Blue Funnel

(Source: Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws)
S.S Pyrrhus photographs curtesy of Captain John Bax.
1914-1919   -   1919-1923   -  

Alfred Holt, the company's founder, was born in Liverpool on the thirteenth June 1829. He was the middle son of five children, all male. His mother, Emma Nee Durning, his father, George, was a well-respected cotton broker who went on to build the 'India Buildings' which was later to become the Headquarters for Blue Funnel. 1834 saw the completion of India Buildings and it was also the year that the East India Company's monopoly of the Far East was terminated thus opening the way for other private companies.

In 1845 Alfred started work as an apprentice engineer working for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company of Edge Hill. The Company later became known as the London and North Western Railway Company in 1846. In 1850 Alfred completed his apprenticeship. Unfortunately this also coincided with a slump in railway development and in 1851 he joined Lamport and Holt (his brother George was a founding partner) and started work on his first ship 'Scamander' a screw steamer.

The second ship he worked on was the 'Orantes' and after completion he sailed on her maiden voyage as a supernumery engineer to the Mediterranean. This was later to prove invaluable as a source of what it was like to be at the working end of Marine design. 1852 Alfred opened an office in the India Building and started work as an engineer consultant. This office was to remain Alfred's for the rest of his working life.

In 1853 he was to form two alliances. First with Thomas Ainsworth, a coal merchant from Cumbria, and second with Captain Isaac Middleton, who skippered Ainsworth's collier 'Alpha'. Alfred and Ainsworth formed a joint venture and acquired the screw steamer 'Dumbarton Youth' from the William Denny yard. Here legend has it that on sighting her tall black funnel, Alfred armed with tins of blue paint, set about changing it to powder blue topped with a black band. This colour scheme was to be retained for the rest of the Company's history.

1854 saw the completion of the second ship 'Cleator' built at Liverpool by Cato and Miller under the supervision of Alfred. Later that year she was chartered by the French Government for the duration of the Crimean War. Incidentally 15 years later, 1869, the 'Cleator' was to become the first 'Blue Funnel' ship to transit the Suez Canal.

1855 a second ship was built, her name was 'Saladin'. She was completed just after the war ended and thus found herself on the West Indian run competing against subsidized Royal Mails, financially something of a disaster to begin with, Alfred almost gave up but fortunately on her third voyage she turned in a profit.

1857 saw four more ships completed. 'Plantagenet', 'Askalon', 'Talisman' and 'Crusader'. Trade grew and along with it, profits. Alfred was on his way.

1864 saw Alfred selling his interests in all ships, save the 'Cleator'. Retaining her to try out his idea of a two-cylinder compound tandem engine, steam supplied at 60lbs. Three times the pressure of normal steamers. Alfred's new design was innovative and by December 1864 the 'Cleator' was at sea, not only cutting fuel costs but also adding two knots to her speed. She was commanded by Isaac Middleton no less, Alfred's friend from way back in 1853 ('Alpha'). This was also the year that, after much discussion, the division was made to trade East as opposed to West and South. Also to order three new ships which were to revolutionise trade namely 'Agamemnon', 'Ajax' and 'Achilles'. All three built at Scott's of Greenock. 1865 saw the registration of the company name, 'The Ocean Steam Ship Company' and the announcement of their trading routes Mauritius, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai via the cape of Good Hope.

The 'Agamemnon' made the inaugural sailing to China commanded by Captain Isaac Middleton, who up until this time had been in command of 'Cleator'.


Built: 1865 by Scott & Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 2, 280g, 1, 550n.
Engine : Single Screw, Compound Tandem Driving Single Crank, 2 Cylinder, 945 IHP, 10 Knots. Engine designed by Alfred Holt and constructed by Builder.

Agamemnon was the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War; brother of Menelaus; son of Atreus. His children by Clytemnestra, whom he took by force, were Iphigenia, Electra, and Orestes. To obtain favorable winds for the fleet against Troy, he sacrificed Iphigenia to Artemis, incurring Clytemnestra's hatred. Upon his return from the war, he was murdered by Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. To avenge his death, Orestes and Electra killed Aegisthus and their mother.

