PS MEDWAY QUEEN - VIRTUAL TOUR
Our guide takes us across the yard and a little way down the road to the start of the access ramp. To allow for the tides a sloping ramp has been installed with a hinged section onto the ship’s promenade deck. The tour proper starts here with our volunteer guide who has an extensive knowledge of the ship and her history.
From the promenade deck, cruising on a fine day, you could see the sites of the river Medway and the sea-going traffic of the Thames Estuary. As we make a circuit of this deck the guide points out items of interest such as the bridge where the captain controlled the ship and the mounting point for the bow rudder wheel for manoeuvring when going astern.
Medway Queen was commanded by Tommy Aldiss for her first two seasons and then by Bob Hayman until the outbreak of war. During the war a number of men took command at various times but for Dunkirk it was Lt A. T. Cook DSC RNR. In post war years the captain was Leonard Horsham, who had served on board for a time before the war.
In peacetime there would be crowds of excited holiday makers on deck taking the air and consuming drinks, ice creams and so on. In wartime there was a 12pdr gun mounted ahead of the mast and anti-aircraft machine guns on the paddle boxes. Aft, the deck had been cut back to give a greater working area for the crew to deploy the Oropesa floats and mine-sweeping wires.
Top - Medway Queen at Gillingham Pier, photographed from the approach ramp. Luke Miles.
Left - the forward part of the promenade deck in service. Reg Wright.
Courtesy of Alan Wright.