Antelope, Gazelle and Lynx
Antelope was the first of three new vessels built for Great Western Railway in 1888-89 when they decided to take over the Weymouth-Channel Island service. She was a 609-ton twin screw steamer built of steel by Laird Brothers, of Birkenhead.
Her maiden voyage to the Channel Islands was on 3 August, 1889 and she remained on service until August 1913, despite the introduction of large vessels at the end of the 19th century.
On 10 June 1890 Antelope hit the Cavale Rock off Guernsey and went back to her buildrs for repairs. Refits in 1890 and 1896 saw the conversion of the ladies’ first-class sleeping cabins into one large cabin and then the ladies’ accommodation replaced the captain’s cabin on the quarter deck.
Another incident befell the ship in 1893 when she ran out of coal during a voyage in bad weather from the islands to England and had to shelter in Swanage Bay while a tug was sent with enough fuel for the rest of her journey,
The Gazelle was a sister ship of the Antelope, completed at the same time, and in service until 1908, when she was converted to cargo and eventually sold in 1925.
She underwent similar alterations to those of the Antelope and had a relatively trouble-free career.
The third of the Great Western Railway trio was Lynx whose maiden voyage to the Channel Islands was on 4 August, 1889. She carried mail until 1912, when she was converted to cargo and eventually sold in 1925.
On 5 September 1890 whe collided with the Oevelgonne south of Portland and in March 1897 whe hit a rock while en route to Guernsey from Weymouth and had to be repaired in Barrow.
She spent most of the First World War in service in the Mediterranean as HMS Lynn and returned to cargo duties in Jersey in 1920.
On 31 December 1924 she washit by a large wave between Jersey and Guernsey and lost her wheelhouse.