Saturday, 19 March 2011

Maid of Orleans

Southern Railway Continental Steamer "Maid of Orleans"

Built by Denny of Dumbarton in 1918 the ferry 'Maid of Orleans" was part of Southern Railways cross channel fleet. She took part in taking the troops of the beaches at Dunkirk and was  fitted out as a Landing Ship for Infantry visiting  the Forth and Scapa Flow, but her most significant voyages were during the D Day Landings. The skipper, Captain Payne gathered the crew in the saloon before setting off saying  
"Our job is to deliver the troops, and keep on delivering, Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, liberated France - the Maid will help us do the same, by the grace of God".    
She made several trips but on the return voyage of the 28th June 1944 she was sunk by a U Boat torpedo near the Isle of Wight.

The card was sent to England in August 1939, the start of World War II was imminent. They writes
"Dear Ron, Just landed in France Weds at 12:30. Came over on this boat, more news later just meeting all the froggies, Love Mam and Dad".    The French may have returned the nickname and called out senders roast beefs.  I wonder if this was the ship's last commercial voyage.  

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