Designer: Vic Smeed
The Cervia design closely followed an early designed steam tug class called Foremost which had been conceived in 1923. The reasoning behind the recycling of this old design was due to Britain’s need to quickly replace losses, and because of the government’s rapid rebuilding programme. Using the best of pre-war tried and tested tug designs would avoid the need for new designs, and get round any delays to the Admiralties rebuild plans. Empire Raymond, as the Cervia was originally named, was part of the revised building programme ordered for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe on D-Day. In the event, she was not completed until after the end of the Second World War. The tug was finished with many of the design features intended for the invasion. She had an armoured wheelhouse and gun emplacements installed. She weighed over 350 tons and was powered by a 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) triple-expansion steam engine. Her boiler had been installed with oil burners but the design allowed for rapidly reverted to coal firing. All the ships that were ordered by the British government during the war period were given the prefix Empire which was the equivalent of the “Liberty Ship” building programme in the United States of America. The Cervia is thought to be last Empire Ship surviving in the United Kingdom.