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Dover: Lock and Key of the Kingdom

The Queen

The ‘Queen’ was the first turbine steamer to be built for  the cross-Channel service. She was built by William Denny  and Brothers, Dumbarton and launched in April 1903.  Built  for the South Eastern & Chatham Railway (SECR), she  entered service between Dover and Calais in June 1903. In 1907 she transferred to the Folkestone-Boulogne  service. While operating on this route she was involved in a collision in thick fog with the ‘Onward’ which also belonged  to the SECR. Damage to each ship was made worse by the  respective anchors catching and tearing a large hole in the  other’s side. During the early part of the First World War in 1914, the  ‘Queen’ helped to evacuate refugees from Ostend. After  this she became a troop transport, in common with other  SECR vessels. On 26 October 1914, she rescued over  2,000 refugees from the French vessel ‘Amiral Ganteaume’,  torpedoed whist bound from Calais to Le Harve.   In September 1916 she towed the disabled troop transport  ‘Queen Empress’, filled with troops, back to safety. Then,  just one month later on 26 October, the ‘Queen’ herself  was attacked by German destroyers, some miles off  Folkestone, and sunk.
The 'Queen' leaving Dover c.1903. The 'Queen' at the Admiralty Pier.  The photo dates from between 1903 and 1907 before the 'Queen' moved to the Folkestone - Boulogne service. Back to Ferries and Shipping Index