Agamemnon was the first ship of a three ship build program for the Ocean Steam Ship Company, the other two were Ajax and Achilles. All three were of a pioneer design in as much as the position of the rudder and propeller were reversed, the experiment was considered to be a failure because of sluggish manoeuvring capabilities. Alfred also incorporated boilers of a railway engineering design which lifted the working pressure from 10 lbs per sq ins which was the norm for marine boilers to 69 lbs per sq ins. He was limited to 69 lbs per sq ins by the Board of Trade because at that time sea water was used in ship's boilers and because of scaling they formed hot spots which meant that the boilers had a tendency to forcibly eject themselves from the boiler rooms. On one occasion a boiler had actually travelled half the length of the ship and was protruding through the bow.

Agamemnon made her maiden voyage on the 19th of April 1865 calling at Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, Captain Isaac Middleton was in command. In 1869 she loaded a cargo of tea at Hankow some 2, 516, 000 lbs at a freight rate of £28, 087 both records at the time. In 1897 she transferred to the Dutch flag subsidiary Nederland Stoomboot Maatscappij Oceaan retaining her name. She was broken up in Italy after a service life of thirty-four years in 1899 and at the time still had her original experimental machinery.

1867 a working alliance was formed between the Holts and Butterfield/Swire who later went on to found the 'China Navigation Company' in 1872.

1868 saw yet another Alfred Holt innovation, in September the 'Ajax' sank in Shanghai! What happened was that the engineer who was working on the shaft that coupled the engine to the propeller shaft couldn't complete the task and was set to finish it the following day. During the night the outgoing tide unscrewed the propeller and its shaft sinking the ship to her uppers. Alfred didn't sack the poor unfortunate but redesigned the coupling arrangement making the coupling flange bigger than the stern tube gland also making the gland watertight.

1869 the Suez Canal opened, reducing the passage to China by ten to twelve days. This was the to signal the beginning of the end of sail though it did take another quarter of a century for sail finally to give way to steam. Also this year five new ships were ordered, delivery spread over the following two years.

1870 'Priam' and 'Sarpedon' delivered, fleet now seven.

1871 'Hector', 'Ulysses', 'Menelaus' and 'Glaucus' delivered.

1872 'Patroclus', 'Delicalion' and 'Antenor' delivered. 'Cleator' and 'Saladin' sold.


© unknown

Built: 1872 by Andrew Leslie & Co, Hebburn on Tyne.
Tonnage: 2, 074g, 1, 604n.
Engine: Single Screw, 2 Cylinder Compound Tandem, 214 NHP, 700 IHP, 10 Knots.

Patroclus was the friend of Achilles who lent him his armour to lead the Myrmidons to aid the retreating Greeks. He was killed by Hector.

The first of four ships of her namesake class and lightly larger than the Nestor Class. With no significant changes by Holts to the design of their ships companies such as Glen, Shire and Castle seriously started to challenge Holts pre-eminence in its established trades. She was reboilered in 1882 and in 1891 was one of the Company's first ships to transfer to N.S.M.O. for trade in the Dutch East Indies. The Company was to begin transferring some ships to the Dutch Registry and using Dutch Officers on its older vessels. In 1894 she was sold to A.P. Adams of Singapore, Blue Funnel's agents who subsequently sold her to Minamishima Masuku of Tokyo renamed her Shiganoura Maru in 1895. An incredible twenty-nine years later she was broken in Japan after serving finally with Nagata Sanjuro.

1875 Three two funnelers ordered. 'Orestes', 'Stentor' and 'Anchises'. Fleet now totals sixteen.

1876 'Orestes' sinks off Ceylon. 'Sarpedon' sinks off Ushant.


© unknown

Built: 1877 by Andrew Leslie & Co, Hebburn on Tyne.
Tonnage: 2, 036g, 1, 592n.
Engine: Single Screw, 2 Cylinder Compound Inverted, 188 NHP, 10 Knots.

Teucer was King of the Trojans. He was the greatest archer of the Trojan wars, half brother of Ajax. Founded Salamis after being banished by his father who thought him responsible for the death of Ajax and ruled there as King.

Teucer was the first steel hulled ship for the Company and the last built of the five Stentor Class, all five of this class failed to reach breakers yards and succumbed to the elements. This ship met her end on the 30th of May 1885 when she was wrecked at Pointe De Perne off Ushant whilst en route Singapore/Amsterdam.

