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September 2011’s Mystery Ship Answer

The Isle of Man ships in the photograph are, from left to right, Tynwald (1947), Ben-my-Chree (1927), either Snaefell (1948) or Mona’s Isle (1951), and Mona’s Queen (1946).

Tynwald was the only ship in the six-ship King Orry class to have large windows at the forward end of the promenade deck, but an unglazed area under the third lifeboat. Ben-my-Chree can be distinguished from Lady of Mann (1931) by the absence of a flying bridge, and by a smaller funnel.

The third ship is not Manxman (wrong lifeboats) or King Orry (which had no glazed windows on her upper deck). This leaves only Snaefell or Mona’s Isle.

Unfortunately, all those ships’ distinguishing features are either out of sight (Snaefell’s bow badge and absence of white bulwarks at her stern) or out of focus (small window layout on the upper deck).

King Orry and Mona’s Queen were virtually identical, with small windows at the forward end of the promenade deck and an unglazed area under the third lifeboat. The only difference was that the cross trees on Mona’s Queen’s main mast were higher than those of King Orry. In this photo they appear to be in the higher position, so I have opted for Mona’s Queen. All the ships in the photo were built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead.

The photo was taken between 1948 (or 1951 if the third ship is Mona’s Isle) and 1961, when Mona’s Queen was withdrawn. With so many ships at Douglas, and Ben-my-Chree in service, it was clearly taken during the summer. The ports served regularly from Douglas in the summer up to and including 1961 were Liverpool, Fleetwood, Heysham, Ardrossan, Belfast and Dublin, although the ships called at other ports occasionally on specific charters.

Malcolm McRonaldHeswall, Wirral

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