3rd October 2005, 14:05
I have to admit I am a bit of a fraud in this group. I never sailed with BI, in fact by the time I was of a sea going age the mighty BISN was no longer.

Having said that my Great Grandfather Joined BI in 1913 (as part of the Currie Line aquisition). Some of the vessels he commanded for BI were - Janus (1913-1921), Sangola (1921), Nardana (1922), Gracchus (1922), Ormara (1922), Gharinda (1922), Gamaria (1923), Chinkoa (1923).

My Grandfather joined BI in 1913 as a Cadet\4th Officer in ss Janus. He later went on to command the following ships - Homefield (1931), Gurna (1931-1933), Ellenga (1935), Arankola (1935), Egra (1935-1937), Nirvana (1937-1938), Khandalla (1938), Talamba (1938-1939), Talma (1943-1944), Warialda (1947), Tairea (1947). I am sure they both had more vessels than I have listed but that is all my research has found to date. My Grandfather retired from BI in 1954 having worked his way from Cadet to Commodore.

Ron Macdonald

3rd October 2005, 14:11
WElcome Ron to the site as long as you are interested in ships and the sea you are most welcome. enjoy what the site has to offer, we do.

3rd October 2005, 23:12
Ron we don't care whether or not you've been to sea as long as you love ships so you just sit back and enjoy yourself here. With your family history I'm sure you will have a lot of photos that you will hopefully share with us.

3rd October 2005, 23:19
Cead Mile Failte Ron (a hundred thousand welcomes) Don't give a second thought to never being at sea, you obviously love ships and shipping so you are one of us. Enjoy the site you will meet some great people. (K)

4th October 2005, 01:51
Thank you all for your kind words. Although I have never been to sea with BI ( or any other merchant fleet for that matter), I did spend many enjoyable (and I admit some not quite so enjoyable, lol) days at sea during my 16 years with the RANR. I have been able to track back 5 Generations of seafarers so I guess if I didnt have a love of ships I probably would have been Keel hauled long ago, lol

Doug Rogers
4th October 2005, 05:51
Welcome Sea_dog, you are amongst friends, enjoy the site and the company and look forward to your postings.

James Slater
10th October 2005, 09:38
Sea _dog,
With your pedigree you would be very welcome in the BIship group, membership is restricted to former BI staff and their relations.
Best regards,

tom e kelso
26th December 2005, 17:11


If I remember correctly, your grandfather was Hector Macdonald. I remember being sent aboard Tairea, as a Cadet, either in Bombay or Mombasa, to deliver a dinner invitation to himfrom my Captain. The Tairea, which along with another of your grandfather's ships, Talamba, had been a hospital ship during WW2, but by 1947 she was on the Bombay to Durban run, later to be superceded by Kampala and Karanja

The BIship site, quoted by Jim Slater, with some 300 ex-BI sea staff members would also greatly appreciate displaying any such photographs as you have.


Tom Kelso


As with other respondents, I do very much hope that you will be able to put some photographs of the splendid old ships on Nostalgia's gallery.

tom e kelso
30th December 2005, 08:43

Further to my previous message. You mentioned that your grandfather (Hector Macdonald?) had been in command of Talamba from 1938.

Although it was the year before his appointment, you might be interested in some pictures of Talamba stranded in the various features on "The Great Hong Kong Typhoon of 1937" to be found on



16th January 2014, 16:02
my grandfather served on the SS Gamaria in 1933

13th March 2015, 00:21
my grandfather served on the SS Gamaria in 1933

you might be interested in a short history of Gamaria I have posted here - http://