1878 Isaac Middleton dies. (Shipping Superintendent)

1879 Far Eastern Conference established.

1880 Company enters tobacco trade. Fleet now 23 ships.

1881 John Swire and Alfred Holt begin to argue. Two specialized ships enter service on the tobacco run. 'Mercury' and 'Ganymede'.

1882 'Hecuba' built and placed on the Bangkok rice run. John Swire resigns as Conference Chairman. The formation of 'The China Shippers Mutual Steam Navigation Company' is announced to run in competition with Alfred Holt. 1885 'Hebe' enters on the tobacco trade. 'Telamon', 'Titan' and 'Palamed' enter on the Eastern service. 'Teucer' sinks off Ushant. 1886 'Palinurus', 'Prometheus' and 'Dardanus' enter service.

1887 Sees more aggravation between China Mutual and Alfred Holt. 'Sappho' enters service.

1888 John Swire unsuccessfully tries to mediate between China Mutal and Alfred Holt. 'Ulysses II' is delivered with triple exp engines. Holt not happy reverted to tried and tested compound. 'Priam' sinks.

1890 'Myrmidon', 'Teucer II', 'PriamII' and 'Polyphemus' all enter service. Fleet now 30 ships. 'Ulysses' sinks.

1891 Blue Funnel form the 'East Indian Ocean Steam Ship Company' to run in competition against 'Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappi Oceaan' a Dutch company and the Royal Packet Company, also Dutch (KPM). China Mutual joins Homenard Conference.

1893 China Mutual resists joining Outward Conference.

1894 Gold discovered in Western Australia. China Mutual agrees on Outward Conference rates.


© unknown

Built: 1894 by Scott & Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 4, 653g, 2, 992n.
Engine: Single Screw, Triple Expansion, 2, 600 IHP, 350 NHP, 10 Knots.

Dardanus was the Founder of Troy, son of Zeus and the Pleiad Electra.

One of the six ships which made up the Orestes Class she transferred to the Dutch flagged N.S.M.O. in 1911. She was requisitioned by the Dutch Government at the beginning of the War and was then forbade to leave Amsterdam lest she be requisitioned by the British Government the only N.S.M.O. ship to achieve this distinction. She was sold to Paulsen and Ivers of Kiel in 1923 and renamed Fingal and three years later was sold again to I.N.S.A. of Genoa, Italy becoming Fortunato Secondo. After only another year's service she was sold for breaking at Genoa in 1927.


Ian J. Farquhar Collection.

Built: 1895 by Scott and Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 4, 672g, 3, 005n.
Engine : Single Screw Triple Expansion, 2, 6000 IHP, 350 NHP, 10 Knots.

1 Son of Tydeus, he was one of the principal Greek warriors in the Trojan War. Previously he had avenged his father's death in the expedition of the Epigoni against Thebes. 2 A Thracian king, son of Ares and Cyrene. He was killed during the eighth labor of Hercules while trying to protect his man-eating horses. Both also spelled Diomed, Diomede.

Completed at a cost of £53, 401 Diomed was the fourth ship in the six ship Orestes Class largely designed by Henry Wortley, Naval Architect who had joined Holts in 1892. One of the more notable features of this class was the mass of derricks and their extremely powerful cargo gear.

Having sailed from Liverpool loaded with a general cargo bound for Shanghai Diomed encountered U-38 west north west off the Scilly Isles on the 22nd of August 1915 and was sank by gunfire, she was the second of sixteen ships Alfred Holts were to lose in the First World War. What follows is an account of her sinking in the form of a 'Statement of Protest' a legal document signed on the 4th of September 1915 by amongst others John Rennie, Second Officer of the Diomed. The site is indebted to Peter Rennie, John's grandson, for providing a copy of the document.

1900 The Fleet had risen to 41 ships.

1902 Limited is added to the Company's name and it acquires China Mutual Steam Navigation Co. . Adding a further 13 ships to the fleet.


With Thanks to Captain John Bax.

Built: 1906 by D & W Henderson & Co, Glasgow.
Tonnage: 8, 954g, 5, 720n.
Engine: Twin Screw, 2 x Triple Expansion, 585 NHP, 14 Knots.
Passengers: 12.

