History of the Merchant Navy

ANDREW WEIR SHIPPING & TRADING CO. LTD (BANK LINE) From 1885 to 1955

Andrew Weir was born on 24th April, 1865 and started his working life in the banking circles in Scotland. However, it soon became apparent that his future ambitions lay in the shipping industry and this ambition was soon to be realised. On 5th May 1885, after a brief spell in a shipowner’s office to learn the ropes, he opened his own office in Glasgow and acquired his first ship, the Willowbank, a sailing ship of 882 gross tons. The business prospered and within ten years Andrew Weir owned one of the largest fleets sailing under the red ensign.

During the thirty year period between 1885 and 1915 the company ordered 21 new vessels and acquired 24 other sailing ships, the last purchase being in 1896 and the last addition to the fleet being in 1915. Details and a brief history of each vessel can be found on a later page

By the end of the 19th century the company began to take an interest in steam propulsion but were wary of disposing of the sailing ship fleet until steam had proved itself as a viable alternative. But, as a first step, in 1896 Andrew Weir acquired the steamship Duneric. Once the use of steam had been proven the Duneric was followed by a long list of steamships of increasing size all with the suffix “eric” in the name. In fact, the growth of the steamship fleet was as rapid as that of the sailing vessels in the company’s early days and it wasn’t long before the combined tonnage of the steamship fleet totaled 312,534 tons deadweight. At about the same time the structure of the company began to change and instead of utilising the ships in the tramping business, picking up cargoes wherever they could, Andrew Weir began deploying them on regular routes all over the world.

In the early years of the 20th century rapid expansion necessitated to opening of a branch office in Middlesbrough and in 1905 the headquarters of the company was moved to London. In the same year Bank Line Ltd was formed and since that date all ships have been registered in that company or one of its subsidiaries. At the same time the first of many branches were established overseas in New York, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. In 1906 the company inaugurated its India-African Line followed, in 1907, by the introduction of a Seattle to Australia service.


Andrew Weir

The India – African Line was formed to carry immigrants from India, mainly from the Gujarat region, to South Africa to work the newly established sugar plantations in Natal as the back-breaking work would not be performed by the local Zulu population. The company initially used chartered tonnage and operated a monthly service from Cape Town to Calcutta and Rangoon. The passenger service, however, really got underway in 1913 when the Johannesburg, the Fort Salisbury and the Buluwayo were purchased from the Bucknall Line and renamed the Surat, the Gujarat and the Kathiawar.

The next milestone in the company’s history was in November 1913 when the first oil tanker joined the fleet. The Desabla (6,047 GRT) was built and engined by Hawthorn Leslie & Co. Ltd at Newcastle but it wasn’t until after the First World War that the tanker fleet began to expand.

In 1917, with the First World War in its fourth year, Andrew Weir was called into public service and appointed to the office of Surveyor General of Supply at the War Office. He became a member of the Cabinet in January 1919 as Minister of Munitions and in 1921 was appointed as the first chairman of the Liquidation and Disposals Commission. This role took him all over the country and occasionally to the battle-fields of France. For his services to the country Andrew Weir was created the first Baron Inverforth of Southgate.

When Andrew Weir became a Cabinet minister he resigned from the company and was succeeded by his son the Hon. A. Morton Weir. In due course, however, Lord Inverforth return to the company to continue to guide the partnership he had founded.

Following his success with steamships Lord Inverforth was quick to spot the potential of the internal combustion engine and, once again, embarked on a rapid expansion program to incorporate the new technology. In 1922 he consulted with Lord Pirrie the chairman of Harland & Wolff and placed his first order for 21 motorships, 18 of which were to comprise the “Inverbank” class. With the advent of the diesel ship the company reverted to using the suffix “Bank”, which had fallen into disuse at the end of the sailing ship era, on all vessels.

The first vessel, the Gujarat, was completed in December 1923 and continued the company’s venture into the passenger carrying business. Two further ships, the Kathiawar and the Luxmi joined the Gujarat on the Rangoon to South Africa service and, in addition to carrying up to 6,550 tons of cargo, had accommodation for 12 first class and 20 second class passengers.

Also in the early 1920’s the company expanded its tanker operations through the management of the British-Mexican Petroleum Co. Ltd. By 1926 the fleet had risen to 12 tank steamers, each with the prefix “Inver”and 11 barges for harbour service. Seven of the ships had been laid down before the war as standard cargo ships and were converted by fitting large cylindrical tanks in the cargo spaces and carrying oil in the double bottom tanks. They were fairly successful but it soon proved necessary to build ships specifically for carrying oil products.

In 1934 three elegant motorships built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd at Belfast, the Isipingo, the Inchanga and the Incomati joined the fleet. Named after a coastal area south of Durban, a hilly plane inland of Durban and a river running from the Transvaal to Mozambique, respectively, they were a contrast to Bank Line’s traditionally austere looking fleet. Painted white with a buff band round the hull, green boot topping and a small buff, blacked top funnel, the raked masts gave the vessels a yacht like appearance. The first-class accommodation for 50 passengers was spacious with the ambience of an English country house. The lounge, flanked by enclosed tea terraces, had large forward facing windows and was furnished with a light green and pastel colour scheme which offered escape from the heat out on deck. All the first-class cabins had an outside window and a private shower and toilet. Unusually for a British ship she was equipped with a large outdoor swimming pool and there was also a barber’s shop which was frequently visited by officers of other British ships. Accommodation for the 20 second class passengers was situated aft and up to 500 ‘natives’ were carried in the tween decks.


