puffers & vics




Builder G.Black, Pt Glasgow
Official Nr 89951
Yard Nr
Launched 5/11/1883
Length 65.9 ft
Beam 16.85 ft
Gross 62 tons
Nett 42
Engine 2 Cyl Steam Compound

Built for Wm Arrol & Co of Glasgow. She was in the ownership of John Pollock of Grangemouth on 2/4/1889 and on 4/4/1889 an A Webster of Liverpool. In 1893 she was owned by Robert McCowen of Tralee before finally passing into the hands of the McNeil family of Greenock ,

It is on record at the RCAHMS  that while on passage with a cargo of sand she "suffered an explosion"  and sank just off the Tail of the Bank on 23rd October 1939, although this date is questioned by Daniel McNeil who has contacted me with an eyewitness account of the event. Dan was a 14 year old crew member on that day and I am very much indebted to Dan for this :

"On the sandbank just opposite to Greenock, my father and I had just completed loading the vessel with sand and were preparing to leave the sand bank and head back to Greenock. When attempting to raise the anchor it fouled the ships bottom at the bow and opened a hole in the hull, the vessel very quickly started to flood in the forcastle space. An explosion occured in this space causing the deck under the winch to collapse taking the winch with it. The vessel soon sunk and settled on the sandbank which was quite shallow at the time. However as there was nothing further we could do we took to the smallboat and abanded the ship. We went on board another ship which was just completing loading ( the 'Western'). Some days later the wreck was examined and considered a total loss. A number of small easily dismantled parts were salvaged, the mast and derrick, ship's whistle all cordage, anchor chain, the sand and gravel digger, anything which would have been useful for another vessel. There was no boiler explosion. The wreck was visible for a good number of years but I dont think there will be much left of it now other than the boiler and engine.  The above incident happened on 3 Sept 1939 the day P.M. Chamberlain declared war against Germany.(I was 14 almost 15 at the time).