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 M.S.C. BISON - Yard No 289 - Tug - Manchester Ship Canal Co Ltd - Built 1939

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M.S.C. BISON - Yard No 289 - Tug - Manchester Ship Canal Co Ltd - Built 1939


MSC BISON Ship No 289.

One of a four ship order for tugs from the Manchester Ship Canal Company.

Owners    Manchester Ship Canal Co Ltd
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Tug Launched    21/04/1939
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    86' 0" Weather    
Beam    23' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld    12' 0"      
G.R.T.    144 tons      
Props    1      
Other known names        
Current Status   Broken up in 1966    

Content on MSC BISON will be added as and when available. 



The Flag of the Manchester Ship Canal Company



Full speed ahead on the canal for MSC BISON 

(photo credit unknown)

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.

The tug MSC BISON was the third of a four ship order from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb, delivered just before the start of the second world war.The ships were put to good use keeping the Manchester Ship Canal going during World War Two as this major waterway into the centre of Manchester from the coast some 35 miles away was a prime target for German Bombers during the early years of the conflict.

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 tug MSC BISON at work on the "Big Ditch" as the Manchester Ship Canal was known to locals.

(Photograph was kindly donated by the Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd)


The photograph above by Ken Smith, Warrington shows the MSC BISON with the Manchester Progress in tow, outbound on the Manchester Ship Canal at Latchford Locks, Warrington
Another great photograph of the BISON with Manchester Progress in tow at Latchford Locks, Warrington by Ken Smith
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.

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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0 #2 Henry Mifsud 2016-02-19 23:13
Dear Keith,
I am about to build a model of MCS Archer, would appreciate if you could send me pictures of MSC Bison thanks Henry from Malta
+1 #1 keith smith 2015-06-02 20:48
I have nice photos of Bison and Nymph and Panther
If you give me your email address I will send them over

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