SS Brussels

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SS Brugge scuttled at Zeebrugge, April 1918 (Inset - Captain Fryatt)
Name: SS Brussels (1902-16)
SMS Brugge (1916-21)
SS Lady Brussels (1921-29)
Owner: Great Eastern Railway (1902-16)
Kaiserliche Marine (1916-20)
Belgian Government (1920)
Admiralty (1920-21)
J Gale & Co (1921-29)
Operator: Great Eastern Railway (1902-16)
Kaiserliche Marine (1916-18)
Dublin & Lancashire Steamship Co (1921-22)
British & Irish Steam Packet Co Ltd (1922-29)
Port of registry: United Kingdom Harwich (1902-16)
22x20px Berlin (1916-21)
United Kingdom Dublin (1921-23)
Republic of Ireland Dublin (1923-29)
Route: Harwich - Antwerp (1902-16)
Preston - Dublin (1920-29)
Builder: Gourlay Bros, Dundee
Yard number: 202
Launched: 26 March 1902
Completed: May 1902
In service: May 1902
Out of service: 1918–20
Identification: UK Official Number 109884 (1902-16, 1921-29)
Fate: Scrapped 1929
General characteristics
Tonnage: 1,380 GRT
Length: 285 feet (86.87 m)
Beam: 34 feet (10.36 m)
Depth: 15 feet 6 inches (4.72 m)
Installed power: Two triple expansion steam engines
Propulsion: Twin screws
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h)

Brussels was a passenger ferry originally built in 1902 for the British Great Eastern Railway. In 1915, she tried to ram U-33. The ship was captured by Germany in 1916 and her captain, Charles Fryatt was executed after the Germans discovered his deed. Brussels was renamed Brugge and used as a depôt ship at Zeebrugge.

In October 1918, Brugge was scuttled by the Germans when they evacuated the port. The ship was raised by the Belgian Government and presented to the Admiralty in 1920. She was repaired and later renamed Lady Brussels. She was employed as an Irish Sea ferry, serving until scrapped in 1929.

Construction and design

Brussels was a 1,380 GRT passenger ferry. She was built by Gourlay Bros, Dundee as yard number 202. She was 285 feet (86.87 m) long, with a beam of 34 feet (10.36 m) and a depth of 15 feet 6 inches (4.72 m). Her two triple expansion steam engines drove twin screws, propelling her at 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h).[1]

Brussels was launched on 26 March 1902 and completed in May.[2] Her Official Number was 109884 and her port of registry was Harwich.[2]

Service history

Brussels was used on the Harwich - Hook of Holland route. During the First World War, her captain, Fryatt, was twice recognised for his actions. On 3 March 1915,[3] he evaded a German U-boat for which he was awarded a gold watch by the Great Eastern Railway. On 28 March 1915, Brussels was ordered to stop by U-33 when she was near the Maas Lightship, but Fryatt attempted to ram the U-boat, which was forced to crash dive. For this action, the Admiralty awarded him a gold watch.[1] The First Officer and Chief Engineer also received gold watches from the Admiralty for this action.[4]

On 23 June 1916, Brussels was captured by the German torpedo boats G101 and G102. Fryatt was interned at Zeebrugge where he was arrested after engravings on his watches revealed his previous actions. Fryatt was tried and executed on 27 July 1916. Brussels was taken over by the Kaiserliche Marine and renamed Brugge, serving as a depôt ship at Zeebrugge.[1] Her port of registry was nominally Berlin.[2] On 23 April 1918, the Zeebrugge Raid took place, and the ship was torpedoed several times by the British, but did not sink.[5] Brugge was scuttled by the Germans in October 1918 when they evacuated Zeebrugge.[6]

In 1918, Brugge was claimed by the Belgian Government as a war prize. On 26 April 1920, she was presented to His Majesty's Government. On 17 May, Brugge left Antwerp assisted by three tugs on a three-day journey to South Shields.[7] Brugge was taken to a Tyneside shipyard to be repaired. She was sold by auction in 1920 for £2,700 to J Gale & Co. She was operated by the Dublin & Lancashire Steamship Company, which was later taken over by the British & Irish Steam Packet Company.[1] Her port of registry was Dublin. Brugge was renamed Lady Brussels in 1922.[2] She was used on the Preston - Dublin route, serving until 1929. In May 1929 she was scrapped by Smith & Co, Port Glasgow.[1] In 1920, the 10,317 feet (3,145 m) high Brussels Peak in Canada (51°31′00″N 117°49′20″W / 51.5166667°N 117.82222°W / 51.5166667; -117.82222) was named in honour of the ship.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Charles Fryatt". Southern Life. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 ""1109884"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  4. The Great Eastern Railway Magazine, September 1920, p218-26
  5. Kendall. The Zeebrugge Raid. pp. 135–136. 
  6. Kendall. The Zeebrugge Raid. p. 256. 
  7. The Great Eastern Magazine, June 1920, p102
  8. "Brussels Peak". Peakfinder. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 

Reference list

  • Kendall, Paul (2009). The Zeebrugge Raid 1918: 'The Finest feat of Arms'. Brimscombe Port: Spellmount. ISBN 976-0-7524-5332-3. 

External links