Researching Your Mariner Ancestors And The Vessels They Sailed On.

This is the Companion web site to the Mariners Mailing List.
Here we try to provide tools and information to help you find your Mariner Ancestor. Are you hoping to unravel the secrets of an Ancestor's life at sea?, to discover the realities of a wartime incident?, or fill in the details of a half-remembered family story?. Whether your interest is in the smallest Fishing Vessel or the largest Ocean Going Liner, this page is for you.

Join Mariners-L Mailing List

The Mariners-L Mailing List welcomes discussions about Merchant Marine and Naval Ships and the people who made their lives at sea from the earliest recorded times to the present day. A sample of today's topics can be viewed in right panel of this page >>>>

Mailing List »»

Recent Updates

Fleet Lists Compiled by Ted Finch

Houlder, Middleton & Co, London

Houlder, Middleton & Co, London

In 1895 Howard Houlder set up a partnership in London with G. J. Middleton and Alexander Freeland to form Houlder, Middleton & Co. The Mitre Shipping Co was set up in 1899 to manage the tramp fleet and in 1905 the Reliance Shipping Co was formed. By 1907 eleven ships were owned by the two companies. Eight ships were lost to enemy action during the Great War and the serious slump of 1920 reduced the fleet to only three vessels. Houlder, Middleton was wound up in 1921, but Howard Houlder resumed shipowning in 1924 and the following year set up the company Howard Tenens Ltd. By 1927 the company owned nine tramps which were mostly used on the River Plate trade. Howard Houlder died in 1932 and the fleet was sold.

Glover Brothers, London

Glover Brothers, London

The three Glover Brothers became ship owners in 1865 when they purchased the barque W. E. Gladstone and bought their first steamship in 1872. Their primary trades were coal to the Mediterranean, returning with grain from the Black Sea and also the Baltic trade. The company owned four tramps at the outbreak of the Great War of which three were lost. The fleet was built up after the war and by 1927 owned seven ships and traded worldwide. The depression of the 1930s caused the sale of most of the fleet and by 1936 only two ships were owned. One was lost to enemy action and the company was then sold to South American Saint Line with their remaining ship which was also sunk shortly afterwards.

Galbraith, Pembroke & Co, London

Galbraith, Pembroke & Co

The company was formed in 1877 to trade mostly to the Mediterranean. A short lived venture into tankers was attempted in 1895 but these ships were sold in 1899-1900. The tramp fleet expanded rapidly and in 1897 were registered under the ownership of Austin Friars Steamship Co. By this time the company was trading worldwide and by 1914 owned thirteen ships, but lost three during the Great War. In 1919 the fleet was sold to Houlder, Middleton & Co who traded the Austin Friars SS Co until 1921 when it went out of business. Galbraith, Pembroke & Co withdrew from ship owning during the inter war years but continued as ship brokers until 1940 when they purchased three old ships. The Basra Steam Shipping Co was formed in 1945 and operated until 1952 when it was sold to Graig Shipping Co, Cardiff. Galbraith, Pembroke & Co returned to ship broking and are still in business.

John I. Jacobs & Co, London

John I. Jacobs & Co, London

John Jacobs purchased his first steamship in 1905 having previously owned a fleet of sailing ships. His first ships were fitted with tanks for the carriage of molasses mostly from Cuba. In 1914 the fleet was used to carry oil as well as molasses and four ships were lost to enemy action. Purpose built tankers were delivered in the 1920 to trade to the Gulf of Mexico and Cape Town.

During WWII four Jacobs tankers were requisitioned by the Admiralty as naval oilers. In 1940 two new dry cargo tramps joined the fleet and at the end of the war, the company owned six vessels. The last dry cargo tramp was sold in 1949 and the tanker fleet built up by the delivery of eight new tankers. In 1960 three new dry cargo vessels were ordered in addition to the tanker fleet and by 1975 the company owned four tankers, one ore carrier, one bulker and a chemical tanker. The tanker companies were wound up between 1975 and 1977. The Pearleaf continued on Admiralty charter until 1986 when sold. Later a fleet of coasters was built up and managed by R. Lapthorn & Co. Rochester. These were sold to Lapthorn in 1994 and Jacobs retired from shipping.

Maritime History Archive, Memorial University.
National Archives Kew