History of the Merchant Navy
01253 824349

MARY EVANS, a three masted barque, was built in 1861 by Hutchinson & Co. at Newcastle with a tonnage of 306grt, a length of 114ft 3in, and a beam of 26ft 8in. Registered in London she was the first ship owned by David Jenkins, purchased in July 1861. In 1882 she was sold to B.B. Nicholl of Sydney NSW and in 1884 sold was again to J.E. Mitchell of Sydney. She moved to Brisbane under the ownership of J. Gullard in 1886 and in 1893 was sold to John Moncrieff of Brisbane and was dismantled in the same year. She retained her original name throughout her career.

EASTWARD HO was built in 1861 by Bollen at Egmont Bay on Prince Edward Island with a tonnage of 386grt, a length of 117ft 3in and a beam of 31ft 6in. A barque rigged ship she was built for Edward Heard of Charlottetown, Prince Edwards Island and acquired by David Jenkins in June 1862 with her registry in London. She was sold to H.Cliff of St Quentin in France but traded out of London with the same name and made several voyages on charter to Jenkins. In 1872 she was sold to Japanese owners at Yokohama and trace of her was subsequently lost.

PEMBROKESHIRE (1) was built in 1864 by Allan & Co. at Pembroke Dock with a tonnage of 721grt, a length of 157ft 4in and a beam of 31ft 6in. Ship rigged she was the first vessel built specifically for David Jenkins and initiated the ‘Shire’ tradition. Registered in London she traded to China on the tea run. In 1872 she was re-rigged as a barque with a crew of 23. She was sold in 1887 to A.B. Troop of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, the largest family shipowners in Canadian history and on 29th July 1887 during a voyage from London to Rio de Janeiro she was wrecked on the Abrolhos Islands off Brazil.

WEBFOOT was built in 1856 by Shiverick Bros. at East Dennis, Massachusetts with a tonnage of 1061grt, a length of 180ft 8in and a beam of 37ft 6in. Ship rigged she was built for P.S. Crowell of Boston and on 8th April 1864 grounded outside Dunkirk and abandoned to the underwriters. Acquired by David Jenkins she was repaired and put back into service without a change of name and was the largest sailing ship ever owned by Jenkins. She was sold to W.J.Woodside of Belfast in 1885 and on 12th November 1886 during a voyage from Port Townsend, California to Callao she sprang a leak off Royal Roads, Panama then caught fire and had to be abandoned.

CARDIGANSHIRE (1) was built in 1864 by Gaddarn & Co. at Neyland, Pembroke with a tonnage of 365grt, a length of 124ft and a beam of 26ft 4in. Barquentine rigged she was completed for Shire Line in September of that year and commenced trading with a cargo of bunkering coal to west Africa. In 1865 she was transferred to the China tea run. She was sold to Robert Jones of Criccieth, Carnarvonshire in 1882 and on 17th February 1892 became waterlogged in mid-Atlantic during a voyage from Monte Christi (Dominican Republic) to Le Havre with a cargo of sugar and was abandoned.

CARMARTHENSHIRE (1) was built by Long & Co. at Pembroke Dock with a tonnage of 812grt, a length of 174ft 6in and a beam of 32ft 7in. Completed for Shire Line she was barquentine rigged and confirmed that Jenkins was set on naming his newly built ships after Welsh counties. On 10th January 1885 she was wrecked off Terschelling Islands, Holland whilst on a voyage from Bangkok to Bremen.

CARNARVONSHIRE (1) was built in 1868 by Gaddarn & Co. at Neyland, Pembroke with a tonnage of 388grt, a length of 132ft 2in and a beam of 26ft 2in. Barquentine rigged she was completed for the Far East trade returning with tea, making one round trip per annum in common with most other clippers. In 1880 she was sold to R.D. Richards of Barmouth, Merionethshire and by 1886 was owned by G.B. Wadsworth of Goole by which time there were three ships with the same name on the Registry. On 5th January 1893 during a voyage to Cardiff she was wrecked off Para, Brazil.

