Built as a ferry under yard No. 761 by Cammell Laird and Co. Birkenhead for the London and South Western Railway Co., Southampton, England.
26 May 1910 launched under the name CAESAREA.
Tonnage 1.499 gross, dim. 86.74 (bpp) x 11.91 x 4.82m.
Powered by direct coupled Parsons turbines, 6.500 shp., three screws, speed 20.5 knots.
Accommodation for 980 passengers.
September 1910 completed.
The 17 p stamp shows CAESAREA taking the Jailers passage close into Corbiere Lighthouse.
After completing put in the Channel Island route from Southampton.
From 31 October 1914 till December 1915 requisitioned by the British Admiralty, and used as armed boarding vessel.
1923 Transferred to Southern Railway, Southampton.
07 July 1923 struck a rock off Noirmont Point, south coast of Jersey, she was beached outside St Helier Harbour, refloated 20 July and sold.
December 1923 bought by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Ltd., Douglas, Isle of Man at the repair yard at Birkenhead for £9.000, renamed MANX MAID.
Refitted, and also converted from coal to oil burning for a total cost of £38.500.
Oil consumption by a speed of 18 knots, 84 tons in 24 hours.
Accommodation for 1.470 passengers and 51 crew.
Used in the ferry service between Liverpool and Douglas, Isle of Man.
27 August 1939 requisitioned by the British Admiralty, armed with 4 inch guns. Renamed HMS MANX MAID. In use as an armed boarding vessel.
02 October 1939 she left from the Mersey bound for Scapa Flow. She was used in the Orkney and Shetland waters, intercepting any ships passing these areas. But her service was short–lived; on 3 December she encountered very bad weather in which she severe was damaged on her stern and upper works, not more fit for duty she was ordered to proceed to the Mersey for repair.
21 December 1939 paid off.
16 May 1940 after her repair she was ordered to Southampton.
Took no part in the Dunkirk evacuation as she was at that time under repair, and when ready to proceed to France from Deal she got engine problems or did not have sufficient stores and fresh water on board.
14 June she embarked troops in Southampton for the front in France, but after passing the Nap Tower she was ordered back and her troops disembarked.
The next morning at 03.50 she sailed for France, as the Allied retreat moved west along the French coast.
First she proceeded to St Malo but when she arrived off the port she discovered that it already was occupied by German forces, she escaped.
Then she proceeded to Brest and took on board nearly 3000 troops, sailed on 16 June, just outside the port she got engine trouble and after an agonising wait dead in the water, the engineers finished the repair and could start the engine again, and she arrived at Plymouth at 05.21 a.m. of 17 June.
27 June she reached Liverpool and carried aliens to the Island of Man till 14 July.
26 October 1941 again taken up in the Royal Navy and fitted out as a Radar Training Ship.
19 November she arrived at Penarth.
22 December 1941 renamed in BRUCE.
09 January 1942 she left from Penarth bound for South Shields, were she arrived on 31 January.
At South Shields fitted out as a Local Defence Escort.
01 June 1942 again renamed MANX MAID., and the plan was to fit her out as a Landing Ship Infantry (LSI), but before fitting out as so, she had to replace the LAIRDS ISLE and with on board the crew of this vessel was she used as Paravane Ranging Vessel from 20 August till the end of October under the name of HMS MANX MAID.
Then again made available for conversion in a LSI in Leith, but again plans were changed and on 23 December she became a Fleet Arm Target Ship, and as so she continued in service in connection with the training of naval airman.
21 March 1945 paid off at Ardrossan, and handed back to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co., 26 March she arrived at Barrow for conversion again in a ferry.
During the war her mainmast was removed.
Thereafter only used in peak traffic and week-ends the next five years.
November 1950 was she towed to the breakers yard of T.W. Ward in Barrow, were she arrived on 12 November 1950.
Jersey 1989 17p sg508, scott? and 2010 72p sg?, scott?
Source: Short Sea: Long War by John de S. Winser. Watercraft Philately CD-ROM A – D. Ships of the Royal Navy by J.J. Colledge. Island Lifeline by Connery Chappell. Register of Merchant Ships completed in 1910.
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