From the Brush of…


Fascinating story behind David Bray’s painting of the tug “Turmoil” towing the heavily-damaged cargo ship “Flying Enterprise” in 1952

Royston Grange

The tragic story of the “Royston Grange” – one of a class of refrigerated cargo-passenger vessels operated by Houlders on the South America service. May 2022 sees the 50th anniversary of her sinking.



From the brush of David Bray Arlanza “Arlanza” was one of three ships built by Harland and Wolff, Belfast, for the Royal Mail Line services to South America. Always known as “the ‘A’ boats” they were a familiar sight in London’s Royal docks. “Arlanza” entered service in 1960, along with her two sisters, “Amazon” and “Aragon”. A large part of her cargo capacity was refrigerated, to accommodate meat imports from Argentina. She operated primarily between …

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Brunel’s ‘Great Western’

Great Western

From the brush of David Bray The Great Western In the development of merchant and naval shipping, the ocean-going paddle steamer was ultimately a dead end. From around 1810, small wooden-hulled paddle steamers were being built in numbers for river and estuary service, carrying passengers and cargo over relatively short distances. The inefficiency and weight of the simple-expansion engines and low-pressure boilers precluded long distance operations. Also, the unreliability of the machinery led to frequent …

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Big Ships

Big Ships Need Big Tugs

From the brush of David Bray Big Ships Need Big Tugs “Big ships need big tugs” said Sir William Hoy, Chairman of the South African Railways and Harbours. Union Castle Line was introducing ever bigger liners on the mail service, and a series of tugs was going to be needed to handle them at the ports on their itinerary. The first of these was the “Ludwig Weiner” built by Ferguson’s, Port Glasgow in 1913. From …

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38 Yeoward Alondra


From the brush of David Bray Alondra ALONDRA in the Mersey When I was about 11 I started reading “Sea Breezes”. At that time the most interesting regular article was “Steamers of the Past” written and illustrated by Capt. J H Isherwood. Each article featured a passenger vessel, and gave a detailed description of the vessel followed by her history. Each article was illustrated by an exquisite line drawing of the vessel, sometimes two or …

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Royal Archer

From the brush of David Bray Royal Archer Almost forgotten nowadays is the fleet of small passenger-cargo vessels running regular services around the UK and in Home-Trade waters. In the mid-19th century, such steamers provided a viable alternative to the arduous business of road travel. Primary routes centered on London, plying to Leith and Aberdeen, and Liverpool to Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast. Toward the end of the century competition from the railways saw a change …

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Yellow Peril

Yellow Peril

From the brush of David Bray Yellow Peril As a kid in Great Yarmouth, the coasters of F T Everard were a familiar sight. There was always at least one in port, if not unloading cargo, then undergoing repairs at Fellowes shipyard on the Gorleston side of the river. A scan through H M Le Flemings “Coastal Cargo Ships” of 1960 shows F T Everard as by far the most numerous fleet with 102 vessels …

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