Question about a whaling Vessel

20th October 2008, 17:39
My great, great, great grandfather was a harpooner s, on board the lady seale in 1860.

Does anybody know what the 's' stands for in his job description?
and also, any information or images of this vessel, if anyone has any, of this vessel, would be very welcome.

Thank you for reading this, i hope to hear from some of you soon.

Janet. (Thumb)

K urgess
20th October 2008, 18:38
Welcome aboard, Janet.
I've moved your post into the Hello forum for a better response.
I'm sure someone in the crew will be able to help.
Enjoy the voyage.

Derek Roger
20th October 2008, 19:09
Welcome from Canada Janet . Good luck on your search . Regards Derek

20th October 2008, 19:46
Welcome onboard to SN and Enjoy the voyage

20th October 2008, 22:00
Welcome from Lancashire.
I hope you will enjoy the site.

We have a number of members with special knowledge of whaling so hopefully you will get a quick answer when they see this.

20th October 2008, 22:15
There was a 'cargo ship' called the Lady Seale built 1846, 184 ton and was wrecked Davis Strait in 1863.

20th October 2008, 23:05

A warm welcome to the site from the Isle of Anglesey, I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy the SN experience!
I am also sure that someone will be able to help with your query in the meantime have a good look around the site. (Thumb)

bert thompson
21st October 2008, 09:04
Welcome Janet to this wonderful site. Shouldn't be long before someone assists you in your query
Best wishes

21st October 2008, 21:27
This info may be of some help -

From the 1850's onwards shoulder guns were used to shoot bomb lances at the whales. The bomb lances were filled with explosives and would explode soon after entering the body of the whale.

The Balchin bomb lance was fired from a swivel harpoon gun and was in use throughout the 1860's. It was made to be smaller in diameter to prevent it from sticking in the gun barrel. A cylinder containing a fuse match was inserted at the back of the lance and this was ignited when the main charge of the gun was fired. The match was designed to burn a certain length of time so that the lance explodes once it had hit the whale.

21st October 2008, 22:55
The S could stand for Specksioneer, (various spellings). Whaling term for Chief harpooner who supervised the cutting up of the whale blubber (speck).
The Davis Strait fishery between Greenland and Baffin Island was an important whale fishery in the 18th and 19th century. There are some good books on the subject. Scottish, Tyneside, Whitby and Hull whalers used to hunt the fishery.


22nd October 2008, 04:52
Hi Janet.

Welcome. The Times has several mentions of the Lady Seale, which seems to have been owned by the Hull Whale and Seal Fishing Company. Here are two (I can send you details of the others if you're interested):

The Times, Saturday, Apr 19, 1862
- Messrs. Brown, Atkinson, and Co., the directors of
the Hull Whale and Seal Fishing Company, have this
day received the following news from the Green-
land fisheries:- The steamer Lady Seale, of Hull, Captain
Silvey, which left this port about the middle of
February, returned to Lerwick on the 13th inst., having had
to bear up from the ice on the 10th. The Lady Seale had
experienced very heavy weather, with a continuation of
north-easterly gales, and very heavy ice. Captain Silvey
reports having seen the steamer Diana, of Hull, Captain
Simpson, about the time he made the ice. The Diana had
got into the ice, but Captain Silvey, seeing no prospect of
making a successful fishery at Greenland, considered it pru-
dent to return to Lerwick, where he would replenish his
stocks of coals, and proceed without loss of time to Davis's
Straits. No other ships were seen during the voyage.
Captain Gravell, late of this port, who took command of
the steamer Polyhymnia, of Dundee, for the purpose of pro-
ceeding to the Newfoundland fishery, had put into Bull's
Bay with screw damaged. No seals had been taken. The
Newfoundland seal fishery has proved an entire failure.
More news may be expected in a few days.

The Times, Thursday, Oct 30, 1862
the screw steamer Lady Seale, Captain Silvey, arrived at
Hull from Davis' Straits with a cargo, consisting of 11
whales, expected to realize about 70 tuns of oil. She
also brought six sea-horses, two bears, and one unicorn.
Captain Silvey reports that he met with very severe
weather throughout the whole of the season.
All these vessels belong to the Hull Whale and Seal Fishing

Later reports mention a Captain Richard Wells as being the master of the Lady Seale. One gives his account of the ship's loss in ice in Melville Bay on the 6 July 1863.