Captain John Bax Source: "Gathering of the Clans" by N.L. Middlemiss Merchant Fleets by Duncan Haws Research: Terry Robins
CLAN ROSS of 1914 was one of three Clan vessels to be been built with a cruiser stern, which was at this time a new development. The other vessels built with this design were CLAN OGILVY and CLAN CAMPBELL. Vessels built after these three vessels reverted to the traditional counter stern until Ayrshire Dockyard at Irvine constructed a group of vessels which first appeared in 1920. CLAN ROSS survived torpedoing in the First World War, and bombing in the Bay of Biscay in 1940, but was sunk by another torpedo in 1942, 350 miles S.W. of Bombay.
1914 – 1942.
Official No.136330. Grt 5897 Nrt 3757
430.0 X 54.3 X 29.4 Feet.
4.19.1914 Launched and completed by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend (Yard No. 959) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 5.5.1918 torpedoed by submarine 28 miles East of Cape Camerat, arrived Toulon safely whilst on a voyage from Naples and Genoa to Buenos Aires in ballast, nine lives were lost. 24.6.1940 attacked and damaged by aircraft in position 46º 17'N 40º 35' W homeward bound from India, reached Milford Haven safely. 2.4.1942 torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine 1-6 in position 15º 58′ N 68º 24′ E, 450 miles from Bombay.
1914 – 1941.
Official No. 137782. Grt 5802 Nrt 3716
430.0 X 54.2 X 29.4 feet.
20.10.1914 Launched and 12.1914 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 470) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 30.6.1940 damaged by E-Boat off St Catherine’s Point, Isle of Wight, but reached Falmouth safely. 20.3.1941 torpedoed and sunk by submarine U105 in position 20º 04′ N 25º 45′ W, 550 miles N.W. of Dakar in homeward convoy S.L.68 from Freetown which had sailed 12.3.1941.
1914 – 1916.
6.8.1914 Launched and 12.1914 completed by Napier and Miller Ltd., Glasgow (Yard No 196) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 3.4.1916 torpedoed and sunk by submarine U39 29 miles S.E. of Cape Bon while on a voyage from Tuticorin to London with general cargo.
Sadly Charles died at his favorite Scottish home of Gatemore near Aberfoyle on Thursday, 28th September 1916 and his third Son August became Chairman, Herbert became Vice Chairman and Harold joined the company when the war was over. It is coincidental that his close friend, Sir William Theodore Doxford, also died in the same week at Grindon Hall, Sunderland. The two had collaborated over the Turret Ship building program and on experiments with marine diesel engines. Sir Charles was 73 years of age and the company owned 60 ships at the time of his death, by the end of the war the company was to lose 28 ships to enemy action and marine hazard. The silent, unseen enemy of the torpedo had sunk 19 of the ships, three were sunk by collision, one was wrecked one was lost to a mine, and one, CLAN MACNAUGHTON foundered in the North Atlantic while serving as an Armed Merchant Cruiser in 1915. CLAN CHISHOLM was attacked by gunfire from submarines on three occasions and managed to escape each time. Two, CLAN MATHESON and CLAN GRANT were sunk by the German Cruiser EMDEN and the raider MOEWE sank CLAN MACTAVISH, as a result of these actions the ships became known as The Fighting Clans.
