In the First World War KITTY transported coke and stores to Calais and Boulogne for the army. Launched in April 1895 by John and Herbert Cann, of Gashouse Creek, Harwich, for Horatio (‘Raish’) Horlock and three co-owners, KITTY is one of the oldest spritsail barges still in commission.
The two branches of the Horlocks family operated fleets of barges from Mistley for transporting grain from London and Ipswich, as well as timber, malt, flour, bricks, grit and general cargoes. KITTY's cargo capacity was 150 tons.. In the twenties her work was mostly between London, Mistley, Ipswich and Yarmouth. She was sold in 1933 to Francis and Gilders Ltd, of Colchester, who in March 1951 merged with the London and Rochester Trading Company. In January 1949 KITTY was loading timber in the Surrey Commercial Docks and took a big deck cargo to clear her steamer. When moving in the dock she took a sudden list and lost the deck cargo overboard and was then in collision with the motor coaster GRAMPIAN COAST, sustaining damage to her stem. She was repaired and continued in trade under sail, with no engine, until July 1955.