TSS Duke of Clarence
Duke of Clarence
|Name:||Duke of Clarence|
|Port of registry:|
|Builder:||Laird Brothers, Birkenhead|
|Launched:||17 November 1891|
|Out of service:||1930|
|Length:||312 ft 5 in (95.22 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft 2 in (11.02 m)|
|Depth:||16 ft 7 in (5.05 m)|
|Installed power:||Twin 3-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines|
|Propulsion:||Twin screw propellers|
|Speed:||19 knots (35 km/h)|
TSS Duke of Clarence was a passenger vessel operated jointly by the London and North Western Railway and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) from 1892 between Fleetwood and northern Irish ports. In 1906 she was bought outright by the LYR and transferred to their summer service from Hull to Zeebrugge, returning to the Irish Sea in winter. During the First World War Duke of Clarence served as an armed boarding steamer. She resumed passenger service in 1920, passing through changes of ownership in the reorganisations of Britain's railway companies in the 1920s, until she was scrapped in 1930.
Duke of Clarence was 312 feet 5 inches (95.22 m) long, with a beam of 36 feet 2 inches (11.02 m) and a depth of 16 feet 7 inches (5.05 m). As built, she was 1,458 GRT. She was later listed in Lloyd's Register as 1,653 GRT, 687 NRT.
She was propelled by a pair of three-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines, each of which had cylinders of 22 inches (56 cm), 34 inches (86 cm) and 51 inches (130 cm) diameter by 33 inches (84 cm) stroke, connected to twin screws. The engines were built by Lairds. They could propel the ship at 19 knots (35 km/h).
Ordered by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR), Duke of Clarence was built at Laird Brothers, Birkenhead, as the first of seven ships delivered by the company between 1892 and 1909. It was originally intended to name her Birkenhead, but it was thought that passengers might be put off by thoughts of the sinking of HMS Birkenhead. She was allocated the United Kingdom Official Number 89707 and the code letters MNSP. She was completed for the joint ownership of LYR and the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). She was acquired outright by the LYR in 1906 for service on the North Sea. She passed to the LNWR in 1922 and, following the grouping of Britain's railways under the Railways Act 1921, to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in the following year.
Duke of Clarence was used on routes from Fleetwood to Belfast and Derry until 1906. Following this she served on the Hull to Zeebrugge route during the summer and west coast routes during the winter, including the Liverpool to Drogheda route. The Zeebrugge service was suspended during World War I and she was requisitioned by the Admiralty as an armed boarding steamer, stationed in the Channel approaches and later on the Northern Patrol. She returned to the Zeebrugge service in February 1920.
Withdrawn and laid up at Fleetwood in September 1929, she was sold in May 1930 for scrapping to Thos W Ward Ltd and broken up at Barrow in Furness. Duke of Clarence was replaced by Duke of Connaught.
In the early hours of Tuesday 6 November 1894, whilst making passage from Belfast to Fleetwood, the Duke of Clarence ran down and sank the steam trawler Albatross, whilst the Albatross was engaged trawling on the Bahama Bank to the northeast of Ramsey, Isle of Man, resulting in the loss of the lives of five members of the crew of the Albatross.   The Albatross, under the command of Captain Edward Shimmin was owned by Robert Knox of Douglas. The Albatross was operating in unison with the Lady Loch, commanded by Captain William Shimmin (Edward Shimmin's brother) with the two vessels separated by approximately half a mile, forming part of a fleet of 30 other trawlers fishing in the area of the Bahama Lightship. The Albatross was reported to of been lit as per the regulations with two lights on her masthead indicating a steam trawler with her nets down - a red, green and white light combined and a white globe light.
At approximately 01:10 hrs the Duke of Clarence passed the Lady Loch and shortly after collided with the Albatross, ramming the Albatross amidships,resulting in the Albatross sinking in a matter of minutes. The Lady Loch hastened to the scene and upon arrival found the Duke of Clarence stationary with two of her lifeboats engaged searching for survivors. Captain Edward Shimmin had managed to save himself by climbing aboard the Duke of Clarence, two further sailors, Robert Kelly (second engineer) and deck hand Thomas Turner, had managed to take hold of two empty fish boxes and were subsequently picked up by the lifeboats.However five crew members who were below at the time of collision were drowned.
Two further vessels joined the search, the Manx Queen which was en route from Barrow-in-Furness to Belfast was subsequently joined by the Duke of Clarence's sister, the Duke of York, which was making passage from Fleetwood to Belfast. The search lasted for three hours following which all vessels went on their respective ways. Captain Shimmin, Kelly and Turner were landed at Fleetwood and subsequently made their way back to the Isle of Man via Liverpool.As a consequence of the collision the Duke of Clarence sustained slight damage either side of her bows but was still able to resume her schedule the following night.
A claim for damages in lieu of the loss of the Albatross was heard at the Admiralty Court in February 1895, the case being heard by Mr Justice Bruce and two Elder Brethren of Trinity House. The findings were that the Master of the Duke of Clarence was to blame, citing the inadequate posting of lookouts and a disregard for the numerous fishing vessels in the area of the fishing grounds.The damages was ascertained by the Registrar of Merchants, Knox received an undisclosed sum. The Albatross was valued at £2,000 but was insured for the sum of £12,00.
The following sums were awarded to the families of those crew members lost: The widows of William Daugherty, Henry Hudson and Richard Gregg (the three married crew members) received £300 each. The families of Hudson and Gregg also receive £150 each. The (seven) children of Daugherty received £250. The father of John Leadbeater received £250.
- Register of Ships (PDF). London: Lloyd's Register of Shipping. 1930–1931. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- Lee, Tom. "Duke of Clarence". Paddle Steamer Picture Gallery. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- Haws, Duncan (1993). Brtiain's Railway Steamers: Eastern & North Western Companies. Hereford: TCL Publications. p. 61. ISBN 0 946378 22 3.
- Duckworth, Christian; Langmuir, Graham (1968). Railway and Other Steamers. Prescot: T Stephenson & Sons Ltd. p. not cited.
- "Duke of Clarence". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- Mona's Herald. Wednesday, November 7th, 1894
- Manx Sun. Saturday, November 10th, 1894
- Manx Sun. Saturday 2 February 1895
- The Mona's Herald. Wednesday 6 February 1895
- The Manx Sun. Saturday 14 June 1895