SS Camlough/SS Corteen (Ballyclare) - Information Please

Nswstar2
9th February 2018, 18:05
I now live in Southwest Scotland near the Solway coast, site of many shipwrecks over the years.

One wrecksite is quite nearby at the village of Monreith: the SS Camlough (built 1920) one of the Kelly's Coal Boats, which was wrecked on the beach there in January of 1932.

Most of the ship was subsequently salvaged in situ - not entirely a straightforward job, one gathers, as two further small salvage ships came to grief at the site in the salvage process, while loaded/loading with scrap metal.

Much of this small steam screw coaster had come to rest on outcrops of volcanic rock in a wild January storm at an exceptional high tide. The stern section of the boat (boiler and engine rooms) was sitting on sand. Although most of the ship was salvaged in situ, a portion of the stern remains on the beach.

In recent years, this wreckage had been largely covered with sand, only a few of the rusty ship's structures from the very depths of the hull protruding. But this year's winter storms + wave action, have been shifting the sand on this part of the beach, and I discovered in mid-December, that the footprint and some structures from deep within the hull were being revealed - that deep 'footpring' of approximately a third of the boat being visible, at the most revealing tides. On one occasion I could see right back to the stub of the shaft at the stern where the propeller would have been fitted.

I've been making repeated visits to the wrecksite over the past two months, photographing what has been revealed by the sea, and documenting the extent of evidence still remaining of where most of the ship was cut up for salvage (corroded metal plates, rods, etc.).

I have been researching details on the SS Camlough (and her sister ship SS Corteen (later renamed Ballyclare) - and have gathered quite a bit of information - including from various Internet sites (Canmore and Wrecksite) plus Lloyds Register and also scans of original newspaper reports of the wreck (Belfast News Letter and the Scotsman).

The portion of wreck surviving is from deep in the hold, and includes the curved supports for a single Scotch boiler, the area of the Engine Room, the Stern Tube (which had been sliced open to salvage the propeller shaft) the triangular base of the aft Ballast tank, with a stub of forward propeller shaft still protruding to a flange, and (only visible on one day) the actual tip of the stern with protruding stub where the propeller would have been fitted.

I am doing my best to envisage what the Engine and Boiler Rooms of the SS Camlough would have looked like (the boiler and all the essential equipment had been removed for salvage - in many cases by just torching equipment loose from its supporting metal plate).

Both Engine and Boiler Rooms were located to the stern - leaving room for two large cargo areas and two big cranes forward.

Surviving dimensions deep in the base of the ship are:

Engine Room 19 ft wide across the ship, 10 feet long, Boiler Room dimensions were similar.

This seems like a pretty confined space in the engine room for a triple expansion steam engine, condenser, and other equipment.

Camlough's identical ship SS Corteen (later Ballyclare) was also one of the Kelly's Coal Boats and remained in service until 1959.

It would be really helpful if anyone could point me to floor plans of an engine/boiler room for a similar ship. She was 166.9 ft long, and the engine details were:
1- Screw T.3-cyl. (14", 24" & 40" x 30 ") 89 hp

I've identified several photos of the Corteen but only one of the Camlough when it was in service (+ a few blurry newspaper photos of the wrecked vessel, barely more than outlines). NOTE: Would attach a good photo, but can't see how to do it in this first post.

I would love to find:

More photos of the sister ships

Photos or especially floor plan layouts of the engine room of these or similar coasters

Photos/plans of the boiler room ditto

Many thanks for any photos/plans/leads you can provide... (accounts of actually working on similar vintage ships would be wonderful, too).

I should have a copy of 'Steam Coasters and Short Sea Traders' coming within a week.

I think you can see that this ship has become an obsession! But it's a wonderful puzzle trying to build up an image of what she was in her prime from that remaining footprint in the sand - a physical survival long after the many ships of her class would have been broken up for scrap.

billyboy
10th February 2018, 01:38
A warm welcome aboard from the Philippines. Please enjoy all this great site has to offer

YM-Mundrabilla
10th February 2018, 09:33
' Would attach a good photo, but can't see how to do it in this first post.'

Go to the new message space below the most recent post.
Click Go advanced
Attach files
Then just follow the prompts.