SOUTHERN QUEEN was built in 1866 by Ruddick at New Brunswick with a tonnage of 790grt, a length of 157ft 2in and a beam of 33ft 2in. Ship rigged she was brought to Liverpool, put up for sale, and purchased by G.Campbell of Liverpool. Acquired by Jenkins in 1868 she was initially deployed on the China tea run and then on the India run when the Darjeeling teas increased their popularity.. As the Ceylon tea trade began to oust the China tea she traded on the London – Colombo run and was able to complete two voyages per year.. In 1888 she was sold to Henry Curwen of Liverpool and in 1889 ownership was shown as O. Lohne of Mandal, Norway. She was scrapped in 1896.

GLAMORGANSHIRE (1) was built in 1869 by Gaddarn at Neyland, Pembroke with a tonnage of 472grt, a length of 148ft, and a beam of 27ft 5in. Barque rigged she was completed in the March and traded to Karachi with coal, on to China and Japan with Indian jute and then home with tea and silks. She was sold in 1884 to J.M. Kirby of London and in 1885 became the Sola under the ownership of S. Otto & Son of Christiansand. In 1898 she was sold to J. Chr. Nilsen without a change of name or registry and on 6th December 1900 was wrecked off Maranham Bar during a voyage from South America to Cardiff.

DENBIGHSHIRE (1) was built in 1870 by Gaddarn at Neyland, Pembroke with a tonnage of 483grt, a length of 156ft 5IN, and a beam of 28ft 2in. Sister of the Glamorganshire she was delivered in the June and placed on the London-China-Japan route. She was sold in 1885 to C.N. Pappalos of Syra and renamed Omonia. On 6th January 1893 she was wrecked close by Eupatoria near Sebastopol in the Crimea whilst on a voyage to Azov at the mouth of the River Don.

W.W.SMITH was built in 1857 at St. Helier in Jersey with a tonnage of 661grt, a length of 175ft 9in and a beam of 31ft 4in. Ship rigged she was built for Melhuish & Co of Liverpool and in 1859 she was owned by Holzburg & Co. another Liverpool shipowner. In 1867 she was sold to Hind & Co. of Liverpool and acquired by Shire Line in 1870 without a change of name. She was Shire’s last sailing ship which replaced the Eastward Ho and was deployed on the Cardiff to Colombo run with Coal out and tea home. In 1875 she was re-rigged as a barque and in 1878 became a coal hulk.

FLINTSHIRE (1) was built in 1872 by London & Clasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 1565grt, a length of 270ft 7in, a beam of 32ft 8in and a service speed of 9 knots. Completed in July of that year she was powered by an inverted compound engine and inaugurated Shire’s regular steam service to China through the recently opened Suez Canal. In 1873 she was chartered for one year to the Eastern & Australian Mail Steam Co. for their Singapore – Torres Strait – Sydney mail service following the loss of the Sunfoo. On 22nd June 1874 she went aground in Clevelend Bay, Townsville but refloated two days later with some damage to the hull. In 1888 she was sold to Lim Tiang Hee of Singapore without a change of name and, in 1889, was acquired by Blue Funnel for the Alfred Holt Group’s services out of Singapore. Transferred to the Holt subsidiary East India Ocean S.S. Co. in 1891 she later transferred to the Dutch subsidiary Nederlande Stoomboot Maats. ‘Oceaan’ of Amsterdam so that she could trade to the Dutch East Indies in 1892. She reverted back to the East India Ocean S.S. Co in 1895 and was sold to Okazaki Takichi of Kobe, Japan and renamed Yayeyama Maru in 1896. On 12th December 1898 she was lost following a collision off Nagasaki.

MONGOMERYSHIRE (1) was built in 1873 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 1725grt, a length of 308ft, a beam of 32ft 9in and a service speed of 9 knots. An enlarged version of the Flintshire she undertook her maiden voyage to China in December 1973. She was sold in 1877 to Yubin Kisen Mitsubishi Busan K.K. of Yokohama with the name Akitsushima Maru and on 10th October 1883 she was wrecked about 10 miles southwest of Odanozawa, Aomori in Japan.

