Royal Yacht's last voyage


Unpublished pictures of the 1st Royal Yacht Britannia which was featured on the cover of the first issue of Yachting Monthly in May 1906 have been uncovered.

The J Class yacht was photographed as she was being launched from Marvin’s yard at East Cowes on her final voyage before being scuttled as was her owner King George V’s dying wish.

Because of confusion over the new Britannia the photos have been released by Rodney J. C. Barton, whose father was Cowes harbourmaster at the time.

‘To put the record straight it should noted this project is to create a ‘replica’ of the original yacht that was owned by King Edward VII and sunk off the Isle of Wight when King George V died in 1935.

‘King George V’s dying wish was for his beloved yacht to follow him to the grave. On 10 July 1936, after the Britannia had been stripped of her spars and fittings, her hull was towed out to St Catherine’s Deep off the Isle of Wight where she was scuttled by the Royal Navy.

‘In 1994 a replica of Britannia was commissioned for Mr Sigurd Coates and built in Russia. In 2009 the hull was shipped to Norway but the project came to a standstill until 2011 when the the yacht was acquired by a British Charitable Trust. The hull was towed to Cowes, Isle of Wight during February 2012 and is now undergoing construction to the same specification as she was in 1931.

‘The photographs here have never been published before as there was a press blackout at the time but my late father who was Harbour Master took them as he escorted the Britannia clear of Cowes harbour.’