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The Fleets

Bibby Line

John Bibby was part owner of the DOVE in 1801 and purchased his first ship in 1805. The company traded initially to the Mediterranean and then expanded to South America, India and the Far East. A packet service to Dublin started in 1807. In 1850 the company bought their first steamship for the Mediterranean service and in 1857 the Levant Screw Steam Shipping Co was taken over. In 1873 Bibby Line passed control of their steamers to F. R. Leyland but in 1889 the Bibby family returned to the shipping business and formed Bibby Bros Ltd with a service to Rangoon. In 1891 the company became the Bibby SS Co, working in conjunction with Henderson Bros. Ltd. and later became heavily involved in trooping, some ships becoming permanent troopships. The company name was changed to Bibby Line Ltd in 1931 but with advent of independence for Burma, trade declined and many ships were charterd out. The Suez crisis of 1956 effectively finished the trade to Burma, but trooping work kept the company operational. Trooping by sea ended in 1962. Passenger services ceased in 1965 and the company joined the Seabridge consortium to operate chartered vessels and in 1971 took over Bristol City Line. The company still survives, managed from Douglas, Isle of Man and is Britain's oldest family controlled company.

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

Routes Sail:

  • 1801-1870 Liverpool - coastal trading
  •                    Liverpool - Mediterranean
  •                    Liverpool - South America / Bombay / Far East.
  •                    Liverpool - West Indies / British Guiana
  • 1807-1840 Parkgate - Dublin packet service.
  • 1804-1815 Liverpool - Baltic (during Napoleonic war)

Routes Steam:

  • 1850-1873 Liverpool - Mediterranean
  • 1854-1873 Liverpool - Levant - Black Sea and Crimean War transports.
  •                    Liverpool - Spain - Portugal.
  • 1889-1892 Liverpool - Suez - Rangoon
  • 1892-1971 Birkenhead - Marseilles - Suez - Port Sudan (1920) - Colombo - Rangoon.
  • 1892-1914 Inbound to Tilbury - Continental ports - Middlesbrough - Liverpool.
  • 1914-1962 Permanent trooping Liverpool / Southampton - Near East / Far East.
  • 1925-1939 Liverpool - Gibraltar - Palma - Marseilles.
  • 1935-1939 Birkenhead - Suez - Colombo - Cochin - Rangoon.
  • 1971-         Charter work.

Funnel:
1850-1857 Buff yellow
1857-1971 Pink, black top.
1928-1962 Pale yellow (troopships)

Fleet:

