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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear All,

I am attempting to compile an index of all the shipping company or line war histories produced in the aftermath of the Second World War. Those that I have managed to acquire for my library over the past six months are listed below, (together with one of which I have become aware but failed to acquire: the Lauritzen Line history), are, I'm sure, merely a tiny fraction of the whole, and I would be most grateful to anyone who can add further examples: there are dozens of famous names, and hundreds of less well known ones, conspicuous by their absence from this list.

Some of the works listed are very short and general in nature; one at least does not even include a full list of the relevant company's ships; others are monumental works containing full lists of ships, casualties, honours and awards, together with detailed narratives of many of the voyages undertaken; a handful are general company histories with but a chapter or two on the war years (these are usually included only where I have been unable to find a specific war history for that company).


War Histories of the Shipping Companies, 1939-45

Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line -The Flag of the Southern Cross, 1939-45, Frank C. Bowen, 1947

Robert Alexander & Company - Ellerman Lines: Remembering a Great British Shipping Company, Ian Collard, 2014 (* 1839-2012)

Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co., Ltd. - Tanker Fleet. The war story of the Shell tankers and the men who manned them, W. E. Stanton Hope, 1948

Bay Steamers Pty. Ltd. - War Service of the Merchant Navy. A record of the participation of the men and ships of Huddart Parker Ltd.,anon., 1951

Ben Line Steamers, Ltd. - The Ben Line, The Story of a Merchant Fleet at War, 1939-45, anon., 1946; The Ben Line: The history of Wm. Thomson & Co of Leith and Edinburgh and of the ships owned and managed by them, 1825-1955 (* 1825-1955, obviously), George Blake, 1956.

Blue Funnel Line - see Alfred Holt and Co.

Blue Star Line – Blue Star Line at War 1939-45, Taffrail, 1973

British Empire Steam Navigation Co., Ltd. - Sea Hazard, anon., 1946

British India Steam Navigation Company – Valiant Voyaging, Hilary St. George Saunders, 1948

British Tanker Company, Ltd. - The British Tankers, Norman L. Middlemiss, first edition 1989, revised edition 1995. (* 1901-1995)

Cayzer, Irvine & Co. - In Danger's Hour, Gordon Holman, 1948

China Mutual Steam Navigation Company - see Alfred Holt and Co.

City Line, The - see George Smith and Sons

Clan Line - In Danger's Hour, Gordon Holman, 1948

Clyde Shipping Company - Clyde Shipping Company: A History, Alan D. Cuthbert, 1956 (* 1815-1956 in 125 pp)

Cunard White Star Line Ltd. - Running the Gauntlet, How Three Giant Liners Carried a Million Men to War, 1942-45, Alister Satchell, 2003 (* 1942-45 only, and only the Aquitania, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth are covered)

E & A Line - see Eastern and Australian Steamship Company Limited

Eagle Oil and Shipping Company, Ltd., The - Eagle Fleet - The story of a Tanker Fleet in Peace and War, W. E. Lucas, 1955 (* 1912-1955); Tanker Fleet. The war story of the Shell tankers and the men who manned them, W. E. Stanton Hope, 1948

Eastern and Australian Steamship Company Limited - Lion of the China Sea. A history of The Eastern and Australian Steamship Company Limited, William Olson, 1976 (* 1873-1976)

Elder-Dempster Lines, Ltd. - The Price of Peace – Elder-Dempster 1939-45, James E. Cowden, 1981; The Elder Dempster Fleet History, 1852-1985, James E. Cowden and John O. C. Duffy, 1986 (* 1852-1985, but much more detailed than Cowden's earlier book)

Ellerman Lines - Ellerman Lines: Remembering a Great British Shipping Company, Ian Collard, 2014 (* 1839-2012)

Ellerman and Bucknall - Ellerman Lines: Remembering a Great British Shipping Company, Ian Collard, 2014 (* 1839-2012)

Ellerman and Papayanni Line - Ellerman Lines: Remembering a Great British Shipping Company, Ian Collard, 2014 (* 1839-2012)

Empire Transport Co., Ltd. - Sea Hazard, anon., 1946*

Esso - see Standard Oil Company (New Jersey)

Federal Steam Navigation Company – Ordeal by Sea, Sydney D. Waters, 1949

Furness-Houlder Argentine Lines, Ltd. - Sea Hazard, anon., 1946

General Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., The – Semper Fidelis, The Saga of the “Navvies” 1924-48, H. E. Hancock, 1949 (* 1924-48, obviously)

Glen Line - see Alfred Holt and Co.

