Royal Eagle,  Lieutenant  Commander, Royal Navy Reserve., E. F. A. Farrow, on the bridge.

JAN 1942. ROYAL NAVY SHIPS.

Eagle Ships - ARISTOCRAT, BALMORAL, GOLDEN EAGLE, JEANNIE DEANS, QUEEN EAGLE, ROYAL EAGLE, all at Sheerness Jan 42.

August 1943. The Daily Telegraph reported that the Royal Eagle had been in action 52 times, shot down 2 German Aircraft and saved 24 lives. (This doesn’t include the lives saved at Dunkirk)

1946. The Royal Eagle was refitted for peacetime service at General Steam Navigation Company’s Deptford workshops. 08.06.1946:  Resumed her Kent Coast service and ran between London and Clacton, Essex.  

8 June 1946. Victory day. The Royal Eagle undertook its first post war cruise.

August 1950.  The Royal Eagle was laid up in the Medway.

December 1953.  The Royal Eagle was sold to British Iron & Steel Corporation for breaking up.

8 January 1954. The Royal Eagle arrived at Gray’s in Essex to be broken up by T W Wards & Co Ltd.


The Royal Eagle in her war paint.

24 February 1932. The Royal Eagle was launched, using a bottle of whisky, by Lady Ritchie, wife of the Chairman of the Port of London Authority.

September 1939. The Royal Eagle assisted in the evacuation of London children to Felixstowe, Lowestoft and Yarmouth.

October 1939. The Royal Eagle was requisitioned into Royal Navy to serve as an anti-aircraft vessel in the Thames estuary, based at Sheerness.

28 May 1940. The Royal Eagle rescued a British pilot who had parachuted into the sea.

Patrol, F
Type: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serial number: P2721, AK-?
Operation: Patrol
Lost: 28/05/1940
Sgt S.L. Butterfield
Bailed out over sea; rescued by the paddle steamer Royal Eagle.

May/June1940.  The Royal Eagle made three trips to Dunkirk and brought back over 3,000 soldiers.  (The number of trips the Royal Eagle took to Dunkirk is sometimes quoted as four and the number of troops she rescued also varies between 2,657 and 4,015.

During her rescue endeavours the Royal Eagle was dived bombed 43 times resulting in many near misses.

June 1940. The Royal Eagle remained at Sheerness for the remainder of World War Two serving in the Thames estuary as an Anti-aircraft vessel.

ROYAL EAGLE
Anti-Aircraft Vessel.


Launched with a bottle of whisky and not Champaign in 1932 the Royal Eagle was one of the biggest, fastest, luxury Paddle Steamers on the London to Southend, Ramsgate, Margate service. More than half a million passengers travelled on her every summer consuming over ten tons of food, beer and wine each day which was served by seventy stewards. Between 1932 and 1938 she was reputed to have carried over three million passengers.

In September 1939 the Royal Eagle, with other vessels evacuated 19,578 children from Thames side towns to the relative safety of the East Coast, Felixstowe, Lowestoft and Yarmouth.  She was requisitioned by the Admiralty in October 1939 where she was based at Sheerness and converted to an Anti-Aircraft Ship protecting the convoys in the Thames estuary. In 1940 she played a major part in rescuing troops from Dunkirk.

The Royal Eagle in peace time.

Paddle Steamer Royal Eagle.

Type:                     Excursion vessel, Paddle Steamer.
Route:                  London to Southend, Ramsgate and Margate.
Service Dates:    1932 to 1954.
Built by:               Cammell Laird & Co Ltd., Birkenhead.
Engines Type:    Triple-expansion steam engine.
Owners:               Steam Navigation Company Ltd
Official number:  162702
Weight:                1,539 gross tons. 794 tons deadweight.
Length:                 89.03 metres (292.1 feet)
Breadth:               11.18m (36.7ft)
Depth:                  3.20 metres (10.5ft)
Speed:                  17.5 knots
Compliment:      2000 passengers and crew.

Fate:                      Survived WW2 and returned to service. Jan 1954, broken up by T W Wards & Co. Ltd., Greys Essex.

The Royal Eagle moored off Queenborough.


JUNE 1940. ROYAL NAVY SHIPS,
Special Service vessels – paddle steamers GOLDEN EAGLE (Ty Lt J R Dent Pbty RNR), ROYAL EAGLE (Ty Cdr E F A Farrow RNR), both at Sheerness.

