On Thursday 28th December 1967 Queen of the South, which started her career in 1931 as the Clyde paddle steamer Jeanie Deans, was off Vlissingen after her tow across the North Sea waiting to go up the River Scheldt to the scrapyard in Antwerp.
The attempts to run her as an excursion steamer on the Thames in 1966 had ended in failure. With new financial backers she was brought out again in 1967 but the same thing happened. Shed loads of money were spent and hardly any income brought in with the ship running for only a handful of days in both seasons.
With a mountain of debts the Receiver was called in and Admiralty Marshall Captain Stanley Woods, who ironically had brought her round from the Clyde and sailed as her master for the first part of the 1966 season, was instructed to go aboard and nail a writ to her mast for the seizure of the ship by the High Court. Instrumental in taking the issue to court were a group of Thames Watermen who were owed money for their work in servicing the ship, providing labour to tie her up to mooring buoys and piers, providing a launch to and from the ship when she was tied up on buoys and for other general towage including assisting with turning and berthing her in the Upper Pool.
Captain Woods had been the Admiralty Marshall for several years. His services were not needed often by the courts in this capacity but it did happen from time to time and he was particularly sorry to be called upon to execute the deed against his old ship.
And so on Thursday 28th December 1967 Queen of the South was off Vlissingen on the way towards her final end.
Kingswear Castle returned to service in 2023 after the first part of a major rebuild which is designed to set her up for the next 25 years running on the River Dart. The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle Trust is now fund raising for the second phase of the rebuild. You can read more about the rebuilds and how you can help if you can here.
This article was first published on 28th December 2020.