Steam Yacht John Fell, later The Majesta

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SY John Fell  

S.Y. John Fell (1)
Fishery cruiser
Additional information courtesy of David Whiteside
Official Number: 111361
Yard Number: 79
Completed: 1899
Gross Tonnage: 145
Net Tonnage: 44
Length: 110 ft
Breadth: 18.6 ft
Depth: 10.7 ft
Built: Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Troon
Engine: C.2-cyl and boiler by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Troon

Majesta was a 170-ton steam yacht built in 1899 as the SY Ziska. After being re-fitted and re-named, she was purchased by Lord Morton in August 1903. Presumably this is the 'private yacht' used by Morton on his cpastal watch duties.  She was requisitioned in March 1940 and was converted for use as a Harbour Defence Patrol boat in the Nore Command with an armament of 12-pounders. In July 1941 she was reallocated for use as a Mobile Mark VI Balloon Base at Aultbea, but in March 1943 was converted for use as an accommodation ship for rescue-tug personnel at Campbeltown.  Her role during the First world War is not clear, but her owner was 'Head Coast Watcher' and is known to have been active off the west coast of Scotland in his private yacht.

1899: Completed by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Troon (Yd.No.79) for Samuel T. Chadwick, Haulfre nr Beaumaris, Anglesey as steam yacht ZISKA.
31.5.1899: Registered at Troon.
1900: Sold to Lancashire & Western Sea Fisheries Committee, Preston for £8,250. John P. Muspratt, Preston, County Offices appointed manager.
1901: Troon registry closed.
1901: Fitted out as a Fishery Cruiser and remeasured 145g 59n.
1901: Registered at Preston after fit out as a Fishery Cruiser.
1901 – 1907: Visited Preston on 13 occasions, either from Southport or sea. Frequently coaled and laid over at Fleetwood.
4.1902: Towed the Blackpool long line boat and fishermen north to fish off the Cumberland coast based at Seascale.
1907: Sold to Montague Grahame-White, The Royal Automobile Club, Piccadilly, London & others. Montague Grahame-White designated managing owner.
1909: Refitted as a steam yacht and remeasured 145g 44n.
1910: Registered at Preston as MAJESTA after refitting as a steam yacht.
14.08.1912: At Cowes week and anchored in Cowes Roads, Jack Douglas of Southwick drowned after falling from boat returning to the yacht.
14.08.1913: Sold to the Earl of Morton, Conaglen, Ardgour, Argyllshire. The Earl of Morton designated managing owner.
1913: Remeasured 145g 59n.
1927: Sold to James Napier, “The Drums”, Old Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire. James Napier designated managing owner.
1939: Sold to Arthur Gore, 7th Earl of Arran.
3.1940: Requisitioned for war service employed on harbour defence patrol. Based Sheerness.
29.5.1941: Compulsorily purchased by MoWT.
8.1941: Employed on balloon barrage.
8.1941: Deployed as an auxiliary patrol vessel. Based at Aultbea, Loch Ewe.
7.1942: Laid up.
4.1943: Used as an accommodation ship at Aultbea.
1.1946: Laid up and offered for sale.
1946: Sold (not traced further at the moment).

1.  I am not clear as to when she was named SY John Fell

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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024