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RADIO OFFICER NOSTALGIA
R/O GALLERY
FOUR YEARS OF FUN WITH ANCHOR LINE by Ian Walker
"A SEAGOING SAGA" - Trevor Inman
ALAN SHARD - WARTIME MN REMINISCENCES
CAPT'N PETER ASHCROFT, EXPLOITS OF
SEA STORIES & OTHERS
AIME'S STORY & PICTORIALS
MEMOIRS OF A RADIO OFFICER
RELATED SITES

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"CLAN SUTHERLAND" Lobito, Angola 1967 Courtesy Ray Simes

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"CLAN MCNAIR" Birkenhead 1976 Courtesy Ray Simes

FROM JOHN MUNDELL
 
"I sailed as a cadet on the "CLAN URQUHART",   "SAMCHESS" and the  "CLAN MCKINNON" from 1944 to 1947 and still remember a great deal of what happened.
These years I would do again in a flash if I got the chance. They were more of an adventure than a career for me and I have very happy memories.  I am residing in Canada now and have been so for 52 years.
 
Should any of the following shipmates still be around I would love to hear from them..........
 
Jim Grigor,  Bill Jamieson,  Stewart Tosh, Geoff Ballard, Bill Officer"
 
                                        

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Courtesy Peter Ashcroft

mv CLAN MATHESON
built by Greenock Dockyard Co Greenock,
Yard No 489
Engines by Wallsend Slipway & E Co
Port of Registry: Glasgow
Propulsion: Doxford oil 2SA 6cy 8000bhp 16.5 knots
Launched: Monday, 26 August 1957
Built: 1957
Ship Type: Passenger Cargo Vessel
Tonnage: 7685 grt
Length: 503 feet
Breadth: 66 feet
Draught: 39.7 feet
Owner History:
Clan Line Steamers Ltd Glasgow
Status: Scrapped - 12/12/1978

Remarks:
Previous update by Paul Strathdee

Previous update by Colin Campbell
Scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, by Keun Hwa Iron & Steel

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AUTHOR'S FILE

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A 'B' type 'Empire' Clan Mackellar (ex-Empire Lankester) - Courtesy Tony Thompson

'Scots Navy' as the Clan Line was affectionately known throughout two world wars, paid heavily for being in the thick of the action. During WW2 the company lost a total of 30 ships, and post war recovery commenced in 1946 with the construction of the 6 vessels of the 'Clan MacLaren' class (commonly known as the 'MacL's'), which had all entered service by 1949. The immediate tonnage shortage was plugged by the acquisition of a number of wartime standard construction ships which played an important role in the Clan Line fleet until 1962. By that time the first vessels of the penultimate Clan Line design, the engines aft 'Clan MacIver' class, had already entered service.
These wartime standard ships were of three main types, 'Empires', 'Oceans' and 'Liberties'. Between them, these ships played a full part in maintaining the Clan Line cargo liner service, plying mainly between the UK and India, Pakistan and South Africa, smartly painted with the familiar black hull with white upper strake, black funnel with two broad red bands, and grey masts, kingposts and derricks.
Gradually, new classes of ships entered service displacing the 'standards' from 1953 onwards, but the last did not leave Clan Line service until nearly ten years later.

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A total of 12 'Empire' type vessels subsequently bore 'Clan' names. Most were of the 'B' and 'D' type, each having an entirely different profile. The 'B' type was based on the 1938-built vessel Dorrington Court, having a split midships superstructure with a cargo hatch between the bridge structure and the funnel, and a cruiser shaped stern. The 'D' type had a composite midship superstructure with a flat 'V' shaped stern. Both types were partially prefabricated and had a service speed of 11 knots. The 'B' type were 7,050 gross tons, whilst the 'D' type were 7,370 gross tons.

CLAN ANGUS, CLAN ALPINE and CLAN ALLAN took associated company Bullard & King names in the late 1950s, as UMKUZI, UMVOTI and UMTALI respectively, but reverted to their 'Clan' names before being sold out of company service.

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Courtesy Tony Thompson - SM FEB/97

CLAN MACRAE:
The third type of Clan Line 'Empire' was represented by a single ship, CLAN MACRAE (above), which saw Clan Line service between 1946 and 1959. She was built as the EMPIRE MIGHT by Greenock Dockyard in 1942 and was managed for the Ministry of War Transport by Blue Star Line until purchased by Clan Line in 1946. A much larger ship than the other 'Empires' she was classed as a 'fast cargo liner' and had a gross tonnage of 9,209 tons, twin screw turbines with a service speed of 16 knots and 306,400 cu. ft. of refrigerated cargo space. This ship was very similar to the pre-war Clan Line class built between 1937 and 1939, the first of which was CLAN CAMERON.
On leaving Clan Line service in 1959, CLAN MACRAE was transferred to Bullard & King as UMGENI, then in 1960 to Sprinbok Shipping as the GEMSBOK and in 1961 to Safmarine as SOUTH AFRICAN FINANCIER, these all being associated companies. She went to the scrapyard in 1962.

It is interesting to note that the name EMPIRE MIGHT was also briefly allocated to another Clan Line ship in 1941. This was CLAN BUCHANAN (a near sister of CLAN MACRAE) which, although laid down for Clan Line was taken over by the Admiralty on the stocks, firstly for intended conversion into an armed boarding vessel, then as an auxiliary sea-plane carrier, but she was eventually completed as an aircraft transport and named HMS ENGADINE. She did not bear her proper Clan Line name until 1946.

