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Bridlington Tourist Information.



 


Royal Sovereign

Mike Wilson, Local Author and Historian

This pleasure boat of Bridlington is said to have arrived within a few days of my own arrival, in early May 1936. The Royal Sovereign was acquired by the local fishermen who owned Princess Marina.
Built in Southend only seven years earlier, the vessel had carried up to 280 passengers from that resort. A chief feature of the vessel was the large saloon that could be used as a cafe or for dancing. The saloon contained a buffet.
At the front of the vessel was a cabin big enough for the crew of seven.
The Royal Sovereign carried its own electric lighting plant (something of an innovation in those days). She was powered by two six-cylinder diesel engines developing a maximum speed of ten knots.
Royal Sovereign was fitted with two rudders. She was also fitted with wireless re-diffusion and a wireless telephone. There was a lifebelt provided for every person on a cruise.
After arrival in Bridlington, a complete renovation was carried out and the Royal Sovereign carried her first passengers at Whitsuntide.
The skipper of the Princess Marina, Mr R. E. Crawford, was to captain the new vessel, while Mr H. Johnson took over the Princess Marina.
The voyage from Southend to Bridlington had commenced early the previous Saturday, with a stop ar Yarmouth to refuel. It is reported that the Royal Sovereign behaved perfectly during the trip and was "very steady in the swells." Quite good speeds had been achieved despite the fact that the engines, which had just been overhauled, were run at only half speed.
During the war, the vessel had carried out naval duties in the bay.
At 0206 hours on Friday, 23rd August, 1940, an enemy aircraft dropped a stick of bombs on Bridlington harbour. The first bomb struck Royal Sovereign and blew her to pieces.
The second bomb failed to explode, but hit a jetty and ricocheted through the bottom of Blue Jacket, the third bomb demolishing the Cock & Lion, Foley's Cafe and Woolworths, just inland from the harbour.
The following morning on Germany's propaganda radio, Lord Haw-Haw is said to have announced the destruction of HMS Royal Sovereign (a naval battleship) following a raid on Bridlington by Luftwaffe bombers.
It is said that pieces of the vessel were found later that morning in the Old Town.