German Cruiser EMDEN
The Raider MOEWE
CLAN MACTAVISH had loaded a valuable cargo of leather, wool, rubber and other materials and was homeward bound from Australia when MOEWE caught up with her as dusk was falling on 16th January, 1916, 120 miles S.W of Funchal, Maderia. Capt. Donna-Schlodien of MOEWE transmitted a radio message to attempt to find out the identity of the vessel before she escaped into the night. Capt. Oliver of CLAN MACTAVISH unwittingly gave his identity away when Donna-Schlodien lied that he was the Harrison ship AUTHOR, bound from Liverpool to Port Natal, which he had sunk three days earlier. Capt. Oliver was ordered to stop, but tried to escape in the darkness by ordering full ahead. After the customary shot across the bow, CLAN MACTAVISH started to transmit on her radio and MOEWE sent two shells across at a range of approximately 1000 feet, aimed at the radio room, CLAN MACTAVISH replied by sending from her small gun over MOEWE’s bridge, this surprised Donna-Schlodien and he commenced rapid fire with shell after shell hitting CLAN MACTAVISH. Capt. Oliver was a brave adversary and he kept up the action long after it was apparent that they were out gunned and out aimed with no chance of winning and not much chance of surviving if he continued to fight. The Indian crew panicked and tried to get into one of the ship’s lifeboats to escape. A shell from Moewe was put into the middle of this crowd, sending bodies flying and killing 18 Indians. A fire broke out and Capt. Oliver gave up the fight by signaling he had stopped firing. CLAN MACTAVISH was seriously damaged with hissing steam escaping from the main boiler and her valuable cargo would soon be lost. Donna Schlodien was annoyed when CLAN MACTAVISH sank two hours later after the beginning of the fight and before he could transfer the rubber. Capt. Oliver was brought to the bridge of MOEWE and reprimanded for having fought back, when he could so easily have surrendered and saved lives. He stood his ground and replied that he thought he was in battle with an armed Merchant Ship and expected he could at least hold his own. He had specific orders that nothing short of disaster were to prevent his delivering the cargo to England and if he had to do it all over again, he would do exactly the same.
429.8 X 53.7 X 34.6 Feet.
28.6.1911 Launched and 8.1911 completed by A. Stephen and Sons Ltd., Glasgow (Yard No 443) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 19.11.1914 hired for service as an Armed Merchant Cruiser (Pennant No. M.81) armed with eight 4.7-inch guns and attached to the 10th Cruiser Squadron. 3.2.1915 last heard of while on patrol off the North Coast of Ireland. Presumed to have foundered with the loss of 20 Officers and 261 ratings
1896 – 1925.
Official No. 106107. Grt 2647 Nrt 1681
312.5 X 40.2 X 23.5 Feet.
29.6.1896 Launched and 7.1896 completed by A. Stephen and Sons, Glasgow (Yard No 366) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 18.9.1916 chased by a submarine in the Mediterranean and escaped. 13.11.1916 attacked by gunfire from a submarine at the entrance to the English Channel and escaped. 1925 sold to Nippon Kaiun. K.K.Japan, and renamed FUKKO MARU. 7.2.1926 wrecked at Katsuura while on a voyage from Muroran to Yokohama with a cargo of coal.
1913 – 1916.
Official No. 133100. Grt 5816 Nrt 36264
50.1 X 57.1 X 26.8 Feet.
9.12.1912 Launched and 1913 completed by Sir W.G.Armstrong, Whitworth and Co.Ltd., Newcastle (Yard No 847) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 161.1916 sunk by German Raider MOEWE in position 30º 40' N 17º 10' W, 120 miles S.W. of Funchal on a voyage from Wellington to London with general cargo, eighteen Indian crew
killed and three taken prisoner.
The German cruiser Emden had slipped out of Tsingtao, China on the declaration of war on 5th August, 1914 and headed for the Guam area of the Pacific before passing through the Dutch East Indies and heading for The Bay of Bengal on 9th September. There she started raiding, and on 14th September Capt. Harris of CLAN MATHESON heard and saw the plume of smoke from the destruction of the British ship TRABBOCH.
The coal dust in her holds had ignited when the explosive charges set to sink her had gone off and a big column of flame tinged with blue, shot up into the air. Capt. Harris headed off to the East, but the EMDEN caught up with him later in the day. He did not stop, even after blank rounds had been fired followed by blasts from the EMDENS foghorn. However, after a live round sent up a large fountain of water before the bow of CLAN MATHESON he finally did heave to. The cargo aboard CLAN MATHESON included locomotives, cars, typewriters and other expensive machines and one fine racehorse. CLAN MATHESON sank within thirty minutes after explosive charges went off and became the first casualty of Clan Line in W.W.1. Next day the crew was transferred to the neutral Norwegian ship Dorve.
1906 – 1914.
