Manufacturer: Scammell China
User: Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Company
Date of saucer: 1923
Notes: Member Michael Arnold discovered this saucer in the 1990s while diving off the Devonshire coast in England and after it had spent some 40 years in the ocean.
From Wikipedia: "The Norfolk & Washington Steamboat Company was organized in the Spring of 1889 and charter[ed] in 1890 with the capital coming mostly from Washingtonians. A bill was introduced on January 4, 1890, for incorporation in the Virginia State Senate. The object of the company was to equip and operate a line of steamers for the transport of passengers and freight between Washington, DC and Norfolk, Virginia, on the Potomac River.
"After the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Federal Government requisitioned the Northland and Southland on July 9, 1942. The company is given 24-hour notice with no details on what they will be used for or if they will be paid. They are given to the British Allies. They were used in a decoy convoy along with several other ships in the area of St. Johns, Newfoundland on September 21, 1942. They were used to draw German submarines away from another convoy carrying thousands of troops. The Southerland's gun crew is credited with a 'probable kill' a U-boat in the mid-Atlantic. The crew shot 14 rounds out of the 12-pounder to a periscope which had appeared on the starboard quarter. It was followed with a second emerging on the port quarter leading to 18 shells being s[h]ot. Only five of the eleven American ships made it to Great Britain, including the two steamers. All masters and chief engineers and 14 other officers received decorations from King George VI.
"The vessels were used to train British commandos and Royal Marines. The Northland was renamed the Layden as there was already another Northland in the Navy.
"The steamboats were then used in the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944. The British D-Day planners were looking for vessels able to cross the British Channel to be transport personnel or serve as hospital ships. The District and Maryland men from the 29th Division landing on Omaha Beach recognized the steamboats and wrote about the excitement of seeing these local boats in letters home. While the idea of buying back the boats had been entertained, the staterooms had been ripped out to make room for the troop hammocks. The cost was too great, and they were sold to Chinese interest though it was not clear is the Communist or the Nationalists had them. The company was paid $338,275 by the government for the two steamboats.
"With the Northland and Southland in the war, the company was operating the service with only one steamer by 1945: the District of Columbia. They did not return to the company after the war.
"In October 1948, the District of Columbia was involved in a crash with a tanker in Hampton Roads, and on November 26, 1948, after 58 years of service, the Norfolk & Washington Steamboat Company published a legal notice to liquidate the company."
White body vitrified china with two thin lines at the outer edge of the rim. Nearest the edge is a thin gold line under a black or navy thin line. At the top of the verge is a matching black or navy thin line. At the top of the saucer, the lines are interrupted by a line drawing in rust red of a steamboat.
Photos and info: Michael Arnold
Advertisement: Ed Babcock
Author: Ed Phillips