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1980 - The Last Paddle-wheel Tug

December. RMAS Tug Forceful, last of the Portsmouth dockyard paddle tugs goes out of service with a bang. It was to be her last duty with the press; photographers and television all there to capture the moment. In company with the tug Agile they were helping with the departure of the US Navy tanker Savannah when Agile hit Forceful on her port paddle-box with such force that she had to be withdrawn from the operation. She was one of seven tugs known as the Director class that entered service in the late 1950’s; three were allocated to Portsmouth; the other two were Griper and Grinder.

Forceful was due to be sold out of service after this operation but the damage was not repaired and she was expended as a target on the Aberporth Range. At one time Tugs in Admiralty service carried funnel markings in the shape of a coloured band: Blue Band indicated Captain of Dockyard Dept. Red Band indicated Royal Naval Armaments Dept. Green Band indicated Victualling Dept. White Band indicated Naval Stores Dept. The first paddle-tug to enter service at Portsmouth was called the Monkey. She entered service with the Royal Navy on the Thames in 1821 coming to Portsmouth in the late 1820’s.