RADNORSHIRE (1) was built in 1876 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 1810grt, a length of 301ft, a beam of 34ft 2in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was delivered in November 1876 and deployed on the London-Hamburg-London-China-Japan route. On 19th June 1885 she was wrecked on the Sorelle Rocks, Malta during a voyage from Hamburg-London-Yagasaki.

BRECONSHIRE (1) was built in 1878 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 1800grt, a length of 299ft 7in, a beam of 34ft 4in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was delivered in February 1878 for the Far East service and on 17th February 1886 was wrecked in sea fog at Lamoka, China whilst inbound from Swatow with a cargo of tea. It is interesting to note that navigational aids in coastal waters were few and far between in those days.

MERIONETHSHIRE (1) was built in 1878 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 1817grt, a length of 301ft 5in, a beam of 34ft 4in and a service speed of 10 knots. Sistership of the Breckonshire she was delivered in April 1878. In 1890 she was sold to the Quebec S.S. Co. of London and renamed Caribee for their UK-St Lawrence service with calls to the maritime provinces during the winter. She was sold on in 1907 to W.H.A. Walker of London without a change of name and based in New York for their Caribbean services. On 8th June 1908 during a voyage from Mantanzas to New York she foundered off the east coast of the USA and was one of 33 ships subsequently investigated by the Load Line Committee of Lloyds to see if her loss could have been attributed to the change of registered freeboards in 1906 which could have made her unsafe in storm conditions. She was cleared as her draught was within the limits set in 1906 as were the other 32 ships investigated.

PEMBROKESHIRE (2) was built in 1882 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 2632grt, a length of 330ft, a beam of 38ft 8in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was sold in 1893 to the Quebec S.S. Co. of London for their Canadian routes and renamed Fontabelle. In 1906 she became the Canoe under the ownership of Cia Commercio e Navegacao of Rio de Janeiro and in 1913 was hulked at Rio and used for storing case oil where the oil wharves are located today. She was discarded during the 1920’s and presumably scrapped.

GLAMORGANSHIRE (2) was built in 1884 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 2835grt, a length of 340ft 2in, a beam of 40ft 2in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was the sister of the Pembrokeshire and delivered in November 1884 for the Far East service. On 7th March 1897 she was wrecked near Cape James during a voyage from Hong Kong to London.

CARDIGANSHIRE (2) was built in 1883 by C.S. Swan & Hunter at Newcastle with a tonnage of 2486grt, a length of 317ft 3in, a beam of 38ft 1in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was launched on 24th May 1883 for Shire Line’s Far East service. In 1894 she was sold to Hokkaido Tanko Tetsudo K.K. of Tokyo and renamed Iburi Maru. On 23rd January 1909 she sank in Tokyo Bay after being in collision with the ss Sydney of the Melbourne S.S. Co.

DENBIGHSHIRE (2) was built in 1885 by C.S. Swan & Hunter at Newcastle with a tonnage of 2538grt, a length of 317ft 3in, a beam of 38ft 1in and a service speed of 10 knots. Sister of the Cardiganshire she was deployed on the Far East run with Shanghai as the main port of call. In 1894 she was sold to Osaka Syosen K.K. for their weekly Osaka-Taiwan service and renamed Fukuoka Maru. She was sold again in 1912 to Goshi Kaisya Akita Shokwai of Nishinomiya and again in 1920 to Yamasaki Kisen K.K. of Hakodate retaining her name on both occasions. On 23rd January 1927 she was wrecked near Nanao during a voyage from Fushiki to Tsuruga. For many years the ship’s bell was aboard the Japanese sail training ship Nippon Maru.

MONMOUTHSHIRE (1) was built in 1886 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 2874grt, a length of 344ft, a beam of 40ft 2in and a service speed of 11 knots. A enlarged version of the Pembrokeshire she was the company’s first ship to have a steel hull and a triple expansion engine. In November 1894 Ernest Shackleton, later to be knighted for his exploration of the Antarctic, was third mate and continued to serve with the company until 1899. She was sold to the Quebec S.S. Co. of London for their weekly London to Canada service and renamed Korona. By 1920 she was owned by the Korona S.S. Corp of Callao, with Globe Line as managers, and deployed on the Callao-Panama Canal-New York Service and scrapped in 1924.

