The real history of the Coronia

FURTHER TO the letter from TW Ward of Overdale, I would wish to place on record both a correction and additional information in my capacity as a one-time Director of JW Johnson (Cruises) Ltd.

The first Coronia to grace Scarborough arrived in 1935, having been commissioned by a local businessman, Jack Ellis. He formed the company J Ellis & Co Ltd and this company continued from 1935 until 1951.

The Coronia was of course not in Scarborough all of this time as she was requisitioned for war service in 1939, not returning until 1945. At this time my father, Jack Johnson, was offered a shareholding in the J Ellis company, not the butcher Johnson from Aberdeen Walk, as referred to on February 3, who never did have any connection with the vessel. This was to assist the then ageing Jack Ellis to return the Coronia to her home port.

Jack Ellis died in 1951, at which time my father acquired the entire shareholding and on dissolution of J Ellis & Co formed our family company JW Johnson (Cruises) Ltd. I joined in 1960.

With dwindling passenger numbers and an unsympathetic council/harbour committee, the decision to seek a buyer was taken in 1966 and she left Scarborough in May 1968. My father and I through our company purchased a smaller pleasure craft, the MV Yorkshire Lady, from Scarborough Cruises Ltd, owned by Bernard Stipetic, a retired Hull trawler skipper.

We renamed the vessel MV Coronia and continued operating seasonal cruises until a sale to one of the Don Robinson companies in 1980, following which she sailed to Gibraltar where under ownership of Tommy Hanson she cruised successfully for a number of years before returning to Scarborough in 1991 and into the ownership of Tom Machin.

I wish Mr Goodwill and Tom Machin calm seas and a fair wind.

J Martin Johnson

North Street