Good luck. (Hippy)

duquesa
10th February 2018, 09:56
Attaches are two photos of the Corteen and Ballyclare. They are not my pictures and I have no idea whose they may be after all these years. It would seem that she had a closed bridge fitted when she became the Ballyclare. I remember being in Garston together with the Ballyclare when I was serving as a deck boy on another collier in the mid 50's. I cannot at this minute find a picture of the Camlough. There is something of a possibility that these two vessels as seen here may not be the same ship - I could stand to be corrected.

wightspirit
10th February 2018, 11:49
Camlough was built by William Simons & Co, Renfrew. The builder's records are held in Glasgow University Archives. Among the records are ship and engine plans for the years 1814-1926, and cost books which include Yard No 646 (which is the Camlough).

Dave W

Nswstar2
10th February 2018, 17:57
Thank you for these photos. They are both the same ship in different eras, and yes, I'd noticed from other photos that the closed bridge was a new feature on the renamed 'SS Ballyclare' for the post WWII period. That open bridge is one of the things about her sister ship Camlough which makes me shudder as I attempt to imagine the skipper's situation in the gales and heavy seas, struggling with engine trouble (and then adrift after the engine failed completely).

I have the earlier photo already, and it's possible that both of them came from the Belfast Forum website which has a long thread on Kelly's Coal Boats, with numbers of good photos (including one of a heavily-laden Ballyclare attempting to dock at Bangor, N. Ireland in a gale - she doesn't look quite as grand in that shot, but it's very evocative of working conditions. This Belfast Forum thread has <one> shot of SS Camlough - the only one I've been able to find of her in her working life (1920-32).

Corteen was in service until '59 when she was broken up. Another titbit I learned (from info at Liverpool's maritime museum site on the wreck of the SS Politician (of 'Whisky Galore' fame). SS was the coaster that took the official salvaged cargo from the Politician back to England after the Revenue had arrived on the scene. Attaches are two photos of the Corteen and Ballyclare. They are not my pictures and I have no idea whose they may be after all these years. It would seem that she had a closed bridge fitted when she became the Ballyclare. I remember being in Garston together with the Ballyclare when I was serving as a deck boy on another collier in the mid 50's. I cannot at this minute find a picture of the Camlough. There is something of a possibility that these two vessels as seen here may not be the same ship - I could stand to be corrected.

Nswstar2
10th February 2018, 18:02
Thank you, Dave! This is wonderful information!

I would love to get access to these original ship and engine plans for the SS Camlough.

Can you advise about how I might do this? Are the archives open to the public - might I be able to pay for a scan of those documents?

I am getting closer and closer to fully envisaging the SS Camlough rising up from what remains of her footprint in the Solway sands.

Thank you (and anyone else) who can provide information to help me in this quest.

Camlough was built by William Simons & Co, Renfrew. The builder's records are held in Glasgow University Archives. Among the records are ship and engine plans for the years 1814-1926, and cost books which include Yard No 646 (which is the Camlough).

Dave W

Nswstar2
10th February 2018, 18:29
I couldn't figure out last night how to post thses low-res photos of a beautiful model that was commissioned by Wm Kelly in 1920 when the sister ships were built.

The model came up for sale last year on a website called 'Model Traders' - and I've had correspondence with Stewart Joyce of that company, so he knows that I've been using his photos as part of my research of The Camlough (I believe that the model may have gone to auction in the UK last week - don't know who the new owner may be).

In any case - this is a lovely model - prettier than the black and white photos I have of the ships in their working life, for sure.

The photo of the stern section of the model is pretty much the part of the ship which remains as wreckage, a footprint, with only the structures deep inside the hold surviving in the sands near Monreith, Scotland.

Nswstar2
10th February 2018, 22:26
Thanks! I figured it out today - was in a hurry last night. It's a matter of becoming familiar with the way this site is laid out.

Other than blurry newspaper photos with the account of her wreck, here's the only photo I have of SS Camlough when she was in service (between 1920-32).

This photo was found on a LONG thread about Kelly's Coal Boats on the Belfast Forum.

I've already posted separately today with three photos of the lovely ship model that was commissioned by W. Kelly in 1920.

wightspirit
11th February 2018, 10:20
Glasgow University Archives holds a very significant archive relating to Scotland's shipbuilders. I don't know about public access but as they are a centre of learning I daresay an appointment can be made to view their holdings. Just send them an email: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/archives/contact/

Dave W

duquesa
11th February 2018, 10:56
I now live in Southwest Scotland near the Solway coast, site of many shipwrecks over the years.

