ss DAPHNE

ss DAPHNE
built by Alexander Stephen & Sons Glasgow,
Yard No 279

Last Name: ELENI (1890)
Previous Names: Completed as ROSE(1883) IANTHE (1884)
Propulsion: Steam
Launched: Tuesday, 03/07/1883
Built: 1883
Ship Type: Passenger Cargo Vessel
Tonnage: 449 grt
Length: 176 feet
Breadth: 25 feet
Owner History:
Glasgow & Londonderry Steam Packet Company, Glasgow
1884 J.Bell, Glasgow
1890 P.Pantaleon, Syra
1896 Navigation Orientale, Syra
Status: Mined & Sunk - 10/12/1918

Remarks: The ship was launched as DAPHNE from the yard just before noon. On board were nearly 200 men and boys who were to carry on with their work as soon as she wasproperly afloat. As was usual in the launching of ships two anchors and cables were employed to check the way on the vessel after she had entered the water. On this occasion the checking apparatus failed to function. The starboard anchor moved some six or seven yards, but the port anchor dragged for about sixty yards and the current of the river catching the ship at a critical moment turned her over on her port side. The Daphne sank immediately in deep water, being completely submerged at high tide.

The disaster was witnessed by a large number of people, many of whom had relatives on board. The death roll amounted to 124 workmen and boys. An enquiry was held afterwards and exhonerated the yard owners from any blame. This led to claims of a cover up.
A memorial park exists in Govan to mark the loss of so many lives.
The ship was raised and repaired at Govan Dry Docks and she emerged as the ROSE. They say that she was completed in 9/1883 as ROSE and grounded at Farlane Point, Millport on 1/3/1984, sold later the same year to John Bell & Co., Prestwick, renamed IANTHE and employed in the Eastern Mediterranean. Sold 1890 as ELENI, Navigation Orientale and 'believed mined off Tenedos on 10/12/1918' The following account was made by AListair Black on www.clydeshipping.co.uk in 2002

On July 3rd 1883 the small steam coaster Daphne was launched from Alexander Stephen's Linthouse yard. Single screw, iron hulled, she was 177 ft long by 25.3 ft beam, giving a length to beam ratio of 7.0:1 Daphne had been orfered for the Glasgow, Dublin and Londonderry Steam Packet Co, which later was absorbed into Burns Laird, now part of P&O.

The specification had been drawn up by their Superintendent Marine Engineer who had been given strict instructions as to type of equipment used, overall dimensions, etc.

Not being a naval architect, all this was decided after studying the previous ships in the fleet, the builders being expected to perform the detailed design work and stability tests. Linthouse did not have a fiiting out berth, so the 2
cylinder compound diagonal engine was installed prior to the launch. The boilers were not installed at this point, but the fiddley deck was left off to allow the boilers to be fitted at the Broomielaw.

Fitting out was well advanced, but delivery was scheduled for early August, so nearly 200 men were on board so that they could keep on working while the ship was towed to Broomielaw. Just before noon the ship was launched, slipped quietly into the Clyde and came to rest due to the action of the drag chains.

Within a few seconds of coming to rest, the ship suddenly heeled to port, paused, recovered slightly, then heeled over again, this time not slowing or recovering. The ship rolled over completely, trapping most of the complement below decks. Despite the best efforts of rescuers only about 70 survivors were recovered, a total of 124 men and boys losing their lives. The speed of capsize was assisted by the men all sliding to port, 30 tons of loose gear on deck doing the same, and by water entering the ship through the boiler access hatch.

The ship was righted a few days later and taken to what became Govan No 1 drydock, then known as Salterscroft Graving Dock, where she was subjected to exhaustive stability tests. An enquiry was opened and much detailed evidence was collected.

Stephen's were commended for the assistance they gave the enquiry, no fault was found with the launch arrangements at Linthouse and the cause was reported to be little inital stability combined with excessive loose gear and personnel aboard.

One of the outcomes of the disaster was the limiting of personnel aboard to only those necessary for mooring the ship after the launch.


Previous update by Paul Strathdee
Previous update by Bruce Biddulph
Previous update by Stuart Cameron
Photo supplied by Illustrated London News

Last updated: by George Robinson from the original records by Stuart Cameron




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