The Mystery Wreck in Mr Fry’s query in the September 2015 issue of Sea Breezes, is the former Wallasey Ferry Royal Iris, built in 1951 by W Denny & Sons at Dumbarton.
Intended for the River cruise and the New Brighton service, she had a passenger certificate for 2,296 when on ferry service and 1,000 when cruising. This made her the biggest (in capacity) ferry to serve on the Mersey. Known as the “Fish and Chip” boat, her dance cruises were popular in the 1950s & 1960s. Her diesel electric propulsion was innovative, but her colours of deep yellow and green proved controversial. Passing to the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive on 1 December 1969, she was repainted in their colours of white and blue. Sold in 1993, she was intended to be used as a club in Cardiff. However, this did not succeed and she ended up on the Thames in 2002 and has languished there ever since. Attached is a photo that I took of her in 2006.
Andrew Bell in his article about MV Calabar, dates the picture of MV Apapa (2) on Prince’s Landing stage as being before the opening of the Mersey Road Tunnel (Queensway) in 1934. He cites the presence of a vehicle ferry to prove this. He, therefore, infers that the vehicle ferries (‘Luggage Boats’) were withdrawn when the tunnel opened. This is not the case. The Birkenhead Luggage Boats remained in service until 1941 although two were sold in 1939. The remaining boats were requisitioned in July 1941 and served on the river as crane vessels unloading aeroplanes from ships. The Wallasey (Seacombe) luggage service continued through the War and until 31 March 1947 when the last boat was withdrawn.
Committee Member - Friends of the Mersey Ferries