Registration number 77
Status Registered


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Victualling
Location Portsmouth
Vessel type Victualling Inshore Craft
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Web address


Builder Pollock, J Son & Co Ltd, Faversham
Built in 1945
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 1
Propulsion Steam
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam compound
Boiler type Vertical Fire Tube
Boilermaker Cochran & Co, Annan
Boiler year 1945
Boiler fuel coal


Breadth: Beam
20.00 feet (6.10m)
8.00 feet (2.44m)
Length: Overall
84.95 feet (25.91m)
Tonnage: Gross


VIC 56 was built by James Pollock & Sons Ltd, Faversham, in 1945 as an oil-burning steamer for carrying ammunition. Her boiler was of convertible coal/oil-fired design. Like the other VICs, she had an open navigating platform - later, a wheelhouse was added by the Admiralty.

Her early use is unclear but, by 1947, she was allocated to the Victualling Store Officer at Rosyth Dockyard. She spent thirty years at Rosyth, first as a stores carrier and later as an ammunition carrier, before being offered for sale in September 1978. In April 1961, she had sailed via the Caledonian Canal to the island of South Rona with construction materials to establish a base there. Her last recorded steaming with the Admiralty was in February 1975 and she was then laid up.

After her sale for preservation, she sailed to the Thames in April-May 1979. VIC 56 was then converted to coal-firing and the 2-ton capacity steel cargo derrick was replaced by a wooden one, which could be used to lower a boat by hand.

Based in Chatham for a while, in October 2019 she moved to Portsmouth under the care of Boathouse 4.

Key dates

  • 1945

    Built by J. Pollock, Son and Co. Ltd at Faversham 

  • 1947

    Allocated to the Victualling Store Officer, Rosyth

  • 1947-75

    Life spent mainly in Firth of Forth taking stores and ammunition between Rosyth and Crombie

  • 1961

    Sailed to South Rona island via Caledonian Canal with materials to build base to monitor exercises 

  • 1975

    Last recorded naval steaming after which she was laid up

  • 1978

    Put up for disposal and bought for preservation

  • 2012

    Vessel selected for Avenue of Sail, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012

  • September 2018

    Owner seeking a new owner or group to take over the vessel:


Take a virtual tour of VIC 56 at her home in Boathouse 4 here. January 2021

Brouwer, Norman J, International Register of Historic Ships, Anthony Nelson, Edition 2, 1993  
Steamboat Register: An illustrated Register of surviving steam vessels in the British Isles, Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, Edition 6, May 1994  
Ships Monthly: The Story of the VICs, July 1981
Ships Monthly: The Story of the VICs - Part 2: Post War Service, August 1981
Ships Monthly: Clyde 'Puffers' - a review of their rise and decline, May 1981
Ships Monthly: Clyde 'Puffers' - a review of their rise and decline (continued), June 1981

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