Hello from Nicoletta in Germany

19th December 2006, 11:41
Hallo to all members here!

I was travelling as a guest some years ago with a container ship from Hamburg to Oslo and back. And since that time I´m a great fan of container-ships - and of all the ships who carry goods!

But it was yesterday really a big chance that I did found this wonderfull forum! Because at the moment I try to help a man from former East-Germany (DDR / German-Democratic-Republic) to find some pictures of the ship "Iron Horse" (or more infos about the ship, the captain and so on...) with which he and his three friends tried to flee from his country in the night from the 23th to the 24th August 1961.

His escape from East-Germany started with a small "rowing-boat" from Ahlbeck on the island Usedom (Polish: Uznam) in the bay in Swinemünde (Polish: Swinoujscie) in the East-Sea, where the ship "Iron Horse" anchored.

Unfortunatelly the four one did get arrested on the 25th August 1961 in the port of Stettin (Polish: Sczcecin) in Poland. The captain of the "Iron Horse" tried to get them out from prision. But he had no luck.

And because this former fugitive writes now a curriculum vitae he needs pictures of the ship "Iron Horse" (he is a musican of the "Düsseldorfer Symphoniker" and now all the musicans are writing something about their life for an orchestra-magazine which will be printed for some guests). Also he will be very happy to know more about the crew, especially of the captain.

(Here some more infos about the ship he does know: The ship had iron ore on board and was coming from Africa to the East Sea and the ship was built 1960. Below the name of the ship was standing the word "Newscastle". The name of one officier was Keeth Richardson and he was playing all the time on his record-player the song "A Hundret Pounds of Clay" from "Gene Mc Daniels".)

Unfortunatelly his English is not so good (because at school he learned only Russian) I try to help him a little bit to find some pictures and more infos about his "escape-ship" (although my English is not so excellent).

But I hope that here are some members who can help me a little bit.

Nevertheless I will try to upload in the next weeks some pictures of the ships I have made during my travellings. Maybe my pictures are interesting for other members here too?I

Thanks for reading my text!

Greetings from a new member from Germany,


19th December 2006, 11:44
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy your time on site

Heres abit info on Iron Horse

built by Scotts Greenock,
Yard No 682
Engines by shipbuilder
Last Name: ASPIDOFOROS (1970)
Port of Registry: Newcastle
Propulsion: Doxford Oil 2SA 4cy 4400bhp 12 knots machy aft
Launched: Wednesday, 11 May 1960
Built: 1960
Ship Type: Ore Carrier
Tonnage: 11128 grt
Length: 518 feet 0
Breadth: 69 feet 1
Draught: 28 feet 9
Owner History:
Vallum Shipping Co
Status: Arrived for Scrapping - 29/11/1984

delivered: 05/09/60
Broken up at Aliaga

19th December 2006, 12:05
Hi Nicollta, welcome to Ships Nostalgia. I am a relatiely new member but, within the 10000 plus members of this site there are many members who are experts at finding what may seem difficult. You will surely get some answers to your query.

19th December 2006, 12:20
Ahoy Nicollta from the south of England, wish you luck with your enquiry, someone will come up with some answers.

john shaw
19th December 2006, 13:05
Hello.A photo of Iron Horse may be found on this site in the gallery at:


earlier this year a member of this site "vic pitcher" wrote the following:

Common Brothers ore carriers

Vallum Shipping Co. (Common Bros, BISCO, Jardine & Mathieson)

"Iron Age"
"Iron Ore"
"Iron Barque"
"Iron Horse"
"Iron Crown"

Hindustan Steam Shipping Co.

"Iron Horse" happiest ship I've ever been in (2nd Mate 1963-4)

-----it may be worth you sending a private message to that member to see if he can help with any recollections of the ship.


Iron Horse was one of a series of ore carriers built on the River Clyde in Scotland around 1957/1960, I believe 12 in total. You may find photos of the sister ships Iron Crown,Iron Barque , plus Afghanistan also in the gallery.They were owned/operated by Common Brothers of Newcastle, hence the port of registry Newcastle on the stern.I sailed in the sister "Iron Crown" later after she was renamed "Scottish Wasa"

Photos of sister ships Iron Barque/Iron Age/ Iron Ore are at


Sister ships Afghanistan / Daghestan are at

http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt ( search ships name)

--- they are also discussed (with photos) on this site at:


The Iron Horse was involved in a collision with a pilot boat in 1963-- see:

Hugh MacLean
19th December 2006, 17:36
Welcome aboard, Nicoletta, I hope you enjoy the site.

19th December 2006, 21:34
Nicolletta what a wonderful story and its good to see you are already getting replies from our members, good luck with your search and welcome to the site.

20th December 2006, 14:06
Welcome aboard from Italy.

21st December 2006, 00:00
Welcome Nicoletta and thank you to John for posting an answer in less than 2 hours! Brilliant! (Applause)



21st December 2006, 07:03
welcome aboard the happy ship Nicoletta.
enjoy all this great site has to offer.

21st December 2006, 08:36
Hi..!! Welcome!! Good luck & Have fun

21st December 2006, 09:34
Great story, Nicoletta. Hope your friend didn't suffer too much for his attempted defection. Is there another story to tell?

There is a lot on the site about those iron ore carriers - search for 'ore carriers' or 'Houlders' or 'Common Brothers'. If Iron Horse had come from Africa, she had probably loaded in Liberia.

I sailed on Iron Crown in about 1970 and by that time it was very unusual for any of the ships to discharge anywhere but the UK. Maybe it was different in the early '60s.

Welcome to SN.

John T.

28th December 2006, 13:20
A big THANK YOU to all the users who did answer and also thank your for your very friendly wellcome!

Here I found really so wonderful members who did helped me and my friend a lot. And so I say a special thank you to the following members:

"gdynia" for the vessel information about the "Iron Horse"!

"john shaw" for the informations that here on this site does exist a photo of the "Iron Horse" and that another user did wrote here that he did work on this ship (I wrote him a private message, but I did not get any answer till now). Also about the informations of the sister ships and the collision. Many, many thanks for that!!!

"trotterdotpom" for the information how I can search with other words! And about the question if my friend did suffer for his attempted defection I can say, that the Polish police did bring him back to East Germany and there he was for two years in prison... But in september 1979 he fled again via Paris/France and had finally luck!!

I wish all members of SN a happy new year!

Greetings from Germany,


29th December 2006, 11:23
Thanks for the additional information, Nicoletta. Hopefully, all these years after "die Wende", your friend is back home and happy again.

John T.