-1940 07.10 Returned from Dunkirk with 27 soldiers landed at Dover. 1-6-1940 Towed destroyer Ivanhoe from Dunkirk to Dover. 6-1940 Req by War Dept. 18-6-1940 Arrived Falmouth.  9-4-1941 Gutted by fire when Shell tanker Lunula exploded a mine at Thames Haven Refinery, covering tug tanker and jetty in blazing oil. Over  60 lives lost in the incident including the whole crew of the tug. 1943 Returned to service after overhaul by Claxton and Co.,  Ramsgate.  16-4-1944 Assisted towing Phoenix unit ex Greenland Dock to Gravesend. 21-4-1944 Assisted towing Phoenix unit ex King George V dock to Tilbury. 25-4-1944 Assisted towing Phoenix unit A2-68 ex South West India Dock to Tilbury.  1946 Renamed Muria. 1-2-1950  Ship Towage (London) Ltd, appointed as managers. 11-4-1967 Scrapped by Scrappingco SA, Antwerp.
Merchant Navy Memorial, Tower Hill, London.
Boy/Cook Kenny 'Ginger' Lynds was on his first day at work and aged just 15.
[Although recorded  on the memorial the bodies of James Body and Ernest Caselton were in fact recovered and are buried in Gravesend Cemetery as is Skipper Harry Aldrich.]
Engine Room 1960's.
Built 1858 at South Shields. Wooden Paddle Tug, clench built. L85.4'. B16.2'. D8.5'. 71grt. 30nhp 2cyl side lever steam engine. Acquired 1875. Disposed 1883. Scrapped 1883. ON27228  Callsign PQKP
1858 Delivered to Charles Brownfield, Richard Davies & Eliza Surry, Gravesend. 1864 Re-engined and new boiler. 1867[by]  Owner Richard Davis, Gravesend.  28-5-1868 Suffered boiler explosion off Cliffe with deaths of firemen Charles Thomas and William Hewitt. 1870 Owner Arthur Read, Rotherhithe  London. 1-1875 Acquired by William Watkins, London.  1875 Modernised £1900. 1883 Scrapped.
Built 1846 by Daniel Bider, East Jarrow. Wood paddle tug. L85'. B16.3'. D8.9'. 103grt. Steam engine. Acquired 1846. Disposed 1851?
1846 Delivered to William  Watkins, London. 1851 Sold to John Hanson Jr, London. 1851 Sold to Constantinople owners. 13-9-1851 Reported by Lloyds leaving Malta for Constantinople.  29-1-1855 Still in existence during Crimean War operations in Black Sea.
Punch with Cambria behind. Photo S. Australia State Library
Built 1854 by Money Wigram, Blackwall. Iron Paddle Tug. L101.7'. B18.1'. D9.9'.  115grt. 60hp 2cyl 30"x62" grasshopper disconnecting steam engine by John Stewart, London ex Lord Warden. Bunkers 30 tons. Acquired 1854. Disposed 1895. Scrapped 1911. ON12756. Callsign LDFK
1854 Delivered to William Watkins & Alfred Soanes, London. 1857 Chartered to Victoria Dock Co. 1858 Lengthened and modernised. 3-3-1860 Assistance to brig Lucia in Princes Channel. 11-3-1861 Reported arrived Gravesend from Havre. 1868 New boilers and lengthened again? 19-11-1877 Left Dover towing collision damaged barque Cyrena for London.  31-8-1879 Whilst towing P & O SS Mongolia tow collided with coal hulk Atlas No 1 off Charlton, 25-6-1881 Arrived Gravesend ex Dunkirk. 7-3-1883 Run down by SS Gainsford whilst moored off Gravesend and beached to prevent sinking. 1886 New steel boilers, new engine and hull repairs, £2500. 11-1895 Sold to Charles Dyble, N. Shields. Reengined. 1-1902 Sold to George Henderson, Newcastle. 6-1902 Sold to United Towing Co Ltd., Jarrow. 2-1908 Sold by auction to J R Thompson, Sunderland for £1600. 27-10-1911 Sank at moorings at North  Shields. 2-11-1911 Salved and beached at Jarrow Slake but later scrapped.

Built 1894 by L Smit and Zoon, Kinderdijk, Holland. YN578. Steel Screw Tug. L149.2'. B28.3'. D13.6'. 410grt. 165nhp 1200ihp 3cylTE 18"x28"x46"x30"s steam engine by Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde Vlissingen. Twin funnels fore and aft. Acquired 1915. Disposed 1916. Scrapped 22-3-1983. ON139116.
4-1895 Delivered to L Smit and Co., Alblasserdam, Holland. Named Oceaan. 2-1916 Acquired by John S Watkins, London, renamed Racia. 6-1916 Arrived at Kola Inlet, Russia to tow mine damaged liner Arlanza to Belfast but tow proved beyond tugs capabilities and Arlanza returned under her own power. [Confirmed by deck log of Arlanza at Kew.] 11-1916 Purchased by Admiralty. 1920 Acquired by Crichton, Thompson and Co., London. 8-1922 Sold to Kyle Transport Co., Liverpool. 1924 Acquired by W H Ackermans and H van Haaren, Gorinchem, Holland. 1925 Acquired by SA de Dragage, Dechorage et Transports, Port de Bouc, France. 1930 Acquired by E Benezeth et Matriques, Genoa. 1930 Owners G Viglienoni, Genoa, Italy. 1932 Declassed from sea going status. 1943 Rebuilt as tanker, 598grt.  1946 Sold to Carlo Cameli, Genoa, renamed Portovechio. 1946 Reengined  8-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. 280 x 450mm diesel engine manufactured in 1940 by Kloeckner Humboldt Deutz, Koeln. 1955 Sold to  Ottavio Novella, Genoa, renamed Montegualdone, reengined with 6-cyl.  2 S.C.S.A. 260 x 450mm  diesel engine manufactured in 1946 by S.A. Fiat S. G. M., Turin. 1962 Sold to  CIANE-ANAPO, Compagnia de Navigazione, Genoa, Italy, renamed Conus Bunker. 22-3-1983 Arrived at La Spezia for demolition by Cantieri Naval del Golfo.

Built 1930 by Cochrane and Sons Ltd, Selby. YN1091. Steel Screw Tug. L95'. B24.1'. D11.2'. 163grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x25"x40" 27" stroke 180psi steam engine by Earles Ltd, Hull. Acquired 1937. Disposed 1967. Scrapped 1967. Official No. 162492. Call sign MDLX
29-7-1930 Launched. 9-1930 Completed as Dilwara for Albert Pattison,  United Steam Tug Co., London. 1935 Renamed Dendera. 6-1937 Acquired by William Watkins Ltd., London. 6-1938 Renamed Racia.  31-5-1940 Under Master C Addison towed 12 ships lifeboats to Dunkirk. 2-6-1940 07.43 Landed 250 Dunkirk evacuees at Ramsgate. 3-6-1940 To Dunkirk again. 4-6-1940 07.15 Landed 123 Dunkirk evacuees at Ramsgate. 29-11-1940 Req by Admiralty. Steeal and Bennie Ltd., Glasgow appointed managers. 30-11-1945 Returned to Watkins. 1-2-1950 Ship Towage (London) Ltd, appointed as managers. 1967 Sold to Scraapingco SA, Antwerp for scrapping. 1967 Resold  to Ven Den Bossche and Co., Belgium. 8-1967 Scrapped at Boom. The last coal burning tug in the Ship Towage fleet
RACIA Engine Room 1960's