SPITHEAD was built by Osbourne Graham & Co.Ltd.of Sunderland in 1915 and was built as a powered armoured landing craft (X-Lighter) specifically for the World War I Dardenelles campaign. Sold by the Admiralty in 1921, she was bought by the James Dredging & Towage Co. who used her until 1936. She was then sold to F W Horlock Ocean Transport Ltd. and carried aggregate on the East Coast and River Thames. During World War II, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and was used as a fleet tender at Scapa Flow, thereafter returning to her previous owners and duties. She later changed hands many times, continuing in the ballast trade; her last commercial use was as a dive/salvage vessel in the 1970s. Since the 1980s, SPITHEAD has been used as a houseboat. Major restoration was planned and underway in 2009. As a vessel which has served and survived two World Wars she has historic significance, being specifically designed as the first amphibious landing craft with early use of diesel power in any vessel.
This vessel is a survivor from the First World War. You can read more about her wartime history by visiting our First World War: Britain's Surviving Vessels website www.ww1britainssurvivingvessels.org.uk.
A Sustainability Award of ú1000 for remedial work of the hull was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships
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