Saturday, 2 January 2016

LIGHTSHIP CORMORANT / LADY DIXON - Chapter 129



My New Year’s resolution (well one of them anyway) is to get the historical research going again. I am trying to kick start it by setting out a few facts, dates and names, which I hope will produce a reaction from one of my readers along the lines of “Hey, that could be Grandpa, I will see if there is anything in his old photo album”.  Hope springs eternal……

1876/8  -  Lightship ‘Cormorant’ built at the Cork Shipbuilding
      Co., Passage West, Ireland, for the Commissioners for Irish 
      Lights (CIL).
     NB:  Not at the Victoria Shipbuilding Co., which did not exist.
1880  -    A specification for lightships was produced by CIL. 
      The authors were W. Douglass, Joshua Cole Com. R.N., and 
      Alex.F. Boxer.
Early 1900s – The Secretary of CIL was C.G(?).Cook
    Inspection tours of Irish lightships were carried out by a 
    ‘touring party’ of wardens from CIL. Members included 
     Sir W. Watson, Sir Robert Ball (Astronomer Royal of Ireland)
     and Messrs Douglass, Knight, Thompson, Scovell, Scott, Foot.
      Captains Niall, Walker, Deane, Birt and Henning.
1942  -   Cormorant sold by CIL to Belfast Harbour Commissioners
     (BHC).  Survey carried out in Dublin by James Maxton and Co 
     (Marine Surveyors).
      Modifications done at the Liffey Shipyards in Dublin.
1943  -   Cormorant towed to Belfast by John Cooper (Tug Owner).
      Ship renamed ‘Lady Dixon’ after a Commissioner’s wife
      Lady Dixon D.B.E. J.P.
      BHC Pilotage Committee members included Sir Ernest 
      Herdman D.L. (Chair),  Messrs Berkeley, Davidson, Gotto,
      Hamilton and Stewart.    Pilots Craig and Hurst.
1943 - 1960  Pilot Masters included J.Owens, D.Hunt, R.Craig and
      A.P.Kennedy.
      Pilots included E.W.Evans, F.J.Hurst, H.C.Ryding, A.G.Starkey,
      J.Auld, J.A.Patton, J.H.Holmes, A.M.Calmont, G.D.Clelland, 
      G.Hamilton and A.Trace.
7 Sep 1958 – The crew of the Lady Dixon saved three people from
      a capsized yacht in Belfast Lough.
1960  -  Lady Dixon deemed too expensive to repair and was 
      retired. The pilots then operated from a shore station in
      Carrickfergus.
1961  -  Sold to G.A.Lee Ltd., Earl Street, Belfast and swiftly on to
      Arnold Thompson of Slough, where it began its ill-fated  
      career as a pirate radio station GBOK.

There are many common names in that lot, but a few unusual ones too, which may trigger something. Any information or leads will be gratefully received. On the four nautical/ historical sites I am running this saga, the visitor total has just passed 100,000 so there should be someone out there who can help!
David