SS Eaglescliffe Hall - Hall Corporation

20th November 2005, 03:36
Anyone know anything about this ship?

The attached photograph of SS Eaglescliffe Hall has been lying around MRCC Holyhead for years now. The photographer's stamp on the back is J H Bascom, 100 Whitehall Road, Toronto.

Many Canadian ships saw war service on this side of the Atlantic and there is evidence on the internet to suggest that SS Eaglescliffe Hall, 1900 grt, (Hall Corporation) was damaged by German aircraft, in the North Sea off Sunderland, on 12 August 1941.

Coxswain Dumble of Sherringham (Norfolk) RNLI Lifeboat "Foresters' Centenary" was awarded the RNLI Bronze Medal for the rescue of 15 men from SS Eaglescliffe Hall on 29 and 30 October 1941.

Both these incidents took place off the UK's east coast. Does anyone have any idea why a photograph of the ship has been retained for so long in MRCC Holyhead (west coast UK)?

The photograph clearly shows the ship with radar fitted so, I presume this is a post war addition, which suggests that if this is the same Eaglescliffe Hall, she survived her war service.

20th November 2005, 08:04
I can't answer your question Gulpers, but what on earth is that very impressive deck cargo she is carrying?

Doug Rogers
20th November 2005, 08:53
The radar is certainly post war in origin, from the scanner it doesnt look too elaborate a radar, 50's in origin if that helps any.

Ivor Lloyd
20th November 2005, 11:09
I remember seeing the Eaglescliffe Hall several times in the Tyne and Thames circa 49/50 She was then on the Tyne/London coal run.


Bruce Carson
20th November 2005, 15:13
Hi Gulpers:
The 'Eaglescliffe Hall' was built in 1928 for the Hall Corporation of Canada by Smith's Dock Co. at South Bank-on-Tees. A "canaller", she measured 1,900GT, 253' x 44' , 3exp, single screw.
Renamed 'David Barclay' in 1955 when she was sold to Colonial Steamships Ltd. She went to Scott Misener four years later, apparently without change of name.
Leaving the Lakes in 1961, she was sold to Kingcome Navigation Ltd., Vancouver, BC and reduced to a log barge. She sank in British Columbia waters while under tow on October 25, 1961.
I see her mentioned participating in North Atlantic convoys and picking up survivors from a stricken ship in 1940.
An online source states she was damaged by bombs from Luftwaffe aircraft on August 12, 1941 off Sunderland, but survived with substantial damage. There is no mention of the later incident and I wonder if the award was in fact given for the August action.

Bruce C.

Derek Roger
20th November 2005, 16:09
The cargo looks like lumber David . Judging by the smoke I think she must be burning some of the Cargo !

20th November 2005, 21:42
Thanks for the comments guys.

The deck cargo is certainly timber - possibly pit props?!?

I posted the same photograph in the Gallery and it may be a bit clearer there.

Bruce - the second incident off Norfolk is recorded here .... if you scroll down to the section about RNLI Lifeboat "Foresters' Centenary" you will find the detail of the second incident 29/30 October 1941. RNLI stations keep meticulous records so it would appear that 1941 was not a good year for EAGLESCLIFFE HALL. The account is based on the rescue of 15 men, it doesn't say what the ship's problem was.

It's nice to hear that she ultimately survived, in whatever form, until 1961.

I still can't understand why we have kept a Canadian photograph of the ship for so long in Holyhead. Was she perhaps involved in Liverpool convoys during the war?

Bruce Carson
20th November 2005, 22:09
Gulpers,I had seen the RNLI site. If the ship was bombed in August, it just doesn't seem like there would be time for her to be repaired and on her way again by the end of October, especially given the bottlenecks at the shipyards under wartime conditions.
I guess we'll never know.
The picture dates from the late forties to the very early sixties and is taken on the Lakes.
Quite probably it has really nothing to do with the War, but concerns an event at a later date. An English sailor visiting the Lakes and picking up a maritime postcard or two or a Canadian of English origin visiting his old home town on vacation and handing friends a picture of his ship. The possibilities are staggering. I wish we knew the answer.

BTW, timber loads like that in the picture were common on the canallers on the Lakes.

Bruce C.