1850-1857 1857-1971 1928-1962
    Sail  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Amelia 1826 brig, 1840 sold to Jameson & Co, Kirkcaldy. 200
Ann Paley 1827 barque, 1842 lost on voyage Liverpool - Oporto. 166
Ariel 1802 -?-, 1812 purchased, 1826 sold to Farleigh. 154
Benjamin & Elizabeth 1798 ship, 1807 purchased, captured by America and sold to Sweden, 1809 wrecked off New Jersey. 283
Beresford 1796 brigantine, 1810 purchased, 1810 sold Liverpool. 104
Bibby 1813 brigantine, 1829 wrecked on voyage Dublin to London. 163
Bispham 1826 brig, 1838 wrecked near Holyhead. 214
Bootle 1820 brig, 1842 sold to Harrington, Liverpool. 153
Ceres 1796 snow, 1809 purchased, 1827 lost in Irish Sea. 138
Cestrian 1834 ship, 1840 sold to Maxwell & Co, Glasgow. 380
Dove 1774 galliot, 1801 owned by Bibby & Hall, no further info. 60
Duchess of Clarence 1828 barque, 1842 sold to Fletcher & Co, London. 274
Eagle 1805 brigantine, captured Napoleonic war prize purchased 1805 from the Admiralty, 1808 recorded as slave ship, 1809 lost off African coast. 186
Ellen German 1833 snow, 1840 sold to Rose & Co.
176
Ellen Jenkinson 1823 ketch, 1844 sold to J. Hatton & Co, Liverpool. 162
Emma 1833 snow, 1849 sold to Job Bros., Liverpool. 153
Fanny Connell 1827 barque, 1842 sold to London owners. 171
Fearon 1813 snow, 1838 sold to London owners. 152
Friends 1793 galliot, 1805 purchased, 1806 wrecked North Wales. 63
George & William 1820 brig, no further info. 187
George IV 1820 brig, 1835 wrecked Spain. 187
Glenavon 1834 brig, 1846 purchased, no further info. 261
Hannibal 1843 ship, 1844 purchased from G. T. Soley & Co, 1852 re-sold to Soley. 821
Hardware 1821 brig, 1841 sold to Shaw & Co, Liverpool. 152
Henry Hoyle 1829 brig, 1840 sold. 207
Highfield 1812 brigantine, 1839 scrapped. 142
James J. Bibby 1902 brigantine, sail training ship, 1917 engined and became a Q-Ship under various disguised names, 1920 laid up, 1921 sold to A. M. Anderson. 176
Jane Roberts 1847 sloop, 1848 purchased from Barnstaple owner, no further info. 31
Jessie Miller 1840 brig, 1852 sold. 382
Joe 1817 brig, 1828 sold to Dublin owners. 120
Joshua 1817 brig, 18?? lost in Irish Sea. 125
Juverna 1838 barque, 1849 purchased, 1850-1855 laid up, 1857 sold to Brice & Co. 311
Kate 1820 brig, 1824 sank in Irish Sea. 150
Lancashire Witch 1821 ketch, 1833 lost off Vera Cruz, Mexico. 127
L'Harmonie 1803 snow, captured Napoleonic war prize purchased from the Admiralty, 1806 wrecked West Indies. 124
Lucretia 1796 ship, 1809 purchased, 1810 sold to Mullin & Co, Liverpool. 242
Lune 1807 galliot, 1809 purchased, 1832 sold at Whitehaven. 105
Lydia 1850 barque, 1859 sold to Sharp & Co, Newcastle. 541
Margaret (1) 1800 galliot, 1801 wrecked Ireland. 117
Margaret (2) 1802 brigantine, 1811 purchased, 1811 sold. 222
Margaret Highfield 1828 brig, 1840 wrecked off Nassau. 178
Maria 1815 brig, 1821 purchased, 1823 sold to Taylor & Co, Liverpool. 113
Mary (1) 180? barque, ex- Laurentza Maria , 1808 seized from Denmark and sold to Bibby renamed Mary, 1810 captured by French and sold to Jamaica owners. 208
Mary (2) 1818 snow, 1827 condemned and scrapped. 212
Mary Ann 1824 ship, 1842 sold to James & Co. 174
Mary Bibby 1825 ship, 1841 sold to Maryport owners. 299
Melbourne 1846 ship, 1858 purchased, 1870 hulked at Gibraltar. 1,212
Mentor 1799 snow, 1802 purchased, 1818 sank in Irish Sea. 150
Nile 1800 brig, 1815 purchased, 1835 sank in Irish Sea with all hands. 156
Oak 1841 snow, 1849 wrecked Brazil. 342
Pedlar 1849 brig, 1853 sold to Imrie & Tomlinson, Liverpool. 193
Pizarro 1853 ship, 1857 sold to Myers & Co, Liverpool. 416
Preston 1805 galliot, 1812 purchased, 1837 sold to W. Wilson, Belfast. 99
Providence 1789 snow, 1803 captured from France, 1809 purchased, no further info. 123
Rosalind 1819 brig, 1833 lost on voyage Liverpool - Corunna. 134
Sally 1799 snow, captured Napoleonic war prize purchased 1806 from the Admiralty, 1827 went missing in Atlantic. 130
Sampson 1798 brig, 1817 purchased, 1831 scrapped. 139
Sarah 1788 brigantine, 1809 purchased, 1810 seized by France at St. Croix and sold. 176
