But not where you'd expect to see her!

By Andy Gilbert

Photo:Brest alongside at Weymouth

Brest alongside at Weymouth

Kind permission of 'Petroc' from Ships Nostalgia

Courtesy of 'Petroc' on the Ships Nostalgia website, here's the best photo of Brest that I've come across to date.

Brest was one of the three last 'Dieppe Screws', the little cargo ships that ran alongside the passenger steamers before the days of the car ferries. this photo shows the two ways that you could tell Brest from her sisters, Rennes and Nantes.

Firstly, if you look at the funnel, you'll see that the black top isn't parallel with the top of the funnel, which slants at more of an angle. On Rennes and Nantes everything is parallel. Secondly, Brest has square windows at the front of the superstructure, whereas Rennes and Nantes have round portholes.

The keen-eyed amongst you will have spotted that this isn't at Newhaven or Dieppe. In fact it's at Weymouth in March 1959. Kevin le Scelleur, who's the expert on Channel Islands shipping, informs us that from 1957 to 1967 (the year she was sold to Metaxas Shipping in Greece) she regularly supplemented the British Railways cargo ships like Roebuck and Sambur that ran to the Channel Islands alongside their passenger ships, as well as covering for their refit periods.

Here are links to photos of those two ships. You may need to register with the Ships Nostalgia site, but it's quick, easy, spam-free and well worth it.



This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 29/08/2014.
Comments about this page

Nantes was built in 1946, Rennes 1948 and Brest 1950, all twin-screw motorships.  Whereas the names of British ships were generally preceded by the letters “s.s.” or “m.v.” to denote steam or motor, I understand that the French did not use prefixes.

All subsequent motorships on this service had unidirectional main engines and controllable-pitch propellers, but these three were direct-reversing. Anyone watching the ship gliding silently past the green light towards the berth would soon hear a blast of escaping compressed air, accompanied by churning of the water as one of the screws started turning astern, followed immediately by a puff of black smoke as the engine fired.

In later years at Weymouth, after Sambur and Roebuck had gone, Brest would have relieved Elk for refit, but she also made extra trips for Jersey potatoes each season.

You're quite right Bruce. I've amended the title to MV Brest. I took the title SS Brest from Petroc's photo - I should have got it right. Slapped wrist!

Thanks for the additional info on the 'potato runs'.

Andy - Editor.

By Bruce Macphee
On 04/10/2014

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