(By most accounts they numbered twelve). They were children of Uranus and Gaea. Often called the Elder Gods, they were for many ages the supreme rulers of the universe and were of enormous size and incredibly strong. They were: (six brothers) Oceanus (the river that flowed around the earth), Coeus, Crius, Hyperion (the father of the sun, the moon, and the dawn), Iapetus (the father of Prometheus, who created mortals), and Cronus (Kronos; he was the most important of the Titans and ruled the universe until he was dethroned by his son Zeus, who seized power for himself.) and (six sisters) Theia, Rhea, Themis (the goddess of divine justice), Mnemosyne (the goddess of memory), Phoebe, and Tethys (wife of Oceanus). Of all the Titans only Prometheus and Oceanus sided with Zeus against Cronus. As a result, they were honored and the others were bound in Tartarus. Eventually, however, Zeus was reconciled with the Titans, and Cronus was made ruler of the Golden Age.

A Bellerophon Class ship delivered to Ocean S.S. Co. At midnight 3rd/4th September 1940 she was torpedoed by U-47 west of Hebrides and north-west of Rockall when in convoy OA 207 bound for Sydney. She sank with a loss of six crewmembers, the remaining 24 Europeans and 66 Chinese were picked up by HMS Godetia and HMCS St Laurent.

1908 Three new passenger ships ordered for the Australian service.

1910 Aeneas and Ascanius II enter service on the Australian run.

1911 Anchises joins her sister ships on the Australian service. The Fleet now totals some 62 ships. Sadly Alfred Holt dies this year.


Neleus. copyright unknown

Built: 1911 by Workman Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast.
Tonnage: 6, 685g, 4, 260n.
Engine: Single Screw, Triple Expansion, 4, 600 IHP, 532 NHP, 11 Knots.
Passengers: 12, this class carried pilgrims tween deck Singapore-Jeddah.

Neleus was king of Pylos, father of Nestor and twin of Pelias.

Fourth ship completed of the Perseus Class this went to China Mutual S.N. Co. She served throughout both World Wars and was eventually sold to Bisco in October of 1948 for breaking by T. W. Ward Ltd at Preston, work commenced 1st of November.

With Thanks to Captain John Bax.


With Thanks to Captain John Bax

Built: 1912 by Scotts S.B. & E. Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 10, 229g, 6, 527n.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x Triple Expansion, 586 NHP, 11 Knots.
Passengers: 12 First Class, 600 Steerage.
Launched 29th October 1912, Completed December 1912.

King of the Lapithes. He murdered his bride's father to avoid paying him the bride price. When no one on earth would purify him, Zeus took Ixion to Olympus and purified him. Ixion attempted to seduce Hera, but Zeus created a phantom of her and by it Ixion fathered the centaurs. In punishment he was chained for eternity to a fiery wheel in Tartarus

A Bellerophon Class ship built for the Far East service and owned by China Mutal S.N. Co. In 1918 she became a Troop Transport moving Siberian troops from Dalni to Egypt and from Egypt to Basra. On the 7th of May 1941 whilst en route Glasgow to New York in convoy OB 318 when 200 miles South West of Reykjavik she was damaged by a torpedo from U-94. All 105 onboard were rescued by Nailsea Manor and an escort ship, Ixion sank the following day with her cargo of Dollar earning whisky.

1913 Nestor III and Ulysses IV enter on the Australian run. Liverpool now becomes the main passenger port instead of Fishguard.


Nestor in the Gladstone Basin.
With Thanks to Captain John Bax.

Built: 1913 by Workman Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast.
Tonnage: 14, 501g, 9, 100n, 16, 300 dwt.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x Triple Expansion, 6, 600 IHP, 13.5 Knots.
Passengers: 350 First Class, reduced to 175 in 1935.
Launched 7th December 1912, Completed May 1913, Yard No 318.

With Thanks to Captain John Bax.

Wise king of Pylos; son of Neleus and father of Antilochus. In the Iliad, Nestor went with the Greeks to the Trojan War, and although he had lived three generations he was still a vigorous warrior and a respected adviser. In the Odyssey, because of his piety and prudence, the gods allowed him to return unharmed to Pylos after the war.