Thames 1798 snow, 1807 purchased, 1811 captured by America, sold to Denmark and re-sold to Bibby, no trace after 1813. 171
Titbit 1849 schooner, 1854 sold to Duarte & Co. 144
Venus 1799 sloop, 1809 purchased, 1810 sold to London owners. 113
Warrior 1833 snow, 1842 sold to John Kelly, Belfast. 99
William n/a snow, 1807 captured Napoleonic war prize, 1811 purchased, 1815 sold. 90
    Steam  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Albanian (1) 1855 1870 sold to Brown, Atkinson & Co, Hull. 1,034
Albanian (2) 1870 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 1,417
Arabian 1862 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 2,066
Arno 1851 1854 Crimean War transport, 1861 sold to General Steam Nav. Co, London. 660
Atlantic Bridge 1968 1977 renamed Dorsetshire, 1982 sold to Greece renamed Perinthos. 44,842
Australian Bridge 1973 1977 renamed Somersetshire, 1978 sold to Eddie SS Co renamed Enterprise Transporter. 78,257
Bavarian 1869 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 3,111
Bedfordshire   see Canadian Bridge.  
Berkshire 1970 1983 sold to Cyprus. 19,061
Boetia 1855 1859 purchased from Papayanni Line, 1864 transferred to West India & Pacific S.N. Co, Liverpool renamed Barbadian. 950
Bohemian 1870 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 3,113
Braganza 1856 1869 lost near Leixoes. 507
Bulgarian 1870 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 3,112
Cairo 1857 ex- Fred Chapple , 1859 purchased from Fred Chapple & Co, renamed Cairo, 1873 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 1,465
Calpe 1852 1868 went missing in Bay of Biscay. 799
Cambridgeshire   see Mersey Bridge.  
Camel 1868 tug, 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 33
Canadian Bridge 1974 1977 renamed Bedfordshire, 1978 sold to Shell Tankers Ltd, London renamed Tectus. 65,135
Castilian 1862 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 635
Catalonian 1862 1863 wrecked. 635
Cheshire (1) 1891 1900 Boer War troopship, 1911 sold to Lim Chin Tsong, Rangoon renamed Seang Choon. 5,708
Cheshire (2) 1927 1939 commissioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cheshire, 1943 converted to troopship, 1949 Australian emigrant ship, 1957 scrapped. 10,550
Cheshire (3) 1959 1968 sold to Messageries Maritimes renamed Mozambique. 7,201
Cheshire (4) 1971 1983 sold to Panama renamed Maria. 19,060
Cheshire (5) 1989 1989 chartered to Exmar, Belgium, 1994 returned to Bibby, 1995 still in service. 19,719
Cintra 1854 1858 sold to Cotesworth, Lyne & Co, Liverpool. 517
Corinthian 1855 1864 wrecked off Portugal in fog. 1,170
Coventry City 1966 1971 taken over with Bristol City Line, 1974 sold to Brandts Ltd renamed Ilkon Dalio. 5,190
Crimean 1857 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 1,475
Dalmatian 1861 1872 wrecked North Wales. 1,989
Danube (1) 1853 1855 sold to French Government. 829
Danube (2) 1856 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 1,386
Dart Atlantic 1972 1980 taken over by Furness Withy, 1981 chartered to Canadian Pacific renamed CP Ambassador. 31,036
Derbyshire (1) 1897 1899 chartered to Dominion Line, 1921 became full time troopship, 1927 cargo only, 1931 scrapped. 6,635
Derbyshire (2) 1935 1939 commissioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Derbyshire, 1941-1946 troopship, 1947 returned to commercial service, 1964 scrapped. 11,660
Derbyshire (3) 1966 1976 sold to Panama renamed Captain Lygnos. 7,412
Derbyshire (4)   see Liverpool Bridge.  
Devonshire (1) 1939 1939-1962 troopship, 1962 sold to British India S.N. Co., converted to educational cruise ship, renamed Devonia, 1967 scrapped. 11,275
Devonshire (2) 1974 1984 transferred to Hong Kong registry, 1989 sold to Norway renamed Hemera. 32,060
Dorsetshire (1) 1920 1927 converted to permanent troopship, 1939-1948 Hospital ship, 1949 Australia emigrant ship, 1954 scrapped. 7,450
Dorsetshire (2)   see Atlantic Bridge.  
Dorsetshire (3) 1980 ex- Freeport Chief, 1989 purchased from Liberia renamed Dorsetshire, 1991 sold to Liberia renamed Protank Orinoco. 30,875
Douro (1) 1853 1862 sold for use as American Civil War blockade runner. 278
Douro (2) 1864 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 556
