Mersea Island Museum - Blackwater Ships


Ship:      ALASTOR
Arrived:Before 10 January 1935
Departed:After 10 April 1935
Arrived 2:6 October 1939
Departed 2:11 January 1944
Career:1875 built of iron by Mounsey & Foster, Sunderland, for R.H.Penney of Southwick Shoreham and made 10 voyages to New Zealand as an emigrant ship under charter to Shaw Savill.
1895 sold to M.F. Stray of Kristiansand, Norway. Later owned by Hans Hansen of Brevik.
1928 sold to Karl Schroder et al., of Hanko, Finland.
1930 Fid Harnack, well known Mersea artist, did a trip on the ALASTOR from London to the Gulf of Bothnia, doing many paintings and sketches during the voyage.
1934 she made her trip from the Gulf of Bothnia too late to get back before the ice closed, and was laid up off Tollesbury for the winter.
1939 laid up in Blackwater River [NZMN Vol.37 No.3]
[http://skipshistorie.net/ says she was sold to the Admiralty and renamed ST MATHEW in September 1939.]
1941 she had been taken round to the Crouch and used as an accommodation ship at Burnham. A letter to Sea Breezes June 2003 says she was a depot ship for landing craft training at Burnham-on-Crouch during the war.
23 April 1942 she was "off Brightlingsea" and was used by HM ML 345 crew for training - see http://www.rodericktimms.royalnavy.co.uk/hm_ml_345.html which has photographs (But "off Brightlingsea could include Blackwater or Crouch.)
1944 she was moored off Bradwell as a base for the Army river patrol. She was used by the landing craft based at HMS HELDER (Point Clear) for practice in coming alongside. Many personnel were taken on board to become familiar with a ship. [The Battle of the East Coast (1939-1945) J.P. Foynes.]
1945 she was in the River Blackwater.
1946 sold to Capt W. Lancaster and towed to Ramsgate and to be used as a restaurant named BOUNTY.
March 1951 towed up the Thames to Rotherhithe to be a Festival of Britain attraction, but the project failed.
1952 scrapped Grays.
There is a good history with photographs of the ALASTOR in "South Eastern Sail" by Michael Bouquet, published 1972, from which some of the above was taken.
Feb 1947 - Wentworth Day in Coastal Adventure P 152 mentions that she was at anchor in the river.
See also www.nzmaritimeindex.org.nz for details of an article on her New Zealand career.
See also "Last Stronghold of Sail" by Hervey Benham.
Not all the above facts are consistent and more research is needed. By the time she was scrapped, she was a very historic ship.

From Oyster Company ledger:
- 10 February 1935 Compensation. Owner/agent A.E. Martin. Payment suggests she arrived about a month earlier.
- 10 April 1935 Compensation
- 6 October 1939. Arrived on fishery. Agent Messrs A.E. Martin & Co., 108 Fenchurch Street, London EC3. Telephone calls re crew's repatriation to Finland.
- 11 January 1944 left fishery.

"Haven of Rest" by Douglas Gurton says "By December 1939 one ship had arrived under arrest, the small Finnish barque ALASTOR which had been interned. This vessel was requisitioned by the Admiralty renamed BEAVER and became an accommodation ship at Burnham-on-Crouch. At the end of the war she was sold, named "The Bounty" and served for some years as a floating restaurant and museum in Ramsgate Harbour.
See DJG_SHP

Tonnage:873 gross
Built:1875
Type:Barque
Official No:69930
ID1069930

Barque ALASTOR laid up in the river Blackwater.

Built 1875, official No. 69930. Broken up Grays, 1952. Date: c1945.

Above:  Barque ALASTOR laid up in the river Blackwater. Built 1875, official No. 69930. Broken up Grays, 1952. Date: c1945.
Source: Mersea Museum / Pullen Family Collection

Old Bob South, Ed Wyatt, ?, ? on board the barque ALASTOR - laid up in the River Blackwater. Date uncertain. Date: 1935.

Above:  Old Bob South, Ed Wyatt, ?, ? on board the barque ALASTOR - laid up in the River Blackwater. Date uncertain. Date: 1935.
Source: Mersea Museum / Pullen Family Collection

Claude Green Vic ? ? --- on board ALASTOR

Above:  Claude Green Vic ? ? --- on board ALASTOR
Source: Mersea Museum / Pullen Family Collection

Barque ALASTOR - either in Millwall Dock, London, or Birkenhead. Date: c1935.

Above:  Barque ALASTOR - either in Millwall Dock, London, or Birkenhead. Date: c1935.
Source: Mersea Museum / Geoffrey Robertshaw - Copyright Elvin Carter

Barque ALASTOR - either in Millwall Dock London or Birkenhead. Probably 1930s. Date: c1935.

Above:  Barque ALASTOR - either in Millwall Dock London or Birkenhead. Probably 1930s. Date: c1935.
Source: Mersea Museum / Geoffrey Robertshaw - Copyright Elvin Carter

Barque ALASTOR - either in Millwall Dock London or Birkenhead. Probably 1930s. Date: c1935.

Above:  Barque ALASTOR - either in Millwall Dock London or Birkenhead. Probably 1930s. Date: c1935.
Source: Mersea Museum / Geoffrey Robertshaw - Copyright Elvin Carter

Visit of barque ALASTOR to River Blackwater c1935. Article from The Maldonian - school magazine. Author Bibby. Page 1 of 2 Date: April 1936.

Above:  Visit of barque ALASTOR to River Blackwater c1935. Article from The Maldonian - school magazine. Author Bibby. Page 1 of 2 Date: April 1936.
Source: Mersea Museum / Peter Bibby Collection

Visit of barque ALASTOR to River Blackwater c1935. Article from The Maldonian - school magazine. Author Bibby. Page 2 of 2

Above:  Visit of barque ALASTOR to River Blackwater c1935. Article from The Maldonian - school magazine. Author Bibby. Page 2 of 2
Source: Mersea Museum / Peter Bibby Collection


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