Hall Line - see Robert Alexander & Company

Thos. & Jas. Harrison, Ltd. - Thos. & Jas. Harrison: Record of Vessels Lost and Fate of Personnel During the War September 1939 to August 1945, anon., unpublished typed MS. prepared by the Company, c. 1946.

Alfred Holt and Co. - A Merchant Fleet in War 1939-45, S. W. Roskill, 1962

Houlder Line, Ltd. - Sea Hazard, anon., 1946

Houston Line - In Danger's Hour, Gordon Holman, 1948

Huddart Parker Ltd. - War Service of the Merchant Navy. A record of the participation of the men and ships of Huddart Parker Ltd., anon., 1951

J. Lauritzen Line - J. Lauritzen, a log-book of war, anon., 1945

Moss Hutchison Line, Limited – Semper Fidelis, The Saga of the “Navvies” 1924-48, H. E. Hancock, 1949 (* 1924-48)

Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschappij "Oceaan" N. V. - see Alfred Holt and Co.

New Medway Steam Packet Company, Limited – Semper Fidelis, The Saga of the “Navvies” 1924-48, H. E. Hancock, 1949 (* 1924-48)

New Zealand Shipping Company Ltd., The - Ordeal by Sea, Sydney D. Waters, 1949

N. I. T. - see N.V. Nederlandische Indische Tank-Stoomboot Maatschappij

N. V. Curaçaosche Scheepvaart Maatschappij - Tanker Fleet. The war story of the Shell tankers and the men who manned them, W. E. Stanton Hope, 1948

N.V. Nederlandische Indische Tank-Stoomboot Maatschappij - Tanker Fleet. The war story of the Shell tankers and the men who manned them, W. E. Stanton Hope, 1948

N. V. Petroleum Maatschappij 'La Corona' - Tanker Fleet. The war story of the Shell tankers and the men who manned them, W. E. Stanton Hope, 1948

Ocean Steam Ship Company - see Alfred Holt and Co.

Panama Transport Company – Ships of the Esso Fleet in World War II, anon., nd, c. 1946

Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company - Business in Great Waters, The War History of the P&O, 1939-45, George F. Kerr, 1951

Port Line Ltd., - Port Line Limited: Brief Accounts of the Wartime Experiences of the Ships and their Crews and of the Shore and Sea Staffs on Service 1939-1945, anon., 1947

Royal Mail Line – Eight Bells, T. A. Bushell, 1950

Scottish Shire Line - In Danger's Hour, Gordon Holman, 1948

Shaw Savill & Albion Co., Ltd. - The Flag of the Southern Cross, 1939-45, Frank C. Bowen, 1947

Shell - see Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co., Ltd.

George Smith and Sons - Ellerman Lines: Remembering a Great British Shipping Company, Ian Collard, 2014 (* 1839-2012)

Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) – Ships of the Esso Fleet in World War II, anon., nd, c. 1946

Stanhope Steamship Company Ltd., The - Jack Billmeir: Merchant Shipowner, P.M. Heaton, 1989 (* 1934-1963)

Sun Shipping Company, Limited - see Robert Alexander & Company

Tasmanian Steamers Pty. Ltd. - War Service of the Merchant Navy. A record of the participation of the men and ships of Huddart Parker Ltd., anon., 1951

Wm. Thomson and Co. - The Ben Line: The history of Wm. Thomson & Co of Leith and Edinburgh and of the ships owned and managed by them, 1825-1955, George Blake, 1956 (* 1825-1955)

Union-Castle Line – Union-Castle Chronicle 1853-1953, Marischal Murray, 1953 (* 1853-1953)


* All texts listed are restricted to the period of the Second World War except where otherwise stated.
 

