QUEEN BOADICEA II
Type: Thames passenger vessel
Beam: 14ft 6ins
Displacement: 45 tons
Engine: Gardner 6LX
Built as a sturdy passenger boat, with a 65ft. all-steel hull, Queen Boadicea II was an ideal vessel to go to Dunkirk - providing always that the weather and the sea remained calm. Her 3ft draft was ample for the river Thames, where she started her working life when Mrs. C.M. Smith, her first owner, used her to ply between Westminster and Greenwich in 1936, but hardly good enough for crossing the English Channel on a bad day.
On Friday, 31st May 1940, a fresh on-shore breeze developed. Queen Boadicea, commanded by Lieutenant J.S. Seal, RNR, avoided the beaches in these conditions and made for Dunkirk harbour. There they met heavy shelling accompanied by enemy air attacks. They arrived just in time to see the motor boat Janice, working off Dunkirk pier, demolished by a direct hit from a bomb. Her skipper, Sub-Lt. Bell, RNVR, was killed, together with a stoker rating. The Boadicea managed to pick up three of her crew who were thrown into the water as she went down. From then on, Lieut. Seal had no time to keep a log. But in the 1980's a holidaymaker told the present owner that she remembered caring for thirteen soldiers who returned from Dunkirk on Queen Boadicea.
After the war, she was acquired by George Wheeler Launches, to provide a Thames passenger service from Greenwich to Westminster and up-river as far as Kew and Richmond. Her next owners were Dart Pleasure Cruises, in Dartmouth, Devon, and she was finally sold to her present owners, Tamar Cruising, who use her to provide a ferry service in Plymouth. In 1988 Queen Boadicea hit the headlines when she carried travel writer Alison Payne and her one-ton shire horse Mighty from Admiral's Hard, Plymouth to Cremyll, Mount Edgecomb, in Cornwall as part of the writer's fund-raising effort for a charity.
As mentioned below, Queen Boadicea II is still carrying delighted passengers at The National Waterways Museum, c/o Llanthony Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EH
Fri, 29/01/2010 - 12:25
Queen Boadicea now works as a trip boat from Gloucester docks on the River Severn and Sharpness Canal.
Sun, 06/06/2010 - 08:52
She looks remarkably similar in design and appearance to the Devon Belle, formerly Seymour castle. Could there be a link perhaps to the same designer?