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The Ships

s.s Liverpool Packet

t.s.s Markland

s.s Margaret Bowater

s.s Sarah Bowater

s.s Nicolas Bowater

m.s Elizabeth Bowater

m.s Constance Bowater

m.s Alice Bowater

m.s Gladys Bowater

m.s Phyllis Bowater

m.s Nina Bowater

When they were sold

m.s Norskald visit Esjberg 2003

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m.s Constance Bowater
A view of Constance Bowater on the St.Lawrence Seaway from the Michael Cassar Collection
Constance Bowater was the second of the motorships to be built by the Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Co, Ltd, Dundee, the first one being Elizabeth Bowater. Launched in 1958 she had the dimensions 4045grt 323x5ox30 and was powered by a Sulzer SD60 single-acting two stroke, supercharged, six cylinder diesel engine producing 2700bhp at 135rpm, this gave a service speed of 12knts. Like her sister she was also fitted with the Pleuger "Activ" rudder, a device to give the ship steerage in confined water such as the River Swale and the locks on the St.Lawrence Seaway. She went about her business with the Bowater steamship Co until 1972 when she was sold out of the fleet to Greek interests and renamed Kretan Spirit. The ship lasted until 1985 when she was finally scrapped at Cartegena in Columbia.
Constance Bowater trials photograph. Courtesy Dundee City Archives
This is a Christmas card that my Dad sent to me in 1967, he also sent my brother Robin one. At the time Dad was the 2nd mate onboard the ship. I have been reliably informed that picture shows Constance Bowater at the Indian Reserve of Kahnawake, then named Caughnawaga, The photograph being taken pre-1964, the courtesy flag shown is the one Canada used before adopting the Maple leaf. Photographed by Robert W. Walton.
Here I am sure is a familiar story. Bryan Ashton joined Constance Bowater in September 1967. The ship sailed to Nova Scotia and traded up and down the east coast of the U.S. When in Bethesda, Washington D.C Bryan met a girl. They got on so well that when the ship returned to the U.K. Bryan didn`t. His mate "Ringbolt" also had a girl in Florida and jumped ship with him. Unfortunately for the chaps they both received a "Dear John" letter at about the same time!
Constance Bowater on the Seaway May 1963. Rene Beuchamp Collection
During the ten years plus that I have been collecting Bowater bits and pieces I have had some really lucky breaks. I saw a lot on a well known internet auction site. The description read "a set of photographs taken around the St.Lawrence seaway in the 1960`s". I bid and won the lot, imagine my surprise and delight, when amongst those photographs were these four of the Constance Bowater.
The photographs were all taken by Roberta Hill on the 25th June 1965. Ms Hill was brought up in the Washington D.C area and a street car enthusiast. She also enjoyed looking at and photographing other forms of mass transit. I have been told by Capt. Bud Robinson who worked on the Seaway that the photographs were taken at Lock5 and 7 of the Welland Canal. This section of the Welland Canal is at Throttled, Ontario.
One of my favourite pieces and I am sure you will agree a fantastic photograph of Constance Bowater on the St. Lawrence Seaway. This is a presentation folder measuring about 12x10. On the left is a diagram and map showing the St.Lawrence Seaway, the depths of the lakes and also how high the locks take the ships. I have been lucky enough to find two other examples which have photographs of Gladys Bowater and Phyllis Bowater.
Crew Contacted
Roger Stone

Derek Meredith

Michael Donovan(Walsh)

George McGarrigle

Richard Howatson

Archie Summerville

Capt. Patrick Toomey

Capt.Charles Batchelor

Alex McGrouther

George Fairbrass

Bryan Ashton

Larry Robbins

Bob MC Sherry

Capt.Tony Blackler

Capt.Thomas Kearsey

John Talbot

Ronnie Hughes

Chris Walford

John Toomey

Nigel Purvis

Deck Cadet

2nd Mate

Deck

Radio Officer

2nd Mate

Catering

Chief Officer

Deck Cadet

Chief Steward

Engineroom

Deck

4th Mate

EDH

Standby Officer

Deck Aprentice

Chief Engineer

Steward

Deck Apprentice

Deck

Jnr Engineer

1968

1964

1971

1971

1967

19?