20th November 2005, 22:29

Yes, thanks again for your comments. I figured the picture was taken on the Lakes due to the photographer's stamp. Just intrigued to know if there was any connection with Holyhead!

Maybe someone will know! (Thumb)

Derek Roger
21st November 2005, 01:25
These ships ( lakers ) tended to have only one hold and it would be very dangerous to cross the Atlantic . Lakers which were esigned for deep sea voyages were called " Salties " This was Not a Saltie .

When I first came to Canada I met up with a Hall Superintendent Eng . bye the name of James Fraser ( Hamish to his friends ) Anyone know him ???


21st November 2005, 11:29

From your last message, do you think that the pictured vessel is not the EAGLESCLIFFE HALL which was in the North Sea in 1941? If she is indeed the vessel, and clearly not designed for a deep sea passage, all credit to her Master and crew for bringing her accross the Atlantic. (Thumb)

Bruce Carson
21st November 2005, 14:10
Hi All:
Dangerous it must have been during the war, but it has to be remembered that these ships were canallers, only 259' in length and not full sized Great Lakes bulk carriers. Their structural integrity, I should think, would be much greater than a typical Lake freighter.
The 'Eaglescliffe Hall', her sisters, and many other Canadian canallers came from British yards and began their life with a successful North Atlantic crossing.
A sistership, the 'Westcliffe Hall' was also bombed and damaged by the Luftwaffe off the English coast.
Some of the canallers did end up on salt water after their careers on the Lakes were over. The second 'Eaglescliffe Hall' and her sisters ended up in the Caribbean--not the North Atlantic, I know, but still subject to storms.
As for the the wood cargo: canallers were the ships of preference to carry pulpwood used in the making of newsprint. The Chicago Tribune had a small fleet of such ships to supply their needs.

Bruce C.

21st November 2005, 14:29

Thanks once more for your excellent input. That's cleared things up nicely.
The photograph, although taken in Canada, obviously shows the same EAGLESCLIFFE HALL that sailed in UK waters during WWII. (Thumb)

Bruce Carson
21st November 2005, 17:09
Hi Gulpers:
I gotta get a life. This damned computer has taken over.
Anyway, I thought I would plug the photographer's name into Google.
Damned if I didn't get three photographs of Chicago Tribune ships taken by him between 1925 and 1958.
Looks like he had a specific interest in canallers.
Just in case anyone is interested in that type of vessel.

Bruce C.

21st November 2005, 19:08

You are a star! Why didn't I think of that?

Nice shots too. Judging by the amount of smoke coming out their funnels, I think the same Chief Engineer was on board EAGLESCLIFFE HALL and NEW YORK NEWS when Mr Bascom snapped them!

Thanks again Bruce. (Applause)

Derek Roger
21st November 2005, 23:01
Gulpers ;
She would have been able to cross the Atlantic ( and from your info seems she did ) We have no way of knowing as to if she was subdivided from the pics ( perhaps she was ? )
Single hold vessels have made the crossing and also to scrap in India ( some didnt make it )
A full cargo of timber / lumber however would still give her bouency /stability even when flooded ( should it occur )

Judging by the smoke I am sure She s burning the Cargo !!!! ????


Bruce Carson
22nd November 2005, 03:52
Hi Derek:
The 'Eaglescliffe Hall' almost certainly had two holds and she burned coal.

Bruce C.

22nd November 2005, 10:49
Bruce and Derek,

Good stuff! The website you directed us to is fascinating Bruce. There is no doubt in my mind that you have correctly identified the type of vessel. Two holds, coal fired etc. The section on the limiting dimensions of the ships is interesting - to think that a bulging wall on Lock 17 ultimately defined the breadth of the ships.
There is a lot of reading on the Canallers’ site and that will certainly pass a couple of hours. Maybe the answer to this is buried on the site but, what is the purpose of the little bowsprit on these ships? Is it perhaps an aerial fixing point?

