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The Fleets

Essex Steam Ship Co. Ltd / Essex Line Ltd. (Meldrum & Swinson) 1909-1945

Harrison Meldrum started in 1909 the Essex Steam Ship Company Ltd by purchasing a second hand steamer. In 1911 Meldrum & Seinson was formed and a new tramp ship was ordered, in 1914 a second newbuilding joined the fleet.
In 1916 two ships were sold to London owners and one was also lost that year. After 1917 the company did not own any ships.
In 1921 the company was reformed as the Essex Line Ltd. and Essex Transport & Trading Co. Ltd. and several second hand ships were purchased in 1922 and 1923.

The company owned five tramp ships around 1935-1936. One ship was stranded in 1937 and sold to Japan in 1938 and three ships were also sold in that year.
Only one ship was owned at the start of World War II and she was lost in 1943. One ship was managed from completion in 1944 till the end of the war for the Ministry of War Transport.
After World War II the Essex Line Ltd. and Essex Transport & Trading Co. became dormant companies until the Essex Transport & Trading Co. was sold and the Essex Line Ltd. was purchased by Maersk Line in 1988.

Many thanks to Henk Jungerius and 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.

Funnel & Flag:


Funnel Flag
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Chasehill 1891 built by Wm Doxford & Sons, Sunderland | ex- Hawkes Bay built for Tyser & Co., 1912 acquired by Chasehill S.S. Co. Ltd. (Kaye, Son and Co. Ltd. managers) and renamed Chasehill, 22 February 1915 captured by the German auxiliary cruiser KRONPRINZ WILHELM in a position 06.15S. 28.15W. whilst on a voyage from Newport, Mon. to Zarate with a cargo of coal, 9.3.1915 released, heavily damaged, in a position 06.57S. 26.05W. after her cargo had been removed, 12 March 1915 arrived at Pernambuco, 1915 sold to Essex S.S. Co. Ltd. (Meldrum and Swinson managers), London, 18 January 1916 foundered in North Atlantic in a position 40N. 63W. approx. whilst on a voyage from New York to Havre with general cargo, her crew of 32 was saved. 4,583
Eastcheap 1900 built by Mackie & Thomson, Glasgow | ex- Eastcheap, 1909 purchased from F.S. Holland, London, 1911 sold to Sweden renamed Nereus, 25 December 1915 mined and sunk. 1,229
Essex Abbey (1) 1911 built by Greenock & Grangemouth Dockyard Co Ltd., Grangemouth | 1916 sold to Grahams & Co., London renamed Panayiotis, 1920 sold to Carpenter & Tuck renamed Loyal Devonian, 1932 sold to S.N. Vlassopol renamed Inginer N. Vlassopul, 1940 seized by US Government renamed Hampton Lodge, 20 January 1943 bombed and sunk. 3,595
Essex Abbey (2) 1907 built by A. MacMillan & Sons Ltd., Dumbarton | ex- Lord Sefton, 1922 purchased from J. Herron & Co., 1934 scrapped at Bremerhaven. 4,331
Essex Baron (1) 1914 built by Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Co Ltd., Newcastle | 1916 sold to J.A. Mango, London renamed Eptapyrgion, 23 April 1917 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine. 4,307
Essex Baron (2) 1900 built by A. MacMillan & Sons Ltd., Dumbarton | ex- Lowther Castle built for Lancashire Shipping Co. Ltd, ex- Rossia 1912 for P. Regier & Son, 1922 purchased from Sefton SS Co. Ltd renamed Essex Baron, 1928 sold to Lyn Shipping Co. not renamed, 1930 scrapped at Queenstown. 4,567
Essex Chase 1899 built by Wm Gray & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool | ex- Alderney built for A.N. Hansen & Co., ex- Hvidehavet 1920, 1923 purchased from O.J. Eskildsen renamed Essex Chase, 1929 sold to F. Grauds renamed Evergunar, 18 January 1932 broke tow and wrecked near Somnes near Rorvik. 3,183
Essex Druid 1919 built by Rotterdamsche Droogdok Mij, Rotterdam | ex- Kediri, 1923 purchased from Rotterdamsche Lloyd, Rotterdam renamed Essex Druid, 1938 sold to Yugoslavia renamed Drava, 1946 sold renamed Podgora, 1957 sold, 1961 scrapped at Split. 3,508
Essex Envoy 1922 built by F. Schickau, Danzig | ex- Therese Horn, 1923 purchased from H.C. Horn, Flensburg renamed Essex Envoy, 1939 sold to Seereederei Frigga AG, Hambur renamed Hermod, 1940 damage by grounding, repaired, several times damaged in the war, repaired and back in service in 1950, 1957 laid up, 1958 scrapped. 5,210