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Courtesy A. Duncan - SM FEB/97

Above, the CLAN MACBETH (ex-OCEAN GLORY) is an example of the Clan Line 'Oceans'.
These were part of a group of 60 ships constructed in the USA and delivered in 1942 to a British order and design. The design was again based on the 1938 J.L. Thompson-built DORRINGTON COURT, as a result of the British Shipbuilding Mission to the USA in September 1940, in an urgent move to replace tonnage lost to enemy action in the first twelve months of the war. DORRINGTONN COURT herself did not survive the war, being sunk on November 24th 1942 by U-181 south-east of Lourenco Marques.
The first of tthe 'Oceans' was named OCEAN VANGUARD on October 15th 1941. All 60 ships were built in two yards. Todd-California Shipyard, Richmond, California and Todd-Bath Shipyard of Portland, Maine. They were of 7,174 gross tons with a service speed of 11 knots.

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As would be expected, in view of their origins, the 'Oceans' were very similar in profile to the 'B' type 'Empire' design. The main differences were that in the latter the funnel was located further aft, and in the former the kingposts for No. 3 hatch derricks were located immediately forward of the funnel. The 'Empires' also had more sheer in the forward section with a pronounced fo'castle head, whereas the 'Oceans' had a flush deck.
OCEAN VANGUARD was another war loss, surviving less than a year when she was sunk by U-515 on September 13th 1942 east of Trinidad. In total, over one third of the 60 'Oceans' were lost before the end of the war. Amongst those that survived were the nine which eventually bore Clan Line names, as the following list shows:

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The D Type Clan Line 'Empire' CLAN MURDOCH (ex EMPIRE SOUTHWOLD)

THE CLAN LINE 'LIBERTIES':
Once the Americans had accepted that there was an urgent need for mass produced standard emergency tonnage, which could not be met by the existing programme of C1, C2 and C3 construction which followed the 1936 Merchant Marine Act, there commenced the largest ever standard programme of ship building. This realization occurred about the same time as the British order for the 60 'Ocean' Class ships and it wAs eventually agreed after much doubt and deliberation to follow the well tried and tested British hull design. Opposition to the design for the initial 200 ships of the emergency programme came from the highest level, with even President Roosevelt describing them as 'ugly ducklings'.
To counter this initial poor image, the U.S. Maritime Commission called the ships the 'Liberty Fleet' and after that they quickly became known as 'Liberty Ships, of which a total of 2,710 were built between 1941 and 1945.

The major difference to the 'Ocean' design was that the superstructure was arranged to accommodate the whole crew in single midship composite block. The ships had steel decks throughout, bulwarks rather than rails, and were of an all welded hull construction. Standard gross tonnage was 7,176 tons and the service speed was 11 knots.

These ships were operated by the Ministry of War Transport but were managed by various shipping companies. After the war the U.S. Government allowed 100 to be sold to British owners at a cost of 135,000 pounds each. Clan Line purchased two of these vessels, which they had previously managed in 1947.

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The CLAN MACFARLANE, below, did not last long after leaving Clan Line service in 1961. She was sold to a Lebanese company and renamed NICHOLAS, but was caught by a typhoon off the Japanese coast on October 10th 1961 and abandoned after being driven aground.
CLAN MACFADYEN was much luckier and sailed on until 1971 under the name BETAVISTA (Greek) and VARUNA DEVI (Indian).

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The 'Liberty' (EC2) type CLAN MACFARLANE (ex-Sambrian)

Over 200 'Liberties' were lost during the war and others were the victim of structural failures, but many far outlasted their expected lifespans. In 1994 we were vividly reminded of these wartime vessels by the arrival in British waters of the beautifully restored JEREMIAH O'BRIEN, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 'D' Day.

The importance of the wartime standard ships, as post-war replacements to Clan Line, as to most other major British shipping lines of the time, was crucial, plugging the gap until new purpose built ships could be completed. These ships may have been simple in design, austere in fitments and uncomfortable for the crew, but they were full of character and were regarded with a grudging affection by those who served in them

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CLAN MACILWRAITH - Courtesy Laurence Dunn SM MAR/87

The CLAN MACILWRAITH, above, was built in the Greenock Dockyard Co. and had a Wallsend-Doxford diesel of 5,400 bhp which gave her a service speed of 14 knots. Virtually an 'engines-aft' ship, she had four of her five holds forward of the machinery. This basic layout was common to the Clan Line's final series, one which comprised 16 ships built over the years 1958/67. The last of these was the CLAN ALPINE, the company's final ship thus bearing the name of its first. Just as the speed of later ships was stepped up, so other features varied in detail, the CLAN MACILWRAITH and her John Brown-built sister ship CLAN MACINDOE being the only ones to be given three bipod masts.

CLAN MACILWRAITH became the GOLDEN CITY and her active career came to an end in July of 1986 while she was on a voyage from Shanghai for Dubai. After leaving Singapore Roads she was in position 05.04N and 58.0E when she was immobilised by a combination of engine trouble and fire in her cargo holds. This necessitated a long tow back to Singapore which was reached on July 24th and where her cargo was eventually discharged.
She was sold to the breakers in December of that year.

It may be interesting to note that, in view of the considerable tonnage lost within the Clan Line group during the war, ultimately British & Commonwealth, which also included Union-Castle, were permitted to sport Royal Navy officer's braid which included the loop or circle based on the straight gold band.

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Courtesy Mike Lindsay Collection - SM FEB/04

Clan Line's CLAN MACKINTOSH was a 15 knot motor ship built in 1951 by John Brown of Clydebank.  Broken up in Bombay in 1981,  she spent 27 years with Clan until sold to Hong Kong owners and renamed SANIL.  She is seen here taking a mid-ocean transfer to an unidentified Union-Castle ship during her Clan days.

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CLAN FARQUESON at Birkenhead - Courtesy ray Simes

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