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 1946 to 1984 GRAB DREDGER NO1 - Yard No 485 - Grab Dredger - Commissioners for Port of Calcutta - Built 1963

Leith Shipyards

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GRAB DREDGER NO1 - Yard No 485 - Grab Dredger - Commissioners for Port of Calcutta - Built 1963


GRAB DREDGER No 1 Ship No 485



(photo supplied by Don O'Connor)


Owners    Commissioners for the Port of Calcutta
Registered    Calcutta Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Grab Hopper Dredger Launched    13/12/1963
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall    210' 0" Launch Details    
Length B.P.    45' 0" Weather    
Beam    17' 9" Time to Water    
Depth Mld           
G.R.T.    1309 tonnes      
Engines   9-cyl-Mirrlees, built in Stockport, England      
Props    2      
Speed    10 Knots      
Other known names        
Current Status   Unknown    
Content  will be added on GRAB DREDGER No 1 as and when available. 


As you can see in the photograph this type of dredger was built for work and they were pretty complex ships to build, a type that the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb specialised in building.

(Photo supplied by Don O'Connor)


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.

This was another dredger to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb, the order was from the Commissioners for The Port of Calcutta.

She was a fair size of vessel for a Grab Dredger and would no doubt be put to good use around the port of Calcutta.

We do not have much information on her apart from some of her specifications so again if anyone reading can help with information on this vessel then please get in touch with

We now have a great story on the Tales from the Ship below from one of the men who sailed on her maiden voyage all the way out to India from Leith.


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.

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.

As told by Don O’Connor

“Dreaded Dredger No. 1 “

I was sailing with P&O as second engineer on ORCADES but decided to retire and go to Australia for a sea change and thought a run job might be the way to get there free of cost  So applied to PEDDER & MYLCREST to take this vessel to CALCUTTA and got the post without any problems (I wonder why!)Arrived at HENRY ROBBS yard 12th December 1963 and we departed LEITH 16th December 1963 The Crew consisted of Capt. and mate (5hrs on/off) – Chief engineer Bill Fraser the works manager +myself + a fellow from a local Leith garage, quartermaster +6 AB’S and a cook’ We had quite an eventful voyage as you can imagine on a vessel built for calm waters going on a long deep-sea trip. I did keep a diary but won’t bore you with any details but we did not arrive in Calcutta until 7 FEB 1964 – We had no refrigeration /no f/w. showers/no air con/ etc, etc – quite different from the ORCADES !

Twin screw 9 cyl Mirrlees , made about 10 knots with following sea but only averaged about 5 knots. We encountered quite bad seas for much of the trip and this caused quite a lot of problems with the aux cooling pumps and we only got into the BAY of BISCAY before the turnbuckles securing the hoppers broke loose and only the forecastle and engine room were the floating parts of ship. I did finally arrive in MELBOURNE and settled down, got married and have 3 sons and 4 grandsons.

 Still working in the Marine Industry with company I started in 1984 (JAPAN MARINE ENGINEERING CO)



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 #1 don o connor 2012-04-02 07:58
i was the second engineer on this vessel and delivered her to Calcutta
i can provide some info if you require

don o'connor

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