1 Nov 1940. More than twenty Ju88’s (German Bombers) and Me 109’s (German Fighters) attacked shipping in the Thames Estuary sinking the Oaze Lightship with the loss of all hands, the collier SS Letchworth with the loss of one of her crew, HMS Tilburyness with the loss of ten of her crew and seriously damaging HMS Pintail with the loss of ten of her crew and three wounded. The Anti-Aircraft Paddle Steamer Royal Eagle and the tug Salvo stood by the stricken Tilburyness and valiantly threw up a barrage of fire while rescuing her survivors.

A German Junkers Ju87 of Squadron 5/StG1 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire from HMS Royal Eagle, from Sheerness which it was attacking. It crashed into the Thames Estuary at 2.30 p.m. on the 1 November 1940.

George Dicks MC  (Captain) tells how he made three trips to Dunkirk in the Royal Eagle. He had trained on the use of searchlights and was transferred to the Royal Eagle when she was fitted with searchlights and Anti-aircraft guns.

The Royal Eagle was on patrol in the Thames Estuary defending the waters against mine laying German aircraft when she was called upon to go to Dunkirk. With astounding modesty he casually mentioned that he made three trips to Dunkirk, rescuing three and a half thousand British and French troops.

William Alfred Powell relates how on Thursday 30 May 1940 he and his comrades waited on the Dunkirk beach from four in the morning for most of the day. The beach was littered with abandoned equipment and the enemy were now within artillery range and shells were falling on the beach. Good fortune was on their side, as for most of the day it remained misty, which made it difficult for German bombers.
War ships were waiting off shore and small boats were ferrying troops out to them. At four in the afternoon, twelve hours after arriving at the beach he was amongst the last twenty of his group to be picked up. The small boat was overloaded and it almost capsized. He bailed out sea water with his tin hat until he reached the Royal Eagle. The beach he had so recently left was now being heavily shelled. He went below, took off his soaking wet clothes and tried to sleep.

The following morning, Friday 31 May 1940, he woke up too find he was at Sheerness where he was given a mug of tea in a navy drill hall and the wounded were taken away in ambulances.

At Sheerness Railway Station the people of Sheerness gave him sandwiches, cakes and pies. They also posted the letters he had written to his parents and finance.

Lieutenant General Henry Pownall. On the same crossing made by the Royal Eagle on Thursday 30 May 1940 was the Chief of Staff of the British Expeditionary Force, Lieutenant General Henry Pownall had been evacuated in order to hasten reconstruction of the British Army. With him was another Staff Officer the Fifth Earl of Munster.

Amazingly, unlike the other soldiers General Pownall had managed to keep dry because officers of such rank could be piggybacked through the surf by their batmen.

Although on the following morning, Friday 31 May 1940, the Royal Eagle would rescue from Dunkirk nearly 2,000 troops, on this day (Thursday) she was not full. Troops were simply not reaching the Royal Eagle as there weren’t enough small craft (Little Ships) to transport troops from the beaches to the ships. Knowing about the bottleneck at Dover harbour the Royal Eagle docked at the end of Margate Pier shortly after dawn on Thursday where General Pownall, Lord Munster and 800 other troops, disembarked.

Private “Moe” Harper relates how on 2 June 1940 he was told to make his way to DunkIrk for evacuation. Arriving at Dunkirk he found it ablaze with fires and littered with abandoned vehicles and equipment. From Dunkirk he was sent to the beach at La Panne. Bombed by Stuka Dive bombers and strafed by German planes he tried unsuccessfully several times to board small craft.

With only four men left from his unit they spent the night in the sand dunes before trying again the next day. Eventually he and his friends made it to the front of the queue where a small boat took him to the Royal Eagle. He states that the Royal Eagle was quite close to the shore. (her shallow draft allowing her to come closer in than other vessels) He found a place to sit down next to the funnel amongst the troops packed on the ship.

Unfortunately, the tide had gone out and with the heavy load of men on board the Royal Eagle had run aground. There was no option other than to wait for the tide to come back in.

A request was made over the Tannoy for volunteers to return to the shore to search for ammunition for the ships anti-aircraft guns. Moe was amongst the volunteers twice returning with ammunition and on the third occasion carry a large, heavy tin which proved to contain sugar. He took it to the galley and was given two loaves of bread and two tins of Corned Beef. He and his mates ate the first meal they had eaten in days. As the tide rose the troops were asked to move from side to side of the ship rocking it. They all cheered as the Royal Eagle came free and they were on their way home to England.

