Saturday, 29 March 2014

What Happened to THE MILLER

The Miller in winter Ship No 194

The above photograph was sent into the Leith Shipyards website from a lady who lived on this fine old coaster for around 5 years and it has found memories for her and many others which brings me to the question What happened to THE MILLER
Has she been to the scrap yard or is she still around just wasting away in some back water siding, we are sure that one of our informed readers will be able to let us know, is this very fine example of a Short Sea Coaster still around she was built in 1932 at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd and was one of the many used to ferry freight around the British Isles in the days before road transport took over to block most of our inner city roads and add to the pollution and congestion that we all seem to just take for granted these days, how many trucks were used to replace just one ship such as THE MILLER.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

HMNZS MOA Ships name plate recovered

HMNZS Moa (T233) had an eventful war serving as part of a minesweeper flotilla in the Solomon Islands, and working long and dangerous hours in the area of Guadalcanal,

She took part in the sinking of the Japanese submarine I-1 and many other adventures, before being sunk by Japanese dive bombers.

HMNZS MOA (7th April 1943) was hit by two bombs in Tulagi, Harbour while re-fuelling and she sank within 4 minutes with the loss of five crewmen, and a total of 15 wounded.
HMNZS MOA ships letters recovered for conservation and eventual presentation at the Devonport Naval Museum Auckland, New Zealand

HMNZS MOA Ship No 314 (photo credit unknown for now)

Her name plate has now been recovered by divers and is being looked after by the marine archaeologist Brigid Gallagher who was amongst others responsible for the successful BBC programme “Timeline” now working out of New Zealand it is her responsibility to bring the ships letters back to a presentation condition and then hand the ships name plates back to the Royal New Zealand Navy for display and further recognition as to the fine part played by this gallant little ship during action in World War Two


I am a conservator in New Zealand, and have been commissioned to conserve the 3 letters, M,O,A from the above ship for the Naval Museum in Devonport Auckland. These letters were lifted from the seabed in the Solomons by divers and now returned officially to New Zealand.

See more about Brigid’s work at

The sinking of the replica ship Bounty

Relplica of the HMS BOUNTY at Halifax “Tall Ships” 2012 (The Loftsman Collection)
The US NTSB has released its report into the Sinking of the Bounty
A captain's "reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy" was the probable cause of the sinking of a ship off the North Carolina coast in October 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released today. The captain and one crewmember died in the accident. Three other crewmembers were seriously injured
The 16-page report details how a mostly inexperienced crew - some injured from falls, others seasick and fatigued from the constant thrashing of 30-foot seas - struggled for many hours to keep the ships engines running and bilge pumps operating so the seawater filling the vessel would not overtake it.
In the early morning hours of October 29, 2012, about 110 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., the Bounty heeled sharply to the starboard side after taking on more than 10 feet of water in the final hours of a three and a half day voyage that the NTSB said, "should never have been attempted."
Despite hurricane winds gusting upwards of 100 mph, the U.S. Coast Guard was able to rescue all but two of the Bounty's 16 crewmembers by hoisting them from the sea into three Jayhawk helicopters in the midst of the storm. The body of one crewmember was found, still in a protective immersion suit, about 10 hours after rescue operations had commenced. The captain was presumed lost at sea; his body was never recovered.

Friday, 31 January 2014

The KOBENHAVN Builders Plate

Representation of a builders plate from the Barque KOBENHAVN built at the Leith Shipyards of Ramage & Ferguson Ltd, 1921

This picture of what may or not have been a builders plate from the unfortunate ship KOBENHAVN Yard No 256 built at the Ramage & Ferguson shipyards at Leith in 1921, when she was lost in the Winter of 1928 has now been assessed by experts in Denmark and in Glasgow and the consensus of opinion is that this particular builders plate is not from the poor ship, although it may have been made as a commemoration of the mysterious loss of the KOBENHAVN with all her 15 crew and 45 cadets.

So one of the great maritime mystery stories continues and perhaps one day we shall find out what happened to this 5 masted Barque 3,901 grt, which was the largest sailing ship ever built in a British shipyard.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ocean going Salvage Tugs

In the quest to bring more photographs and information to the maritime interested public about the ships built at the Leith Shipyards we now have the following photographs on the website along with many more shown and still to be shown.


“Knowledge not passed on is lost”

The dangers of Ocean Going Salvage and the power required to tow Super Tankers is amply shown here in the following two photographs sent into the Leith Shipyards website by Bob Terry one of the crew on the mighty Ocean going tug Wolraad Woltemade Ship No 516
A tow on this ship that is on fire shows some of the danger involved in Ocean Going Salvage work, nothing that the Wolraad Woltemade could not handle from this photograph taken by Bob Terry in 1982 and shown by permission

The mighty Ocean Going Salvage Tug Wolraad Woltemade Ship No 516 arriving at Cape Town towing a "Super Tanker" in 1982 photo by Bob Terry and shown by permission

Super Tanker tow into Cape Town in 1982 the Woltemade was well capable of handling such a tow by herself


Classic Shipyard Photographs from 1937 to 1939/40

This un-named ship as yet under construction at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb in 1937 amazing to think that some 40 years later we would be climbing up the self same staging upright in roughly the same conditions.

We are pleased to announce that the website is now in possession of some fine original old photographs of the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd, covering a period from 1937 to the beginning of the Second World War in 1939.

Some of the fine ships shown include the MV SPINEL, MV CUBAHAMA, the classic and famous SS South Steyne ferry and the very first ship order for Henry Robb from the Union Steamship Co of New Zealand (USSCo, Ltd) a company which went on to order more than 20 ships from the Leith yard.

This was a continuation of a long line of ships built for the New Zealand Company beginning with orders secured by the Ramage & Ferguson yard in the previous century.

Along with some firsts for the Royal Navy including the Dog Class ships, HMS MASTIFF and Ships No 299 and 300 HMS HAZEL & HMS HICKORY, the first of a long line of warships built during World War Two along with many more from this busy period at the shipyard, some will be shown on the website and some will go into the forthcoming books about the ships built at the Leith Shipyards.

The photographs will now be able to be seen rather than hidden away as many of them are along with much of the information. They will be there now for all to see in time as they should along with many more.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

HMS HERALD - New Photographs

The Blog and website are now fortunate enough to have been gifted many photographs of the survey ship HMS HERALD Ship No 512
The photographs have been sent in by W. Russell who was a member of the ships company from the time the Royal Navy arrived at Leith to do there work on the new ship as she was being built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb from 1972/1973

HMS HERALD outfitting at the basin in Leith winter of 1973
photograph by W. Russell and shown here by permission
Over time many more photographs will show on the website