Military Wiki
SS Mona's Isle (1882)
Mona's Isle at the Victoria Pier.
Mona's Isle
Name: Mona's Isle

1882-1915: Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

1915-1919 The Admiralty.

1882-1915: IoMSPCo.

1915-1919 The Admiralty.
Port of registry: Douglas, Isle of Man
Route: Douglas - Liverpool, Belfast, Dublin, Fleetwood, Ardrossan.
Builder: Caird & Co. Greenock
Cost: £58,700 (£5,288,542 as of 2022).[1]
Way number: 76304
Laid down: 1882
Launched: 16th May, 1882
In service: 1882
Out of service: 1915
Identification: Official Number 76304
Code Letters P K F C
ICS Papa.svgICS Kilo.svgICS Foxtrot.svgICS Charlie.svg
Fate: Broken up by T W Ward & Co at Morecambe, September 1919.
Status: Scrapped
General characteristics
Type: Paddle Steamer
Tonnage: 1,564 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 330 ft 7 in (100.8 m)
Beam: 38 ft 1 in (11.6 m)
Depth: 15 ft 1 in (4.6 m)
Installed power: 4,500 shp (3,400 kW)
Propulsion: Two oscillating steam engines working at 90 pounds per square inch (620 kPa) developing 4,500 shp (3,400 kW)
Speed: 18 knots (21 mph)
Capacity: 1,561 passengers.
Crew: 56

SS (RMS) Mona's Isle (III), No. 76304, the third ship in the company's history to be so named, was a paddle steamer which served with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company until she was purchased by The Admiralty in 1915.

Construction & dimensions

Mona's Isle was constructed by Caird & Co. at Greenock and was launched on Tuesday, May 16, 1882. Caird & Co. also supplied her engines and boilers.

Length 330'7"; beam 38'1"; depth 15'1". Mona's Isle had accommodation for a crew of 56, and was certificated to carry 1,561 passengers. Her engines developed 4,500 i.h.p. which gave her a service speed of 18 knots.

The engines were quite remarkable for their day. The oscillating engine had slowly developed from low pressure jet condensing with all the demerits that salt water intake involved, to higher pressure surface condensing that was the forerunner of the turbine circulating system. These were the first high pressure engines of this type to be adopted by the Steam Packet Company. They worked at a boiler pressure of 90lbs p.s.i. The stroke was 90 inches with the high pressure cylinder 65 inches in diameter and the low pressure cylinder 112 inches. The low pressure cylinder was said to be larger and heavier than any other fitted to a paddle steamer.

Service life

Mona's Isle was said to be the largest, best appointed, and most expensive steamer in the company's history up to that time.[3] Exceptionally fast in her day, she could reach Liverpool from Douglas in only 3hr. 55min. She was the first of five rather similar paddle-steamers added to the fleet between 1882 and 1889.

Mona's Isle aground at Scarlett Point.

In 1895 Mona's Isle was fitted with electric lighting, the consideration being £600 (£61,897 as of 2022).[1]

Mona's Isle was structurally damaged in heavy seas in 1885. On passage from Douglas to Liverpool damage was done to one of her paddle wheels and they were later strengthened, with a set of new composite floats fitted in 1886.

In September 1892 she went aground at Scarlett Point, Castletown, while rounding the south of the Island, homeward bound from Dublin. She was fast aground for two days, and was re-floated after assistance from Tynwald, her passengers having previously been landed onto the rocks by way of a rather precarious ladder from her bows.[3]

She was present on the South Coast of England briefly in 1902, being on charter for the Fleet Review at Spithead for the coronation of King Edward VII.[3]

War service

Mona's Isle was sold to the Admiralty in 1915 and did not return to the company's fleet after the Great War. She was fitted out by Vickers in September, 1915, as a net-laying ship for anti-submarine work.

She was usually stationed at Harwich and did varied work, quite apart from net-laying. Perhaps her most noteworthy mission was to the wreck of a Dutch steamer that had been torpedoed and sunk beyond the Cork lightship off the southern Irish coast. It was known that the Dutchman had been carrying bullion, and the net-layer acted as base ship for the salvage operation. Gold valued at £86,000 (£6,154,913 as of 2022)[1] was recovered, after which the paddle steamer made fast getaway from an area where German submarines were particularly menacing.

The Mona's Isle had a number of varied missions; she patrolled the west coast of Ireland, she assisted in rescue work from a sinking warship and she searched for survivors from two British submarines that had been lost.


After the end of the war she was not fit for reconditioning, and despite being offered for sale by the Admiralty, no bids were forthcoming.[3] Mona's Isle was broken up by T. W. Ward & Co at Morecombe in September 1919.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2013), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  2. Ships of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (Fred Henry) p.66
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "PS Mona's Isle (III)". Paddle Steamer Picture Gallery. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 

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