2nd Lord Inverforth Hon.Roy Weir Hon. Vincent Weir

During the Second World War the company lost a number of ships as a result of enemy action and, consequently, in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s there was an extensive program to replace and modernise the fleet. There was a steady flow of new motorships from the yard of Harland & Wolff Ltd and William Doxford & Sons, and, in addition, the company purchased 12 “Liberty” steamships from the United States as well as several more that had been laid down at the end of the war for other owners.

Under the guiding hand of Lord Inverforth the company built up a substantial insurance underwriting and broking department and, together with extensive activity in commodities including nitrate , coal, oil and grain, extended its influence throughout the world with the opening of branches and subsidiary companies.

During his active business life Andrew Weir was highly respected so much so that he was elected President of the Institute of Marine Engineers and was one of the very few honorary members of the Baltic Exchange. Before his death on 17th September, 1955 Lord Inverforth saw his two grandsons, the Hon. Roy and the Hon. Vincent, taking an active interest in the company he had founded 70 years previously.

ANDREW WEIR SHIPPING & TRADING CO. LTD (BANK LINE) From 1885 to 1955. The Sailing Ship Fleet

Built
Acq’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Willowbank
1861
1885
882
190.0
32.0
20.0
An iron barque built by Wigham, Richardson & Co. at Newcastle, she was run down and sunk by the steamship City of Berlin off Portland on a voyage from Caleta Buena to Hamburg in December 1895.
Anne Main
1867
1886
499
156.6
28.0
16.8
An iron barque built by A Stephen & Co., Glasgow in, she
was wrecked on the Japanese Goto Island in 1895.
Thornliebank
1886
1492
244.5
37.6
21.5
After only a few years with Andrew Weir she finished her career as a coal hulk in Australia and was dynamited and sunk 10 miles S.W. of Rottnest Island near Perth in 1928.
Allegiance
1876
1887
1236
217.5
36.7
22.0
An iron ship built in Liverpool by W.H.Porter & Sons. On 12th December,1900 during a voyage from the Clyde to Sydney,NSW she caught fire and was abandoned, the crew being landed at Cape Town.
Francis Thorpe
1868
1888
1346
218.0
37.1
22.8
Built in iron by Richard Duck & Co. of Stockton she was wrecked at Salina Cruz while on a voyage from Montevideo to Salina Cruz in August, 1890.
Trongate
1878
1888
987
204.0
33.6
20.0
An iron barque built by Dobie & Co, Glasgow, she was sold on in 1909 and after a further career with several foreign owners was broken up in 1925.
Hawthornbank
1889
1369
231.3
36.1
21.6
Built by Russell & Co., Port Glasgow in steel she was sold on in 1910 and after a succession of ownerships was sunk by a German submarine in the North Sea on 25th April,1917.
Hazelbank
1889
1660
258.0
38.7
22.6
Built in steel by C.Connell & Co. she was unfortunate to end her life on the Goodwin Sands in October, 1890 nearing the end of a voyage from Port Townsend to Hull with a cargo of wheat.
Abeona
1885
1890
979
210.3
33.4
21.0
Built by A Stephen & Son as an iron ship she was
converted into a barque in 1894. She was lost on Thunderbolt Reef during a voyage from Barry to Algoa Bay on 4th Sept,1900.
Elmbank
1890
2288
279.0
41.9
24.2
A four masted barque built by Russell & Co.in steel she met her end on 10th January, 1894. Whilst being towed from Le Havre to Greenock she broke adrift from her tug and was wrecked on the Isle of Arran
Glenbreck
1890
1900
271.0
42.0
24.2
Built in 1890 by R.Duncan & Co, Port Glasgow, it was thought that she was only chartered by Andrew Weir. Sold on in 1901 she was posted missing on 18th May, 1901 during a voyage from the Tyne to Valparaiso under the Russian flag.
Comliebank
1890
2283
278.6
41.9
24.2
A four-masted barque built in steel by Russell & Co.she was sold on in 1913 and was finally lost when she was abandoned on a voyage from Bahia to Philadelphia on 27th January, 1919.
River Falloch
1884
1891
1637
257.8
38.2
23.2
Built by Russell & Co. the iron ship was sold on in 1909 and eventually broken up in June, 1922.
Dunbritton
1875
1891
1536
237.4
38.4
22.5
An iron ship built at Dumbarton by McMillan & Son she remained with the company until 1906 when she was abandoned while being towed from Hamburg to Leith.
Pomona
1867
1891
1252
229.2
34.2
22.8
Built as an iron ship by R Steel & Co. Greenock she was later converted into a barque. She foundered during a voyage from London to Algoa Bay in December, 1902.