FLINTSHIRE (2) was built in 1888 by London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co. at Glasgow with a tonnage of 2879grt, a length of 344ft, a beam of 40ft 2in and a service speed of 11 knots. Sistership of the Monmouthshire she was delivered in the December for the Far East service. In 1895 she was sold to Nippon Yusen Kabusiki K.K. of Tokyo, renamed Toyohashi Maru, but was used as a Naval supply ship during hostilities with Manchuria and didn’t serve with the company in any capacity. The Imperial Japanese Navy requisitioned the ship in 1897 with the name Toyohashi and used her as a torpedo depot ship. In 1915 she became a training ship for the Japan Seaman’s Relief Association and was broken up in 1922.

BRECONSHIRE (2) was built in 1883 by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 2544grt, a length of 299ft 7in, a beam of 37ft 2in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was delivered to Porteus & Senior of London as the Numida and acquired by Shire Line in 1886. In 1893 she was sold to Breconshire S.S. Co. of Newcastl,e with Thompson & Elliott as managers, and on 30th April 1894 was wrecked at Bethel Creek, Pennsylvania whilst on a voyage from New York to Tampa.

CARMARTHENSHIRE (2) was built in 1887 by C.S. Swan & Hunter at Newcastle with a tonnage of 2726grt, a length of 329ft 5in, a beam of 40ft and a service speed of 11 knots. She was launched on 25th January with the customary grey hull but around 1895 was given a black hull with a white band. In 1901 she was sold to Trinidad Shipping & Trading Co. of London for their West Indies trade and renamed Maracus. She was acquired by New York Transatlantic Corp. of New York for the New York-Trinidad service to maintain trade severed by the US Neutrality Act following the outbreak of the First World War but only until 1915 when she was replaced by standard US ship construction and sold to A/S Solgran of Stavanger, with A. Meling Jrn. as manager, and renamed Marjoren. On 3rd September 1917 she was torpedoed southwest of Ireland.

RADNORSHIRE (2) was built in 1890 by C.S.Swan & Hunter at Newcastle with a tonnage of 2898grt, a length of 312ft, a beam of 41ft and a service speed of 10.5 knots. In 1907 she was sold to A. Diapoulis & L. Voulgaris of Andros and renamed Assimacos after her master M.D. Assimacos. She was taken over by the Bank of Athens in 1912 with M.D. Assimacos as manager who then became her owner as well as her master, a common practice with Greek one ship companies. They usually employed Greek agents based in Piraeus to organise tramping voyages and, on occasion, arranged their own cargoes. By 1915 she was owned by M. Embericos of Andros and on 11th November 1916 was torpedoed and sunk in the Bay of Biscay off northwest Spain.

MERIONETHSHIRE (2) was built in 1895 by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 3012grt, a length of 343ft, a beam of 41ft 1in and a service speed of 10 knots. In 1907 she was acquired by Ellerman Lines Ltd of Liverpool, with Frank Swift as manager, renamed Bavarian and operated as part of the Papayanni Mediterranean fleet.. She was sold for scrap in August 1928 for £6,600 and broken up by Cohen & Co at Smyrna in Turkey.

FLINTSHIRE (3) was built in 1896 by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 3815grt, a length of 364ft, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was acquired in 1907 by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., who had set up a subsidiary company called Shire Line following their acquisition of D. Jenkins & Co., without a change of operation but with their livery. In 1913 she was purchased by Ellerman Lines Ltd to join the Merionethshire on the Levant service with the name Algerian. On 12th January 1916 during a voyage from Cowes in the Isle of Wight to Avonmouth she sank after hitting a mine which had been laid by UC-5 2.5 miles southwest of the Needles.