He also states that the Lewis Gunners on the Royal Eagle shot down three Stukas. (This is unlikely.) No doubt three Stukas were shot down, but with every British ship firing at them in would be impossible to know who could claim the kill.

The Royal eagle on Pathe News in peace time.
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/southend-issue-title-pathe-pictorial-goes-away-for

The Royal eagle on Pathe News in war time.
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/royal-eagle-issue-title-shoulder-arms

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST 39
NOT LISTED

(Not in Feb or March1940)

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST April 1940

Tempy. Lieut.-Com., R.N.R., E. F. A. Farrow, 11 Mar 40
Temp. Lieut., R. N. R., A. H. Dunkerley (proby). 11 Mar 40
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., C. A. Metcalfe (proby) 11 Mar 40

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST June 1940

Tempy. Lieut.-Com., R.N.R., E. F. A. Farrow, 11 Mar 40
Temp. Lieut., R. N. R., A. H. Dunkerley (proby). 11 Mar 40
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., C. A. Metcalfe (proby) 11 Mar 40~
Temp. Lieut., (E)R. N. R., R. L. Helyer, 14 Mar 40
Temp. Sub-Lieut., R. N. V. R., G. F. Greenwood, 8 Apr 40.
Temp. Sub-Lieut., (E), F. T. Morris, 29 March 40.

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST June 1941

Tempy. Lieut.-Com., R.N.R., C. H. Metcalfe 11 Mar 40
Temp. Lieut., R. N. R., A. H. Dunkerley  11 Mar 40
 Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., S. A. Notcutt 10 Nov 40
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., G. Paterson 8 Apr 41
Temp. Lieut., (E)R. N. R., R. L. Helyer, DSC, 14 Mar 40
Temp. Sub-Lieut., (E), F. T. Morris, 29 March 40.

Interestingly, (after Dunkirk) Temp. Lieut., Metcalfe has been promoted to Temp. Lieut.-Com. and Temp. Lieut., Helyer has been awarded a Distinguished Service Cross.

Tempy. Lieut.-Com., R.N.R.,  Edward Frederick Allen Farrow, was also awarded a D.S.C

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST June 1942

Temp. Lieut.-Com., R.N.R., R. M.Naylor (act) 6 Feb 42
Temp. Lieut., R. N. R., A. H. Dunkerley  11 Mar 40
(In lieu of specialist (N) Officer)
Temp. Lieut., R. N. R., J. Gosset, 5 Dec
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., P. N. F. Appleyard, Sept 41
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., W. D. A. Clark, 16 Oct 41
Temp. Lieut. Com. (E), R. N. R., R. L. Helyer, DSC (act.) 5 June 41
Temp. Sub-Lieut. R. N. V. R., D. S. Williamson 8 Jan 42
Temp. Act. Sub-Lieut. (E) R. N. V. R.,  E. G. Ruthven 28 May 41

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST June 1943

Lieut.-Com., R.N.R., E. F. A. Farrow, DSC, 13 Oct 42
Temp. Lieut., R. N. R., J. Gosset, 5 Dec
Temp. Lieut. R. N. V. R., D. S. Williamson 8 Jan 42
Temp. Lieut. Com. (E), R. N. R., R. L. Helyer, DSC (act.) 5 June 41
Temp. Lieut. (E), R. N. R., W. E. G. Ruthven (act) 28 May 41
Sub-Lieut. R. N. V. R., A. R. Warden 1 Mar 43
Temp. Sub-Lieut. R. N. V. R., J. H. Baker 14 Oct 42
Temp. Sub-Lieut. R. N. V. R., G. S. L. E. Sibbering, 25 Oct 42

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST June 1944

Lieut.-Com., R.N.R., H. Astbury, (In Command.)  6 Dec 43
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., J. W. Wiltshire, July 43
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., J. H. Baker 14 Oct 42
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., G. S. L. E. Slbbering 25 Oct 42
Temp. Lieut. (E), R. N. R., W. E. G. Ruthven, 28 May 41

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST April 1945

Lieut.-Com., R.N.R., H. Astbury, (In Command.)  6 Dec 43
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., J. W. Wiltshire, July 43
Temp. Lieut., R. N. V. R., J. H. Baker 14 Oct 42
Temp. Lieut. (E), R. N. R., W. E. G. Ruthven, 28 May 41
Temp. Act. Sub-Lieut. R. N. V. R., T. R. Walker, 20 Jan 45.

OFFICERS ON THE NAVY LIST July 1945
NOT LISTED

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