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The Fleets

John Holt & Co. / Guinea Gulf Line Ltd., Liverpool 1862-1965

The company traces its origins to 1862 when John Holt, 20 years old at the time, sailed from Liverpool to take up an appointment as a shop assistant in a grocery store in Fernando Po (now Equatorial Guinea). Five years later, he bought out his employer, and was joined by his brother Jonathan. In 1868 Jonathan bought a schooner, which enabled the brothers to open more trading posts in West Africa. In 1874 the brothers opened an office in Liverpool. In 1881, John entered the palm oil trade.

In 1884 the brothers formed a partnership, John Holt and Company, to consolidate their business interests. Subsequently John entered into new partnerships, including a venture in Lagos in Nigeria in 1887.
In 1897 the partnerships were absorbed into a new limited company, John Holt & Co. (Liverpool) Ltd.

1954 saw the foundation of the Guinea Gulf Line managed by John Holt & Co., Liverpool.
In 1962 due political unrest the problems faced by not only John Holt & Co. but the other British Conference members began to escalate. With Nigeria and Ghana's economic problems mounting and a certain amount of self reliance coupled with its dependence on their own and the building of their own Shipping Companies, forced several companies to give up the trade to West Africa.

In 1963 the management of John Holt & Co. (Guinea Gulf Line) was taken over by Thos & Jos Brocklebank until its sale to Elder Dempster in 1965.
In 1965 the Guinea Gulf Line with a subsidiary of Holt, the Red Rose Navigation Co. Ltd at Bermuda, was acquired by Elder Dempster Line Ltd. who retained the fleet’s identity but used only one ship the MARY HOLT for one voyage, the Holt ships were sold and replaced by own tonnage.

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 & Flags:

Fleet:

Funnel Flag Flag
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Elizabeth Holt 1953 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1963 placed under management of Thos & Jos Brocklebank, 1965 sold to Transcargo Cia Mar SA (M. Scufalos), Greece renamed Admiralty Crest, 1965 renamed Despina N, 1972 sold to Acamar Navigation Corp., 1973 renamed Lorain, 1973 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 5,580
Euston   see Godfrey B Holt.  
Florence Holt 1953 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1963 placed under management of Thos & Jos Brocklebank, 1965 sold to Diana Cia Mar SA (M. Scufalos), Greece renamed Admiralty Flyer, 1965 renamed Trias, 1971 sold to Aldebaran Navigation Corp., 1974 sold renamed Dalton, 1974 renamed Mr. Norman, 1974 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 5,581
Garthorpe (1)   see Thomas Holt 1910.  
Garthorpe (2)   see John Holt 1926.  
Godfrey B Holt. 1929 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1951 renamed Euston, 1953 sold to Whangpoo SS Co. renamed Carinthia, 1954 sold to Wheelock & Marden renamed Dorinthia, 1963 scrapped at Hong Kong. 3,585
John Holt (1) 1926 built by Smith’s Dock & Co. Ltd, South Bank, Middlesbrough | 1937 renamed Garthorpe, 1939 sold to USSR renamed Anatoli Serov, stationary training hulk between 1972 and 2002, partially sunk & scrapped at Petropavlovsk, Kamchatskiy 2005-2006. 2,922
John Holt (2) 1938 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 24th September 1941 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.107. 3,815
John Holt (3) 1943 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 5th March 1944 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.66. 4,964
John Holt (4) 1946 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1963 sold to Alpha Cia Nav. renamed Kavo Matapas, 1966 sold to S.F. Yuan renamed Tung Lee, 1968 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 3,818
Jonathan Holt (1) 1910 built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd, Port Glasgow | 7th June 1917 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine. 1,522
Jonathan Holt (2) 1938 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 24th February 1941 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U.97 with the loss of 52 lives. 4,973
Jonathan Holt (3) 1943 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1962 sold to AG Navalmarittima renamed Zermatt, 1968 scrapped at Split. 4,963
Mary Holt 1959 built by Wm Gray & Co. Ltd, West Hartlepool | 1963 placed under management of Thos & Jos Brocklebank, 1965 to Elder Dempster, made only one voyage for ED, 1965 sold to National Shipping Corp., Pakistan renamed Sipsah, 1975 scrapped at Gadani Beach. 5,577
Paddington   see Thomas Holt 1929.  
Robert L Holt (1) 1926 built by Smith’s Dock & Co. Ltd, South Bank, Middlesbrough | 4th July 1941 shelled and sunk by German submarine U.69 with the loss of whole crew. 2,918
Robert L Holt (2) 1946 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1962 scrapped at Bruges. 3,821
Thomas Holt (1) 1910 built by Wm Hamilton & Co. Ltd, Port Glasgow | 1928 renamed Garthorpe, 1929 sold to Bugsier Reederei, Germany renamed Eilenau, 4th March 1941 scuttled Svolvaer, Lofoten Island. 1,521
Thomas Holt (2) 1929 built by Cammel Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1951 renamed Paddington, 1951 sold to F.L. Nimtz renamed Hans Erich, 1952 renamed Hans Erich J. Nimtz, 1954 sold to Moller & Co., Hong Kong renamed Theta Star, 1961 scrapped at Hong Kong. 3,585
 
    Red Rose Navigation Co. Ltd Bermuda  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Rose of Lancaster 1957 built by Wm Gray & Co. Ltd, West Hartlepool | 1963 placed under management of Thos & Jos Brocklebank, 1965 to Elder Dempster, 1965 sold to Splosna Plovba, Yugoslavia renamed Bocna, 24th December 1977 damaged by fire, 1978 scrapped at Split. 5,197

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