Home of Tug Tender Calshot Trust

Calshot & QE                                       Calshot manoeuvring the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth.

Cunard FlagCalshot has been closely associated with Cunard liners in peace and war.   Welcome to the Tug Tender Calshot Trust official website.   This organisation was established in 1996 to save Calshot from being scrapped.   She has survived thanks to the efforts of all the people involved in her restoration.   We really would not have survived without our team of dedicated volunteers.    Associated British Ports, have provided a berth for Calshot which has enabled ongoing maintenance to be accomplished and have supported the trust throughout this difficult period.   Thank you ABP!   The history of this ship is unique.   Built in 1929 for the Isle of Wight ferry operator Red Funnel, she was quickly to become a well known and established dual-purpose vessel.   Calshot was built as a tug and passenger tender.   Her passenger  carrying capacity being 556, in first and second class saloons.

During World War II, Calshot was requisitioned by His Majesty’s Government for service with the battle fleet at Scapa Flow.   She was later involved with the Queen Mary and  Queen Elizabeth who were at the time engaged in transatlantic trooping duties.   Calshot then returned to Southampton and the preparations for D-Day.   During the Normandy invasion, HMS Calshot served as a Headquarters ship at the ‘J’ for Juno area.   The story to date can be studied in the various History sections on this website.

Calshot has equipment on board which is the same as that found on Titanic

There are very few ships which have been involved in so many historic events and survived to tell their stories to the general public.   Whether you are a ships enthusiast or part of a school party which are visiting a historic ship, on board this vessel you will come in contact with real life in the ever-changing world of commerce and shipping in general.   Do not hesitate to ask our volunteers for information about Calshot.   They are devoted to her long term preservation, and will find the answer to whatever your question.

Calshot proudly flies the ensign of the NATIONAL HISTORIC FLEET

Historic Fleet Flag



The famous Southampton built Tug Tender Calshot is one of only a small number of tug and passenger tenders ever built.

Calshot was built in her home port of Southampton by John I. Thornycroft & Co. Ltd.    Yard No. 1093.   Registered Number 161681.

Built in 1929.  Dimensions: Length 157 feet.   Beam 33 feet.  Tonnages:   Gross 684.      Net 296.

Original engines:  Twin screw, triple expansion steam reciprocating engines 1,500 i.h.p.  (indicated horse power) built by Southampton shipbuilders, Thornycroft.

Calshot crewing in the 1930’s  –  Captain, Mate, Chief Engineer, Second Engineer, 2 Able Seamen, 2 Ordinary Seamen, 2 Firemen, Greaser, Steward plus an Assistant Steward for tender duties.

There were occasions when eleven large liners were berthed in Southampton docks on the same day.   Some owners preferred their ships to drop anchor at Cowes Roads and passengers, baggage, stores and mail would be transferred by tug tenders to and from the quayside.

The Calshot first class passenger saloon on upper deck and the first class bar and refreshments saloon on lower deck are virtually as built and were in service from 1930.   The pantry adjacent to the bar was clearly used for the preparation and service of food.  They are testament to the style of life which first class passengers experienced in the 1930’s.

The second class saloon on the main deck, has been totally stripped of its original fittings.   This area will be restored in the future to clearly establish the class divide of the 1930’s. On D-Day, 6th June 1944, Calshot served as a Headquarters ship at the ‘J’ for Juno area. There is currently a D-Day exhibition of photographs in the second class saloon.   This area will be developed as an educational resource with the emphasis being placed on Southampton ships.   This is a wide ranging subject which will cover every operational aspect of the internationally famous Port of Southampton.

The bridge of Calshot has been updated many times over the years.  Many dramatic decisions must have been made on this bridge, particularly during World War II.   

The Bridge and Chart Room are typical of the 1930’s, and together with other areas of Calshot, will inspire schoolchildren and students with their heritage studies.