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The Fleets

Bullard King & Company, Limited / Natal Direct Line

Bullard King & Company, Limited, was founded in 1850 with a fleet of small sailing ships trading from the Thames to the Mediterranean. In 1879 they built their first steamer and introduced the Natal Direct Line to carry passengers directly to Durban and later East African ports. In 1889 they commenced sailings from India to South Africa to carry field labourers for the sugar plantations. In 1911 immigration from India was stopped and in 1919 Bullard King & Company, Limited, was taken over by the Union-Castle Line, although keeping it's independent identity and colours. For later history see Union-Castle Line. Their last ships were merged into the Springbok Line in 1960.

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:
  • 1879-1960 UK - South Africa (later added East Africa and Mauritius)
  • 1889-1933 India and Ceylon - South Africa.

Funnel:
Buff with black top and brown band.

Fleet:

Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Congella 1881 1910 sold to Ellerman Lines, renamed Douro. 1,585
Limpopo 1880 1892 wrecked off Reunion. 1,174
Palala 1885 1886 wrecked in English Channel. 1,144
Pongola 1879 1907 sold to Cie de Navigation Mixte, France, renamed Mitidja. 1,449
Umbilo 1890 1909 sold to Ellerman Lines, renamed Castilian. 1,923
Umfuli 1893 1924 scrapped. 2,370
Umgazi 1940 ex- Lanarkshire, 1959 transferred from Scottish Shire Line and renamed Umgazi, 1960 transferred to Springbok Line, renamed Grysbok. 8,167
Umgeni (1) 1898 November 1917, sank in bad weather in convoy. 2,662
Umgeni (2) 1938 1957 sold to Elder Dempster & Co., renamed Winneba. 8149
Umgeni (3) 1942 ex- Clan Macrae, 1959 transferred from Clan Line and renamed Umgeni, 1960 transferred to Springbok Line, renamed Gemsbok 9,184
Umhlali 1904 1909 wrecked near Cape Point. 3,380
Umhloti 1890 1922 scrapped. 2,204
Umkuzi (1) 1890 1923 sold to Germany, renamed Tilde. 2,057
Umkuzi (2) 1903 ex- Cluny Castle, 1924 transferred from Union-Castle Line and renamed Umkuzi, 1939 scrapped. 5,175
Umkuzi (3) 1942 ex- Clan Angus, 1956 transferred from Clan Line and renamed Umkuzi, 1959 reverted to Clan Line Clan Angus. 7,015
Umlazi (1) 1888 1913 sold to Italy, renamed Concadore. 1,793
Umlazi (2) 1918 ex- Rosyth Castle, 1920 transferred from Union-Castle Line and renamed Umlazi, 1936 sold to British owners, renamed Campden Hill. 4,276
Umona (1) 1890 1903 wrecked Maldive Islands. 2,031
Umona (2) 1910 1941 torpedoed and sunk southwest of Freetown. 3,759
Umsinga 1901 1928 scrapped. 2,958
Umtali (1) 1896 1925 sold to Yugoslavia, renamed Solun. 2,641
Umtali (2) 1936 1957 sold to Elder Dempster & Co., renamed Calabar. 8,135
Umtali (3) 1942 ex- Clan Allan, 1958 transferred from Clan Line and renamed Umtali, 1959 reverted to Clan Line, Clan Allan 7,025
Umtata (1) 1883 1891 wrecked near Madras. 1,789
Umtata (2) 1898 1924 scrapped. 2,655
Umtata (3) 1935 1942 torpedoed and sunk off Miami. 8,147
Umtata (4) 1944 1960 transferred to Springbok Line, renamed Klipbok. 7,288
Umvolosi (1) 1889 1890 wrecked Kowie River. 1,775
Umvolosi (2) 1902 1930 scrapped. 2,986
Umvoti (1) 1896 1917 torpedoed and sunk northwest of Ushant. 2,626
Umvoti (2) 1903 ex- Comrie Castle, 1924 transferred from Union-Castle Line and renamed Umvoti, 1940 sunk as blockship in Folkestone harbour. 5,183
Umvoti (3) 1942 ex- Clan Alpine, 1957 transferred from Clan Line and renamed Umvoti, 1959 reverted to Clan Line Clan Alpine 7,103
Umvuma 1914 1943 torpedoed and sunk off Mauritius. 4,419
Umzinto (1) 1886 1912 sold to Algeria, renamed Rapide. 1,802
Umzinto (2) 1895 ex- Sabine, 1921 transferred from Union-Castle Line (Union SS Co.) and renamed Umzinto, 1925 scrapped. 3,809
Umzinto (3) 1942 ex- Empire Kinsman, 1948 purchased from MOWT and renamed Umzinto, 1956 sold to Costa Rica, renamed Vastric. 6,751
Umzinto (4) 1954 ex- Clan Robertson, 1959 transferred from Clan Line and renamed Umzinto, 1960 transferred to Springbok Line, renamed Rooibok. 7,878
Umzumbi 1904 1932 scrapped. 3,379
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