“Royal Daffodil was launched in 1939, the third ship to carry that name. The first was a Mersey ferry built in 1906 as Daffodil and taken over by the Royal Navy during World War I, playing a key role in the Zeebrugge Raid of 1918. She was subsequently granted the Royal prefix by King George V for her war service. The General Steam Navigation Company of London in 1936, replaced her with a larger vessel, which her owners named Royal Daffodil.
The ship, built for continental trips from Tower Pier, commenced her service on 28 April 1939 with a sailing to Calais. On the outbreak of World War 2in September 1939 she was quickly requisitioned by the Sea Transport Department of the Board of Trade.
Initially she was used for the evacuationof some 4000 women and children from London and Thames Estuary to East Anglia. From 15 September 1939, Royal Daffodil was used to carry troops of the British Expeditionary Force(BEF) from Southampton to Cherbourg, continuing on this duty until October that year.
On 23 May, Royal Daffodil along with the passenger steamer Archangel carried troops of the 30th Brigade to Calais. She was one of the ships that took part in Operation Dynamo, the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. She rescued 9,500 men in seven trips. On 2 June 1940, a bomb passed straight through her and exploded under her. The explosion caused a hole in the starboard side, and the Master ordered everyone to port side, which raised the hole out of the water and enabled a temporary patch of mattresses and wood to be applied. Royal Daffodil made it safely to Ramsgateand disembarked the evacuees. Later she was sailed to Deptfordunder her own power for permanent repairs. Royal Daffodil also survived machine gunand torpedoattacks.
For the remainder of the war, Royal Daffodil ran between Stranraerand Larne, carrying military personnel. In 1945, despite the end of the war, she was retained by the Board of Trade, covering military requirements between Dover and Calais, and between Newhaven and Dieppe, until January 1947. During her wartime service she was estimated to have carried almost 2,444,000 service personnel and covered some 170,000 NM(310,000 km; 200,000 mi).
After the war, Royal Daffodil was refitted by her builders, and then used on sailings from Gravesend or Tilbury to view the French coast, also calling at Southend and Margate after a few seasons on this route. From 1954-1966 Royal Daffodil was used for many private events, and in 1966 made her last crossing.
She was sold for scrapping in Ghent, making her last journey to the breakers along the Terneuzen Canal under her own power to a sad demise in 1967. This event was shown on BBC TV.” Source: Wikipedia
This Gallant vessel, that we owe so much to, is also the namesake of one of the chapters in Colorado. The royal Daffodil Chapter meets the third Saturday of the month at 12pm, noon in member’s homes or at a restaurant. Members come from Arvada, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Centennial, Denver, Lakewood and Littleton areas.
"Not Ourselves, But The Cause"
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