Thistlebank

Cedarbank

Olivebank
Built
Acq’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Sardhana
1885
1891
1146
215.1
35.1
21.2
An iron barque built by Russell & Co., she was sold on in 1911 to Scandinavian owners and was abandoned at sea in July, 1918.
Ashbank
1891
2292
278.6
42.0
24.2
The first of three steel 4-masted barques built for the Pacific grain trade by Russell & Co., the Ashbank went missing on a voyage from Algoa Bay to Newcastle,NSW in May 1892.
Gowanbank
1891
2288
278.0
42.0
24.2
The second sister was abandoned near Cape Horn in April, 1896 whilst on a voyage from Barry to Iquique.
Thistlebank
1891
2430
283.7
42.9
24.2
The third sister was sold on in 1914 and sunk by German U-boat, U-24, on 30th June 1915 during a voyage from Bahia Blanca to Queenstown.
Beechbank
1892
2288
277.5
42.0
24.2
A 4-masted steel barque bulit by Russell & Co.was sold on in 1913 and finally broken up in 1924.
Fernbank
1892
1429
237.5
36.2
21.7
One of two steel barques built by A.McMillan & Son. Ended her career in Nov. 1902 when she was wrecked on Juan de Nova Island nearing the end of a voyage from Cardiff to Mozambique.
Oakbank
1892
1415
237.5
36.2
21.7
The second steel barque built by A. McMillan & Son was, in 1900, wrecked on Serrano Island near Iquique nearing the end of a voyage from Callao.
Olivebank
1892
2824
326.0
43.1
24.5
One of two steel barques built by Mackie & Thompson, Glasgow and considered to be the most famous of the fleet. She had to be scuttled to douse a fir at Santa Rosalia in February 1911. Raised and repaired she stranded at the same spot four months later. Sold on she continued to serve various shipowners until 8th Sept1939 when she was sunk by a mine off Jutland with the loss of all but 7 of the crew.
Cedarbank
1892
2825
326.0
43.0
24.5
The second steel barque built by Mackie & Thompson arrived on fire at San Francisco in July 1893 and had to be scuttled. Refloated and subsequently dismasted near Gough Island in 1897. Sold on in 1913 she was reported missing in May 1917 having sailed for Aarhus from Halifax,NS.
Laurelbank
1893
2397
283.0
43.0
24.4
One of two 4-masted barques built by Russell & Co. she went missing during a voyage from Shanghai to Portland which started on 31st October 1898.
Levernbank
1893
2400
282.9
43.0
24.4
The second barque built by Russell & Co. foundered 300 miles west of the Scilly Isles on 20th September, 1909 during a voyage from Bilbao to Cardiff.
Trafalgar
1877
1893
1765
271.5
39.3
23.4
Built by C.Connell & Co.,Glasgow as a 4-masted iron ship and converted into a barque. During a voyage from Batavia to Melbourne in December 1893 the master and all the officers died, presumably of fever. Command was taken over by the senior apprentice, William Shotton, who navigated the ship to Melbourne. The Trafalgar was finally lost on 11th November, 1904 near Pernambuco on a voayge from Sydney to Falmouth.
Clydebank
1894
893
195.2
32.2
19.2
Built by Birrell, Stenhouse & Co. at Dumbarton she was sold on in 1902. Damaged in a collision in the River Plate in August 1913 shewas still around in 1944 but her final demise is unknown.
Castlebank
1894
1656
246
37.4
22.6
A steel barque built by Russell & Co.she went missing on 24th September, 1896 during a voyage from Newcastle,NSW to Valparaiso.
Heathbank
1894
1661
246.6
37.5
22.7
The second steel barque built by Russell & Co.in 1894 went missing on 28th April, after leaving Rio de Janeiro for Newcastle,NSW in ballast.

Falklandbank

Gifford

Trongate
Built
Acq’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Falklandbank
1894
1913
265.0
39.1
23.2
A full rigged ship built by Mackie & Thompson she sailed from Port Talbot for Valparaiso on 9th November, 1907. She was last seen in position 31 deg.S, 45 deg.W on 18th December.
Springbank
1894
2398
282.4
43.0
24.4
A 4-masted steel barque built by Russell & Co. she was sold on in 1916 and condemned in November, 1920 due to severe weather damage. As the Asrym she was the first sailing ship to pass through the newly completed Panama Canal.
Collessie
1891
1895
1468
236.0
36.0
21.9
A steel barque built by Russell & Co. she was wrecked on Coicoi Point 2 miles north of the Itata River, Chile in September 1901
Isle of Arran
1895
1918
263.3
39.0
23.0
A steel ship built by Russell & Co., she was managed for the Isle of Arran Ship Company. Sold on in 1915 she stranded on Drogheda Bar in March 1916 and on 2nd February, 1917, bound for Le havre out of Buenos Aires, she was sunk by a bomb placed on board by a German U-boat 100 miles south of the Old Head of Kinsale.
Loch Eck
1874
1895
1701
262.9
38.3
23.1
An iron ship built by C.Connell & Co. she stranded in Valparaiso and was a total constructive loss. Purchased and repaired by a S.American owner she was dismasted in 1898 and again in 1906. Was finally converted into a hulk.
David Morgan
1891
1896
1566
249.3
38.0
21.8
A steel barque built by Wm.Hamilton & Co, Port Glasgow. On 25th March, 1898 she sailed from Philadelphia to Nagasaki with a cargo of case oil and after passing the Deleware Breakwater was never seen again.
Loch Ranza
1896
1129
219.9
34.7
20.7
Built by Charles Connell & Co she was sold on in 1901 and was eventually broken up in July 1925.
Perseverance
1896
1896
1900
267.0
40.1
23.6
A steel ship built by A.McMillan & Son acquired ‘en spec’ on completion. Four years later she went missing on 20th February, 1900 during a voyage from Probolingo to Newcastle,NSW.
Thornliebank
1896
2105
269.7
40.5
23.6
A steel ship from the yard of Russell & Co.she was the last sailing ship to be built for Andrew Weir.
Gifford
1892
1898
2251
281.6
42.3
24.6
A 4-masted steel barque built by J.E.Scott & Co, Greenock. On 25th September, 1903 nearing the end of a voyage from Newcastle,NSW she stranded on Mussel Rock on the approach to San Francisco.
Forthbank
1877
1899
1438
246.9
37.1
21.1
Built by Dobie & Co, Glasgow as the iron ship Nebo she was sold on 1909 and on 23rd November, 1911 was wrecked on the Chincha Islands.
Gantock Rock
1879
1903
1611
255.5
38.3
20.6
An iron ship built by A.McMillan & Son at Dumbarton. She was sold on in 1890 but came back to Andrew Weir 4 years later under management. She was sold on again in 1915 and broken up at Kiel in 1924.
Mennock
1876
1903
822
188.4
32.1
19.2
Built at Govan by London & Glasgow Co. she was sold on and wrecked at Punta Lirquen in Febrary, 1923 during a tow.
Ellisland
1884
1908
2426
302.3
41.1
25.0
Built as a 4-masted iron ship by Oswald Mordaut & Co.,Southampton she was converted to a 4-masted barque in the early 1890’s. Described as one of the best looking ships in the fleet she left Newcastle,NSW on 9th July,1910 bound for Caldera and was posted missing.
Philadelphia
1892
1914
1805
255.0
38.9
23.0
The last sailing ship to be acquired was built at Geestermunde by J.C.Tecklenborg. A steel ship, she was sold on in 1915 and finally sunk by a submarine off the coast of Southern Ireland on 29th April,1917.

