Normandy Ferries (Southampton).

nobby s
25th July 2007, 14:48
Hi, After having a browse through the ferry threads I have seen no mention of Normandy Ferries which used the port of Southampton in the early '70s. They were a subsidury of P&O and ran two ships to the port of Le Havre. The "Leopard" which was under the french flag and had a french crew and The "Dragon" under the british flag with a british crew. They were both superb ferries to travel on and both had very friendly crews. As a truck driver (International) I had occasion to use both of them over a number of years on a regular basis. Do you remember them or did you ever use them or was even a crew member? Would love to hear any comments.

25th July 2007, 15:22
They used to run the lion,panther and tiger out of Dover...then was took over by townsend thoreson....

doug rowland
17th September 2007, 21:36
Hi Nobby,
I worked in the ferries,mainly Dragon to Le Havre. Good ships to work and handle. With only stern doors all trucks and trailers had to be backed on in Southampton to drive off in Le Havre. Interestingly on occaisions when dockers were striking in France we would tie up either in dock, stern on to a wall or at a floating link where lorries had to drive on and most could be turned(with a bit of tyre squealin) in the ship just abaft the ER casing. To see the look on some drivers faces and the rich comments when told they could turn inside the ship was always good for a laugh. Once loading got to the turning position the last few wagons had to drive on to the relief of their drivers,but then had the fun of backing up the linkspan in Southampton.
Perhaps you were one of the lucky drivers!

27th September 2007, 00:36
I sailed between Larne & Cairnryan on the Ionic Ferry (ex Dragon). After the take over of Normandy Ferries by Townsend Thoresen, the others were sold to other companies. One was sold back to P&O (Panther) for the Aberdeen routes. The Dragon was the only one retained. P&O got her back about two years later when they bought Townsend Thoresen. She was sold in 1992.

30th September 2007, 17:11
Here is a picture of her. Hope it brings back memories.
From a J. Arthur Dixon card serial SS6866B.

nobby s
30th September 2007, 22:27
Hi Doug, were you on the Dragon when the dockies in So'ton wanted to drive our trucks off the ferry? I was one of those that drove onto the linkspan and locked it up and went home. The trucks stayed on board over Christmas and we won the dispute. I still see drivers that used those ferries regularly. We often dicuss all the damages in rough weather!! Do you live locally?
By the way Hawkey 01 many thanks for the picture. Nice one.

doug rowland
1st October 2007, 21:02
HI Nobby, I don't think I was aboard for the linkspan incident but do well remember altercations with dockers wanting to drive wagons on and off. They used to and still do,drive tugmasters to load/discharge unaccompanied freight but do not handle drivers trucks. I had a few fun times moving vehicles without drivers that the dockers, particularly in France could not cope with e.g farm machinery(combines) and crawler vehicles. Fun times in a good ship. Yes I do remember a good few "damages" in heavy weather,Not least one French lorry with hanging chilled meat that broke its lashings and squashed five cars.
Doug(in Wales)