Deal was the last of three cargo vessels built by D & W Henderson Ltd., Glasgow for the Southern Railway. Entering service in 1928, she transported, along with her sisters Hythe and Whitstable, general cargo, registered baggage containers and the occasional motor vehicle between Dover and Folkestone and Calais and Boulogne.
With the outbreak of WW II Deal served as a mobile barrage balloon vessel based at Sheerness, her task being to deter German bombers from attacking coastal convoys between the Thames estuary and the Solent. In 1943 her services were no longer required; discharged by the Admiralty she resumed her role as a cargo vessel in the Irish Sea operating from Belfast to various east coast ports.
At her return from war service Deal operated mainly on the Folkestone - Boulogne service, operating three round trips a week. In 1963 after 35 years of service Deal was taken out of service and sold for scrap to a Belgian concern, Van Heyghen Frères of Ghent.