Steam Yacht MEDEA

Type: WW I Convoy escort gunboat, WW II Barrage balloon vessel and accommodation ship

Launched: August 29, 1904

At: Alexander Stephon & Sons, Ltd., Linthouse on the Clyde, Scotland

Length: 109.7 feet (waterline), 140 feet (overall)

Beam: 16.65 feet

Draft: 9.4 feet

Gross Tonnage: 111.84

Net Tonnage: 57.17

Armament: WW I – One 75mm gun; six Guirard-type anti-submarine depth charges; one captive observation balloon. WW II – barrage balloons.


Maritime Museum of San Diego

1306 N. Harbor Drive

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 234-9153

Fax: (619) 234-8345


Latitude: 32.7210615825, Longitude: -117.174231197

Google Maps, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo Maps, Mapquest

Steam Yacht Medea was built for William Macalister Hall of Torrisdale Castle, Scotland, who used her mainly for social occasions and hunting excursions around the islands and lochs of western Scotland. In 1917 the French Navy purchased her. Renamed Corneille, she spent the remainder of World War I as a convoy escort for French sailing ships.

After the war, she returned to British ownership and resumed her original name. In April 1941, a year after World War II began in Europe, the Royal Navy requisitioned Medea to serve as a barrage balloon vessel at the mouth of the River Thames. She remained in this service until summer 1942, when she was reassigned to Scotland where she served as an accommodation ship for the Norwegian Navy’s commando officers based there.

By 1946 Medea was back in private British hands cruising off Cornwall and the Isle of Wight. She operated as a charter yacht from the 1950s to 1969 when she was sold to a Swedish owner. In 1971 an American purchased Medea, restored her, and in 1973 donated her to the San Diego Maritime Museum where Medea is now displayed and steams around San Diego Bay.

Comments are closed.