The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1918 to 1939 PEMBROKE COAST - Yard No 227 - Motor Cargo - Coast Lines - Built 1936

Leith Shipyards

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PEMBROKE COAST - Yard No 227 - Motor Cargo - Coast Lines - Built 1936



She was the final Coast Line ship  of a four ship order for the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

 The MV PEMBROKE COAST Ship No 227  
Owners    Coast Lines Ltd
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Coaster Launched    18/06/1936
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    199' 0" Weather    
Beam    34' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Moulded     21' 0"      
G.R.T.    625      
Engines    Twin 5 cylinder British Polar oil engines      
Props    2      
Speed    12 knots      
Other known names        
Current Status   Lost to enemy action in Norway 1940    
Content on the MV PEMBROKE COAST will be added as and when available. 
Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to
pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was
hoped for a long and successful working life.

Another of the classic little Coasters that were to be found right around the coast of Britian and Europe prior to containers and the boxey type vessels used to carry them.

The little coasters were the work horses of the freight haulage business at the time.


Wartime Service

This three year old, new "Coaster" was requisitioned for war work by the Admiralty in October 1939. Her cargo was to be one of the most dangerous that of cased petrol for the supply at first of the British Expeditionary Force in France.

PEMBROKE COAST was to do several runs to the French Coast,

These trips although always fraught with danger passed without incident and it was not until her trips to Norway that she received her first attentions from the enemy in May 1940 when she sailed for Norway.

During her several days stay at Harstadt, the "PEMBROKE COAST" was attacked every few hours by dive bombers. She was loaded with cased petrol. On the wooden jetty beside her, there were over 1,000 tons of petrol and nearby were eight large storage tanks. Under a very heavy attack, the naval and military authorities in charge of operations ordered the crew to abandon ship and take cover in the hills. The Captain protested vigorously, but had to obey orders. Eventually the storage tanks were struck by bombs and set on fire. The crew, who at this moment were sheltering in a near by pig sty, from which the regular inhabitants had previously been removed, decided whatever orders might have been issued, they would try to get their ship to a safer position. When they reached the wharf they found a stream of burning oil was pouring down from the tanks, the "Pembroke Coast" and other ships were burning-there was nothing that could be done. The next day the wharf was completely burnt out. The Ships, including the "PEMBROKE COAST" were drifting about the fiords endangering the passage of other vessels, and the "PEMBROKE COAST" was eventually sunk by ships of the Royal Navy to make sure she did not fall into German hands.

A sad end for a gallant little ship, but at least the crew got of her and it was just the ship lost this time.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.


 The M.V.PEMBROKE COAST underway.
Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

We are pleased to be able to show some more photographs from the time that the PEMBROOKE COAST was bombed by the Germans during the Norwegian campaign in 1940.
The bombing set the ship and her valuable cargo of cased petrol on fire and once all the crew had been removed she was moved from the harbour of Harstadd into deeper water where she was sent to the bottom by shellfire from HMS AUROA a British Cruiser.
She sank in waters around 120 to 140 metres deep so it would take special diving equipment to reach her so she has been safe from souvenir hunting divers up to now.

This following photograph has been sent into the website by Orjan Johansen who has been involved in the history of old Harstad and what had happened in the harbour and to the town during World War Two, all as part of a project to help his father to recover from a strock by using pictures to help, pleased to say that the progress made using this historical type of treatment has been pretty successful and we welcome all photographs from this time to show on the website.
The photograph from Orjan's personal collection shows the fuel depot after the bombing raids. With the massive damage done by fire and bombs, making no difference that this was a small town full of civilians it was regarded as an important target by the Germans in 1940.

The fire lasted for around a week and caused massive damage.

On this page of local war-history, the incident is mentioned:

 On this page of local war-history, the incident is mentioned:

Translated into English, it reads:

May 20.: Western Petroleum Company storage site (later Standard Oil Co.) and the cargo ship ssD/S Deneb loaded with aviation fuel, were bombed. Thorvald Klungland and Reinert Seland, both from Farsund, were killed.They are buried on theHarstad Memorial graveyard.Another boat, the tanker «Pembroke Coast», was also hit and set on fire. Both ships were pulled out on the harbour and sunk.

The next photograph is from the local museum of Harstad and is shown here by permission.

We see the tanker “Tiger” at the wharf in the days before the bombing began.

The four fuel tanks can be seen clearly in this museum of Harstad photograph in the days before the German bombers struck, the ship at the wharf is the SS TIGER unloading fuel. (Photographer unknown)

You can find more about the museum at the Sor - Troms Museum

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.

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+2 #1 Andrew Wright 2014-10-14 12:45
My Grandfather Cecil Hesmondhalgh Haworth sailed on the Pembroke Coast and was one of the crew when it was attacked. He survived and joined the Duchess of Atholl, but thankfully changed ships before that vessel was sunk. He eventually ended up on the troop ships Queen Elizabeth & Queen Mary as 2nd officer

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