In 1876 the London and South Western Railway had the Diana built by Aitken and Mansell, the first screw-propelled ship to be built for the mail service. She was of 850 tons, 232 feet long, with engines developing 200 hp, and giving her a speed of 14 knots.
Her first voyage was to St Malo on 14 February 1877, but a week later she developed mechanical problems and had to be towed back to St Helier. She operated her first mail service on 7 April and remained on the route until 25 July 1890. In 1881 a boat deck was added.
Her service was mainly Southampton-Channel Islands and on 22 June 1895 Diana was wrecked between Guernsey and Cap de la Hague. The passengers, crew and mail were saved but the ship slid off the rocks two days later and was lost. The master, Captain Kemp, had his certificate suspended for six months and his chief officer reprimanded.