Cornish City

September’s unknown ship brought many replies most of whom identified her as the Cornish City.

The winner of the September competition was John Chitty of Canvey Island

D Frost writes:

Septembers Unknown Ship is Reardon Smith’s mv Cornish City, built in 1943 as the Empire Cheer by Wm. Doxfords, for M.O.W.T. Sold and renamed in 1946. On 8/12/62 shebecame a CTL after an engine room fire at Aden whilst on voyage from Baton Rouge to Calcutta. She was scrapped at Hong Kong in 1963.


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Peter Sommerville writes:

This month’s ship is the Cornish City (7,297grt) of Reardon Smith Line. She was a standard WW2 build in 1943 by William Doxford Sunderland and was launched  on the 9th March 1943 as the Empire Cheer for the MOWT (managers Reardon Smith). Reardon Smith bought her in 1946 and named her Cornish City. On a voyage from the US to India she had a serious engine room fire while at Aden on the 8th December 1962 which resulted in major dam­ age to her engines and the  death of two of her engineers. She was towed to Hong Kong and broken up in Japan in October 1963.


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John Chitty writes:

This month’s ship is the Reardon Smith lines mv Cornish  City. Built by  Wm. Doxford,  Sunderland  as the mv Empire Cheer as yard no. 702, being launched on the 9th March 1943 and completed in July 1943. Dimensions, length 428 ft. 8 inch ( 130.66m), beam 56 ft.5inch (17.2m), Depth 35ft. 5 inch ( 10.Sm), GRT 7,297, NRT 4,936 and DWT 10,073.  Vessel was powered by a 2 stroke single acting 3 cylinder engine. As the Empire Cheer she sailed in a number of con­ voys for the Ministry of War Transport. In 1946 she was purchased from the Ministry of Transport by Reardon Smith Line and renamed Cornish City,  being the 4  vessel of this line so named. On  the 8th December 1962 she called at Aden for bunkers, whilst on a voyage from Baton Rouge to India via the Suez Canal with a cargo of grain. Unfortunately during these operations a  serious fire started in  the engine room, despite the quick assistance from HMS Llandaff & Hermes, the shore station HMS Sheba and port tugs, regretfully the 3rd & junior engineers died and the 2nd engineer was severely burnt. Once extinguished the vessel was surveyed and considered to be a constructive total loss, arriving Hong Kong on the 7th March for scrapping.


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Alan Blackwood writes:

This month’s unknown is the 7,297 grt single screw motor tramp Cornish City, launched by Wm Doxford & Sons Ltd. as Empire Cheer at their Pallion Yard, Sunderland and completed dur­ ing July 1943 to the order of the British Government’s Ministry of War Transport and registered at Sunderland with her management passed to the Cardiff based Sir Wm. Reardon Smith & Sons Limited. With overall dimensions of 442’11” x 56′ 6″ and a summer draught of 27′ 4.75″, her propulsion machinery consisted of a 3 cylinder 2 stroke single acting oil engine constructed by her builders to return a speed of 11 knots. The vessel was purchased by Reardon Smith for £191,460 during 1946 when renamed Cornish City and registered to the ownership of the Reardon Smith Line Ltd. with her PoR transferred to Bideford. On 8th December  1962 whilst lying at Aden during a voyage from Baton Rouge to Calcutta, she suffered a catastrophic engine room fire and explosion with the loss of two lives. Later declared a CTL, the vessel was sold during May 1963 to Hong Kong breakers, but is recorded as having pro­ ceeded onwards under tow to Onomichi (Hiroshima Prefecture) where her demolition commenced on 12th October 1963.


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Mike Goadby writes:

This month’s unknown ship is the 7324 grt MN Cornish City built in 1943 as Empire Cheer by William Doxford Ltd., Sunderland (yard no 702). She was bought from the M.O.W.T. in 1946 and renamed Cornish City. She was scrapped in 1963 after an engine room fire at Aden.


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John Livingstone writes:

The September unknown ship is Reardon Smiths Cornish City, built as the Empire Cheer for The Ministry of War Transport. Acquired by Reardon Smith in 1946 and scrapped in Hong Kong in May 1963. John Jordan writes: Possibly  a ship managed by Andrew  Weir. Very like the Doxford ships built in 1945 MV Meadowbank and her sister MV Moraybank. However the stern bulwarks on  the former ships don’t match the ship as depicted. I think this ship was a forerunner built by Doxford’s in 1943 and maybe MV Empire City. She had a short life being torpedoed by U-198. The submarine commander took the captain of Empire City prisoner but unfortunately he was lost when the subma­ rine was sunk by RN warships with the loss of all hands.


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Gerald  Dodd writes:

I  think that September’s mystery  ship is the Cornish City owned and operater by  Sir William Reardon Smith. She was built in 1943 as the Empire Cheer by William Doxford and sons of Sunderland for the Ministry of War Transport. She was 7,297 Gross Registered Tons. Following the war she was sold to Sir William Reardon Smith, who renamed her Cornish City. On 8th December 1962, on a voyage from Baton Rouge to India with a cargo of grain she suffered an engine room fire, whilst taking on bunkers, in the port of Aden. As a result of  the damage sustained  from the fire the Cornish City was sold for scrap in March 1963. The engine room fire on the Cornish City claimed the lives of two members of her crew, both engineer officers.


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David Elliott writes:

September’s mystery ship is the Cornish City of William Reardon Smith &  Sons. This vessel is of 7,297 tons and was built by Doxfords at Pallion, Sunderland as Empire Cleer. She joined Reardon Smith in 1946 having entered service as Empire Cleer in 1943. On 8th December 1962 she was damaged by fire and an engine room explosion at Aden, on passage from Baton Rouge to Calcutta. Two lives were lost. In May 1963 she was broken up at Onomichi, Hong Kong.


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