Both ships started life in 1916 as purpose-built paddle minesweepers: HMS Atherstone and HMS Melton. After the war, in the 1920s, they were purchased by the New Medway company and converted for civilian use as PS Queen of Kent and PS Queen of Thanet. They operated under that flag until 1939 when they were requisitioned and became minesweepers again – under their new names as the original names were being used for existing naval ships. They returned to civilian use afterwards and were hastily converted back as stop-gap vessels while new build motor vessels were on order. In the late ‘40s they were sold to Red Funnel in Southampton for use as ferries. They were renamed Lorna Doone and Solent Queen respectively, but this proved to be a short-term reprieve and they were scrapped in 1951 and ’52.
Material, especially personal recollections, is expected to be harder to find than for Richard’s previous projects as these ships disappeared before cameras were in widespread use and so long ago that few people will now have first-hand memories of the ships. If you can help with any information or images, please contact Richard Halton by email on email@example.com