Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Last Voyage of the Loch Lomond, July 1908 - Part 1

The sailing ships Loch Lomond and poop deck of her sister ship, Loch Katrine at Geelong, Victoria, Australia, circa 1887.

The barque Loch Lomond, a three masted sailing ship, was purchased by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand for ₤3,500 in May 1908. The Union Co. planned to either use the vessel as a training ship for its officer cadets or to convert it to a coal hulk to be positioned in Fiji. Determination of its future role hinged upon its arrival in Lyttelton, Canterbury from Australia where it had been berthed, at which time it would be assessed in competition with the Dartford, another sailing vessel the Union Co had purchased with similar intent.

The Loch Line, previous owner of the Loch Lomond, had a reputation as an “unlucky” line: 17 of its 25 vessel fleet over a half century sank in accidents, disappeared, were wrecked or torpedoed in oceans and ports around the globe. The Loch Line ran general cargo schedules between Glasgow and Adelaide, South Australia. By 1908, the Loch Lomond was 38 years old.

Captain C Angus, recently chief officer of the Union Co’s Maheno, was given his first – and as it turns out last – command. The vessel was refitted and sailed from Melbourne to Newcastle, NSW, Australia on June 6, 1908 to load a cargo of coal for Lyttelton.

On July 16, 1908, one hundred years ago today, the Loch Lomond sailed from Newcastle bound for Lyttelton, New Zealand. She and her crew were never seen again.

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