Egyptian 1861 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 2,086
English Bridge 1973 1977 renamed Worcestershire, 1979 sold to Amroth Investments Corp., renamed Subshine. 76,012
Euphrates 1854 1860 sold to Bailey & Leetham renamed Bengo. 1,134
Frankfort 1851 1857 purchased from Frederick Chapple, 1865 sold to H. E. Moss, Liverpool. 657
Gloucestershire (1) 1910 1915 converted to Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Gloucestershire, 1917 converted to troopship, 1936 scrapped. 8,124
Gloucestershire (2) 1950 ex- Cingalese Prince , 1964 purchased from Prince Line renamed Gloucestershire, 1971 sold to Hong Kong owners renamed Cresco and scrapped. 8,827
Gloucestershire (3)   see Ocean Bridge.  
Grecian 1861 1873 went missing at sea. 1,854
Halifax City 1964 1972 taken over with Bristol City Line, 1972 sold to Thailand renamed Ratchaburi. 6,647
Hampshire 1974 1984 transferred to Hong Kong registry, 1989 sold to Norway renamed Hermes. 32,060
Herefordshire (1) 1905 1934 wrecked off Pembrokeshire while being towed to Clyde shipbreakers. 7,182
Herefordshire (2) 1944 1954 chartered to Port Line renamed Port Hardy, 1961 reverted to Herefordshire, 1969 sold to Troodos Shipping Co, London renamed Merryland. 8,158
Herefordshire (3) 1972 1982 sold to Liberia renamed Texas. 7,463
Herefordshire (4) 1984 ex- Burns , 1991 purchased renamed Herefordshire, 1995 still in service. 7,145
Iberian 1867 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 2,890
Illyrian 1867 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 2,931
Ionia 1856 1861 purchased from Papayanni Line, 1870 sold to Anglo-Egyptian Nav. Co, Liverpool. 1,388
Istrian 1867 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 2,930
Italian 1861 1869 wrecked in fog on Cape Finisterre, Spain. 1,854
Lancashire (1) 1889 1905 sold to East Asiatic Co., Copenhagen renamed Kina (1) 3,870
Lancashire (2) 1914 1930 converted to permanent troopship, 1956 scrapped. 9,542
Lancashire (3) 1963 1970 to Pan-Islamic SS Co, Karachi renamed Safina-E-Haidar. 8,919
Lancashire (4) 1972 1982 sold to Liberia renamed Virginia. 7,463
Lancashire (5) 1972 ex- Leibv Eriksen , 1987 purchased from Norway renamed Lancashire, 1989 sold to Bahamas renamed Joule. 2,527
Leicestershire (1) 1909 1914 / 1918 troopship, 1930 sold to British National Exhibition Ship Co, renamed British Exhibitor. 8,059
Leicestershire (2) 1948 1965 sold to Greece renamed Heraklion. 8,908
Lincolnshire 1972 1984 transferred to Hong Kong registry, 1991 registered Nassau, 1995 still in service. 19,799
Liverpool Bridge 1976 1978 renamed Derbyshire, 1980 disappeared in typhoon 230 miles off Okinawa; loss of 44 lives, the largest British ship ever lost at sea. 91,655
Meander 1856 1857 ex- Meandre , purchased from James Moss & Co, Liverpool renamed Meander, 1868 sold to Belgium renamed Baron Lambermont. 974
Mersey Bridge 1976 1977 renamed Cambridgeshire, 1983 sold to Liberia renamed Festival. 39,247
Milan 1855 1871 sold to Brown, Atkinson & Co, Hull. 1,083
Minho 1854 1862 sold for use as American Civil War blockade runner. 400
Montreal City 1963 1971 taken over with Bristol City Line, 1973 sold to Thailand renamed Ratchaburi. 6,623
Northamptonshire 1969 ex- Volnay , 1977 purchased from Aidan Shipping Ltd, Glasgow renamed Northamptonshire, 1980 sold to Hong Kong renamed Andaman Sea. 22,189
Ocean Bridge 1970 1977 renamed Gloucestershire, 1978 sold to Liberia renamed Oceanic Victory. 66,057
Oporto 1870 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 565
Oxfordshire (1) 1912 1914-1919 Hospital Ship, 1939-1948 Hospital Ship, 1949-1950 Australia emigrant ship, 1950-1951 troopship, 1951 sold to Pan-Islamic SS Co, Karachi renamed Safina-El-Arab. 8,648
Oxfordshire (2) 1957 troopship, 1964 sold to Sitmar Line renamed Fairstar. 21,619
Oxfordshire (3) 1971 1978 sold to Greece renamed Georgios Tsakiroglou. 19,060
Pacific Bridge 1967 1974 sold to Liberia renamed Petingo. 44,795
Persian 1863 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 2,137
Rattler 1846 1850 purchased, 1853 transferred to Frederick Chapple. 276
Rhone (1) 1853 1855 sold to French Government. 856