One wrecksite is quite nearby at the village of Monreith: the SS Camlough (built 1920) one of the Kelly's Coal Boats, which was wrecked on the beach there in January of 1932.

Most of the ship was subsequently salvaged in situ - not entirely a straightforward job, one gathers, as two further small salvage ships came to grief at the site in the salvage process, while loaded/loading with scrap metal.

Much of this small steam screw coaster had come to rest on outcrops of volcanic rock in a wild January storm at an exceptional high tide. The stern section of the boat (boiler and engine rooms) was sitting on sand. Although most of the ship was salvaged in situ, a portion of the stern remains on the beach.

In recent years, this wreckage had been largely covered with sand, only a few of the rusty ship's structures from the very depths of the hull protruding. But this year's winter storms + wave action, have been shifting the sand on this part of the beach, and I discovered in mid-December, that the footprint and some structures from deep within the hull were being revealed - that deep 'footpring' of approximately a third of the boat being visible, at the most revealing tides. On one occasion I could see right back to the stub of the shaft at the stern where the propeller would have been fitted.

I've been making repeated visits to the wrecksite over the past two months, photographing what has been revealed by the sea, and documenting the extent of evidence still remaining of where most of the ship was cut up for salvage (corroded metal plates, rods, etc.).

I have been researching details on the SS Camlough (and her sister ship SS Corteen (later renamed Ballyclare) - and have gathered quite a bit of information - including from various Internet sites (Canmore and Wrecksite) plus Lloyds Register and also scans of original newspaper reports of the wreck (Belfast News Letter and the Scotsman).

The portion of wreck surviving is from deep in the hold, and includes the curved supports for a single Scotch boiler, the area of the Engine Room, the Stern Tube (which had been sliced open to salvage the propeller shaft) the triangular base of the aft Ballast tank, with a stub of forward propeller shaft still protruding to a flange, and (only visible on one day) the actual tip of the stern with protruding stub where the propeller would have been fitted.

I am doing my best to envisage what the Engine and Boiler Rooms of the SS Camlough would have looked like (the boiler and all the essential equipment had been removed for salvage - in many cases by just torching equipment loose from its supporting metal plate).

Both Engine and Boiler Rooms were located to the stern - leaving room for two large cargo areas and two big cranes forward.

Surviving dimensions deep in the base of the ship are:

Engine Room 19 ft wide across the ship, 10 feet long, Boiler Room dimensions were similar.

This seems like a pretty confined space in the engine room for a triple expansion steam engine, condenser, and other equipment.

Camlough's identical ship SS Corteen (later Ballyclare) was also one of the Kelly's Coal Boats and remained in service until 1959.

It would be really helpful if anyone could point me to floor plans of an engine/boiler room for a similar ship. She was 166.9 ft long, and the engine details were:
1- Screw T.3-cyl. (14", 24" & 40" x 30 ") 89 hp

I've identified several photos of the Corteen but only one of the Camlough when it was in service (+ a few blurry newspaper photos of the wrecked vessel, barely more than outlines). NOTE: Would attach a good photo, but can't see how to do it in this first post.

I would love to find:

More photos of the sister ships

Photos or especially floor plan layouts of the engine room of these or similar coasters

Photos/plans of the boiler room ditto

Many thanks for any photos/plans/leads you can provide... (accounts of actually working on similar vintage ships would be wonderful, too).

I should have a copy of 'Steam Coasters and Short Sea Traders' coming within a week.

I think you can see that this ship has become an obsession! But it's a wonderful puzzle trying to build up an image of what she was in her prime from that remaining footprint in the sand - a physical survival long after the many ships of her class would have been broken up for scrap.

You might find a copy of "The Steam Collier Fleets" by MacRae & Waine an interesting read.

Nswstar2
11th February 2018, 16:20
Thanks for the recommendation of 'The Steam Collier Fleets'.

Having received my copy of 'Steam Coasters and Short Sea Traders' yesterday, I can see that I will appreciate the companion book - have ordered it today (finding a good price for a copy on eBay UK as it happens).