I found a very interesting article by Norman Middlemiss, Forgotten Fleets 13th December 2016.

In May 1967 I worked as a deckhand, unpaid, on the mv Ternefjell sailing out of Liverpool, calling at Glasgow, then crossing the Atlantic to the St. Lawrence, and disembarked at Montreal.

I located the ship and captain via a shipping agency in London called SLA lines, whose name was given me by a family friend who worked for the PLA.

The operation of the ship and chartering of it if I remember was slightly complicated. It was a joint Norwegian/Dutch affair, with Olsen/Ugelstad being one partnership and Fjell/Orange the other.

Captain Hagen and most of the crew were Norwegian. He wrote me a reference which enabled me six months later to pick up another ship, the Haukefjell on its leg from Montreal to London in September 1967.

My daughter works in the sailing world (for Adlard and Coles) and another daughter has crossed the Atlantic with the Tall Ship Training Association, so I would like if possible to renew my acquaintance with one or two of the mv Ternefjell crew members. I remember sharing a cabin with the galley boy, Anton Svensson.

With the Olsen/Ugelstad/Fjell/Orange combination, could you perhaps point me in a direction where I might start my enquiries?

Michael Piercy


A reading of the ‘Postscript’ in the Memorable Ships article on the Empire Windrush may have inadvertently given the impression that Nevasa and Oxfordshire were the only “deep sea” troopships (as opposed to those serving our forces in Germany presumably) operating after 1957.

B.I.’s Dilwara continued until 1960 and their Dunera and Bibby’s Devonshire until 1961 although their trooping voyages might not have followed each other continuously and I believe that Dunera interspersed some educational cruises for schoolchildren latterly.

However, I can confirm that Devonshire was still trooping in 1961, my Discharge Book says so! (Signed off 3/8/61)

Michael Wood


I have just read the article about P & O’s C class with great interest. I was not lucky enough to sail in any of them during the 1950s but I did do dock staff work on them. The Canton was thought by many to be the best looking ship of the P & O fleet in those days and was referred to as the Company’s yacht.


Roger Lancaster


With reference to Norman Middlemiss’s article on the above August 2018 edition.

I thoroughly enjoyed this article, as usual. However I believe there is either a slight error or the most incredible coincidence in the piece. Norman states that the M/V Sutherland was traded to Buries Markes and became the La Bahia.

In 1958 Buries Markes bought the recently launched but unfinished M/V Sutherland, built by Bartrams and named her La Falda. Apparently as the story goes she had a larger draught than required by the original owners. I joined her after her maiden voyage in April 1959 and served on her until January 1960. During this time I, along with my colleagues Messrs Nicholson, Compton & Herriot cleaned the bridge bell quite clearly stamped as Sutherland with her launch date every Saturday, in addition during that voyage we painted over the cut-in name Sutherland on her bow on more than one occasion.

I served on the La Bahia following the voyage on the La Falda but did not find any evidence of her previously being named Sutherland.

This as I said could just be a remarkable coincidence that Buries Markes bought two ships called Sutherland during the nineteen fifties. It would be interesting to know.

Mike Gough

Editor’s note: La Bahia was built as the Sutherland in 1940 by Doxfords for B. J. Sutherland & Co., joining Chapman and Willan as Grainton in 1953. She became La Bahia in 1957. It was in fact a remarkable coincidence!


I am trying to locate an image of the Sir William Eyre.

A packet of 1,315 tons she was built by T.H. Oliver in Quebec in 1856. By 1859 she was registered to Law and Company in Glasgow for passage of immigrants to Australia. She made a voyage from London to Melbourne in 1858. By 1862, she had been registered to new owners, Potter, Wilson and Company of Glasgow.

Her final voyage began in Greenock, Charles Blackie was captain and she was carrying immigrants to Southern New Zealand. It was an ill-fated voyage. 23 passengers and 1 crew member died. 26 members of the crew were discharged in Cape Town, 21 members deserted and 3 were discharged in Bluff (New Zealand), 7 deserted in Port Chalmers (Dunedin, New Zealand). Court cases concerning different aspects of the voyage followed, one in Bluff, one in Dunedin, one in Glasgow and two in London.

From Port Chalmers she sailed to Calcutta, arriving just before the great Calcutta cyclone. On 5th October 1864, a cyclone devastated the port. 39 ships were slightly damaged, 97 were severely damaged and 36 were totally lost. The Sir William Eyre was totally lost.

My wife’s great-great grandfather and his family were on the final voyage, and I am hoping to find an image of the ship that I can include in his biography which I am writing. Any assistance would be received most gratefully.

W. Noel Brown

Editor’s note: If any reader is able to help Noel please send details to me at and I will pass on your mail to him.


There is an error in Norman Middlemiss’s article, Shipping September 2018. Sycamore of Johnston Warren Line was renamed Walsingham by the Pacific S.N.Co. when she was chartered in 1955. Her sister ship Afric was chartered at the same time and renamed Albemarle. The two ships were used in a Carribean service. As far as I am aware Walsingham was never chartered by Watts Watts.

Watts Watts last three ships: Weybridge, Wimbledon and Willesdon were certainly of a revolutionary design. The midships ‘tween decks were the Officers’ and Crew accommodation and was to a very high standard. However, this consisted of lounge galleries along the ship’s side with the sleeping cabins inboard – only separated from the hatch trunkway by the thickness of the bulkhead. Intended as tramps the ships only had a bare minimum of derricks. Wimbledon made one voyage on charter to the Pakistan Company before they purchased her. I loaded her in Birkenhead. With the unconventional hatch arrangement and her minimal derricks she was not suited for a mixed break bulk general cargo. Also, night work meant that the crew could get no sleep as the winches (there were no cranes on the berth) were above their heads and whenever cargo such as steel reinforcing rods struck the side of the trunking the whole crew was woken up.


Geoff Holmes


Sorry, comments are closed for this item