ANDREW WEIR SHIPPING & TRADING CO. LTD (BANK LINE) From 1885 to 1955. The Steam/Motor Ship Fleet

Built
Acq’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Duneric
1896
1878
270.6
36.7
18.7
Built by the Campbelltown Shipbuilding Company she was sold on in 1916 and finally broken up in 1924
Elleric
1897
3559
339.5
46.0
17.8
Built by Russell & Company she was eventually broken up at Preston in 1926.
Boveric
1898
3978
345.2
49.8
17.9
Built by Russell & Co., she was sold a year or so later she was eventually broken up at Gothenburg in 1933.
Ruby
1888
1898
481
175.0
26.6
10.5
Built by Scott & Co, Bowling, she remained with the company until October,1905, when she had a collision in the Firth of Forth and sank.
Comeric
1898
3920
344.6
49.8
17.9
Built by Russell & Company sold on around the turn of the century. Escaping a torpedo attack in the North Sea in May 1915 she continued in service under various owners until she was broken up in 1943.
Foreric
1898
3974
345.3
49.8
17.9
Built by Russell & Co she was sold on in 1916 and was reported to have sunk in April 1921.
Alert
1855
1898
327
176.0
21.4
10.8
At one time the oldest steamer flying the Red Duster she was built at Hull and was, at one time, a passenger carrying paddle steamer. She had 35ft cut off when converted into a cargo ship. Sold on in 1899 she became, in 1927, the largest ship ever to navigate the Truro River where she attracted a lot of attention at the town quay. She was broken up in 1929 after 74 years service.
Homeric
1897
1898
2535
309.7
44.1
20.4
Built by Russell & Co. as the Anaces she was sold on around 1904 and, several owners later, ended her career when she foundered in January 1909.
Burnock
1890
1899
425
158.5
25.1
11.8
Built by S.McKight & Co of Ayr, after being sold on she had a long career with various owners and was eventually sold for scrap in 1931.
Adato
1899
3347
330.7
45.7
16.2
Built by Wm. Hamilton & Co, Port Glasgow, she was managed on behalf of the Ocean Navigation Co. She ran aground on Oshima Islands in January 1909 and was a total loss.
Gymeric
1899
4002
345
49.8
17.9
Built by Russell & Co she was sold on in 1910, Refloated after a stranding in May of that year she passed to Idian owners. As the Zorostrian she served as a sailing ship.
Wyneric
1894
1900
1921
396.0
48.7
28.1
Built by Russell and Co. as the Strathgarry and later as the Dutch Prince she went missing in April, 1913 during a voyage from Baltimore and Barbados to Lota.
Oceano
1900
3358
369.7
52.0
27.2
Built by Russell & Co she was initially managed for the Ocean Navigation Co but later flew the Weir houseflag. She stranded in July 1917.
Quito
1900
3358
330.7
45.7
16.2
Similarly built by Russell & Co. for Ocean Navigation Co. she was sold on by Andrew Weir in 1915 and ended her career when she was abandoned at sea in 1922.
Inveric
1901
4789
369.5
52.1
27.2
Built by Russell & Co. fo Ocean Navigation Co. for management by Andrew Weir she was sold on in 1921 and was lost sometime during the Second World War.

