On arrival in Candia in 1897 British troops were faced not only with insanitary conditions in the town, but also with an inadequate supply of suitable drinking water. The water in the town was condemned as being too chalky and 45 tons brought from Malta had turned bad. The initial solution was to retain the hired transport SS Clyde which had brought the 1/Seaforths from Malta, to supply water. A longer term solution was found by using the distillation vessel ‘Turquoise’, anchored in the inner harbour, to provide a semi-permanent water source.
The Turquoise was to feature in the events of 6th September 1898 when Cretan Muslim rioters opened fire on British troops in the harbour. During the fighting members of the Highland Light Infantry and sailors from the Turquoise and H. M. S. Hazard made use of the Turquoise in defending the customs house, the Dime, and the harbour.