CARDIGANSHIRE (3) was built in 1899 by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 3838grt, a length of 356ft, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service speed of 10 knots. She was sold to Mitsui Bussan Kaisha of Mikawa in 1900 and renamed Tsurugisan Maru where she remained until 1923 when she was sold to Dairen Kisen K.K. of Dairen with the name Oyama Maru. In 1928 her owners were Fuji Shosen K.K. of Kobe and in 1938 she was sold to Sugaya K.K. of Kobe and renamed Miharu Maru. On 14th December 1941 she was lost south of Hokkaido.

DENBIGHSHIRE (3) was built in 1899 by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 3844grt, a length of 356ft, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service speed of 10 knots. Sister of the Cardiganshire she was acquired in 1907 by Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., without a change of name or colours. In 1913 she lost her propeller 48 miles off Cape Race, Newfoundland and had to be towed into St Johns by the German steamer Elisabeth captained by H. Schuldt. On 30th May she was narrowly missed by a torpedo whilst in the Western Approaches. In 1919 she was transferred to Royal Mail S.P. Co. and renamed Tamar. She was sold to Amelia S.S. Co. of London with Logthetis & Rogers as managers in 1922 and renamed Joyce Nancy in the following year. In 1924 she was sold to Melissa S.S. Co. of London with Antonoropoulo Bros. as managers with the name Sassa and was later arrested by the Admiralty Marshall for unpaid dues. Sold by the Marshall in 1925 to G. Vergottis she was renamed Argostoli and traded until 1928 when she became the Avgy owned by N.D. & R.J. Rossolymos & R Harrison of Argostoli. In August 1929 she was damaged by fire and subsequently broken up at Danzig in 1930.

GLAMORGANSHIRE (3) was built in 1900 by Sunderland Shipbuilders Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 4625grt, a length of 377ft 2in, a beam of 47ft 1in and a service speed of 10 knots. In 1902 she was sold to Nippon Yusen Kaisha K.K. of Tokyo and renamed Bombay Maru. She was sold again in 1923 to Dai-Nippon Engyo K.K. of Tokyo, in 1927 to Shizimu Kitaro of Tokyo and in 1931 to Tsutui Kiyomatsu of Tokyo-Habu. Finally in late 1933 she was sold to Iino Shoji of Tokyo for scrap and broken up in 1934.

PEMBROKESHIRE (3) was built in 1901 by Sunderland Shipbuilders Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 4513grt, a length of 360, a beam of 48ft 1in and a service speed of 10 knots. Sister of the Glamorganshire she was sold to Mitsui Bussan Gomei Kaisha in 1903 and renamed Mandasan Maru. She remained with that company until 1933 when she was broken up.

MONMOUTHSHIRE (2) was built in 1902 by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. at Sunderland with a tonnage of 5092grt, a length of 400ft, a beam of 52ft and a service speed of 10 knots. She was acquired by Royal Mail in 1907and continued to operate on the same route with the same name. On 4th May 1917 she narrowly escaped a U-boat attack by returning gunfire. In 1919 she was transferred to the Royal Mail fleet and renamed Tyne. Sold in 1922 to Tokai Kisen K.K. of Dairen with Misshin Kaiun Shokai as managers she was renamed Toku Maru and remained with the company until broken up in 1934.

CARDIGANSHIRE (4) was built in 1899 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4127grt, a length of 400ft 6in, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service sped of 10 knots. She was completed for T & J Brocklebank with the name Ameer for their Liverpool- India service. In 1906 she was transferred to Shire Line when Brocklebanks purchased half of David Jenkins’s shares and renamed Cardiganshire. In the following year she passed into the ownership of Royal Mail with their livery but continued to operate as part of the Shire Line fleet. In 1911 she was sold to Tatsuuma Kisen Goshi Kaisha of Kobe and renamed Hakushika Maru. Five years later, in 1916, she was sold to G. Katsuda of Tarumi with the name Ide Maru and in 1919 was sold again to Figueras S.S. Co. of Hong Kong when her name reverted back to Cardiganshire. In 1920 her owners re-registered her in Manila, which was then under U.S. control, as the Faco Figueras and in 1923 she was scrapped in Hong Kong.