Official No. 121305. Grt 4775 Nrt 3053
400.0 X 51.0 X 27.2 Feet.
27.11.1905 Launched and 3.1906 completed by Furness, Withy and Co. Ltd., West Hartlepool (Yard No 289) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 14.9.1914 captured by the German Cruiser Emden and sunk by bombs 60 miles S.W.by S. from the Pilot’s light at the mouth of the River Hooghly while on a voyage from Glasgow and Liverpool to Calcutta with general cargo.
On 15th October CLAN GRANT, a turret vessel was captured by the enemy just before midnight heading West towards Minicoy Island, well known in the Maldives for its great lighthouse. Capt. Leslie was ordered to follow EMDEN during the night after a prize crew had been sent across. At daybreak the ship was searched, and she was found to be carrying 4,000 tons of mixed cargo including live cattle, a large stock of beer and cigarettes and engine oil and several hours were spent transferring these and other items including crockery, table linen, soldering irons and fire bricks for the boilers. CLAN GRANT was then sunk by gunfire and the crew was transferred to the German ship BURESK and then to the captured British ship St. EGBERT which in turn was ordered to Cochin arriving on 20th October. EMDEN was finally destroyed by H.M.A.S SYDNEY off the Cocos Islands on 9th November 1914 and was run aground.
1902 – 1914.
Official No 115683. Grt 3948 Nrt 2505
360.4 X 48.1 X 24.5 Feet.
Turret Deck Steamer.
12.4.1902 Launched and 5.1902 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 296) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 16.10 1914 captured by the German Cruiser Emden and sunk by gunfire 150 miles S.W. of Minicoy, Maldive Islands, while on a voyage from Liverpool to Calcutta with general cargo.
At the outbreak of war the Clan Line Fleet stood at 56 ships of one quarter million gross tons and although half of them were destroyed, they were all replaced during the war by more modern, faster vessels. Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities CLAN MACMILLAN under the command of Capt. G. Young and CLAN MACPHEE under the command of Capt. Oliver and CLAN MACFAYDEN under the command of Capt. Miller, became troop transports for the South African Union Expeditionary Force. The transports assembled at Luderitz, south of Walvis Bay, where there was no fresh water, so CLAN MACMILLAN with her deep tank, was frequently employed in water trips to Cape Town for the troops before the transports departed together for Europe.
1901 – 1917.
Official No. 113992. Grt 4525 Nrt 2895
396.5 X 48.2 X 27.0 Feet.
16.10.1901 Launched and 12.1901 completed by A.McMillan and Son Ltd., Dumbarton (Yard No 380) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 23.3.1917 torpedoed and sunk 5 miles S.W. of Newhaven by German submarine UB. 39 whilst on a voyage from Chittagong to the River Clyde via London with a cargo of coir matting.
1911 – 1940.
Officiual No. 129578. Grt 5165 Nrt 3247
430.0 X 53.5 X 26.4 Feet.
13.6.1911 completed trials by Irvine’s Shipyard and dry Dock Co.Ltd., West Hartlepool (Yard No 499) for Clan Line Steamers. 16.8.1940 torpedoed and sunk by submarine U30 in position 57° 30' N 17° 14' W, 350 miles west of North Uist on a voyage from Liverpool to East Africa and Bombay with general cargo.
1899 – 1921.
Official No. 111220. Grt 2816 Nrt 1755
326.2 X 40.2 X 23.5 Feet.
9.8.1899 Launched and 9.1899 completed by Blackwood and Gordon, Port Glasgow (Yard No 241) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 2.5.1916 attacked by gunfire from a submarine in The Bay of Biscay while on a voyage from Mauritius to London with general cargo and escaped. 1921 sold to Yamamoto Shoji K.K., Japan and renamed SHUNKA MARU. 1924 renamed SHINKA MARU. 1926 reverted to SHUNKA MARU. 19.7.1932 sank after striking a rock while on a voyage from Tsingtao to Chemulpo. Korea.
During the hunt for the German cruiser KÖNIGSBERG in September 1914,CLAN MACRAE built in 1912,aided the survivors of H.M.S. PEGASUS, which had been sunk by the KÖNIGSBERG.
