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The Depression of the thirties led to the closure of many shipyards but Wm Doxford and Sons of Sunderland came up with a new design of tramp ship costing more to build but with very low running costs which together with the Governments "scrap and build" subsidies for ship owners helped revive the British shipbuildfing industry in the 1930s. The MV Sutherland was the first of the "Doxford Economy Ships" to be built.

The economy came from the wider beam which provided more cargo space and a slow running engine. Its success was assisted by the government's "Scrap and Build" scheme which enabled ship owners to obtain grants to pay for the cost of new ships at the rate of one new ton built for every two gross tons scrapped. The first order for the new design was received from Sir A. M. Sutherland of B. J. Sutherland, Newcastle, and was appropriately named the Sutherland. Within ten months seventeen 'economy' ships were built or being built. It was also produced under licence by shipyards in Britain and on the continent.

My father, William Redvers Forster (1900-75), was appointed 2nd Engineer of the MV Sutherland on the 20 January 1935 in time for its sea trials on the 29th. The "Motor Ship" and other shipping journals carried reports of its sea trials, "scarcely a trace of vibration was noticed, quietness of operation being a performance feature of the main engine".

After the sea trials the Sutherland sailed for the Tyne to load with coal for Oran. The 'Master' (Captain), H. Morgan, was only 33 but the 1st Engineer, John Metcalfe, was 50 whilst Dad was 34. There was also 3rd and 4th engineers and four "assistant engineers" on the Crew List of 29. Margaret Metcalfe, wife of the "Chief", was down as a stewardess. The Chief was only paid £23 per month (the company evidently also 'economised' on wages) compared with the £58 paid to the Chief Engineer of an Eagle Oil tanker (my father had served on Eagle Oil tankers from 1921-9). The maiden voyage took them to Oran, Pondicherry and Cuddalore (India) and back to Dunkirk and South Shields.

After four voyages as 2nd Engineer, two to the River Plate (Bahia Blanca, Rosario, Buenos Aires) he took over as Chief at Hull on 26 March 1936 for two more voyages and stayed on for a seventh voyage after it was sold to Rio Cape Line Ltd. (part of Prince Line Ltd.) in November and renamed the British Prince. He left on 15 February 1937.

It was sunk off Hornsea north of Spurn Head in Sptember 1941. Lloyd's Casualty Reports gave the following brief details:

London September 26 1941; Motor vessell British Prince has been bombed and sunk. Lifeboats recovered later & landed at Grimsby.
 
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