1960`s

1960

1964

1971

1967

1970

1970

1970

1963/64

1963

1962/63

1965

1959

1968

Constance Bowater in drydock August 1959. The Pleuger "Activ" rudder can be clearly seen in this photograph
These photographs show Constance Bowater in 1968. I bought them from a chap in Anglesey who deals in shipping collectables. I have no idea who the people in the pictures are but there is some writing on the back of them which I have written under the appropiate picture. Maybe if any of you sailed on the ship at this time you could shed some light on the crewmembers.
Constance-Charleston Xmas 1968 Billy O`Neill Jnr Eng Sparky & Chief Steward
Charleston 1968
Christmas, Boston 1969
In 1968 Roger Stone had just finished his second spell at the Plymouth School of Navigation where he was doing an OND in Nautical Science. Here in his own words is what happened next:

I joined the Nina Bowater in Glasgow on the 11th April 1968 as a Deck Cadet for a single trip to Risor, Norway to pick up a cargo of wood pulp which was discharged at Ridham Docks in the Thames. I was paid off on the 4th May 1968. The Master was P.Eckford and the Mate was G.Beumont.

Mr. Beumont was to be offered the command of Constance Bowater and I was asked if I would like to sail with him on this ship as I got on particularly well with him. I subsequently joined the Constance Bowater at Tilbury Docks on the 14th May 1968 and sailed for Canada and the U.S.A.

The ship was based in Corner Brook, Newfoundland where we loaded newsprint and made our way up the St. Lawrence Seaway to our first port of call which was Ottawa. Newsprint as you probably know was a large roll of plain paper that was used to print newspapers. From Ottawa we made our way to Toronto on Lake Ontario. The next port of call was Rochester in NY state also on the shores of Lake Ontario. Other ports of call were Buffalo Unalike Erie), Cleveland & Toledo, Ohio(Lake Erie) then onto Detroit Michigan (Lake Erie) Port Huron Michigan (Lake Huron), Milwaukee Wisconsin and finally Chicago Illinois both on Lake Michigan. We did this trip three times during the voyage.

Constance Bowater, lying at Bryns Hole, Newfoundland, January 1969 Mr S.Thomas AB copied from "The Review" magazine.

The Constance Bowater had spare accommodation onboard and we often had newspaper owners and their wives onboard for short voyages on the lakes.

Back to Corner Brook to load more newsprint, but this time we headed down the Eastern seaboard of the USA to Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is a little inland on the James River and while we were there I remember the temperature reaching 120F in the shade. From here we went to Charleston, South Carolina to discharge our final cargo before heading back to Corner Brook.

On a subsequent trip to Charleston we were strikebound when the American stevedores went on strike. We were there over Christmas and were forced to sail in late December to return to Corner Brook. Our trip was to be cut short so we called in at Carmaville in North Newfoundland to pick up a cargo of wood pulp. Due to the time of year we were very lucky to get out before the pack ice built up.

I remember when we left Carmaville the ice was grating alongside the hull, giving off a very eerie sound. It was impossible to stay in your cabin and feel safe. Most hands were on deck on lookout. We arrived back in the U.K late January and discharged our cargo at Ridham Dock. I was paid off on the 25th January 1969.

Another crew member on the ship around 1970 was Bob MC Sherry he was a EDH and can be seen in the middle of the photograph on the left also in that photograph is Billy O`Neil. The photograph on the right shows one of the "Donkeymen" and three Able Seamen with Bob MC Sherry on the right. Bob has also sent me some crew photos from his time on Nina Bowater.
While Dad was serving on the Constance Bowater he wrote two pieces for the company magazine. One is about the Welland Canal the other is about the St.Lawrence Seaway He is a very modest man and would say that they are not very good. Click Here and see what you think, they might bring back some happy memories!
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Constance Bowater making her way along the St.Lawrence Seaway from the Skip Gillham Collection