Duchess of Devonshire made her first trips of the 1919 season on P & A Campbells’s Cardiff to Weston ferry service on Wednesday 4th June under the command of Capt J J Ashford. The war was now over and so hopefully business would be on the up but the country was still in the grips of a serious and deadly influenza epidemic which would kill large numbers around the globe.
The Duchess was first chartered by Campbells for this route whilst the war was still on in 1917 as the link between Wales and Somerset was felt to be important and as they had no ships of their own available with all their own fleet still away on war service. She had been built in 1892 for the Devon Dock Pier and Steamship Company’s services from Exmouth and Torquay along the Devon coast. and, with an overall length of just 170ft, was very much smaller, and slower, than Campbell’s own steamers.
For 1919 the Duchess saw competition from a new outfit called “Tucker’s Yellow Funnel Fleet” who had bought the Lady Evelyn and the Lady Moyra for Bristol Channel services. They were larger, faster and much more commodious than the little Duchess and offered a much wider range of cruises.
As the summer wore on Campbell’s were able to return to service their Ravenswood in June, Glen Avon in July, Cambria in August and Glen Usk in September so the usefulness to them of the little Duchess diminished and in the latter part of the summer of 1919 she was moved to be based at Newport.
The Duchess left Bristol on the morning of Thursday 2nd October and, after sheltering for the night off Barry, set off at 6am the following morning for the voyage down Channel and along the South Coast arriving back in her home port of Exmouth at 10am the following day.
Along with her sister the Duke, the Duchess would continue her Devon services from Exmouth and Torquay the following year.