Tymeric 1919

Gujarat 1923

Comliebank 1924
Built
Acq’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Katanga
1901
3316
330.1
48.0
16.0
Built by Russell & Co. for British Navigation Co.Ltd with Andrew Weir as managers. Sold on around 1915 she was eventually broken up at Savona, Italy in 1932.
Yeddo
1901
4563
369.8
52.0
27.2
Built by Russell & Co for the Ocean Navigation Co.under management by Andrew Weir she was sunk by a German submarine off Cape Matapan in December,1915.
Tymeric
1901
3314
330.3
48.1
15.9
Built by Russell & Co. She was sunk by the German raider Emden off Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 25th September,1914.
Croydon
1898
1901
3757
345.0
48.0
25.7
Built by J.L. Thompson & Sons,Ltd of Sunderland for Houlder, Middleton & Co. she was wrecked near Antigua on 5th April,1914.
Jeseric
1902
4816
370.2
52.1
27.2
Built by Wm. Hamilton & Co. she stayed with Andrew Weir until 1925 when she was transferred to Cie.Venture-Weir and renamed Rivafric.She was sold to Italian shipbreakesr in 1926. At the time of completion she was Andrew Weir’s largest steamship
Aymeric
1905
4367
370.0
49.8
19.2
Built by Russell & Co. she was the first new building for the newly formed Bank Line. She was sunk by a submarine near Cape Matapan on 1st June,1918.
Boveric
1906
4445
385.0
49.8
18.5
Built by Russell & Co. and staed with the company until 1923 when she was sold on to Japanese owners. She stranded on Nijo Rocks, Soya Strait on 23rd August,1930.
Tinhow
1906
1510
249.5
38.0
17.0
Built by Russell & Co. for the Hong Kong Navigation Co.Ltd but managed by Andrew Weir. Sold on around 1913 to Cuban owners she became a war loss in 1918.
Suveric
1906
6235
460.0
55.1
28.6
Built by Russell & Co. she was sold on in 1929 to German owners and broken up in 1932.
Kumeric
1906
6232
460.0
55.1
28.6
Built by Russell & Co. she sank in a collision in the River Plate in 1927, was later refloated, sold on to Italian owners and finally broken up in 1932.
Yoseric
1908
4463
385.0
49.8
18.4
Built by Russell & Co. there are no details of her career either with Andrew Weir or possibly subsequent owners.
Mineric
1909
4713
405.0
52.0
25.1
Built by Russell & Co. she was sold on in 1933 to Chinese and then Greek owners. Seized by the Japanese in 1941 she was thought to have been torpedoed of the Sakhalin Island.
Luceric
1910
6536
460.0
57.0
28.9
Built by Russell & Co.she was sold on to Cunard around 1916 and became the Valacia. Under Italian ownership she became a war loss on 28th June,1941.
Roseric
1910
4738
405.2
52.2
25.8
Built by Russell & Co. she remained with the company until 1931 when she was sold to Japanese shipbreakers.
Salamis
1899
1911
4510
392.7
47.2
21.5
Built by Hall, Russell & Company in Aberdeen she was sold on in 1920 and ended her days in an Italian breakers yard in 1924.

Laganbank 1930

Teviotbank 1938
Built
Acq’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Orteric
1911
6535
460.0
57.0
28.9
Built by Russell & Co. she was torpedoed and sunk on 13th December,1915.
Gifford
1911
4214
380.0
49.0
26.4
Built by the Northumberland Shipbuilding Co.Ltd in Newcastle for the Gifford Trading Co. Ltd with Andrew Weir as managers. Sold on in 1913 she was eventually scrapped in China in 1933.
Poleric
1900
1912
7682
461.5
52.1
38.7
Built by C.S.Swan & Hunter Ltd as the Consuelo for the Wilson Line and served in Cunard’s Cairn Line as the Cairnrona before being acquired by Bank Line. Was eventually sold to Japanese shipbreakers in 1928.
Miramichi
1902
1912
3624
340.0
48.2
25.8
Built by J.L.Thompson & Sons at Sunderland she was sold on in 1916. In February 1916 she was beached following a fire and not refloated until September 1917. Under the Italian flag she was lost on 14th June,1925, after a collision west of Cape Roca.
Naneric
1895
1912
5609
430.6
49.0
29.6
Built by C.S.Swan & Hunter Ltd for Shaw Saville & Albion as the Aotea she was commisioned by the Royal Navy and, during WW1, served as an escort ship armed with two 6″ and two 4″ guns. Sold on in 1925 she was broken up the following year.
Madawaska
1902
1912
4120
373.0
51.1
25.7
Built by J.L. Thompson & Sons at Sunderland she was transferred to Cie.Venture Weir S.A. and renamed Capafric. Ended her career in a German breakers yard around 1928.
Monadnock
1902
1912
4275
373.5
51.3
25.8
Built by C.S.Swan & Hunter Ltd in Newcastle. Transferred to Cie.Venture Weir S.A. and renamed the Monafric she was eventually scrapped in 1931 while under Italian ownership.
Desabla
1913
6047
420.3
54.6
32.4
Built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co. Ltd at Newcastle she was Andrew Weir’s first oil tanker. After a very short career she was, in June 1915, sunk by a submarine in the North Sea.
Kathiawar
1895
1913
4405
360.0
47.0
27.8
Built by Armstrong, Mitchell & Co.Ltd at Newcastle as the Bulowayo for the Bucknall Steamship Lines. She was sold on in 1923 to Belgian shipbreakers.
Surat
1895
1913
4495
360.0
47.0
27.7
Built by Armstrong, Mitchell & Co.Ltd as the Johannesburg for the Bucknall Steamship Lines she was finally broken up in 1926.
Gujarat
1913
4482
360.0
47.0
27.8
Built by Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. Ltd as the Fort Salisbury she was sold to the Booth Line and renamed Vincent before joining the Andrew Weir fleet. She was sold on in 1919 and broken up in Bombay during 1921.
Gifford
1913
5213
420.0
54.1
26.3
Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd she was interned in Germany from 1914 until 1919. On her release she was sold on to British buyers. In 1932, under Greek ownership, she stranded and lay idle for 5 years. Taken over by the US Government in 1941 she was torpedoed and sunk off Port Elizabeth during November, 1942.
Wyneric
1914
4488
365.0
50.7
26.7
A tanker built by William Gray & Co.Ltd as the Ricardo A. Mestres for Consolidated Goldfields, managed by Andrew Weir she changed her name on transferring to Bank Line ownership. Sold on in 1937 she struck a mine and sank off Yarmouth on 24th December, 1941.
Oyleric
1914
6051
420.3
54.6
32.4
A tanker built by Hawthorn Leslie & Company as the Barneson under Andrew Weir management until she was transferred to Bank Line. Sold on in 1937 she was torpedoed and sunk on 21st May, 1942, west of Antonio Cape, Cuba.
Gymeric
1917
6138
420.3
54.6
32.3
A tanker built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co. she was sold on to Italian owners. She had to be beached following a submarine attack of Brindisi on 15th August, 1943, and was eventually broken up in 1950.

