A Western France Connection

By Derek Longly

Amongst the photos in my collection are three of cross Channel vessels which did not serve the route to Dieppe but instead I believe crossed to ports in western France.  I know very little about either the ships or their service and am hoping that by posting this short article and copies of the photos someone will be able to fill in the details.

All three photos were given to me by the late Del White, a well known local barber who had his premises in Chapel Street. 



Derek Longly collection

Photo:Prince Arthur

Prince Arthur

Derek Longly collection

Photo:Possibly another shot of Calvados?

Possibly another shot of Calvados?

Derek Longly collection

This page was added by Derek Longly on 26/10/2013.
Comments about this page

I can remember Peter Bailey telling me about the service to Caen in some depth a few years back. I should get the details again at the museum, add a comment here and then add the names to my 'Ferries of Newhaven' page, which currently concentrates on the Dieppe route.

By Andy Gilbert
On 27/10/2013

Thanks Andy - Will look forward to the information you can glean. 

By Derek Longly
On 29/10/2013

Hi Derek There was a cargo ship named Le Calvados built in 1890. She was sunk by a U-boat in 1915, and looks like the postcard. See I doubt she ever sailed the Dieppe to Newhaven route. A steam ship named Le Calvados sailed on the Le Havre-Caen route from 185? to the 1880's but "your" Calvados looks like it was built later.

By Philippe Rouyer
On 02/11/2013

Further research indicates that Le Calvados sailing on the Le Havre to Dieppe route was commissioned in 1847. She was a small 115ft long, most probably paddle - steamer. See :

By Philippe Rouyer
On 03/11/2013

Thanks Philippe for your comments. However, the ships you mention are not those shown in the photos I have submitted. These vessels were, as noted by Andy Gilbert, on a service from Newhaven to Caen. Andy will hopefully be able to provide more details once he has checked the information available at Newhaven Museum.

By Derek Longly
On 04/11/2013

These two ships were both built by William Denny & Brothers at Dumbarton, the Calvados in 1894 and the Prince Arthur in 1896. The Calvados was sold to the General Steam Navigation Co. in 1901 and renamed the Alouette. She was replaced by the Paris, purchased from the London, Chatham & Dover Railway and, confusingly, renamed Calvados. The cargo service to Caen ceased, I believe, in 1925.

By Maurice Geraghty
On 19/11/2013

From information given to me I now know that the third ship of the trio depicted in the last of the photos was not another picture of the SS Calvados but of the SS Trouville.

By Derek Longly
On 30/04/2014

During a while, there was a direct connection between Caen (Normandy) and Newhaven with a stop at Ouistreham .  SS Calvados, SS Trouville and SS Prince Arthur were on this connection 3 times a week in winter, every day in summer. Connection stopped in 1912. 

Some postcards identify SS Trouville Newhaven with a different ship. I would like to find explanation.


By Valery Lebigot
On 15/12/2016

SS Calvados, SS Trouville and SS Prince Arthur changed owners in 1901 and were renamed respectively Alouette, Walmer and Deal. They were replaced during 2 years (1910 and 1912) by another Trouville (ex SS Paris built in 1878). service stopped in 1912. I get postcard printed before 1914 which show a third Trouville and a second Calvados who sailled between Caen and Newhaven with no information except the pictures . Does somebody has a beginnig of information ?  

The post cards does not match the appearance of 1894-95-96 ships neither the silouhette of a 1878 ship. 

By Valery Lebigot
On 01/01/2017

See my new book, " The Dover Strait's Railway Cargo Steamers" which explains in detail the history of these three vessels and the failed Newhaven - Caen service.

By John Hendy
On 28/01/2019

I just came across this while browsing family history connections. in 1903 her Captain was Albert Edward Hemmings. His father had captained cross channel packets from Newhaven before moving to a post with GWR at Weymouth supervising the cross channel services there.

By Sam W
On 08/05/2020

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