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9th June 1953 Emperor of India

The first trips of the 1953 season for Cosens's largest paddle steamer and flagship of the fleet Emperor of India were scheduled for Tuesday 9th June, under the command of Capt Phillip St Barbe Rawle, with departures from Bournemouth Pier at 10am and 2.15pm for Totland Bay, Isle of Wight. The trip took about an hour and a half each way with the morning run offering 5 hours ashore and the afternoon one about an hour and a half. On arriving back at Bournemouth at 7pm Emperor sailed light ship without passengers to her overnight berth alongside Poole Quay.

Emperor of India sailings.

Also sailing from Bournemouth on this day were Embassy which offered a 10.15am departure to Southampton Docks to view the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth; Monarch which ran the Swanage service with departures at 10.30am, 2.30pm, 4.15pm and 6pm; and Consul which brought passengers up from Weymouth and whilst at Bournemouth offered a 2.30pm Grand Cruise to the Needles Lighthouse, Isle of Wight before making off back home to Weymouth via Swanage at 5pm.

As the largest and most expensive paddle steamer to operate in the Cosens fleet, the Emperor of India tended to have the shortest season of all often not coming out until late June/early July and retreating back to lay-up in Weymouth in early September. However she was out early in 1953 to capitalise on the revenue opportunity presented by the Coronation Royal Naval Review with all the mass of ships taking part anchored at Spithead. With Empress alone holding the fort at Weymouth and with Consul, Embassy and Monarch away for other work in connection with the review at Southampton and Southsea, it fell to the Emperor alone to run trips from Bournemouth to view the fleet in the Solent off Southsea  every day from Thursday 10th through to the review itself by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on Sunday 14th June.

John Megoran

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