 

=Motor
Built
Acq’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Caloric
1914
1917
7012
425
57
33.1
A tanker built by Sir James laing & Sons Ltd at Sunderland for Norwegian owners. Sold on she was taken over by the Mexican government in 1942.
Elveric
1919
1919
5685
399.6
53
32.8
Built by the Northumberland Shipbuilding Co., Ltd as the War Capitol she was sold on to Greek owners and became a war loss on 20th November,1941.
Tymeric
1919
5228
400.1
52.3
28.5
Built by Hawthorn Leslie & Company she was torpedoed and sunk on 20th November,1940.
Luceric
1918
1919
6681
412.5
55.5
34.4
Built by William Doxford & Sons at Sunderland as the War Agate she was wrecked on 20th November, 1941 at Saugor Crossing during a voyage from Calcutta to Shanghai carrying coal.
Orteric
1919
6696
412.5
55.5
34.4
Built by William Doxford & Sons she was wrecked in December 1922 on the Fish Rocks, Point Arena, California during a voyage from Tientsin and San Francisco to Puget Sound.
Comeric
1919
6702
412.6
55.5
34.4
Built by William Doxford & Sons She was sold on to the Middlesex Steamship Co. Ltd in 1935 and renamed Hampton Hall. Sold on to Greek owners in 1937 she was abandoned on 9th April, 1938, during a voyage from Amsterdam to Panama City.
Aymeric
1918
1919
5196
400.3
52.2
28.5
Built by R Thompson & Sons, Ltd at Sunderland as the War Nemesis and, of the five ‘War’ class ships, served the longest with Bank Line until she torpedoed and sunk on 17th April, 1943.
Yoseric
1918
1919
5240
400
52.4
28.5
Built by Sir J. Laing & Sons,Ltd as the WarParrot she was sold on in 1936 to the Glenfield Syndicate Ltd and renamed Ena G. Wsas broken up in 1937 at Newport,Monmouthshire.
Haleric
1918
1919
5238
399.3
52.2
28.5
Built by Palmers’ Co.,Ltd at Newcastle as the War Sparrow she was wrecked at Table Bay on 4th April,1933.
Inverarder
1919
1920
5578
400
52.4
28.5
A tanker built by Sir James Laing & Sons, Ltd as the War Agara she was taken over from the Shipping Controller and came under the management of the Anglo American Oil. Co., Ltd. She was a war loss on 20th February,1942.
Invercorrie
1918
1920
1144
210
34.6
16.6
Andrew Weir’s first motorship, built by W Gray & Co. Ltd at West Hartlepool as the Admiralty oiler the Palmol.
Gujarat
1923
4320
370.4
48.2
25.6
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd in Glasgow
Glenardle
1921
1923
4584
376.6
52.3
26.1
Built by Greenock Dockyard Co. Ltd as the NordkynII she was sold on in 1938 to Turkish owners.
Inverbank
1924
5151
420.4
53.9
26.5
The first of 18 “Inverbank” Class vessels built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,at Glasgow, one of the largest individuak orders ever executed.
Luxmi
1924
4148
370
48.2
25.6
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd in Glasgow.

Incomati 1934

Roybank 1944

Eastbank 1947
=Motor
Built
Acqu’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Kathiawar
1924
4150
370.4
48.2
25.6
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd in Glasgow she went aground on 30th October, 1937, on Goa Island Reef, Mozambique during a voyage from Calcutta to South Africa.
Birch Bank
1924
5159
420.4
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was torpedoed and sunk by during an aircraft attack on 11th November,1943.
Cedarbank
1924
5159
420.4
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,she was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on 21st April,1940.
Comliebank
1924
5149
420
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd
Glenbank
1924
5153
420.4
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd
Weirbank
1925
5150
420.1
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was torpedoed by a German submarine on 27th July, 1942.
Foreric
1918
1925
5152
400.4
52.3
28.4
Built by Harland & Wolff at Belfast as the War Lemur she then went to Cunard as the Verentia. She was sold on in 1927 to A.Holland & Co. who renamed her Galvan. She was eventually acquired by Japanese owners and sunk in the Pacific on 30th March, 1944 during a US air attack.
Alynbank
1925
5151
420
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was sunk as a blockship on the Normandy coast in February 1944. In December 1945 she turned up at Troon to be broken up by the West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co.Ltd.
Forresbank
1925
5155
434
53.7
38
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd
Clydebank
1925
5156
420
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd
Levernbank
1925
5150
420
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd
Larchbank
1925
5151
420.2
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was torpedoed by a Japanese I Class 27 submarine (Capt Kitamura) on 9th September, 1943.
Myrtlebank
1925
5150
420.2
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd
Nairnbank
1925
5150
420.1
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was sold on in 1953 to the Blythe Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., and renamed Blythe Explorer.

Nairnbank
Elmbank
1925
5156
420.1
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was torpedoed by a German submarine on 21st September,1940.