The cruiser went on to sink one more vessel, the Ellerman Line CITY OF WINCHESTER, before she took refuge seven miles up the Rufiji Delta, south of Dar-es-salaam, where the hunters located her in October 1914. There then followed a nine-month siege before KÖNIGSBERG was finally sunk in July 1915 by the two monitors SEVERN and MERSEY, which were specially sent out from England. CLAN MACRAE went on to tow H.M.S. CHATHAM, one of the hunters, off the Leven Rocks near Kilindini, Mombasa later in 1914.
German cruiser KÖNIGSBERG
1912 – 1921.
Official No. 133005. Grt 5058 Nrt 3166
430.0 x 53.5 X 26.6 Feet.
21.11.1911 Launched and completed 2.1912 by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 429) for The Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 9.1914 aided crew of H.M.S. PEGASUS after the German Cruiser KÖNIGSBERG sank her at Zanzibar. 10.1914 towed H.M.S CHATHAM off Leven Rocks near Kilindini, Mombasa. 9.3.1915 chased by submarine off Liverpool Bar Light Vessel, and managed to escape. 1921 transferred to British and South American Steam Navigation Co.Ltd. (Houston Line, managers) and renamed BANFFSHIRE. 29.9.1943 torpedoed and sunk by submarine U 532 in position 09º 26' N 71º 20' E, 380 miles S.W. of Mangalore
CLAN MACGILLIVRAY, built on the Tyne in 1911, served as a hospital ship throughout the Gallipoli campaign in the Dardanelle’s in 1915. She took off many wounded from the beaches at Suvia Bay between 9th and 11th August, 1915 in company with the prize SUDMARK which became the fourth CLAN MACKAY in 1921.
1911 – 1948.
Official No. 129596. Grt 5023 Nrt 3107
430.6 X 53.6 X 26.6 Feet.
12.6.1911 Launched and 1911 completed by Sir W.G. Armstrong, Whitworth and Co. Ltd., Newcastle (Yard No 834) for Clan Line Steamers.1948 sold to Eastern Asia Navigation Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, and renamed MACLOCK. 16.1.1949 arrived Bruges to be broken up by Van Heyghen Freres. 3.2.1949 breaking up of ship commenced.
1919 – 1948.
Official No. 141911. Grt 5182 Nrt 3205
420.0 X 54.1 X 26.3 Feet.
3.6.1913 Launched and 7.1913 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 455) for Hamburg-America Line, as SUDMARK. 17.8.1914 captured by Royal Navy, taken to Suez while on a voyage from Yokohama to Hamburg. 9.1914 requisitioned by The Shipping Controller, management taken over by Harris and Dixon Ltd. 1915 renamed HUNTSCRAFT. 1917 management taken over by Union Castle Line. 1916 purchase by Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 1921 renamed CLAN MACKAY. 19.10.1934 at 0710 hrs wrecked on Carpenters Rock, Sierra Leone, while on a voyage from Cairns, Australia to Montreal.
CLAN MACALISTER built on the Clyde in 1903 became the first company vessel to be torpedoed and sunk when she was hit by U35 some 120 miles from Cape Martello, Crete on 6th November, 1915 on a voyage from Liverpool to Calcutta with general cargo. Two others, CLAN MACLEOD and CLAN MACFARLANE, quickly followed her loss in the Mediterranean during the following month. An incident, long remembered by seafarers for its disregard to those in peril was after CLAN MACLEOD was torpedoed 100 miles E.S.E. of Malta when the crew were machine-gunned when abandoning ship by U33 under the command of Gansser, killing 12 and wounding many others. Gansser had closely followed CLAN MACLEOD for two hours, preventing the crew from lowering the lifeboats until the ship sank from beneath them.
1903 – 1915.
Official No. 115756. Grt 4835 Nrt 3065
395.0 X 51.1 X 27.0 Feet.
18.3.1903 Launched and 4.1903 completed by A. McMillan and Son Ltd., Dumbarton (Yard No 389) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 6.11.1915 captured 120 miles S. by E. from Cape Martello, Crete, by the German submarine U35 and sunk by torpedo while on a voyage from Liverpool to Calcutta with general cargo.
