March’s unknown ship brought only a few replies most of whom identified her as the Kentbrook.

The winner of the March competition was John Jordan of Co. Cork

John Jordan writes:

I believe this ship was built by Hansen’s of Bideford and managed by them as Hansen Brothers Ltd under the name of Monkstone. Built in 1923 and sold on in 1924 to Stone and Rolfe of Llanelli. In 1941 sold on to George W. Grace London and renamed Sussex Elm. In 1951 sold to Bristol Steam and renamed Sappho. In 1953 acquired by Comben, Longstaff and renamed Kentbrook. In 1954 wrecked 3 miles North of Orfordness Lighthouse on a voyage from Ipswich to Goole in ballast. Declared a constructive total loss.



Alan Blackwood writes:

I believe this month’s unknown to be the 869 grt single screw steam collier Runnelstone, the final unit of a series of five to all intents and purposes outwardly identical vessels.

Between the period January 1921 and January 1923, the Hansen Shipbuilding and Repairing Company completed the quintet at their Bankend, Bideford yard, with initially four of these vessels constructed to the account of their builder’s Hansen Shipping Company, but within one year of her April 1921 completion, the second unit (Monkstone) was sold to the Liverpool based Richard Hughes & Company when renamed Wild Rose. On 21st October of that same year the Hughes Company also took delivery of the fourth unit of the quintet (Sturdee Rose), constructed from the outset for their account. Whilst the first four units were each measured at 873 gross tons, all five shared identical dimensions of 190′ 00″ x 30′ 01″ on a maximum summer draught of (circa) 14′ 01″. Builders of the triple expansion propulsion machinery of the sisters varied, with the Richard Hughes pair for example, supplied by the Lytham SB & E Co. Ltd. to return maximum speeds of 9.5 – 9.75 knots, whilst Runnelstone was furnished with a Sunderland based MacColl & Pollock Limited unit, fed by 180 psi steam from two single ended boilers returning a speed of 8 knots.

As observed, I venture to suggest that the sole identifier to isolate the subject vessel as Runnelstone from the others, is the marginal design difference to her spirket (stemhead) plating which appears somewhat shorter and of marginally greater height than those of her sisters.

During 1926 Runnelstone was reregistered to the ownership of S & R Steamships Ltd at London. She was sold out of their fleet during 1946 to R.H. Penny & Sons and registered at Shoreham as Algeiba. Eight years later she was resold and registered to the ownership of John S. Monks of Liverpool when renamed Foamville. On 21st March 1961 the vessel collided with and sank the 953 grt 1896 Fleming & Ferguson Ltd. Paisley built twin screw steam hopper barge Mary P. Cooper on the Manchester Ship Canal near Warrington, whilst the latter was on a voyage from Eastham to Manchester with a cargo of sand. Severely damaged, Foamville was beyond economic repair and towed to Preston for demolition by Thomas W. Ward, commencing on 4th May 1961.




Mike Goadby writes:

This month’s unknown ship is the 873grt steamship Kentbrook, built in 1923 by Hansen Shipbuilders Ltd., Bideford (yard no 6) for the Hansen Shipping Co. Ltd., Bideford but laid up without a name. In 1924 she was sold to S&R Steamships Ltd., Llanelli and named Monkstone. In 1941 she was sold to George W Grace, London, and in 1946 was renamed Sussex Elm, In 1951 she was sold to Bristol Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. and renamed Sappho. In 1953 she was acquired by Williamstown Shipping Co. Ltd., (Comben Longstaff, managers), and renamed Kentbrook. In 1954 she was stranded four miles south of Alderbrough while on ballast passage from Ipswich to Goole, and declared a C.T.L. The remains of the wreck were blown up on government orders some twenty years later.



Doug Burn writes:

I am pretty sure March’s mystery ship was a mystery when first launched. Her dimensions were 873 grt 435 nrt. 190.0 x 30.1 x 12.5 ft. She was completed May 1923 by Hansen Shipbuilding & Shiprepairing Co. Ltd., Bideford as Yard No 6 for the Hansen Shipping Co. Ltd., Bideford and laid up without a name.

November 1924 sold to S & R Steamships Ltd, Llanelli and named Monkstone.

December 1941 sold to George W Grace, London then in October 1946 she was renamed Sussex Elm.

July 1951 sold to Bristol Steam Nav. Co. Ltd. and renamed Sappho.

June 1953 Acquired by Williamstown Shipping Co. Ltd. (Comben Longstaff & Co. Ltd. Managers), London and renamed Kentbrook. On 4th January 1954 she stranded four miles south of Aldeburgh while on passage Ipswich to Goole and declared a constructive total loss.




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