Essex Friar 1920 built by New York Harbor Drydock Co., Port Jefferson | laid down as Osiris for U.S. Shipping Board, completed for Lloyd Royal Belge, Antwerp as Cannonier, 1925 sold to Essex Line (Meldrum & Swinson), London renamed Essex Friar, 08 May 1932 stranded near Hyllekrog on voyage Antwerp - Leningrad, refloated but CTL and scrapped at Sunderland. 3,157
Essex Glade 1906 built by W. Pickersgill & Sons Ltd., Sunderland | ex- Alconda, 1924 purchased from E.F.& W. Roberts renamed Essex Glade, 1935 scrapped at Venice. 4,298
Essex Heath 1899 built by Richardson Duck & Co., Stockton | ex- Shandon, ex- Hedwig Menzel 1911 for Menzell-Linie G.m.b.H., Germany (H. Menzel & Co.), ex- Franz Wilke 1912 for Vulkan Reederei Dampfer Franz Wilke G.m.b.H. (N.V. Handels en Transport Maatschappij Vulcaan managers), Germany, 1919 surrendered as a prize to Great Britain and allocated to The Shipping Controller (W. Runciman & Co. Ltd. managers), ex- Mary Amelia 1921, 1925 purchased from Amelia S.S. Co. Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne renamed Essex Heath, 1930 scrapped at Rotterdam. 3,899
Essex Isles 1904 built by W. Pickersgill & Sons Ltd., Sunderland | ex- Wray Castle built for J. Chambers & Co., ex- Wisley 1915 for Houlder Middleton, ex- Welland County 1922, 1925 purchased from Canada SS Lines renamed Essex Isles, 13 January 1927 burned and sunk at Tampico. 4,399
Essex Judge 1912 built by Short Brothers Ltd., Sunderland | ex- Daghestan built for Hindustan Steam Shipping Co. (Common Brothers), 1916 sold to Rome Steam Shipping Co. (Fisher, Alimonda & Co.), London, 1920 sold to Italian State Railways, Rome renamed Antium, 1923 sold to Parodi & Corrado, Genoa renamed Bainsizza, 1924 sold to Villain & Fassio, Genoa renamed Alberto Fassio, 1927 sold to Essex Transport & Trading Co. (Meldrum & Swinson), London renamed Essex Judge, 1937 sold to Thameside Shipping Co., 1938 renamed Thorpehaven, 10 June 1938 bombed and sunk by Spanish Nationalist aircraft at Alicante, later raised and to Spanish Government, 1941 returned to service as Castillo Guadahlest, 1942 transferred to Empresa Nacional Elcano de la Marina Mercante, Madrid, 24 August 1951 sprang leak and abandoned in North Atlantic, 25 August 1951 foundered. 3,688
Essex Knoll 1905 built by R. Stephenson & Co., Newcastle | ex- Arlington Court built for Court Line, 1917 sold to Mitchell Steamship Co., London renamed Penylan, 1919 sold to Ferrier & Rees renamed Penrhos, 1925 sold to A. Parodi renamed Zovetto, 1927 sold to Essex Line (Meldrum & Swinson) renamed Essex Knoll, 1933 scrapped at Pola. 4,372
Essex Lance 1918 built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Newcastle | ex- War Courage built for the Shipping Controller, ex- Glensanda, 1919, 1928 purchased from Glen Line renamed Essex Lance, 15 October 1943 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.165 at 57.53N 28.00W on voyage Milford Haven to Halifax, NS.. 6,625
Essex Manor 1930 built by Wm Doxford & Sons, Sunderland | 1937 stranded at Erinosata and sold, repaired renamed Yamabuki Maru for Yamashita Kisen, 21 September 1944 bombed and sunk. 5,001
Essex Noble 1929 built by Wm Doxford & Sons, Sunderland | ex- Juliet, 1932 purchased from H. Hannevig, Norway renamed Essex Noble, 1933 sold to The Red "R" Steamship Co. Ltd. (Stephens, Sutton Ltd., managers), Newcastle upon Tyne and renamed Reaveley, 1939 sold to W. A. Massey and Sons Ltd., Hull and renamed Elizabeth Massey, 1943 sold to Stag Line, Ltd. for 80,495. 1945 renamed Begonia, 1949 converted from coal to oil burning at a cost of 16,080, 1956 sold to Pio Tomei, Italy for 250,000 and renamed Peonia, 1964 sold to Cantieri Navali del Golfo who commenced demolition 11 May 1964 at La Spezia. 4,323
Essex Oak 1929 built by Wm Doxford & Sons, Sunderland | ex- June, 1932 purchased from H. Hannevig, Norway renamed Essex Oak, 1933 sold to The Red "R" Steamship Co. Ltd (Stephens Sutton Ltd., managers) renamed Ridley, 1936 sold to Turnbull Scott & Co. renamed Redgate, 1947 sold to J. German & Son renamed Basilisk, 1951 sold to Dai-ichi Kisen, Japan renamed Missouri Maru, 1964 sold to Fong Shing Hong renamed Loong Fong, 11 December 1967 hit object & beached Divilacan Bay, Luzon and scrapped in 1968 at Kaohsiung. 4,323

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