On Tuesday 5th July 1927 P & A Campbell’s paddle steamer Waverley was scheduled to run from Eastbourne at 9.40am and Brighton at 11am for a day trip giving about two and a half hours ashore at Sandown on the Isle of Wight. She was due away from Sandown at 4.30pm with arrival timed back at Brighton for 7.30pm and Eastbourne at 8.50pm.
This was of course not our Waverley but another paddle steamer of the same name built in 1907 as the Barry for Bristol Channel Passenger Boats Ltd. Acquired by P & A Campbell in 1911 she ran on the Bristol Channel (apart from war service) until 1926 when she was renamed Waverley and transferred to operate on Campbell’s Sussex Coast services from Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. Called up for war service once again in 1939 she was bombed and sunk off Sunderland on 5th July 1941.
The Sussex Coast was ever a difficult place to operate paddle steamers with the piers exposed to all winds from the east through south to the west. Also in an era when weather forecasting was not then what it is today paddle steamers were sometimes caught out in some pretty serious weather. Only the previous Friday 1st July 1927 Devonia, had encountered tremendous seas which not only delayed her arrival back at Brighton from Boulogne to gone midnight but also caused fairly extensive damage to the ship with the forward port doors being stove in, the forward port lifeboat lifted out of its cradle and displaced and with several portholes smashed.