The armies on the Continent needed a constant supply of food, materials and munitions. Travelling across the Channel, under constant threat of sinking by U-boats, a huge number of vessels, from Thames barges to coastal steamers, undertook the task of transporting these vital supplies to France. Many were sunk but even today there are a few survivors of this heroic effort, without which the Allied armies could not have fought on.
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Vessels in this theme
3rd May 1916 – a combination of storm, conscription and fear of U-boats conspires to almost sink CUTTY SARK in the Indian Ocean.
1 November 1914–GLENLEE laden with coal narrowly avoided being captured by the Germans near Coronel.
During the First World War CAMBRIA sailed from London and the Medway across the North Sea and channel to Dunkirk, Calais and Le Treport with a cargo of coke, pitch and wheat.
During the First World War CENTAUR was on a normal trading voyage in the English Channel when a Coastal Motor Boat shot out of the fog and landed on her deck.
During the First World War ENA and the other barges in the Paul fleet carried supplies to the armies on the continent of Europe.
During the First World War KITTY transported coke and stores to Calais and Boulogne for the army.
The luxury yacht PRINCE OTMAN towed barges on the River Mersey during the First World War under the name MAUNA LOA
REAPER was a sailing herring drifter which continued fishing throughout the war, although she could only do so during daylight hours. She was based at Lerwick in the Shetlands Islands.
WORCESTER was a motor tug which continued to operate on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal throughout the war although attempts were made by the Admiralty to requisition her.
In 1914 SS GREAT BRITAIN was over 70 years old and in use as a coal storage hulk based at the Falkland Islands. She coaled the British fleet that defeated von Spee’s German fleet.