3rd January – wartime shipping losses

1918: Gartland. Built in 1892 by Redheads of South Shields for Whimster & Co. Garland was a defensively armed steamer of 2,613grt and 91m long. She was torpedoed and sunk without warning by the German submarine UB30 about 5 miles east of the Owers light vessel off Kelsey Bill. She was carrying coal from the Tyne to Gibraltar. 2 crew were lost.

1918: Birchwood. Built in 1910 by Ropers for Birchwood Shipping, she was carrying coal from Glasgow to Devonport when she was attacked without warning and sunk by German submarine U61, 25 miles east of the Blackwater light vessel.

1943: Pinewood. Built in 1930 for France, Fenwick, she was 2,466grt. She struck a mine some 1.5 miles off Southend Pier and sank. Six of the crew were lost.

british-vigilance1943: British Vigilance. Built in 1942 by Harland & Wolff, Govan, she was 463 feet long, 8,093grt. On 3rd January 1943 she was in Convoy TM-1 from Curacao to Gibraltar carrying petrol when she was attacked by German submarine U514 about 900 miles north-east of Barbados. Abandoned by the crew, she burnt and drifted until she was finally torpedoed and sunk by U105 on 24th January 1943. 25 crew and 2 gunners lost.

1944: Empire Housman. Built in 1943 by William Oxford in Sunderland, she was a 7,359grt cargo ship. In Convoy ON217, she was torpedoed and damaged on 31st December 1943 by German submarine U545, she was attacked again on 3rd January 1944 by U744, and finally sank on 5th January 1944.


White Star’s Belgic (II) enters service 3rd January 1885

belgic-1885_01Belgic (Yard No 171) was launched at Harland & Wolff on 3rd January 1885, for the joint White Star/Occidental & Oriental service. She had two double-cylindered engines of 500 hp, which were two distinct and complete units capable of being disconnected, and worked separately. She was handed over to White Star on 7th July 1885, and arrived in London on 14th July. Originally the fore and main masts were rigged for sails.

Belgic began her maiden voyage to San Francisco on 30th July 1885. She was chartered by Orient Line as far as Sydney, carrying 590 emigrants. She called at Tenerife on 4th August for coal and Cape Town on 20th August. Belgic arrived at Sydney on 12th September 1885 then headed for Newcastle, New South Wales, on 30th September. She sailed from Newcastle on 10th October 1885 to join the trans-Pacific service, and arrived at San Francisco on 2nd November. Sailing from San Francisco on 28th November 1885, Belgic arrived at Yokohama on 19th December and Hong Kong on 28th December.

belgic-as-mohawk-hmt33On 28th January 1886 Belgic suffered a broken piston rod and was delayed eight days at Yokohama for repairs. At Amoy, China, on 26th May 1894, Belgic was  struck amidships by Blue Funnel’s  Ulysses. The damage was above the waterline and she sailed the next day, arriving at San Francisco  on 18th June. On 8th September 1895 Belgic went ashore in Sateyama Bay in Japan. Refloated on 10th October 1895 she sailed to Yokosuka for temporary repairs. She returned to Hong Kong, arriving on 4th November, and remained there until January while repairs were completed.

Belgic  made her final San Francisco departure on 19th November 1898. She called at Honolulu, Yokohama and Hong Kong; from there she returned to England via Suez. Sold to Atlantic Transport Line in 1899, Mohawk (ex-Belgic) made her first sailing on 5th August 1899, from London to New York and her second on 7th September. She was taken over in December 1900 as a troop transport for Boer War service. Released from trooping in 1902, after inspection it was not economic to refurbish her and she was put up for sale. Mohawk was broken up in 1903 at Garston in Liverpool.