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Saturday, 22 October 2011


The M.V.SANDPIPER seen here during her trials in the Firth of Forth flying her Henry Robb flag.

Thanks to P&O Heritage we now have some photographs and information that was not previously available on some more of the ships built in the Leith Shipyards at Henry Robb

As you can see from the postcard above the SANDPIPER was a very nice looking vessel, built and launched in 1957 as Ship No 458 for the P&O subsidiary company of the General Steam Navigation Company Ltd, she was to serve with GSN Co Ltd until sold to a French shipping Company in 1966.

Tramp Ships Tramp Ships
The tramp ship was the taxi of the seas. With no regular schedules, it voyaged anywhere and everywhere, picking up and dropping off cargoes, mainly bulk cargoes such as coal, grain, timber, china clay and oil. It was the older and slower vessels that tended to find their way into this trade, hence the tag 'tramp', though new tramps were built, often with the owner's eye on chartering to the liner companies. In this new book by the well-known author Roy Fenton, their evolution is described over the course of more than 100 years, from the 1860s, when the steam tramp developed from the screw collier, until it was largely replaced by the specialist bulk carrier in the 1980s. An introduction looks at the design and building of tramps before going on to describe the machinery, from simple triple-expansion turbines to diesel engines. Their operation and management and the life of the officers and crews is also covered. The meat of the book is to be found in the 300 wonderfully evocative photographs of individual ships which illustrate the development of the tramp and its trades through the last years of the 19th century, the two world wars, and the postwar years. Each caption gives the dimensions, the owners and the builder, and outlines the career, with notes on trades and how they changed over a ship's lifetime. Design features are highlighted and notes on machinery included. This will become a classic work, to inspire all merchant ship enthusiasts and historians.

The M.V.SANDPIPER was to continue sailing for different owners until broken up in 1989 in the ship graveyard that is Gadani Beach, Pakistan

More about SANDPIPER on the website at 

Saturday, 8 October 2011



KATHARINE II was a an order from the then known as “War Department” which is of course now known as the Ministry of Defence or MoD for short.

She was in fact the very first of many ships built for the services by the shipbuilders at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.
This ship was not for the Navy but was an order for the Army who had ships in the branch known as the Royal Army Service Corps.

KATHARINE II was to serve throughout the 6 years of World War II and she no doubt had many adventures supplying clandestine operations against the coasts of mainland Europe and perhaps landing Commando’s in strikes against the might of the “Third Reich”

She was used by the services for a further 14 years after the war and was then sold to Government contractors for further work.

Find out more about KATHARINE II on the website by clicking on the highlighted name.