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 EDINA - Yard No 293 - Motor Cargo Vessel - J.Currie & Co Ltd - Built 1939

Leith Shipyards

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EDINA - Yard No 293 - Motor Cargo Vessel - J.Currie & Co Ltd - Built 1939

 photo to be added.

The motor vessel EDINA was built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb for the local shipping line of Jas Currie of Leith


Owners    Jas Currie & Co Ltd
Registered    Leith Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Cargo "Coaster" Launched    16/10/1939
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    160' 0" Weather    
Beam    27' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Moulded     14' 0"      
G.R.T.    489 tons      
Props    1      
Other known names   1945-Gowrie,1958-Fordmac, 1961-Kirk Maid     
Current Status    On 7th September 1964 she sank some 4 miles off Kingston, Jamaica whilst inbound from the Dominican Republic with a consignment of timber.    

Content on the MV EDINA will be added as and when available. 


 The MV ORIOLE pictured above was exactly the same ship as the MV EDINA 
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 motor vessel EDINA was launched one month after war had been declared and as such as soon as she had been fitted out she was requisitioned by the Government for war service.She was identicle to her sister ship the MV ORIOLE Ship No 292 which had been launched two months previous, she was a modern coaster with her accomodation aft. Thanks to A.Blackwood we now have a clarification regarding this vessel and sorry for any confusion caused but the name Gowrie has been used on so many of the shipping company's ships it is sometimes difficult to keep track off.

The yard also built a further two ships during World War II using the same lines plan and design with but a couple of changes to some equipment.


Wartime Service

The modern coaster EDINA was to play her role in the liberation of Europe and for her it was as a H.Q.ship.

 It was a great thrill for the Captain and his men off the Mumbles, a Naval vessel made fast alongside and Naval officers and captains of other shps came on board for an important conference. Captain Ingles of the "EDINA" was appointed Commodore of the Swansea portion of the fleet and then as Vice-Commodore after linking up with the main fleet.

All were given large envelopes with six impressive seals which were not to be opened until ordered to do so. "EDINA" was carrying aviation petrol, but as the great convoy closed upon the Normandy beaches, all risks were forgotten in the task of unloading cargo and getting away again for the Bristol Channel to load again as quickly as possible.

Several such journeys were made in those first hectic weeks without much incident, and then cane the moment when the "EDINA" was directed to discharge at Barfleur. She nosed her way in and the master was informed by war correspondents that his was the first Allied ship to enter the port.

Two interesting coincidences marked the journeys across the Channel with petrol. Once the "Edina" developed engine trouble, and although able to get home under her own power, she had as an escort in case of further difficulty another ship from the Victoria Yards, the "Oriole"

On another occasion she assisted in discharging a Polish ship which was ashore and damaged, and found that the salvage operations were in charge of the Leith vessel "Foremost"

Just as the war was ending she was sold to the Dundee, Perth & London Shipping Co and she was re-named Gowrie. 

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.EDINA after she was re-named GOWRIE


 The following is an explanation of the named ship shown in the photograph above and thanks to A.Blackwood for the corrected information

 As for the photograph showing the steamer, the S.S. "Gowrie" and incorrectly labelled as ex "Edina": At cessation of WW2 hostilities, a total of 502 German flagged merchant ships were seized or confiscated as war reparations by the Allies, and duly allocated to Britain, the U.S. and Russia. The British took 90, of which some 30 or so were short sea traders of the German "Hansa -A" design, and allocated to the 'ownership' of the Ministry of War Transport, all were given "Empire ........." names. One such vessel, "Empire Galbraith" (ex "Hendrik Fisser 6" completed by Verschure & Co's Scheepsbouw en Machinefabriek at Amsterdam during 1944), received in a damaged condition and duly repaired, was allocated to the management of the Currie Line, Leith. During April 1946, this 1,876 g.r.t steamer, powered by a 4 cylinder compound engine, was purchased by the Currie Line and renamed "Highland" for cargo services to mainly Baltic ports. During March 1959, she was sold to the Dundee, Perth & London Shipping Company Ltd. and renamed "Gowrie" - the fifth such vessel to be so named. During May 1963 she was sold out of the fleet for further trading to Greek owners, when renamed "Hermanos". She was disposed of for demolition at Vado, Italy during September 1969.

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 Bill Lawson 2015-12-19 21:36
Did the season, april to december on the great lakes to nwefoundland in 1959, signed on as ordinary seaman,will not forget the then called, Gowrie in a hurry, don't think any of the
crew who finished that voyage would forget.
I live on Colonsay now, sort of retired, still wonder if any of that
crew are still on the go.
Bill Lawson (Blondie) Isle of Colonsay
0 #1 Margaret Foggie 2013-01-19 23:20
My Father, George Watt was Master of the Edina, his first command, from 14/12/44 - 2/4/46, by which time I was four. I wanted him to bring a piano home "if he saw one lying around" but he never did. "The wee Edina" held a very special place in all our memories and yet I never saw a picture of her until I found this site tonight - many thanks

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