Southbank 1948

Nessbank 1953

Foylebank 1955
=Motor
Built
Acqu’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Oakbank
1926
5154
420.3
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was torpedoed and sunk off the Brazilian coast on 27th December,1942.
Springbank
1926
5155
420.3
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was sunk whilst on active service on 27th September,1941.
Olivebank
1926
5154
420.4
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., shew was sold on in 1954 to The Blythe Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., and renamed Blythe Navigator.
Speybank
1926
5154
420.3
53.9
26.5
An “Inverbank” Class vessel built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,she was captured by a German raider in the Indian Ocean on 31st January, 1941 and prsumably sunk at a later date.
Solafric
1909
1927
3487
330.1
47.3
25.7
Built by Barclay Curle & Co.Ltd as a steamship for the East Asiatic Company and converted to oil after five years, the bunker space being made available for cargo. Formerly named Bandon, Songdal, and Folkvard she was eventually broken up in 1935 at Ghent.
Tinhow
1913
1927
5232
356.6
50.9
29.7
Built by Akt.Ges.Neptun at Rostock as the Hamburg Amerika ship Valencia she was purchased from James Nourse Ltd of London who had renamed her Hughli. She was sunk by enemy action off the east African coast.
Dunafric
1909
1927
3489
330
47.3
25.7
Built by Barclay Curle & Co.Ltd as a steamship for the East Asiatic Company and converted to oil after five years, the bunker space being made available for cargo. Formerly named Pangan Lidvard, Songvan and Lidvard she was eventually broken up in 1936 at Inverkeithing.
Forafric
1909
1927
3475
330.1
47.3
25.7
Built by Barclay Curle & Co.Ltd as a steamship for the East Asiatic Company and converted to oil after five years, the bunker space being made available for cargo. Formerly named Chumpon, Landvard, Songvaar and the Landvard she was sold on and eventually broken up in May 1935 in China.
Surat
1917
1927
3879
360
45.2
27.6
Built by Charles Connell & Co. Ltd as the Betwa she was sold on to Italian shipbreakers in 1935.
Forthbank
1929
5057
421.8
56.8
26.7
Built by Workman & Clark (1928) Ltd she was sold on to Italian owners in 1953.
Deebank
1929
5060
421.8
56.8
26.7
Built by Workman & Clark (1928) Ltd she was sold on in 1955 to Panamanian owners
Trentbank
1929
5056
421.8
26.8
26.7
Built by Workman & Clark (1928) Ltd she was sunk in the Mediterranean on 24th November,1942.
Lindenbank
1930
5057
421.8
56.8
26.7
Built by Workman & Clark (1928) Ltd. she ran aground on the Arena Islands, Sula Sea on 9th May, 1939. She was refloated but snk soon afterwards.
Laganbank
1930
5583
426.8
57.3
25.8
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., she was wrecked at Huddummati Atoll, Maldive Islands in January 1938 during a voyage from Calcutta to Rosario.
Cabarita
1915
1930
4364
364.7
51.4
26
Built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd she was formerly owned by Howard Smith’s Australian Steamships Ltd. Sold on in 1952 to Pakistani owners.

 

=Motor
Built
Acqu’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Lossiebank
1930
5627
426.7
57.4
25.7
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd at Belfast.
Irisbank
1930
5627
426.7
57.4
25.7
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd at Belfast.
Foylebank
1930
5582
426.8
57.3
25.8
Built by Harland & Wolff she was sunk on Admiralty service on 4th September,1940. Later salvaged in two sections the forward section was broken up at Falmouth in 1947 and the after section at Grays, Essex in 1952.
Taybank
1930
5627
426.7
57.4
25.7
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd at Belfast.
Tweedbank
1930
5626
426.7
57.4
25.7
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd at Belfast.
Corabank
1932
9000
477
63.8
35.6
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd at Belfast, she was sold on to Japanese buyers in 1937 and wrecked off the coast of Northern Formosa on 6th March, 1945.
Congella
1913
1933
4533
399.3
52.8
24.3
Built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg as the Secundus she was one of the world’s earliest motorships. Formerly named Sagama and Mindoro she was sunk in the Indian Ocean on 10th October,1943.
Isipingo
1934
7069
403.5
57.2
32.4
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd.,
Inchanga
1934
7069
403.5
57.2
32.4
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd.,

Inchanga
Tynebank
1934
4651
412.9
54
24
Built at South Shields by J Readhead & Sons Ltd., she was sold on in 1955 to Williamson & Co. Ltd, Hong Kong and renamed Inchjura.
Incomati
1934
7369
418.4
57.2
32.4
Built by Workman, Clark (1928) Ltd., she was sunk by a torpedo and gun fire from a German submarine off the coast of West Africa on 18th July,1943.
Kelvinbank
1921
1934
3872
350.5
49.9
24.7
Built by Wm.Hamilton she was one of the first ships to be fitted with a Cammell Laird Fullagar engine. Purchased from Hendersen Line who had named her Daga she was sunk by enemy action of the Bazilian coast on 9th March, 1943.
Rowanbank
1919
1937
5102
400.2
52.3
28.5
Built by the Taikoo Dockyard and Engineering Co. of Hong Kong Ltd as the King Howel she was sunk in the North Atlantic on 31st January, 1941.
Ettrickbank
1937
5138
423.2
55.5
24.7
Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd.,
Teesbank
1937
5136
423.2
55.5
24.7
Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd., she was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic on 5th December, 1941.

