Isle of Jersey and Isle of Guernsey

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Isle of Jersey as a hospital ship in wartime

From their launch in 1929 until they left service on island routes in 1959 and 1961 respectively, Isle of Jersey and Isle of Guernsey were two of the most popular vessels ever to operate between England and the Channel Islands.

Built by Denny Brothers for Southern Railways in 1930, the sister ships were of 3,143 tons, twin screw steam turbines, 306 feet long and 42 feet beam, with a speed of 19 knots.

Isle of Jersey

Isle of Jersey was the first of the Isle Class ships. She first came to Jersey on 13 March 1931. During the war she served as a Naval Hospital ship and made eleven crossings to the invasion beaches, resuming the Southampton-Channel Islands service after the war. She made her final voyage from Jersey on 31 October 1959, and was sold in 1960, renamed Lydda and commenced running between Benghazi and Tripoli with pilgrims under an Indian captain.

Isle of Guernsey

Isle of Guernsey had her maiden voyage to Jersey on 5 April 1931, and proved a very popular vessel in the pre-war years. This was nothing, however, compared with the delight with which she was welcomed back when, on 26 June 1945, she became the first mailboat to enter St Helier Harbour after the Liberation.

She then went to Southampton for a major refit, returning to Channel Islands service in April 1847.

During the war she had been converted to a hospital ship and at Dunkirk made trips to the beaches bringing back 836 wounded men. She was refitted as a landing craft for D-Day and was the second vessel to enter Arromanches.

Isle of Guernsey and eventually made her last passenger sailing from the Channel Islands in May 1961, when Southampton was closed as a Channel Island passenger port. She was sold and broken up in Belgium in November 1961.

Isle of Guernsey arrives in Jersey in June 1945, re-establishing sea services after the German Occupation
Isle of Jersey enters St Helier Harbour
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