Type: Passenger Launch
Engine: Calvin Atlantic 32HP
Builder: George Feltham, Old Portsmouth
Information kindly supplied by Andy Cottrell.
I am a retired Fire Officer aged 58, born and bred in Portsmouth. Ever since a small boy, I remember my father telling me about his father and his boats. Our family name goes back centuries, a very large and notorious family of Watermen or Wherrymen plying their trade-in and around Portsmouth Harbour.
Between the wars my Grandfather John William Cottrell owned several motorboats including Minoru II (Named after King Edward VII’s racehorse) operating from The Camber docks, Old Portsmouth.
The Minoru II was built in 1921 by George Feltham (Old Portsmouth) 40ft long, 12ft beam with a Calvin Atlantic 32HP engine. She could accommodate 60 passengers and crew and had a speed of around 10 knots.
From the time she was built until the outbreak of the second world war she was used to take members of the public on pleasure trips around Portsmouth Harbour, deliver the Daily Mail to yachts in the Solent during Cowes week and deliver Campion's bread to Naval ships in the harbour and Spithead.
My late father said that she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy, sent to Dunkirk, and helped bring back the troops, returning badly damaged. She then became a fire float in Portsmouth Harbour for the remainder of the war. I have enclosed several photos of her, some in The Camber dated April 1941. Quite by chance these photographs of the wartime camber were given to me back in the late 1990’s by a firefighter after he had fished them out of a bin, only weeks after telling him about the history of my family. On showing the photos to my father he instantly confirmed that the Minoru II was in the photographs & identified his father onboard wearing the flat cap. He said she was in a terrible state with damage still apparent from Dunkirk.
After the war, my grandfather sold his boats/business on. The Minoru II was still going strong in Portsmouth harbour in 1984 when my father pointed her out to me, she was alongside the Gosport ferry mooring. We believe she was working on the River Hamble in the late 1980s. I am a member of a FaceBook Portsmouth Historical interest group and was told very recently that the Minoru II is still about but has beenrenamed the Camberlee and fitted with a cabin. I hope you find the story and photos of interest and of some use. Please use as you feel
fit. I am pleased to see her mentioned on your website and would be proud to see any of the information about her added. I just wish I knew what role she had played during that most testing of times. Lest we Forget.
Should you require any clarification on anything, do not hesitate to contact me.
Captions to Photos:
Photo 1: The Minoru II slips into Portsmouth harbour carrying sightseeing passengers, John William Cottrell (White cap) at the helm circa 1932
Photo 2: Minoru II picking up passengers in the camber for pleasure trip, photo 1923
Photo 3: Silver Spray & Minoru II, trips around the fort duties. Southsea seafront 1920s
Photo 4: Fireboat Paul AFS. Minoru II (lighter coloured boat) on right of picture. Portsmouth Camber April
1941. Damaged from Dunkirk
Photo 5: Minoru II on left of shot, with JW Cottrell onboard April 1941
Photo 6: JW Cottrell (flat cap) on boat unknown Camber April 194