PEMBETH OF CLYDE is a cutter-rigged oyster smack built in 1912 by Aldous of Brightlingsea. She was commandeered by the IV Brigade Royal Horse Artillery during the First World War as a lighter to carry hay to feed the horses at their London barracks at St John's Wood. She was named CLYDE after one of the renowned drum horses, those used by the British Regimental Cavalry for parades, ceremonies of state and royal processions; her reliability earned her the title.
The IV Brigade was permanently assigned to the cavalry brigades from October 1914 onwards. It saw action in the defence of Antwerp (9-10 10 October) and the First and Second Battles of Ypres, the Battle of Arras, the First Battle of the Somme, the Battle of the Avre, the Battle of Amiens and the Battle of Cambrai. Its final action was in the Advance in Flanders in the last days of the war.
After the Armistice, PEMBETH OF CLYDE began her career as an oyster smack at Faversham, still under the name CLYDE; she worked for Warren and Herman of Whitstable delivering oysters from the fishing fleet to Billingsgate. She also fished in her own right towing a dredge.
During the Second World War, PEMBETH OF CLYDE was commissioned by the War Department working under sail. She was possibly captured by the Germans after which she was found abandoned in the Channel and recovered by French fisherman off the Brittany/Normandy coast, repaired and returned to the United Kingdom. Later restoration work revealed evidence of work by French shipwrights. After the Second World War, she was purchased by a family who changed her name to PEMBETH OF CLYDE. The word PEMBETH was formed from the initials of the children.
Where is she now?
PEMBETH OF CLYDE is privately owned and sails out of Brightlingsea.
Brown, Paul (2013), Historic Sail: Britain's surviving working craft. Stroud: The History Press
Old Gaffers Association Members Handbook and Boat Archive (1993)