Paddle Steamer Ryde
As HMS Ryde she would serve in the Dover Straights and the North Sea. During the sisters' time as minesweepers, German propaganda broadcasts frequently made menacing references to them. On more than one occasion the Germans even claimed credit for sinking the vessels.
After two years as a minesweeper, Ryde was refitted as an anti-aircraft ship, carrying a variety of quick firing weapons. Joining the Thames Local Defence Flotilla in 1942, her first duty saw her anchored out in the muddy wastes of the estuary as a guard ship. But she was soon transferred to Harwich, her base until May 1944 when she sailed to Portsmouth to join the great invasion fleet gathering for the liberation of Europe.
Safely arrived off the Normandy coast, Ryde took up position on the western side of the Mulberry harbour at Omaha beach. Having weathered a severe storm that gravely damaged the temporary harbour, she received the signal: "If you have enough coal, return to Portsmouth, if you do not have enough coal, run the ship onto the beach!". Fortunately, such extreme measures proved unnecessary; Ryde made it back to Portsmouth, although her crew were sweeping out her bunkers.
Following a short spell anchored off Bembridge, she was finally returned to the Southern Railway in August 1945, after nearly six years at war. At last she could at last exchange her guns for the holiday crowds that she had been built to carry.