22nd November 2005, 11:13

There is a reference to EAGLESCLIFFE HALL on your Canallers' website.
In the index, under E, you'll see EAGLESCLIFE HALL - note the misspelling – only a single F. Unfortunately, I can’t get the link from her name to open! (Thumb)

Bruce Carson
22nd November 2005, 13:19
Gulpers, that's the steering pole, which was found on the vast majority of Great Lakes' ships, whether canallers or regular bulkers.
These ships were steered from the pilot house at the bow and gave the wheelsman a point of reference forward. It made lining up objects much easier: I think most were twenty to thirty feet in length and were hinged.

Bruce C.

22nd November 2005, 14:18
Ah! When I think on it, steering would be a problem - what a simple solution.
Thanks Bruce. (Thumb)

22nd November 2005, 14:30
The steering pole is what it is.Much better known as the spear pole
On the upper lakers which were much bigger (up to 736 ft ) they still had a steering pole and when locking it had to be brought up by means of a small whinch which was controled from the wheelhouse. The wheelsman did that when the captain was getting the boat into position in the lock and they did not need it at the time. It was brought up to stop it fouling the fenders (the large wire rope on a hyrdaulic ram to stop the boat running into the lock gates) when downbound. When upbound it was to stop fouling the gates.
On the old canalers the deck crew often told me that they nearly walked all the way from Prescott to Montreal.
Near all were laid up when the Seaway opened tho there may be some about still in other countries.
One used to be on Lake Erie as a gas drilling boat. The Tullis which was an old Hall boat I believe

22nd November 2005, 14:59
Thanks lakercapt, I had a notion you would have some interesting input for this thread. Still can't fathom the Holyhead connection - maybe Bruce's suggestions in message #8 are the closest we will get.

Derek Roger
22nd November 2005, 15:47
If you look up ford . there appears to be a small derrick / boom rigged with the boom laying aft . I think you would agree that this was a standard on lakers . Used to embark / disembark the canal pilot .
Also portside aft in way of the engine room there appears to be a door beween the main deck level and the waterline . Used for taking ER stores / spares etc from the dock wall . I noticed this on a lot of lakers ( not something one want on a Saltie ) Often saw these doors open going through the locks in St Catherines ; engineer sightseeing !! Derek

22nd November 2005, 17:36
Eaglescliffe Hall.
My copy of LLoyds War Losses has her as : Br. 1900 gross tons; Seaham to London; Coal; 1/2 mile S of S.2 buoy approx 2 miles E of Sunderland.; Aircraft attack; 20 crew and 4 gunners, 2 killed; towed to Sunderland Aug 13th and Tyne; August 20th 1941

22nd November 2005, 20:24
........... Coxswain Dumble of Sherringham (Norfolk) RNLI Lifeboat "Foresters' Centenary" was awarded the RNLI Bronze Medal for the rescue of 15 men from SS Eaglescliffe Hall on 29 and 30 October 1941.

Thanks Jim, that ties in with the information I have found on the internet. Does your book, by any chance, have any reference to the events of 29 and 30 October 1941?

3rd December 2005, 12:00

There used to be a Coastguard officer in Holyhead by the name of Hedley Merton, (excuse possible miss spelling) who was a Canadian and went back to Canada in 73,74. Maybe he had something to do with this vessel?

Does anyone out there know of Hedleys' whereabouts these days?

Best wishes.

Coastie (EEK) (Thumb)

18th February 2006, 20:10
The Eaglescliffe Hall was still sailing when the seaway opened as were most of the canallers,250 feet in length,in the picture she is indeed carrying pulpwood.I was on the Manitoulin exNewYorkNews also the Chicago tribune all owned by the Quebec and Ontario Paper co. which in turn was owned by the Chicago Tribune newspaper.They were all built with two cargo holds and all made it from the builders in the UK and also some made numerous trips across the pond during the war.

18th February 2006, 20:46
There were two Eaglescliffe's... One here built 1928 at South Bank-on-Tees, Great Britain by Smith's Dock Company, Ltd.

And another built by Grangemouth Dockyard Co., Ltd. of Scotland in 1957

She Sank in Galveston Bay, TX, on February 9, 1983, after the hull had fractured the previous day while inbound

Keltic Star
19th February 2006, 05:24
If you look up ford . there appears to be a small derrick / boom rigged with the boom laying aft . I think you would agree that this was a standard on lakers . Used to embark / disembark the canal pilot .
Also portside aft in way of the engine room there appears to be a door beween the main deck level and the waterline . Used for taking ER stores / spares etc from the dock wall . I noticed this on a lot of lakers ( not something one want on a Saltie ) Often saw these doors open going through the locks in St Catherines ; engineer sightseeing !! Derek

Lakercapt can correct me if I am wromg, but the fwd boom is to land the crew as linesmen. Lakers don't carry pilots, being Canadian or U.S. flag exclusively, they are exempt.