CARNARVONSHIRE (2) was built in 1890 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4220grt, a length of 400ft 6in, a beam of 45ft 2in and a service sped of 10 knots. Sistership of the Cardiganshire she was delivered to T & J Brocklebank as Gaekwar for their Indian routes and transferred to Shire Line in 1906 with the name Carnarvonshire. In 1907 she passed into the ownership of Royal Mail but continued to operate as part of the Shire fleet until she was sold in 1911 to N. Fredriksen of Sandefjord for use as a whaling supply ship named Falkland. In 1913 she passed into the ownership of Akties Ornen of Sandefjord as the Orn 2 managed by Soren L. Christensen and in 1930 was sold to Hvalgfangerelsk Pontos of Tonsberg but managed by Bruun & Von der Lippe as the Pontos. With her main mast and bridge front removed she continued to operate as a whaling supply ship until she was broken up in Norway in 1934. (The photograph is of the Gaekwar.)

BRECONSHIRE (3) was built in 1891 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 5713grt, a length of 446ft, a beam of 49ft 2in and a service speed of 11 knots. She was completed as the Pindari for T & J Brocklebank’s India routes and transferred to Shire Line in 1906 and renamed Breconshire although it was initially announced in the press that she was to be named Pembrokeshire. She was sold to Kishimoto Kisen K.K. of Nishinomiya in 1911, renamed Shinyo Maru, and was scrapped in 1925 in Japan.

GLAMORGANSHIRE (4) was built in 1900 by Gourlay Bros. & Co. at Dundee with a tonnage of 5659grt, a length of 445ft, a beam of 50ft 2in and a service speed of 11 knots. Sister of the Breckonshire she was completed as the Marwarri for T & J Brocklebank and transferred to Shire Line in 1906 and renamed Glamorganshire. In 1911 she was transferred back to T & J Brocklebank with her former name and chartered briefly by Royal Mail, after the joint arrangement between the two companies ended, until 1912 when she reverted back to her Indian operations. She was sold to Ravano & Corrado of Genoa as the Sant’ Andrea and was broken up in Italy in 1925.

MONTGOMERYSHIRE (2) was built in 1901 by Gourlay Bros. & Co. at Dundee with a tonnage of 5665grt, a length of 445ft, a beam of 50ft 2in and a service speed of 11 knots. Sistership of the Glamorganshire she was delivered to T & J Brocklebank as the Bengali and transferred to Shire Line in 1906. In July 1911 she was chartered to Royal Mail for service in the Far East but reverted to Brocklebank’s and Bengali in 1912. On 13th September 1917 she was torpedoed 115 miles north of Derna in North Africa and four days later was beached, patched up and managed to reach Alexandria where she was repaired. On 8th April 1918 during her second voyage after being repaired and bound for Calcutta in ballast she was torpedoed and sunk by UC-34 14 miles off Alexandria.

CARMARTHENSHIRE (3) was built in 1893 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4745grt, a length of 400ft 5in, a beam of 47ft 2in and a service speed of 11 knots. She was launched as the Gaul for the Union Steam Ship Company’s Intermediate service Southampton-Cape Town-Port Elizabeth. On 8th March 1900 she was transferred to Union Castle Mail Steamship Co. when the Union and Castle Lines merged and in 1906 was sold to Royal Mail for their Southampton – Cuba – Mexico route and renamed Sabor. In 1908 the service was transferred to Shire Line and the ship was renamed Carmarthenshire and operated in the Far East for a short time in 1910. She was transferred to Royal Mail to operate on their Montreal-Quebec-West Indies-Georgetown, Demerara route in 1913 and renamed Chaleur. When the West Indies contract was awarded to Canadian National Steamships in 1927 she was sold for £8000 and scrapped in Holland.

