Previous names

  • 1935 - 1939 Brit
  • 1939 - 1945 HM Tender Watchful
  • 1945 - 1951 Brit
  • 1951 - 1968 Yorkshire Lady
  • 1968 - 2021 Coronia
Certificate no 179
Status National Historic Fleet


Function Passenger Vessel
Subfunction Excursion
Location Hartlepool
Vessel type Excursion
Current use Commercial Activity
Available to hire Yes
Available for excursions Yes
Info required No


Builder Fellows & Co, Great Yarmouth
Built in 1935
Hull material Steel
Rig Square
Number of decks 2
Number of masts 2
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
19.57 feet (5.97 m)
4.59 feet (1.40 m)
Length: Overall
89.93 feet (27.43 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


CORONIA was built as BRIT by Fellows & Co., Great Yarmouth, in 1935 for Longfield Brothers, who offered excursions from Great Yarmouth's Town Hall Quay and Britannia Quay. She was licensed to carry 200 passengers and spent her first five summers taking holidaymakers out to see the seals basking on the sandbanks along the north sea coast of Norfolk. She was powered by twin Crossley diesels. Following the outbreak of war, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty on 16 September 1939 for service as a tender. Renamed WATCHFUL, she became the base ship for the fleet and was repainted in battleship grey. She carried stores and torpedoes to the destroyers lying in Yarmouth roads, her bar became the wardroom for her officers and she had a gun turret installed on her foredeck.

On 29 May 1940, she was deployed to assist in the Dunkirk evacuation and reportedly rescued 900 troops. On 12 December 1945, she was returned to her owners, the Longfield brothers and was refitted and restored to her orignal name, BRIT, to operate once more as a pleasure cruiser for the start of the 1946 season. In 1950, she was modified with a lower funnel and bridge to be operated on the Thames by Thames Launches for excursion work during the Festival of Britain.

In spring 1951, she was sold to D. Dalton & G. Round for excursion work at Scarborough and renamed YORKSHIRE LADY. She was repainted with a white hull and a yellow funnel, which later had the company's house flag emblazoned on it. In a 1961 refit at Eyemouth, she was re-engined with Gardner 6LX diesels and a new wheelhouse was fitted. In 1968, she was sold and renamed CORONIA. After a refit in Scotland in 1975, she eventually sailed for Gibraltar in 1985 and provided trips around the bay, showing visitors the Rock and the marine life around the colony. At the end of 1991, CORONIA was sold to North Sea Leisure and on 5 June of that year, she returned to Scarborough, where she resumed service alongside REGAL LADY (cert 180). Source: Paul Brown, Historic Ships The Survivors (Amberley, 2010), updated Mar 2011.

Now back seaworthy and available for viewing in Hartlepool Marina, she has a Tea room open in the after lounge area and a Bar open in the ward room along with a small museum displaying the Dunkirk evacuation story of this little ships life. All proceeds of the tea-room and Bar go to the upkeep and continued restoration of this eighty six year old lady that served us all in this country's darkest days, restored by her current owner and volunteers



Machin, Tom, M V Coronia, 1935-1995, 1995
Brann, Christian, The Little Ships of Dunkirk: 1940-1990, Collectors Books Ltd, 1989
Hamer, Geoffrey, Trip Out 1995/6 - A Guide to the Passenger Boat Services of the British Isles, G P Hamer, 1995
Hamer, Geoffrey, Trip Out 1995/6 - A Guide to the Passenger Boat Services of the British Isles, G P Hamer, 1995
Plummer, Russell, Ships Monthly: UK Excursion Guide 2000, pp42-45, August 2000 

Key dates

  • 1935

    Built in Great Yarmouth as a cruising yacht named BRIT for Longfield Brothers

  • 1935-1939

    Summer cruises along the Norfolk coast from Great Yarmouth

  • 1937

    Dummy funnel fitted

  • 1939

    Requisitioned by the Admiralty for boom defence work on the Humber and renamed HM Tender WATCHFUL

  • 1940

    Took part in the Dunkirk evacuation rescuing 900 troops from the beaches

  • 1942-1944

    Worked on the Pluto pipeline project

  • 1942-1950

    Returned to Great Yarmouth renamed BRIT and used for pleasure cruising

  • 1950

    Modified with a lower funnel and bridge  Operated by Thames Launches for excursion work for the Festival of Britain

  • 1951

    Sold to Scarborough Cruises

  • 1951-1984

    Carried out pleasure cruises from Scarborough along the Yorkshire coast and renamed YORKSHIRE LADY

  • 1968

     Renamed CORONIA

  • 1985

    Sold to Gibraltar based owners

  • 1985-1990

    Operated from Gibraltar as a pleasure cruiser and at one time acted as host to HRH The Duke of Gloucester on an official visit

  • 1990

    Sold to Tom Machin of North Sea Leisure - now Scarborough Pleasure Steamers

  • 1997

    Extensive restoration work undertaken

  • 1991-2011

    Pleasure sailing from Scarborough in conjunction with another historic vessel, REGAL LADY

  • 2011

    Sold into new ownership


  • April 2007

    A Sustainability Grant of £1000 for a survey (with REGAL LADY) was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships

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