Nestor Class passenger ships built for the UK - Australia trades via the Cape numbered two the namesake's sister being Ulysses. In September of 1915 she was converted for use as a troopship and continued in that role until cessation of hostilities. On the 22nd of April 1920 she resumed her commercial services sailing from Glasgow to Brisbane via Liverpool. In 1936 she went to the aid of Australian United's Mungana which was drifting out of control onto rocks at Cape Jaffa and with her final rocket she managed to get a line onboard. After the hawser had been secured she successfully towed Mungana the 170 miles to Adelaide. She was requisitioned again for war duties in 1940 but this time took evacuees outward bound, returning homeward with Australian and New Zealand troops. She made her final voyage to Australia sailing on the 23rd of December 1949 and on her return made her way to Faslane arriving on the 8th of August for breaking by Metal Industries Ltd. In her career she sailed 2, 111, 607 miles completing 68 round trips to Australia.


1914 War breaks out and the Company owned 83 ships, 18 of which were sunk.


Built by Workman, Clark and Co in Belfast 1914. She was of 7603 GT and had a length of 455 Ft.

Pyrrhus was the King of Epirus. He defeated the Romans twice but with heavy losses, origins of the term 'Pyrrhic Victory'.

She was one of three vessels fitted to carry extra passengers at the end of World War 1 but was later fitted out again to cargo only Elder Dempster was bought by Alfred Holtís in 1936 on the collapse of Royal Mail Lines. The two attached photos show her in service with both Blue Funnel and Elder Dempsters divisions of Alfred Holt and Co of Liverpool.

She was an early victim in the 2nd World War and was torpedoed on February 17th. 1940 by U 37 while part of convoy OG 18 when bound from the Clyde via Liverpool to Gibraltar and Manila. Eight lives were lost and the remaining 77 survivors were picked up by the Ukside and Sinnington Court.

The name Pyrrhus was held by 3 vessels over the life of Alfred Holtís.


Built : 1914 Scotts S.B and E C Greenock
Tonnage : 7,585G
Engines : SGL Screw Triple Expansion
Speed : 11 Knots

Mentor was Odysseus's (Ulysses) trusted counselor. He was placed in charge of raising Telemachus when Odysseus went off to the Trojan War. He did an exceptional job as Telemachus grew up to be an almost perfect son. He is often credited with thinking up the ploy Penelope used to thwart marriage to one of the suitors (the unraveling of the tapestry each night).

Lost May 28th 1942 to the U-106 by torpedo off Key West, Florida.
Four engineers and three chinese crew were killed when the torpedo struck on the port side wrecking and flooding the engine room.
She was hit by a second torpedo which almost cut her in half, Captain A.Pope was in command.
1915 Royden's Indra Line purchased.


With Thanks to Captain John Bax

Built: 1916 by Scotts S.B. & E. Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 11, 347g, 7, 172n, 14, 000 dwt.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x Triple Expansion, 622 NHP, 12 Knots.
Laid down in 1914 but due to the War not launched August of 1916, Completed November 1916.

Father of the Dioscuri, Helen, Clytemnestra, Timandra, and Phylonoe.

She was a Bellerophon Class and completed for Ocean S.S. Co 's Trans Pacific service. Almost immediately after completion she was requisitioned by the Government and commenced her maiden voyage from Liverpool bound for Yokahama via Table Bay. On the 6th of February she struck a mine ten miles off Cape Agulhas which has been laid by the Raider Wolf on the 16th of January. Onboard were the Officers and Men of the 25th Middlesex Rifle Regiment who took to the boats and rowed to the Hospital Ship Oxfordshire and Blue Funnel Ship Eumaeus who had both answered the SOS sent out by Tyndareus. The damaged ship was later towed stern first to Simonstown Naval base. In 1920 she resumed her normal commercial service and in 1927 was used along with Bellerophon as a troop and horse transport during the 'China Affair'.