PEMBROKESHIRE (4) was built in 1893 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 4757grt, a length of 400ft 5in, a beam of 47ft 2in and a service speed of 11 knots. Sister of the Carmarthenshire she was launched as the Greek for the Union Steam Ship Company’s Intermediate service Southampton-Cape Town-Port Elizabeth. On 8th March 1900 she was transferred to Union Castle Mail Steamship Co. and operated as a troopship with a white hull and yellow funnel during the Boer War before deployment on the Intermediate service. In 1906 she was sold to Royal Mail, renamed Segura, and operated on their Mexico route. She was transferred to Shire Line for their Far East service in 1908 and renamed Pembrokeshire. In 1913 she was transferred to Royal Mail to inaugurate their Montreal-Quebec-West Indies service and renamed Chignecto. When the West Indies contract was awarded to Canadian National Steamships in 1927 she was sold for £9000 and scrapped in Holland.

RADNORSHIRE (3) was built in 1913 by Bartram & Sons at Sunderland with a tonnage of 4310grt, a length of 385ft, a beam of 52ft and a service speed of 10 knots. She was launched as the Salopian for John Mathias & Sons of Aberystwyth’s Cambrian Steam Navigation Co. but was purchased by Royal Mail to replace ships returned to Brocklebank’s in 1910-11and named Radnorshire under the Shire Line houseflag. On 7th January enroute from Santos-London she was captured by the German Hilfskreuzer Möwe in the South Atlantic 110 miles north of Pernambuco. Her crew were taken aboard the Möwe and the ship was sunk by bombs on the following day. Merchant seamen held on the Möwe were subsequently transferred to the Japanese Hudson Maru and taken to Pernambuco.

MERIONETHSHIRE (3) was built in 1913 by Bartram & Sons at Sunderland with a tonnage of 4308grt, a length of 385ft, a beam of 52ft and a service speed of 10 knots. She was launched as the Reptonian for John Mathias & Sons of Aberystwyth’s Cambrian Steam Navigation Co. but was purchased by Royal Mail to replace ships returned to Brocklebank’s in 1910-11and named Merionethshire under the Shire Line houseflag. On 27th May 1918 during a voyage from London to Rio de Janeiro she was torpedoed and sunk by U-62 150 miles north of Flores in the Azores. Survivors were picked up by the Spanish schooner Luna the following day and landed in the Azores.

CARDIGANSHIRE (5) was built in 1913 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 9426grt, a length of 520ft, a beam of 62ft 5in and a service speed of 14 knots. She was launched for Royal Mail but allocated to Shire for the Far East run and was the largest and fastest ship on that route. In September 1914 she was used to ferry units of the British Expeditionary Forces across the Channel and in February 1915 was taken over by the Admiralty for a voyage to Zeebruge with troops and war supplies. As the ship approached Zeebruge the Belgian pilot ordered full speed ahead and steered her into the mole causing damage to the bow. The pilot was subsequently arrested, investigated and shot for sabotage. In April 1915 she participated in the Dardenelles campaign. She was chased by a submarine in the Mediterranean on 14th January 1917 and later that year crossed the Atlantic and brought US troops to Britain. In May 1929 she was sold to Christian Salvesen’s South Georgia Co. and converted into a whale factory ship with a stern ramp and the name Salvestria. On 27th July 1940 whilst approaching Rosyth she activated an acoustic mine and sank 2.5 miles off Inchkeith Light in the Firth of Forth.

CARMARTHENSHIRE (4) was built in 1914 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 7823grt, a length of 470ft, a beam of 58ft 3in and a service speed of 12 knots. She was launched for Royal Mail and was the company’s first quadruple expansion engined ship. She was allocated to Shire Line but was painted in the Royal Mail colours and commenced operations on the River Plate route. On 8th April 1917 she was attacked by U-55 200 miles southwest of Land’s End. She was only defensively armed with a gun that could only fire through an arc over the stern. However, for two hour she replied shot for shot until the heavy seas caused the submarine to disengage, moments before Carmarthenshire’s ammunition ran out. In March of the same year she was taken over by the Liner Requisition Scheme. In May 1929 she was sold to Christian Salvesen’s South Georgia Co. and converted into a whale factory ship with a stern ramp and the name Sourabaya, a virtually the sister of the Salvestria. On 27th October 1940 during a voyage from New York to Glasgow she was torpedoed and sunk by U-436.

