Leeds City (3)

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Our member, Mr.Charles Boyd from Liverpool, writes about his experience when he was on the "Leeds City" (3) in 1950.
The Leeds City (3) was built in 1927 at William Gray & Co, Ltd., Shipyard, West Hartlepool, and was fitted with a chain and rod steering system. She served the Reardon Smith Line until 1951 when the ship was sold to a Japanese Company for further trading. In 1952 the vessel ran aground in the River Hoogli, then after a few days broke in two and sank, a total loss.
He remembers it was June 1950 when his journey commenced from the port of Cardiff with a cargo of coal, for that wonderful port of Port Said, they then went lightship to Poti, in Georgia in the Black Sea, to load a cargo of manganese ore for Baltimore USA. While in Georgia Mr.Boyd and the crew members on board the"Leeds City" experienced and saw life for a short period under Stalin's old U.S.S.R.
After discharging the cargo of manganese ore in Baltimore they again went lightship around to Vancouver B.C. to load a full cargo of grain for Durban, South Africa.
His recollection of that portion of the voyage was the loosing of 'a blade' of the ships propeller when the ship had just cleared the Caribbean and started the long run across the South Atlantic to the Cape area. About opposite the Suriname country (French Guiana) the 'old man' and our Chief Engineer must had noted that we had began to loose mileage per day compared to the consumption of fuel oil. Then, if he remembers correctly, not long after the 8'o'c!ock breakfast, the vessel was brought to
a stand still. It fortunately turned out to be a beautiful morning with the sea at the time looking like a park lake - not a ripple in sight and no wind at all.
All the fresh water had been pumped to the forward tanks in an endeavour to lighten the ship at the stern and tip the ship by the head to sight the propeller. Then two Bosun chairs were lowered over the stern to the right area, to sight the propeller and blades, and the 'prop' slowly revolved to see what the damage was and this confirmed a blade was missing.
As you know, a spare propeller was housed on the bulkhead of No. 4 hold, it could not be removed because it was surrounded by the grain, and anyway this could not be fitted at sea. However, instead of taking just over 30 days for this run, we practically took nearly double the time to eventually reach the "Old Bluff", at Durban.
Mr.Boyd recalls that during the ship's stay in Durban one evening they saw the total destruction of either a Norwegian or Swedish tanker due he believes to an electrical fault on deck, but there was a very large explosion and major fire in that city.
Mr Boyd would very much like to know if, by chance, there are any of our members who can remember that "Epic" voyage. It was a good thing that the war had ended, as it would not be a good place to remain stationary if the old "U-Boats" were still active at that time.

Mr. Charles Boyd is the Hon. Secretary' of the "T.S. Vindicatrix Association".

This article first appeared in Shipmates issue No.15.

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Leeds City. Page [1] [2]
Memories from RSL staff. Page No. [1]