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Although they cover more than the war years, in the absence of other books readily available:

Seventy Adventurous Years - The Story of The Bank Line 1885 - 1955 (Journal of Commerce and Shipping Telegraph

Harrisons of Liverpool by Graeme Cubbin (Amadaeus Press)

are both worth a look.
 

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Mike, you may wish to add:-
Sailing Ship to Supertanker by W.H.Mitchell and L.A.Sawyer (A history of the Esso Fleets 1861- 1986 )
Sea Shell by Stephen Howarth (Story of Shell's British Tanker Fleets 1892-1992)
The Mobil Book of Ships - A Century at Sea (includes all WWII fleets)
Wonsild & Son 1904-2004 by Hans Christian Berg
Thunbolaget 1938-1988 (50 year history of Erik Thun AB in Swedish)
The Tyser Legacy by Ian Farquhar (Port Line History in detail)
Cunard Line by Peter Newall (Histrory of all the cunarders, cargo & passenger)
Unicorn - navigating new frontiers since 1933 by Brian Ingpen

Cheers, Chris
 

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My old company as a Water Clerk..

" The Constantine Group Paperback – 1 Jan 1983
by H. S Appleyard (Author)"

Plenty of these on Amazon at less than £3.00

geoff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Many thanks for the recommendations, Duncan. I have now ordered a copy of Seventy Adventurous Years, but cannot find a copy of Cubbin's Harrisons history for less than £50 anywhere; I shall try and borrow a copy from my local library first, rather than lashing out that sort of cash sight unseen.

Chris, thank you very much for that long list. As many of these seem to cover a much greater period of time than just the war years, I shall add them to my library loan list before trying to buy copies for my own collection.

Geoff, this looks more like a fleet list rather than a war history, but at that price, I've bought one anyway! Thank you. :)
 

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Although they cover more than the war years, in the absence of other books readily available:



Harrisons of Liverpool by Graeme Cubbin (Amadaeus Press)

To correct what is stated regarding this one:- Amadeus Press was only the printer NOT the publisher that being a joint venture between The World Ship Society and Ships In Focus Publications
 

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Have you come across "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939-The Particulars and Wartime Fates of 6,000 Ships" by Roger W Jordan ? Published by Chatham Publishing in 1999.
Very comprehensive about wartime losses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Have you come across "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939-The Particulars and Wartime Fates of 6,000 Ships" by Roger W Jordan ? Published by Chatham Publishing in 1999.
Very comprehensive about wartime losses.
Indeed I have, and I have a copy in my library. It is excellent in so far as the fate of pre-war vessels is concerned, but it does not cover ships built during the war, nor does it provide the sort of narrative that one often finds in the war histories of individual shipping lines. Given its scope, it could hardly be expected to do so.

I am as interested in the men who crewed the ships as in the ships themselves. I want to see crew lists (or at least lists of officers), lists of honours and awards (and comprehensive citations for each, even if those citations were never gazetted), and a detailed casualty return (or at least a Roll of Honour), ship by ship. I want to read that on this voyage or that, Greaser Smith smuggled a monkey on board, or Steward Jones set fire to the Captain's pyjamas. Ideally, I would also like to see arrival and departure dates and ports for each ship for the entire period of the war, details of the cargoes carried, and details of the convoys of which they formed a part. I want to appreciate where the ship fitted into its owners' fleet; whether it was a lucky ship or an unlucky one; whether it had habitual problems with one piece of equipment or another - what, in effect, it was like to be a member of her crew. It is important and useful to know that such-and-such a ship was sunk by such-and-such a U-boat at such-and-such a location, on such-and-such a date, but there are a multitude of human stories behind every sinking.
 
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