Fleetbank 1953

Beaverbank 1953
=Motor
Built
Acqu’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Tielbank
1937
5084
423.7
56.7
24.8
Built by J Readhead & Sons Ltd.’ she was sunk off the West African coast on 8th March,1941.
Ernebank
1937
5388
431.7
57.3
24.9
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd at Belfast.
Eskbank
1937
5137
423.2
55.5
24.7
Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd.,
Testbank
1937
5083
423.7
56.7
24.8
Built by J Readhead & Sons Ltd., she was a war loss at Bari on 2nd December, 1943.
Teviotbank
1938
5087
423.7
56.7
24.8
Built by J Readhead & Sons Ltd.,she was sold on in 1955 to the Compania de Navegacion Nella, S.A. of Panama.
Willowbank
1939
5041
423.8
54.3
26.1
Built by William Doxford & Sons Ltd., she was torpedoed and sunk in the Western Approaches on 12th June,1940.
Thornliebank
1939
5569
435.2
56.7
26
Built by J Readhead & Sons Ltd., she was torpedoed and sunk on 29th November,1941.
Thursobank
1940
5575
435.2
56.7
26
Built by J Readhead & Sons Ltd., she was torpedoed and sunk on 2nd March,1942.
Shirrabank
1940
7274
433.2
57.3
33.6
Built by Harland & Wolff at Belfast.
Araybank
1940
7258
433.2
57.3
33.6
Built by Harland & Wolff at Belfast.,she was bombed at Suda Bay , Crete on 3rd and 16th May,1941 becoming a total loss.
Roybank
1944
7368
431
56.5
25.5
Built by William Doxford & Sons,
Meadowbank
1945
7307
429
56.5
35.5
Built by William Doxford & Sons,
Weybank
1945
7268
431
56.5
25.5
Built by William Doxford & Sons,
Moraybank
1945
7307
429
56.5
35.5
Built by William Doxford & Sons,
Hazelbank
1941
1945
7289
432.4
56.7
34.7
Built by J Readhead & Sons Ltd., as the Empire Franklin

Cedarbank 1955

Laganbank 1955
=Motor
Built
Acqu’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Hollybank
1942
1946
7041
431
56.3
35.2
Built by Short Bros. Ltd as the Empire Southey she was sold on to the Halcyon-Linj NV., of Rotterdam in 1953 and renamed Stad Rotterdam.
Birchbank
1921
1946
6450
400.3
52.5
35
Built by D and W Henderson & Co.Ltd. as the Dakarian she was sold on in 1952 to Japanese owners.

Birchbank
Edenbank
1943/4
1947
7265
422.8
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Ross G Marvin and later renamed Samtroy.
Corabank
1943/4
1947
7234
423.3
57.1
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Samfleet.
Ivybank
1943/4
1947
7256
423.9
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the W.Walter Husband and later renamed Samyork.
Titanbank
1943/4
1947
7247
424
57.1
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Samnegroes.
Ericbank
1943/4
1947
7247
423.9
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Sameveron.
Maplebank
1943/4
1947
7270
424.7
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Harmon Judson and later renamed Samwash.
Tielbank
1943/4
1947
7247
423.9
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Jacob H Schiff and later renamed Samburgh.
Kelvinbank
1943/4
1947
7269
423.9
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Jesse De Forrest and later renamed Samuta. She went ashore on Ocean Island on 6th January, 1953, and became a total loss.
Eastbank
1947
5947
444
60
25.5
The first “Compass-point” ship built by William Doxford & Sons.
Marabank
1943/4
1947
7269
423.3
57.1
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Samouse.
Rowanbank
1943/4
1947
7262
423.8
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the John Reed and later renamed Sampford.
Willowbank
1943/4
1947
7288
423.9
57
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Samwyre.
Springbank
1943/4
1947
7248
423.3
57.1
34.8
A “Liberty” ship built in the USA and launched as the Samspelga.

 

=Motor
Built
Acqu’d
Tons
Length
Beam
Depth
Comments
Etivebank
1945
1948
7308
431.2
56.3
35.6
Built by Bartram & Sons at Sunderland as the Empire Aden she was sold on in 1955 to the Alcyone Shipping Co.Ltd, London who renamed her Alcyone Fortune.
Sheilbank
1945
1948
7318
431.3
56.2
35.6
Built by W Gray & Co.Ltd as the Empire Takoradi.
Lochybank
1945
1948
7320
431.2
56.3
35.6
Built by Short Bros.Ltd., as the Empire Honduras and was sold on to Dutch owners in 1954.
Westbank
1948
5957
444
60
25.5
Built by William Doxford & Sons,
Southbank
1948
5957
444
60
25.3
Built by William Doxford & Sons,
Fleetbank
1953
5690
449.5
59.3
26.1
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,
Beaverbank
1953
5690
449.5
59.3
26.1
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,
Nessbank
1953
5690
449.5
59.3
26.1
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,
Cedarbank
1955
5671
455
59.3
26.5
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,
Laganbank
1955
5670
455
59
26.1
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,
Foylebank
1955
5671
455
59.1
26.1
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd.,

Wavebank 1959

The former Teakbank

Corabank

Streambank

Clydebank

Meadowbank

The Bank Line Association was established in 1998 and is open to all personnel who sailed or worked for The Bank Line. Its aim is to help members pursue old friendships and to keep in touch with each other. The Association holds reunions and publishes newsletters containing articles by the members about their seagoing interests and hobbies.
For further information or to join the Association, e-mail: thebanklineassociation@ntlworld.com