July 2012:
Caledonian Steam Packet Waverley Captains

July 2012:
Caledonian Steam Packet Waverley Captains

Many paddle steamer masters stayed with their ships for very many years. For example, the Medway Queen had only two peace time masters, Capt Bob Hayman before the Second World War and Capt Leonard Horsham after the war.

By contrast, in her days with the British Transport Commission and the Caledonian Steam Packet Company from 1948 to 1973, the Waverley (seen here at Greenock in November 1965 alongside the King George V and with the Jeanie Deans, about to set off for her ill fated Thames adventure, behind her) had masses of them with captains coming and going with great regularity.

Capt John Cameron started the 1948 season as her master but moved to the Diesel electric paddler Talisman that same summer.

Capt Donald Crawford had her for the rest of 1948 and until 1951.

Capt Cameron was back from 1951 to 1954…

…although Capt Charles MacLean had her for part of 1953.

John Forster was master for 1955. (I can’t find a picture of him. Can anyone help?)

Capt Colin MacKay was master in 1956.

Capt Douglas MacFarlane had her in 1957.

Capt Colin MacKay was back for 1958 and 1959.

Capt Alex McNab for 1960.

Capt David McCormick in 1961 and 1962.

Capt Hector Connell from 1963 to 1966.

Capt Donald McPherson for part of 1966 and for 1967.

Capt John Anderson was master for part of 1967. (I can’t find a picture of him. Can anyone help?)

Capt Hector Connell was back for 1968.

Capt Angus MacEachran had her in 1969. (I can’t find a picture of him. Can anyone help?)

Capt Sween MacSween for 1970.

And Capt Hugh Campbell after that.

What a lot of captains, with the average service on her as master being just under two seasons.

Her fleet mate and quasi-sister, Jeanie Deans seems to have had a much more stable roster of captains in her post war career with just three…

…Capt Charles MacClean from 1948 to 1961…

…Capt Peter McDougall in 1962, just before he retired and…

…Capt Donald Crawford for her last two seasons.

What a fine collection of paddle steamer masters they were. And, unsurprisingly, so Scottish. Just count up the number of captain’s names beginning with Mc or Mac!

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.

John Megoran

John Megoran