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Built as a passenger vessel under yard No 1261 by William Denny & Bross, Dumbarton, Scotland for the Southern Railways Co., London.
21 October 1932 ordered, she was replacement for the VERA.
23 December 1932 keel laid down.
12 April 1933 launched as the BRITTANY.
Tonnage 1,445 grt, 554 net, 325 dwt. Dim. 79.25 x 11.92 x 4.27m. (draught).
Powered by four steam turbines manufactured by Denny & Bross, 2,800 shp. twin screws, speed 16.5 knots.
Passenger accommodation for 850 passengers, first class 500. Sleeping berths for 62 passengers.
Could carry 40 cars and 2 trucks.
09 June 1933 delivered to owners.
18 June 1933 she arrived for the first time in Jersey, her route was primarily to and from St Malo but also used for excursions to most of the other Channel Islands, Granville and Cherbourg. For the following few years the railway shipping companies enjoyed a prosperous time as travelling to and from France became the fashionable thing to do.
Tourism was beginning to show signs of the success it would become in the future. The railway shipping companies then saw the onslaught of air travel as a potential problem to their popularity, so many of then sought to join forces with an airline company to minimize their loss and move with the times.
During the winter season was she mostly laid up in Boulogne.
In August 1939 she was making four trips a week between Jersey and St Malo and although war had been declared she continued running until the end of December.
Following a short stunt in the service between Folkestone and Boulogne she took part in the evacuation of the Allied troops from France.
29 May 1940 sailed for the first time in “Operation Cycle” to evacuate troops from Dunkirk. From 15 till 25 June took part in “Operation Aerial” the evacuation from troops and people from the French and British Channel Islands to England.
24 June 1940 laid up.
14 September 1940 requisitioned by the Royal Navy and fitted out at Southampton as a netlayer.
Armament 4 – 20mm guns.
23 December 1940 commissioned as HMS BRITTANY.
24 January 1941 she left Southampton for Portsmouth and then to Rosyth.
During the voyage to Rosyth she was attacked by two enemy airplanes off North Foreland, her decks were swept by machine gun fire and four bombs were dropt which exploded near the port side.
One plain was shot down by the starboard Hotchkiss gun of the BRITTANY.
On 26 February she left Rosyth via Scapa Flow thereafter she lay nets at the entrance of the Skaale Fjord, Faroe Islands. She returned to Rosyth.
06 April she sailed again from Rosyth to lay submarine nets at the entrance to Sullom Voe in the Shetlands and on 21 July lay bottom nets at Hoy, Orkney Islands.
18 April 1942 she sailed from the Clyde with a full cargo of bottom nets bound for the Indian Ocean via Cape of Good Hope, arriving Mauritius 01 August, where she establish boom defences.
10 September she laid nets in Madagascar waters, then reloading in Kilindini, Kenya.
The second part of December she carried out work at Diego Suarez, Madagascar before she set sail to the Addu Atoll to a secret base in the Maldives, she salvaged in January 1943 old nets and placed new nets, to close the two northern entrances there.
After the work was finished she sailed via the Seychelles to Kilindini to land 169 salved boom defence buoys and 225 cases of empty beer bottles.
From Kilindini she was sent with hurricane relief stores to the cyclone hit Tamatave, Madagascar.
She was back at Kilindini on 7 March with on board 300 tons of tapioca to relieve the food shortage in Kenya. She was delayed by engine trouble this voyage.
Due to this engine troubles she was sent to Bombay for a refit and placing of Asdic equipment.
Via the Seychelles, Addu Atoll and Cochin she arrived on 29 March in Bombay.
16 June she sailed from Bombay for the Red Sea then to the Mediterranean.
Took part in Operation Husky the landing in Sicily first as a rescue vessel for the large fleet heading from Egypt to Sicily.
She was busy in the Mediterranean until mid-April 1944 when she sailed for the U.K. where she arrived on 05 May 1944 at Southampton.
06 June 1944 she took part in the Normandy landings as a unit of the Mooring Force.
07 June she laid out a 13 buoy trot for the Bombardon floating breakwaters and the initial Liberty ship moorings. Later that month she was at work at the Mulberry harbour.
31 July she sailed from Plymouth to help in the U-boat war by laying wires attached to floats to cut off or damage the snorkel apparatus of the U-boats which were still operating west of the Shetland Islands. Many miles of wires were laid even in a position of 1000 miles west of Ireland.
June 1945 was she transferred to the East Indies Fleet in the continuing war against Japan but before her refit was completed in Alloa, Scotland Japan surrendered on 14 August 1945.
17 October decommissioned.
18 October arrived at Southampton for a refit by Harland & Wolff before handing over to her owners on 4 June 1946.
05 June in the service from Jersey and St Malo.
28 August 1947 she grounded was refloated but was not more used that summer season.
01 January 1948 transferred to the British Transport Commission, Southern Regions, Southampton.
November 1962 laid up at Southampton.
09 April 1963 sold to Rederi Ab Ålandsfärjan, Mariahamn and renamed ALANDSFARJAN.
Before she was coming in service she was modernized by the Helsingborg Shipyard, which included the fitting of new public rooms forward and the provision of space for the carriage of 38 cars aft, loading via a stern ramp.
20 June 1963 in the service between Mariehamn and Gräddö.
02 December 1965 the Russian ship LIGOVO collided with the ALANDSFARJAN.
07 December 1965 arrived by the Finnboda Varf Ab Nacka for repair.
When the Viking Line was formed in July 1966 by three ferry companies in Finland the ALANDSFARJAN was transferred to the new company.
She was then used in the service between Mariehamn and Kapellskär.
12 January 1970 the company name was changed to SF Line Ab, Mariehamn, Finland.
19 May 1972 she grounded off Söderarm in which she sustained heavy damage.
26 June 1972 sold to Teijon Tehtaat Oy, Helsinki for scrapping. Some parts of the interior were used in Pub Brittany in Mariehamn.
Jersey 2001 65p sg?, scott?
Source: A Century of Cross-Channel Passengers Ferries by Ambrose Greenway. Jersey Post Bulletin No 114. http://www.faktaomfartyg.nu/brittany_1933.htm
Short Sea: Long War by John de S. Winser.