1903 – 1915.
Official No. 115783. Grt 5125 Nrt 3053
395.5 X 51.1 X 27.0 Feet.
10.6.1903 Launched and 10.1903 completed by Furness, Withy and Co Ltd., West Hartlepool (Yard No 267) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 1.12.1915 captured by the German submarine U33 and sunk by gunfire 100 miles E.S.E. of Malta while on a voyage from Chittagong to London with general cargo. Twelve members of the crew were lost.
1897 – 1922.
Official No. 108684. Grt 4839 Nrt 3104
400.2 X 50.2 X 27.7 Feet.
Turret Deck Steamer.
6.3.1898 Launched and 4.1898 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 261) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 30.12.1915 torpedoed and sunk 66 miles S.E. of E from Cape Martello. Crete, by the German submarine U38 with the loss of 52 members of the crew. She was on a voyage from Liverpool to Bombay with general cargo.
By the middle of 1917 all Clan Line vessels were sailing in convoy to and from Indian and South Africa. CLAN MACPHERSON built in 1905, loaded 12,000 tons of Egyptian cotton for Boston and joined a homeward convoy from Alexandria on 3rd December 1917. They safely sailed through the Mediterranean and CLAN MACPHERSON separated from the convoy midway during the Gibraltar to U.K last lap and reached Boston safely.
1905 – 1918.
Official No. 121274. Grt 4779 Nrt 3041
400.0 X 51.0 X 27.2 Feet.
1.9.1905 Launched and 3.1905 completed by Furness, Withy and Co, Ltd., West Hartlepool (Yard No 287) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 4.3.1918 torpedoed and sunk 24 miles North of Cape Serret by the German Submarine UC.27 having sailed from Bizerta earlier in the day on a voyage from Malta to Colon. Two members of the crew were lost and a further 18 were killed when the foremast collapsed onto a lifeboat as it prepared to leave the ship.
One, for whom the convoy system came to late, was the Turret ship CLAN ALPINE, which was torpedoed and sunk by U60 while sailing alone 40 miles from Muckle Flugga, North Shetlands, having left the Tyne on 7th June, 1917 for the White Sea, to load a cargo of timber.
1899 – 1917.
Official No. 11232. Grt 3587 Nrt 2285
355.0 X 45.6 X 24.7 Feet.
Turret Deck Steamer.
22.9.1899 Launched and 10.1899 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 273) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 9.6.1917 torpedoed and sunk 40 miles N.E.½ E. from Muckle Flugga by the German submarine U60 while on a voyage from the River Tyne to Archangel. Eight members of the crew were lost.
CLAN MACKAY and CLAN MATHESON, both built in 1917, were sunk by collision, within twelve days of each other in May 1918. The former was sunk 520 miles S.W. from the Scillies while homeward bound from Calcutta, while the latter sank about 450 miles S.E. of Cape Race while homeward bound from New Orleans and New York with barley, oats and steel.
1917 – 1918.
Official No. 137829. Grt 6580 Nrt 4190
420 X 23.4 X 36.3 Feet.
British Steamer EUROPYLUS
17.7.1917 Launched and 1.1917 completed by Northumberland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Willington-on-Tyne (Yard No 229) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 11.5.1918 sank following a collision with the British Steamer EUROPYLUS 520 miles S.W.of Scilly Isles while on a voyage from Liverpool to Calcutta with general cargo.
1917 – 1918.
Official No. 137858. Grt 5960 Nrt 3736
405.0 X 53.5 X 33.5 Feet.
14.7.1916 Launched and 1.1917 completed by Sir James Laing and Sons Ltd., Sunderland, for Clan Line Steamers Ltd, 23.5.1918 sunk in collision with the American Steamer WESTERN COAST in position 40° 32'N 49° 10'W while on a voyage from New Orleans and new York to Nantes with a cargo of barley, oats and steel.
CLAN MACVEY had the shortest career of any Clan Line vessel when she sank on her maiden voyage 5 miles to the West of The Needles on 8th August 1918. She had sailed from the Tyne, the river of her birth, with coal for Port Said two days before and had been missed by a torpedo, probably from the same submarine, the day before she was hit half a mile S.E. of Anvil Point near Swanage.
