On Wednesday 31st December 1958 Charles Henry James Kaile retired as Secretary and General Manager of paddle steamer operators Cosens & Co after a career spanning 56 years with the company and was presented with an inscribed silver tea set by the Chairman Mr S F Thatcher at a lunch given in his honour at the Gloucester Hotel, Weymouth.
Guests included representatives of the business, civic and naval life of Weymouth including the Mayor, Mrs Iseult Legh, Alderman Mrs C Wootton, Mr E C Redman Chairman of Red Funnel of Southampton, Rear Admiral W G Crawford Flag Officer in Charge of Portland Naval Base and Mr W G Salmon the Weymouth and Southampton Divisional Shipping Manager for British Railways.
Tributes were paid to Mr Kaile by several guests including by Mrs Legh, Mr Thatcher, Mr D E Brooks (his successor as General Manager) and Capt Haines, then master of the Monarch, who was accompanied to the lunch by Capt Defrates of the Consul and Capt Rawle of the Embassy.
Rear Admiral Crawford recalled that he had been to a preparatory school in Weymouth and that in 1919, due to a railway strike, the only way he could get home to Lyme Regis was on one of Cosens’s steamers, probably the first Monarch, which gave him his first taste of going to sea and led to his Naval career.
Mr Kaile responded by thanking guests and recalled his days with Cosens which had ‘not been monotonous’ and had included work on Russian warships prior to going to war with Japan. He referred to all the apprentices ‘raised’ by Cosens who were now occupying positions of responsibility all over the world.
When Mr Kaile joined the firm as a junior clerk in 1902, Cosens owned and operated eight paddle steamers with the latest addition to the fleet the previous year having been the Majestic which had been specially commissioned for long distance and cross-Channel excursions as a direct result of competition in the neighbourhood from P & A Campbell’s Cambria.
He moved up from clerk to secretary to Mr S J Fowler, then Managing Director. In 1911 he was appointed Assistant Secretary to the company, in 1925 became Secretary and in 1942 General Manager.
Twice Mayor and later a Freeman of the Borough, he had been particularly interested in the Harbour Committee, ‘a sphere in which his knowledge was equalled by few’ and his Chairmanship of the Housing Allocation Committee brought him into close contact with many distressed and homeless people. In 1945 he was president of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce and for many years President of Weymouth Operatic Society.
Although Mr Kaile stepped down as General Manager of Cosens on 31st December 1958, he remained on the board which at that stage comprised just four Directors: F S Thatcher (Chairman), E C Redman (Vice Chairman and Chairman of Red Funnel), C H J Kaile (General Manager of Cosens) and C W Payne (General Manager of Red Funnel).
In this capacity he is seen in this picture fifth from the left presenting the bell of the first Monarch to Captain Thomas Chairman of the Wessex Branch of the PSPS in a ceremony aboard the Embassy in the Weymouth Backwater on Wednesday 8th March 1961. Others in the picture are from left to right: my Dad Winston Megoran, R E West, Sidney Davis (Company Secretary of Cosens), ?, Charles Kaile, Capt Thomas (Chairman of the Wessex Branch), Mrs Stephanie McGurk (daughter of Capt Thomas), Peter Ellis, Donald Jones, Victor Gray and Russell Horwood.
Mr Kaile did not seek re-election to the Board after his wife Annette Alice died in 1962. He himself died two years later in September 1964 at the Weymouth and District Hospital aged 81. He was survived by his two sons Eric and Alfred.
For many years the family lived in Spring Avenue on the corner with Rodwell Avenue in Weymouth only a short walk from his beloved harbour and paddle steamers.
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 31st December 2020.