She saw service as a troop and supply ship in the Liner Division during the war and in 1949 was converted for use as a Pilgrim Ship on the South East Asia - Jeddah route known as the Hadj service. She had deck and dormitory accommodation for 2, 500 pilgrims fitted, hospital facilities, a cinema, public address system, extra lifeboats and was laid up at Singapore out of season. Despite her advancing years she was always turned out in immaculate condition and it was only when it was feared she wouldn't pass her 1961 survey that she was replaced by Gunung Djati in 1960. She arrived in Hong Kong for breaking on the 9th of September 1960 aged 44 years, a remarkable ship.

1917 Greenshields, Cowie and Co. 'Knight Line' purchased.
1919 The reconstruction calls for a rebuild of some 28 ships.



With Thanks to Captain John Bax

Built: 1919 by Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co, Hong Kong.
Tonnage: 5, 868g, 3, 647n.
Engine : Single Screw, Triple Expansion, 413 NHP, 10 Knots.

Foster-father of Odysseus. His wife Anticlea had been seduced by Autolycus (son of Hermes) and became pregnant with Odysseus, but Laertes forgave her and brought up Odysseus as he would have a son of his own.

Built for Ocean S.S. Co and sister to Autolycus, most of her life was spent under the Dutch flag for NSMO. Whilst on passage from New York to Bombay via Capetown on the 3rd of May 1942 she was torpedoed by an indeterminate U-boat. With so much activity at this time off the US East Coast it could have been any one of a number but her loss has been attributed to all of the following U-98, U-109 and U-564. Such was the intensity that approximately 500 ships were sank within months of the United States entering the war. When she was torpedoed she was off Cape Canaveral and as the US coastal resorts refused to extinguish their lights at this time her silhouette must have made an easy target. Eighteen of her crew perished with the remaining forty-eight making landfall on the Florida Coast.


With Thanks to Captain John Bax

Built: 1920 by Scotts S.B. & E. Co, Greenock.
Tonnage: 11, 426g, 7, 199n
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 Turbines Reduction Geared. 12 Knots.
Passengers: 4, Crew 70.
Launched 8th January 1920.

© Imperial War Museum

Achilles was the son of the mortal King Peleus and Thetis, a sea nymph. At birth, his mother supposedly dipped Achilles in the River Styx which made him invulnerable except for the part of the heel by which she held him. This came in handy in his adventures and wars. His most famous adventure is told in the Iliad, which is about the Trojan War. This war lasted 10 years, through the first nine of which Achilles laid waste to the surrounding countryside. In the last year Achilles sulked and refused to fight any longer after a quarrel with Agamemnon, the Greek leader. This caused the war to start going badly for the Greeks and Achilles relented enough to agree to lend his armour and his chariot to his inseparable companion Patroclus so he could impersonate him in the battle. Hector, the Trojan hero and son of the Trojan King Priam, killed Patroclus in the fight. Achilles received new armour from the gods and re-entered the battle where he killed Hector. There is some uncertainty about whether Achilles was slain in this battle, although there is a tale about Paris, another son of King Priam, killing him with an arrow shot into his heel.

Achilles was the final ship of the Bellerophon Class and laid down in 1916. Due to wartime commitments she was completed in 1920 for Ocean S.S. Co and made her maiden voyage on the 4th of June being placed on the Far East - USA service. In December of 1926 she was used to transport 1, 000 horses and men to Shanghai during the 'China Affair'. In August of 1940 she was sold to the Admiralty becoming a Destroyer Depot Ship and was renamed HMS Blenheim, the Royal Navy already had HMS Achilles of River Plate fame. She was armed with 4 x 4" guns and had a ship's complement of 674. She was sold for scrapping in 1948 and work was carried out at Barrow-in-Furness.


Built 1920 Hawthorn Leslie and Co., Newcastle.
Tonnage 7, 644g
Engines Single screw turbine, double reduction geared, 2 double ended boilers 6, 000SHP, 14 knots. It is interesting to note that she burnt 82 tons of coal a day. The donkey boilers for this class was aft of the funnel.

Five of the many:
1. Fought on the side of the Trojans in the Trojan War. He was killed in the war by Ajax.
2. Son of Minos; drowned in a vat of honey; brought back to life by the soothsayer Polyeidus.
3. One of the Argonauts. He loved Scylla (before she was changed into a monster), and was loved in turn by Circe, who made him into a sea god.
4. Son of Sisyphus and father of Bellerophon. He fed his herd of horses on a diet of human flesh. Eventually he became part of their diet; a fitting end to his life.
5. A fisherman who discovered an herb that could heal wounded fish. Poseidon heard about him, brought him to his domain, and when Glaucus' ministrations increased the flocks of fish, made him into a minor sea-deity and made him immortal.