Rhone (2) 1856 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 1,387
Shropshire (1) 1891 1909 sold to Lim Chin Tsong, Rangoon renamed Seang Bee. 5,721
Shropshire (2) 1926 1939 commissioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Salopian, 1941 torpedoed and sunk off Cape Farewell. 10,550
Shropshire (3) 1959 1972 sold to Panama renamed Argiro. 7,244
Shropshire (4) 1968 ex- Verdala , 1974 purchased from Salvesen, Leith renamed Shropshire, 1977 sold to Malta renamed Verdala. 14,771
Shropshire (5) 1985 ex- Stainless Fighter, 1991 purchased from Panama renamed Shropshire, 1995 still in service. 7,145
Sicilian 1860 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 1,492
Somersetshire (1) 1921 1927 converted to permanent troopship, 1939-1946 Hospital ship, 1948 Australia emigrant ship, 1954 scrapped. 7,450
Somersetshire (2)   see Australian Bridge.  
Staffordshire (1) 1894 1899 Boer War transport, 1912 sold to Cie. Sud Atlantique, Bordeaux renamed Samara. 6,055
Staffordshire (2) 1929 1940 converted to troopship, 1949 returned to commercial service, 1959 scrapped. 10,654
Staffordshire (3) 1950 ex- Eastern Prince , 1964 purchased from Prince Line renamed Staffordshire, 1970 sold and scrapped. 8,827
Staffordshire (4) 1977 1984 transferred to Hong Kong registry, 1995 still in service with Bibby. 41,677
Syrian 1860 1869 wrecked near Cape Finisterre, Spain. 1,492
Tenbury 1965 1972 purchased from Houlder Bros, London, 1972 returned to Houlder. 8,549
Tiber 1851 1854-55 Crimean War transport, 1861 sold to De Wolfe, Liverpool. 660
Toronto City 1966 1971 taken over with Bristol City Line, 1974 sold to Brandts Ltd renamed Ilkon Polly. 5,192
Venetian 1859 1873 transferred to Leyland Line. 1,507
Warwickshire (1) 1902 1932 scrapped. 7,975
Warwickshire (2) 1948 1965 sold to Greece renamed Hania. 8,903
Warwickshire (3) 1967 1973 chartered to Iran renamed Arya Bod, 1974 reverted to Bibby Warwickshire, 1980 sold to Panama renamed Furama. 7,848
Westminster Bridge 1968 1973 sold to Liberia renamed Proteus. 42,202
Wiltshire 1968 1984 chartered to ICI, Australia, 1989 returned to Bibby, 1995 sold to Bahrein renamed Zallaq. 10,036
Worcestershire (1) 1904 1914-1916 troopship, 1917 mined and sunk off Colombo. 7,170
Worcestershire (2) 1931 1939 commissioned as Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Worcestershire, 1943-1947 troopship, 1949 returned to commercial service, 1961 scrapped. 11,453
Worcestershire (3) 1965 1976 sold to Liberia renamed Bordagain. 7,412
Worcestershire (4)   see English Bridge.  
Yorkshire (1) 1889 1898 chartered to Dominion Line, 1899 Boer War transport, 1905 sold to East Asiatic Co., Copenhagen renamed Indien. 3,870
Yorkshire (2) 1920 1939 torpedoed and sunk off France; loss of 58 lives. 10,184
Yorkshire (3) 1960 1963 chartered to Indo-China S.N. Co renamed Eastern Princess, 1964 reverted to Yorkshire, 1971 sold to Liberia renamed Bordabekoa. 7,218
Yorkshire (4) 1975 1985 chartered to American Petroship renamed York Marine, 1988 returned to Bibby and used as oil storage hulk, 1988 attacked at Sharjah by Iranian warships and set on fire, the sold to Cyprus renamed Martontree. 60,814
Ships managed by Bibby Line on behalf of the Ministry of War Transport:
Empire Pride 1941 troopship managed for MOWT, 1954 sold to Charlton Steam Shipping Co, London converted to emigrant ship and renamed Charlton Pride. 8,418
Felix Roussel 1930 Messageries Maritimes, 1940 seized by Royal Navy, placed under Bibby management as troopship, 1946 returned to owners. 16,774
Forbin 1922 Chargeurs Reunis, 1940 taken over by British on surrender of France, managed by Bibby. 1944 scuttled at Arromanches as part of prefabricated Mulberry Harbour. 7,291
Ocean Viscount 1942 managed for MOWT, 1948 passed to Clan Line renamed Clan Kennedy. 7,134
President Doumer 1933 Messageries Maritimes, 1940 taken over by British on surrender of France, managed by Bibby as troopship, 1942 torpedoed and sunk off Madeira; loss of 260 lives. 11,898
War Ceres 1919 1919 sold to British India S.N. Co. renamed Nowshera. 7,920
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