PEMBROKESHIRE (5) was built in 1914 by Workman, Clark & Co. at Belfast with a tonnage of 7821grt, a length of 470ft 2in, a beam of 58ft 3in and a service speed of 12 knots. Sister of the Carmarthenshire she was launched for Shire Line but under Royal Mail ownership and operated on the River Plate service. On 16th November 1915 she grounded near Las Palmas in Grand Canaria but was safely refloated. She was taken over under the Liner Requisition Scheme in April 1917 and continued the ‘meat run’ under government direction. In 1935 she was sold to Thomas Dunlop & Sons of Glasgow, with the same name, under the ‘Scrap and Build’ scheme of the British Shipping (Assistance) Act. Dunlop’s acquired 17 old ships, to set against five new buildings, which equated to a loan of £450,000. Pembrokeshire was assessed to be worth £19,750, applied to the building of the Queen Victoria.and sold as scrap for £14,400. (Photo for the Iain Lovie Collection)

BRECKNOCKSHIRE was built in 1916 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 8422grt, a length of 480ft, a beam of 59ft 3in and a service speed of 12 knots. The keel was actually laid on 9th February 1914 but construction was delayed for a year and she wasn’t launched until 12th September 1916 for Shire Line. She commenced operations on 11th January 1917 on the River Plate service and on 15th February, during her maiden voyage with a cargo of coal, was captured by the German Hilfskreuzer Möwe in the South Atlantic. The 90 crew members were taken off and the ship sunk with bombs placed inside the hull. The crew were eventually taken back to Germany and interred as POW’s.

GLAMORGANSHIRE (5) was built in 1918 by Asano Shipbuilding Co. at Tsurumi in Japan with a tonnage of 8192grt, a length of 445ft, a beam of 58ft and a service speed of 11 knots. She was built as the War Armour for the Shipping Controller, one of twenty standard ‘A’ Type constructed in Japan. She was acquired by by Royal Mail for Shire Line in 1919 and renamed Glamorganshire. She was broken up at Hendrik-ido-Ambacht near Amsterdam in Holland in 1933.

RADNORSHIRE (4) was built in 1919 by J.L. Thompson & Sons at Sunderland with a tonnage of 6723grt, a length of 411ft 7in, a beam of 55ft 7in and a service speed of 12 knots. She was laid down as the War Diamond for the Shipping Controller as a standard ‘F’ type and purchased by Royal Mail on the stocks and launched as Radnorshire for Shire Line. During 1920-21 she operated on Royal Mail’s Galveston cotton run and in May 1925 was laid up at Netley in Southampton Water. She was sold to H.M. Thompson of London in 1930 and renamed Sithonia. On 13th July 1942 while part of Convoy OS.33 and sailing from Barry Docks, South Wales to Montevideo she was torpedoed and sunk by U-201 northwest of the Canary Islands. The Convoy was attacked by U-201, U-116 and U-582 and seven ships in all were lost.

MONTGOMERYSHIRE (3) was built in 1921 by Armstrong, Whitworth & Co. Ltd. with a tonnage of 6650grt, a length of 412ft 5in, a beam of 55ft 8in and a service speed of 10.5 knots. One of the ‘N’ prefabricated class she was ordered as the War Valour for the Shipping Controller but completed for Royal Mail to the Shire Line specification. She entered service for Shire Line in April 1921 on the Galveston cotton run. During 1922-23 she undertook voyages for the British Government to the Eastern Mediterranean during the Greek-Turkish crisis when British troops intervened. She came off charter in August 1923 and remained with the company until 1931 when she was sold to Societe Commerciale di Nav. of Genoa and renamed Riv. On 6th April 1941 she was bombed in the Mediterranean but managed to reach Tripoli where, on 30th August, she was bombed and sunk by Allied aircraft.

Thirteen further vessels carried the suffix ‘shire’ but after Shire Line was absorbed by Glen Line. The histories of these ships can be found within the Glen Line pages