BASRA

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Robert
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BASRA

Post by Robert » Mon May 19, 2014 1:39 pm

Found in MNL 1919
BASRA. Official Number 82924.
Built at Renfrew in 1918.
Steel. 150.0 x 33.0 x 5.8 ft.
114 n and 270 g.
Screw. 64 nhp
By 1924, owners were the British Guiana Sugar Factories Ltd and registered at Georgetown, Demerara.

I have a notion that she may have been built as a minesweeper, but that is guessing, and in any case I cannot connect with an original name or number.
Any thoughts?

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Bill Harvey
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Re: BASRA

Post by Bill Harvey » Tue May 27, 2014 4:18 pm

The same info remained unchanged and was still in MNL 1940 as a paddle steamer.

However, she does not appear in the Lloyd's Registers on line with Plimsoll 1930 - 45, so is there potential that at some time pre-1930 she was either lost for whatever reason, scrapped, or de-registered in the colonies and the relevant info did not filter through to BOT/MNL?

yorkieman
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Re: BASRA

Post by yorkieman » Tue May 27, 2014 4:48 pm

Should be either Simons or Lobnitz then!
Too long for the naval trawlers they were building at the time.
Too short for the Aberdare and other minesweepers.
Name may suggest she was war-built for service in the Mesopotamia campaign, but some of those were paddlers for river service.
George Robinson
Freeman of Eriskay

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Bill Harvey
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Re: BASRA

Post by Bill Harvey » Wed May 28, 2014 12:21 pm

I asked the question of Lloyd's Register info dept and below is their response

The BASRA (ex Naval ?) does not appear to have ever been in the Register Book. Although she was large enough for some reason she is simply not listed (1918-1940) under either name.
There were BASRA's (and BASSRAH's) but they do not correspond to the details of this particular vessel.
Sorry there is nothing to be found at this end after all,

Regards

Anne Cowne

Interestingly, I came across two vessels with very close O.N.'s DERWENT 82967 was in the Scarborough Appropriation Book 1884 and PEMBROKE 82973 was registered at Milford in 1881, Both were 1880 built. That would imply that the allocated O.N. for BASRA was hanging around for a pretty long time if only issued twenty or so years later in Demerara in 1923, or is it a case that the MNL 1918 build date could be a typo ?

yorkieman
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Re: BASRA

Post by yorkieman » Wed May 28, 2014 4:52 pm

Have looked at Simons and Lobnitz Coulborn around 1880 with no obvious candidate, the correlation between ON and year of build seems very loose if in fact any logical progression at all!
George Robinson
Freeman of Eriskay

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Robert
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Re: BASRA

Post by Robert » Fri May 30, 2014 10:48 pm

Big apologies to all. Could not have been seen in MNL 1919 and I was careless about the propulsion although it is only by 1929 when it is specifically a paddler. Armed with Bill's data it was not long before Google came up with Basra.
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyggb ... Watson.pdf

This is searchable, so Basra has 26 ocurrences.
The really interesting bit is about the previous use -
"the ‘Basra’ once carried British troops up-and-down the Nile from Cairo to Khartoum, and that she was partly dismantled and carried across the South Atlantic to British Guiana".

I still can not tie her down but with sternwheeler and the Nile association, if correct, you might have something better to latch on to.

btw; Some of the Georgetown registrations include the Clyde-built,
82909 PLATA
82916 MALLALI
82924 BASRA
82928 TARPON
82933 SIR CRAWFORD
82936 POMEROON
82935 LADY NORTHCOTE
82937 BARIMA
315445 MAKOURIA

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davidships
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Re: BASRA

Post by davidships » Fri May 30, 2014 11:28 pm

[sorry about the overlap with previous message - only just seen]

Official numbers were allocated to ports by the registrar-general in batches. Some ports with few registrations (in both the UK and colonial ports) would take years or even decades before they needed a new allocation.
Georgetown, Demerara was allocated ON 82901-82950 in 1883, and that lasted them until 1948.

As for the vessel itself, I agree a likely Mesopotamia connection. The registered characteristics (270g 114n 150.0 x 33.0 x 5.8ft, 64nhp paddle) match exactly the series of stern-wheelers, numbered S.40-56 and 61, built in 1917-8 and shipped out to Basrah and Egypt, though none were built at Renfrew.

However, Bruce Watson, who grew up in British Guiana in the 1930s, in his memoirs describes the Demerara and Essequibo river ferries, including BASRA:
The ‘Basra’ was pure pedigree, she was an ancient stern-wheeler. ‘Basra’ was a classy lady that took the mighty Essequibo in stride. Her great stern wheel paddles slapped and thrashed at the river like a child in a wading pool. Her upper and lower decks ran almost the full length of her shallow-draught hull. There was slight sweeping dip of her lines from stem to stern, which gave her a look of elegance. It also gave a look of snootiness from the slight raise of her bow. The foredeck was relatively small and had been was little more than a quarter of her some 100 ft length. ‘Basra’ was not as large as the classic Mississippi paddle wheeler’s. It was said that the ‘Basra’ once carried British troops up-and-down the Nile from Cairo to Khartoum, and that she was partly dismantled and carried across the South Atlantic to British Guiana.
http://tinyurl.com/onhhlyb
If that is correct, and she was shipped from Egypt (rather than Basrah or Bombay), then she was probably originally one of S.48-50 (built by Bow McLachlan), 53-54 (Goole), 56 (=ES.5; Ardrossan DD) or 61 (Lytham). But that does not explain the "Renfrew" attribution, especially as the none of them seem to have had engines built there either. However, it quite likely that there was no documentary trail for the correct info - these vessels did not normally even have builder's plates.

As she was not registered until 1925, I suspect that she was taken to BG for the Colonial Steamer Services, which began in 1919 and became the "Government Steamer Services" in 1922 (and later the Colonial Transportation Service after merger with the steamer services of the Demerara Railway), but then sold in 1925 to British Guiana Sugar Factories Ltd, who were able to register her.

PS: the last hour spent trying in vain to find a photo of her in BG
David Asprey

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davidships
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Re: BASRA

Post by davidships » Sat May 31, 2014 12:30 am

There are papers in the National Archives that may be relevant:

CO 111/626 [Colonial Office: Correspondence re British Guiana] 1919, including correspondence with the Crown Agents on "vessels for steamer service; salary of Captain R Thomson; vacancy for Superintending Engineer, Government Steamer Service"
I would expect to find more references in others in the same series. On the list for a future visit.
David Asprey

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