Eastern Princess

Photo:Eastern Princess on a sea trip to scroby sands

Eastern Princess on a sea trip to scroby sands

Courtesy of Great Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Leaflet advertising trips on the Eastern Princess

Leaflet advertising trips on the Eastern Princess

Courtesy of Neil Cox

Photo:Eastern Princess home ward bound

Eastern Princess home ward bound

Courtesy of Neil Cox

Photo:Eastern Princess entering Great Yarmouth harbour

Eastern Princess entering Great Yarmouth harbour

Courtesy of Great Yarmouth Museums

Photographs of the Eastern Princess an ex Motor Torpedo Boat

By Neil Cox

The Eastern Princess was an ex Motor Torpedo Boat, after the war she was used as a passenger boat-taking holidaymakers to Scroby sands to see the seals. She used to depart from town hall quay on two-hour trips.

In her later years, she finished her career-taking passengers on cruises to Reedham village, sailing from the Cobholm side of Haven Bridge, again on two-hour trips.

She was involvedĀ in an accident with a coaster near her winter berth by Gorleston Ferry in which she was so badly damaged that she was sold. Her whereabouts from then onĀ are unknown.

This page was added by Neil Cox on 15/08/2008.
Comments about this page

After the sad demise of the Golden Galleon I spent some time on the web trying to find out more with regard to Eastern Princess (ex ML347). My assumption was that she too had been scrapped although I could find no information regarding this. I'm not sure when she had the accident mentioned above but I have now found a reference to her from early 2006. She was seen operating an inter-island ferry from Skiathos (Greece), so certainly at that time she was alive & well !!

By Alan Cracknell
On 01/09/2008

Please contact me about a return to Great Yarmouth on Tuesday June 23rd 2009 of a great little boat built at GY in 1935. Trips round Scroby 1935 to 1939.
1939 to 1945 as HMS Watchful bringing back 900 troops from Dunkirk. Trips round Scroby 1945 to 1950 with Eastern Princess from Haven Bridge.

On 16/06/2009

The Eastern Princess was actually a WW2 motor launch. The Eastern Princess was one of three similar boats, the others being Southern Princess and Western Princess, all owned by Reginald Fligg. The Western and Eastern Princesses operated out of Great Yarmouth and the Southern Princess out of Lowestoft. All three offered sea trips, the Great Yarmouth boats to the seal colony on Scroby sands. The Princess's were never used on River trips. The cost of maintaining all three boats led to the disposal of two of them leaving only the Eastern Princess in operation. Eventually this too was sold and after several changes of ownership she ended up in the Greek islands. Her current whereabouts is unknown. Eastern Princess should not be confused with the Golden Gallion. Due to the high cost of maintaining these boats in sea-worthy conditon the Golden Gallion was operated only on Breydon Water giving river trips between Great Yarmouth and Reedham. In a sad state she ended her days moored at Reedham, abandoned and was broken up. The wife of Reg still lives in Great Yarmouth and has clear memories of the career of the three ML's they owned.

By John Rogers
On 05/08/2011

In 1968 I spent an interesting summer working on first the Golden Galleon and then the Eastern Princess, in the engine rooms. These vessels were not like modern ships with bridge control but used the classic telegraph system, where the bridge would ring down a command and the engine room staff would then carry out the order. I had the "pleasure" of being seated between two screaming 6 cylinder 2 Stroke Diesels for two hours with only the port and starboard engine controls at my finger tips. Both vessels departed at the same time, to the same destination. There was little love lost between the two crews and I leave you dear reader to imagine the fun and games, the only thing missing was the "Jolly Roger"

The berth for the Golden Galleon on Townhall Side was a difficult one to use due to the speed of the tide when ebbing and also the close proximity of the Haven Bridge. I remember well one evening when returning to our berth it took the master some twenty minutes to get alongside the quay, only many years later did I realise the true reason for this!

The master of the Eastern Princess one Paul Barnard, an ex Trawler skipper had many tricks, one favourite was on returning from Reedham, on an ebbing tide rather than carry out the possibly hazardous manoeuvre of turning in a fast flowing tide, he  would announce to the passengers that we were about to run aground. As this was taking place one would be aware that the bow had risen against the background of buildings as we slid gently up the mud bank down stream of the Bure. The fast tidal stream would drag the stern of the vessel round to point to the Haven Bridge. An almighty burst of full astern both would result in us sliding off the mud and gracefully stern first to our berth on Cobholm side. 

It was a pleasure to have known and worked with Paul Barnard who truly was the master of his craft.

Were it not for the skill of the skippers and crews plus a fair measure of the grace of God many Broads holidays might have ended in the Yare or on Breydon Water due to the inexperience of holiday makers being let loose with cabin cruisers which had both engine and gear box, BUT no brakes!

By Noel Shelley
On 30/03/2016

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