Tag: British Merchant Navy

SS Baychimo: The Unsinkable Ghost Ship

Ships aren’t meant to sink, but sometimes you have to wonder what miraculous forces kept a vessel afloat. The SS Baychimo was such a ship. For nearly four decades after it was abandoned, this 1,300-ton cargo ship sailed the Arctic without fuel or crew, until it disappeared just over fifty years ago, but some believe she is still out there drifting among the frozen icebergs.

Coffin Ships and the Orphans of Ireland

During the Irish famine (1845 – 1849), an estimated 500,000 people were dispossessed of their cottages. Unscrupulous landlords used two methods to remove destitute tenants. The first involved applying for a legal judgment against the male head of a family owing back-rent. After the local barrister pronounced judgment, the man would be thrown in jail and his wife and children evicted. A ‘notice to appear’ was usually enough to cause most pauper families to flee and they were handed out by the hundreds.

Go Back to See the Future

News that Lieutenant John Chard’s original report to Queen Victoria concerning the engagement between 139 South Wales Borderers and a force estimated to be around 3,000 Zulus at Rorke’s Drift on the 22nd and 23rd of January 1879 is coming up for auction at Bonham’s in London.

The Deck Boy Who Saved a Super Liner

At regular intervals, all vessels are placed in Dry Dock where they are thoroughly examined and repaired before being licensed to return to the high seas. The great ocean liners were no exception. The then 16-year-old Michael Walsh was one of the skeleton crew left to man the RMS Britannic during its repair and renovation in north Liverpool’s Dry Dock.

Dumb Phones have Killed Culture

Once, while at the Royal Spanish Academy in Rome, I tried to give lectures, but one woman constantly blinded me with a camera flash, which prevented me from concentrating on my notes. I said that while I was working, they should stop working, because of the division of labour. The woman turned off her camera but clearly felt pained.

Allied Arctic Convoys Of World War II

During World War II, between 1941 and 1945, 78 Allied Arctic convoys brought more than 4 million tons of provisions and munitions to the U.S.S.R. These deliveries played a crucial role in the Soviet war effort. More than 1,400 merchant ships and naval vessels participated in the convoys to the ports of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk in Arctic Russia, which Winston Churchill once described as “the worst journey in the world.”