Derek Roger
19th February 2006, 15:23
Im sure you are correct about the Piolts ; only forign flag Salties needed them .

19th February 2006, 15:50
The piolts, were they canadian or american indians.

19th February 2006, 15:54
Lake boats do not carry pilots when up in the lakes but when downbound a pilot joins in St.Lambert lock and takes over at C.I.P. #2 which is the enterance to the seaway.
By that time the captain is very glad as he has had a long pilotage from Lake Ontario til them.
Most ships the 1st mate does sections but all the lockages are done by the captain. Other mates when exerianced enough do their watches in the upper rivers i.e. St.Clair,Detroit, St.Marys' etc and all the lakes.
There is a landing boom on the port and starboard side fo'd or landing the line handlers. Ships crew. Depending on where sometimes you land four crew.
A funny story about that on a "saltie".
The pilot had noticed that two were having difficulty handling the lines and at the next tie up asked that four crew be swung ashore.
Was he ever surprised when he saw four all hanging on for dear life going ashore at one time.
Have to be sure of what you ask for and I guess its because they were slight built that the boom did not collapse. (*))

19th February 2006, 15:58
Pilots were, depending on the section of the seaway, either Canadian or Americian.
Did not know of any "Indians" (I assume you ment North Americian Indians)

All the Canadian Pilots had sailed as Master on the lakes.

The U.S. piots were not all captians but got that designation.

Derek Roger
21st February 2006, 00:42
VP Dick Chenney was visiting the offshore site at Ardesier ( Inverness ) which his company owned and doing the rounds talking to the lads .
He met with one wee guy from Glasgow and recognising the Scots accent he asked if he spoke Gaelic to which he got the reply :
" do you speak F-----ing Iroquois ? "
That terminated the exchange .
The "lads " all thought it was Brillant !

9th May 2012, 03:02
Navigational problems attributable to the war also caused two Canadian Lake steamers to run aground north of LLanddwyn Island within a few days of each other, the EAGLESCLIFFE HALL on 12th November 1940 and the WATKIN. F. NESBITT on 6th December. Holyhead Coastguards took off both crews by breeches buoy,thirty three from the former and nineteen from the latter. The WATKIN. F. NESBITT was cut in two on the beach, where the forepart was abandoned and may still be seen. The after half, containing all the machinery was sealed and floated during the summer of 1941 to be towed through the Menai Straits first to Port Dinorwic and later on to Birkenhead.

12th May 2012, 07:51

Well, well. Imagine the answer coming from a Holyhead resident after all this time! Many thanks for your information. (Applause)

I must dig out the old logbooks in MRCC Holyhead and see if there is a corresponding entry for Eaglescliffe Hall on 12 December 1940.

The other vessel which you named is in fact Watkin F Nisbett, not Nesbitt. We have a framed display showing the vessel, an extract from the Coastguard logbook and a photograph of the Holyhead Coast Rescue Team posing with the Wreck Shield which they were awarded for the rescue. You are most welcome to pop in and see it some time.

12th May 2012, 12:14
GULPERS: Ah yes I have seen the framed display showing the WATKIN F NISBETT and the extract from the Coastguard logbook and the photograph of the Holyhead Coast Rescue Team posing with the wreck shield. They were loaned to the Holyhead Maritime Museum for an exhibition some years ago when the Museum was being started. ALL THE BEST

12th May 2012, 16:59
Indeed, I remember getting things organised before its trip to the Maritime Museum.

Thanks again.

Ray (Thumb)

28th June 2017, 14:02
I see that there is a mention in of EAGLESCLIFFE HALL coming to Glasgow in 1944

Laurie Ridyard
2nd July 2017, 09:40
I guess with that white " H " on a black funnel , she must have been owned/ managed by Hain SS Co......