ABERDEEN BUILT SHIPS


Name
SOPHOCLES
Construction
IRON
Type
SHIP
Date
1879
Official Number
77455
Description
Official Number: 77455
Rig: SHIP (BARQUE 1910)

Launched in August 1879
Registered at Aberdeen

Master 1882-83 W. Faulkner

Aberdeen Register of Ships (Aberdeen City Archives):
Registered 5 September 1879.
2 decks, 3 masts, shield figurehead.
Original owners: William Henderson, Cornelius Thompson (both Aberdeen), Stephen Thompson, George Thompson Henderson (both City of London), all Shipowners and joint owners (48 shares); George Thompson Youngest, Shipowner, Binghill (8); James Buyers, Shipowner, Aberdeen (4); Isaac Merchant, Shipowner, City of London (4). [William Henderson Managing Owner 15/8/1884].
30 June 1882: Isaac Merchant 4 shares - Alexander Smith, Shipmaster ['Her best known Commander Smith' - Lubbock, 'The Colonial Clippers'].
19 May 1894: On death of Cornelius Thompson 18/5/1894 the 48 shares to William Henderson, Stephen Thompson and George Thompson Henderson jointly.

Lubbock, 'The Colonial Clippers':
Was a pretty little ship though given a fuller body than Thompson's earlier ships as she was meant to be an economical carrier rather than a record breaker (114 days Sydney-London as member of Wool Fleet, 1888-9).

Lloyd's Register:
1880-81: Master J. Faulkener.
1883-84, 1884-85: Master R. Kemball.
1898-99: Master A. Smith.
1899-1900: Owners G. B. Olivare; Port of Registry Genoa; Master A. Olivare.
1910-11: Barque; Master P. Antola.
1914-15: Master E. Olivare.
1918-19, 1921-22: Owners Fili Dufour; Port of Registry Genoa.
1925-26: No reference.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 17/09/1879:
SOPHOCLES, new ship, at London from Aberdeen, 14 Sept.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 22/07/1887:
Capt. Alexander Smith, ship SOPHOCLES, donated one guinea to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary extension fund.

Sydney Morning Herald, 21/12/1888:
Ship SOPHOCLES cleared customs here for London with full cargo, including 4649 bales wool. Ship had lengthy stay in port, not because of scarcity of cargo, but in hope of freight rates rising (if anything got weaker). Whole of her miscellaneous cargo has been put into her in 10 days.

Hampshire Telegraph, 12/01/1899:
Drowned in Sydney Harbour, N.S.W. whilst boating on 24 Nov. last, William Henry Riley of ship SOPHOCLES, from Gosport, aged 16 years.

Sydney Morning Herald, 17/9/1889:
90 days passage for an Aberdeen White Star liner from London to Sydney is in excess of usual time, but is explained by calms and light winds on Western side of Cape of Good Hope, and remarkable run of fearful gales on this side. SOPHOCLES left London 11 June, crossed Equator 17 July and Cape of Good Hope 11 August. In 40 degrees East began 17 days of some of worst weather ship's officers have met with in a lengthy experience. Furious hail and snow squalls came down continuously and ship was running under reefed topsails and foresail. Gigantic seas broke over ship, threatening as if to bury her completely. Decks were constantly being filled up to the rails and cabins were smashed. One fearful sea broke in the sides of 2 of the boats, carried away pooprail and broke all ports forward. On 26 August, 2 of crew lashed to wheel for safety, were thrown over wheel and sustained serious cuts to face and limbs from which they have only recently resumed duty. Captain Smith is taking a holiday at home and ship is under command of Captain Robert Murray, one of oldest master in White Star Line. SOPHOCLES is to load wool for January sales.

Hobart Mercury, 6/3/1890:
Ten guineas percent premium has been paid in London as re-insurance of SOPHOCLES, overdue from Sydney 26 Oct. Her cargo included 4053 bales wool, crew included Robert Murray, master; George Harding, first mate; W. Anderson second mate; Alexander Watt third mate; John MacGregor, steward; Joseph Thompson, cook; James Robertson, carpenter; George Murray, sailmaker; Peter James, boatswain.

Newcastle Morning Herald, 15/3/1890:
Ship SOPHOCLES, whose now arrival in London had caused some anxiety, turned up Wednesday last, all well after passage of 137 days.

Glasgow Herald, 27/03/1894:
SOPHOCLES, ship, Sydney for London, March 2, 23N., 45W. [off N. W. Africa].

Leeds Mercury, 20/04/1895:
Very full account of death aboard SOPHOCLES of natural causes 1 Feb. 1895 of Lawrence Gain, Leeds M.P. and representative of Irish Home Rule Party. He was on his way home from Sydney.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 13/12/1895:
SOPHOCLES, ship, Smith, left Sydney for London previous to 12th Dec.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 17/03/1897:
Ship SOPHOCLES, arrived in Thames for Sydney, reports having come through some very bad weather on last portion of voyage... when in Lat. 44.50N [Bay of Biscay] on 2 March a severe hurricane from W to NW with high seas. Lower topsails were blown away and much damage done on deck to boats. Another gale of equal force was experienced 2 days later.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 27/07/1897:
SOPHOCLES, ship, Smith, passed Prawle Point, London for Melbourne, 12 July.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 11/01/1898:
SOPHOCLES, ship, Smith, left Melbourne for London previous to 18 Dec.

Aberdeen Weekly Journal, 30/05/1898:
SOPHOCLES, ship, Smith, at London 6 April from Melbourne.

Glasgow Herald, 07/06/1898:
Following clipper ship just sold... iron ship SOPHOCLES, 1120 tons register, owned by Messrs. George Thompson & Co., Aberdeen, for £3,300.

Adelaide Chronicle, 8/4/1905:
Sydney, 4 April: Italian owned barque SOPHOCLES, which signalled yesterday from Cape Otway for assistance, arrived Hobson's Bay in tow this afternoon. Captain reported she left Adelaide 25 March for Falmouth with 13,262 bags of wheat and was about 100 miles off land when strong SW wind brought up such a sea that foremast went at the cap and practically wrecked all aloft. One of able seamen said "our trouble came on 30 March. In the early hours the barque struggled along under close canvas in a stiff SSW wind. The seas began to get up quickly and vessel rolled tremendously. Suddenly at 3:30am, there was a crash aloft and the foremast parted at the head and foreyard snapped. As other rigging fell in the darkness and smashed away the sides we thought we were going, but set to work to cut away the wreckage. At daylight we saw that foretopmast and top gallant mast were missing. Main top gallant mast had snapped off and was beating against the deck, one boat had disappeared and deckhouse was wrecked. We sighted Cape Otway. The tug eagle came up and her services were accepted. Shipping experts consider it one of the worst cases of dismasting in their experience, but none of hands was injured.
Shipbuilder
Walter Hood and Co
Shipowner
Aberdeen White Star Line (George Thompson & Co)
Dimensions
length 223' 4" x breadth 34' 7" x depth 21' 7"
gross tonnage 1176 ton
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