Official No. 141884. Grt 5830 Nrt 3710
400.0 X 53.0 X 32.8 Feet.
25.4.1918 Launched and 7.1918 completed by Northumberland Shipbuilding Co, Ltd., Willington-on-Tyne (Yard No 245) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 7.8.1918 missed by torpedo from unknown submarine, but the following day torpedoed by UB.57 ½ mile SE of Anvil Point and sank 5 miles NW of the Needles. She was on her maiden voyage from Newcastle to Port Said with a cargo of coal.
CLAN MACNEIL, another Turret vessel, became the last company ship lost in WW1 when she was torpedoed and sunk on 6th August, 1918 by the submarine UC34 10 miles N.of Alexandria on a voyage from Karachi to Marseilles with a cargo of grain and onions.
1903 – 1918.
Official No. 115770. Grt 3939 Nrt 2504
360.1 X 48.1 X 24.5 Feet.
Turret Deck Steamer.
13.5.1903 Launched and 7.1903 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 307) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 9.11.1917 attacked by a submarine West of Gibraltar and escaped when the torpedo missed. 6.8.1918 torpedoed and sunk 10 miles North of Alexandria by the German Submarine UC 34 while on a voyage from Karachi to Marseilles with a cargo of grain and onions.
No fewer than five vessels were torpedoed and sunk in the Mediterranean during the last five years of the war, the others being CLANs FORBES, MACDOUGALL, MACPHERSON AND MACCORQUODALE.
1903 – 1918.
Official No.115762. Grt 3946 Nrt 2509
360.3 X 48.1 X 24.5 Feet.
25.4.1903 Launched and 6.1903 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 306) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 9.6.1918 torpedoed and sunk 115 miles W.N.W. of Alexandria by the German submarine UB 105 while on a voyage from Newport, Mon to Port Said with a cargo of coal. Two members of the crew were lost.
1904 – 1918.
Official No. 119184. Grt 4710 Nrt 2976
385.2 X 50.1 X 26.3 Feet.
Turret Deck Steamer.
12.10.1904 Launched and 12.1904 completed by W.Doxford and Sons Ltd., Sunderland (Yard No 325) for The Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 15.3.1918 attacked by the German Submarine UB 49 and sunk by torpedo and gunfire 600 miles S.E. by E.½ E. from Cape Carbonara, Sardinia, while on a voyage from Naples to Bizerta in ballast. The Master and 32 crewmembers were lost.
1905 – 1918.
Official No. 121274. Grt 4779 Nrt 3041
401.0 X 51.0 X 27.2 Feet.
1.9.1905 Launched and 3.1905 completed by Furness, Withy and Co, Ltd., West Hartlepool (Yard No 287) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 4.3.1918 torpedoed and sunk 24 miles North of Cape Serret by the German Submarine UC.27 having sailed from Bizerta earlier in the day on a voyage from Mata to Colon. Two members of the crew were lost and a further 18 were killed when the foremast collapsed onto a lifeboat as it prepared to leave the ship.
Official No. 133153. Grt 5121 Nrt 3180
430.2 X 53.4 X 26.7 Feet.
4.9.1913 Launched and 11.1913 completed by C.Connell and Co. Ltd., Glasgow (Yard No 354) for Clan Line Steamers Ltd. 17.11.1917 torpedoed and sunk by submarine UB.51 165 miles N.N.W. of Alexandria while on a voyage from Madras to London with general cargo.
In 1918 the company acquired Scottish Shire Line which ran a refrigerated meat service to Australia and New Zealand from Sir James Caird for ₤ 750,000 and also acquired Houston Line with similar services to South America as well as South and East Africa for ₤ 4M just prior to the Armistice. Clan Line were looking for spare tonnage to fill the gaps in their fleet until new ships could be built and the Houston Line services filled in well with their own. Robert P.Houston, the founder, thus sold out to one of the chief members of the Conference, which had fought to keep him out of the South African trade. Sir Charles of course never saw this for he had died two years earlier.