Launched on the 9th December 1920, handed over to Ocean SS Co. in 1921. On the 4th May 1943 whilst in convoy in an attempt to avoid a collision with Ellerman's City of Florence she stuck Shell's Maruba, some five years later Shell were awarded damages. 26th July she was laid up at Bromborough Dock and on the 29th October was broken at Thomas.W.Wards, Milford Haven.



Built: 1922 by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Glasgow.
Tonnage: 9,461g, 5,789n, 14,000dwt.
Engines: Twin Screw, 2 x 8 Cylinder 4S. SA. Burmeister Wain by Builder, 5,250 B.H.P., 12.5 Knots.
Passengers: 12, Crew 75, Completed in April 1922.

Son of Aegimius, was slain in battle fighting against the Heraclides.

Built for Glen Line and named Glenbeg she transferred to Ocean S.S. in 1949 and renamed Dymas. The ships accommodation was superior to that of Blue Funnel ships from the same era but not so her machinery. An extra piece had to be fitted to the rudder to assist in steering her through the Suez Canal, then removed after the passage. She was sold for scrap to W.H.Arnott Young & Co., arriving at the yard on the 8th of April 1954.


Built: 1922 by Taikoo Dockyard and Engineering Co Hong Kong.
Tonnage: 7, 957g, 5, 004n.
Engine: Single Screw, Turbine Double Reduction Geared, 6, 000 BHP, 14 Knots.
Passenger: 12.

Rhexenor was the son of Nausithous, he was killed by Apollo.

The Rhexenor was en route to the UK from Durban via Takoradi, Freetown and St. John when she encountered U-217 South East of Bermuda on the 3rd February 1943. Rhexenor was sank by both torpedo and shell fire with the survivors having taken to the lifeboats.

Rhexenor Going Down.
With Thanks to Captain John Bax

The U-boat Captain allowed the wounded to be treated aboard before loading them once more into their lifeboat but he retained the ship's Fourth Officer Mr. Graham Allen.

Survivors from the Rhexenor being helped onto the U-boat.
With Thanks to Captain John Bax

Number one lifeboat reached Guadeloupe on the 20th of February, Number four Antigua on the 21st, number three having been sighted by aircraft was picked up by ship on the 23rd and finally Number five arrived at Jost Van Goyen Island, Tobago on the 23rd of February. Of those that took to the boats all except three survived. The Fourth Officer Mr. Graham Allen was later landed by the U-boat and became a Prisoner of War.

Mr. Graham Allen disembarking from U-boat.
With Thanks to Captain John Bax

1922 This is the year my Grandfather joins the Company as a Junior Engineer but my information is rather sketchy.

His parents were Norwegian from Kristiansand. His father was a Master Mariner called Johansen. His mother's maiden name was Carlson. Unfortunately he was orphaned at a very early age and was raised in a Naval orphanage at Devonport. He then went on to the Navel College as a Cadet later joining the Royal Navy. Now here's the conundrum. The first photograph of my Grandfather he's in a RFC uniform, taken in 1917. I'm currently trying to sort out this little gem.

He then spent some time working at Camill Laird in Birkenhead before joining Blue Funnel, exact date unknown. The first photograph shows him in 1922 at Columbo, Ceylon. Ship unknown.

The second and third photographs were taken in 1923 and 1924 and he's aboard The SS Pyrrhus, built 1914. 3 cyl tpl Exp speed 11 knots (later to be torpedoed and sunk 100 miles N.W. of Corunna February 1940). The 1923 photograph was taken in the North Atlantic. The 1924 at Penang. In all photographs he's wearing the uniform of a fifth Engineer.

This Photo was taken in 1922.

Group photograph: My Grandfather on the left seated with the C/E, 2/E, 3/E & 5/E. Single photograph Grandfather as 4th Engineer on the same ship.

I'm afraid at the moment this is all the information I have. I will shortly be contacting Ocean Fleets to see if they kept records for this period.

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