The Blue Funnel Association

The Blue Funnel Association meet on the last Saturday of the month. It’s a chance for everyone who worked on the Blue Funnel line to get together and exchange stories.

Alfred Holt and Company, marketed as the Blue Funnel Line, was founded by Alfred Holt on 16 January 1866. The main operating subsidiary was the Ocean Steam Ship Company, which owned and operated the majority of the company’s vessels. A Dutch subsidiary, the Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschappij Oceaan, was founded in 1891, as was the East India Ocean Steam Ship Company, operated from Singapore. This latter was sold in 1899 to Norddeutscher Lloyd. The company acquired the competing China Mutual Steam Navigation Company in 1902, keeping it on the books as a separate company but operating it as part of the Blue Funnel Line.

Ships of the Blue Funnel fleet all had names from classical Greek legend or history. The majority were cargo ships, but most of the Ocean SS Co cargo ships also had capacity for a few passengers. The line also had a small number of purely passenger vessels.
The Blue Funnel Line came to an end in 1988, when Ocean Group withdrew from the Barber Blue Sea Service, its last shipping line.

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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Jose Furtado says:

    I was evacuated from Singapore to Madras in February 1942 on the Rhona, which took 3 weeks instead of 1 to make the journey due to torpedoes off west Sumatra. We were a convoy of 5-7 ships, and had to disperse when attacked. How many ships in this convoy survived? I understand the Rhona was lost on its next trip. I returned to Singapore on the Rajula; and travelled to school in Perth, WA on the Gorgon and Charon where I met Capt Brinsford who I recognized as a Mate on the Rhona.

  2. Name * says:

    Hi I have in my possession a table lighter with ( the blue funnel line) andin enamel AHis there or was there a ship with these initals thanking youin advance.

  3. John Puplett says:

    I notice in the latest newsletter that the jacket for offer has an association badge on it. Are these badges still available?

    • admin says:

      HI Keith – Tim here, I support Pat with the running of this site – I’m hoping to come to the next meeting on 22nd. It would be great to do a short interview with you and Keith Norman about your time at the Blue Funnel – would that be possible?

    • Keith Armitage says:

      I know it is a bit late but can’t make it tonight. Will really try for next month. So sorry to dissapoint.

      • admin says:

        No problem Keith, I will be there doing some filming tonight anyway, so I’ll post the footage on this site. Hopefully catch you next month.

  4. jamie pratt says:

    Hi my dads been talking about his days at sea sailing with blue funnel, his name is thomas alan pratt, but was known as geordie pratt, he served in engineering, and was looking to get in contact with old friends from sea, thanks for taking the time to read this.

  5. Roger Hughes says:

    Sailed as a deckboy and jos 1961-1964 and went to Birkenhead training training school.Does anybody remember me?

  6. Keith Norman says:

    Can anyone help me contact some of the lads off the Achilles and Glenbeg, in particular Keith Armitage from Wallasey

    • Keith Armitage says:

      Hi Keith.
      I am Keith Armitage from Wallasey. I served (literally ) on the Glenbeg. I have often thought abouts finding people I sailed with all those years ago. Nice to hear from you, hope
      You’re keeping well. Be nice to see you after all this time.

  7. Hellen Kirwan says:

    Hi
    Im trying to put information for my Dad – Dennis Edgar Jones who sailed on the Helenus.

    Originally from South Africa he eventually settled in Liverpool before leaving the Merchant Navy and joining Merseyside Police Force in the early 1960′s

    Sadly he in the early stages of dementia and so I am trying to get together a memory box of his life for him while there is still time .

    I do have postcard sized prints of the Helenus and books about the Blue Funnel lines but if anyone remembers him or has any photos or info to share I would be eternally grateful.

    Many many thanks

    Hellen Kirwan

    • admin says:

      Hi Hellen I asked around at the Blue Funnel night but got no result. Could tell us what your Dad Sailed as i,e., deckhand, steward, mate. engineer or cook.

      Somewhere in his documents at home will be his discharge book, most retired sailors have still got theirs and they give a great deal of information particularly their number.

      The discharge book is stiff blue cardboard with two cutouts, one showing his name and the lower one his number, inside are all his ships and the date he joined them and the date he left them.

      With his discharge book number you can approach the Public Records Office at Kew for more details.

      Hope this helps.

  8. Peter Meredith says:

    I am currently putting together a family history for the Meredith family and am trying to unearth details for my uncle – Albert Meredith – who was a marine engineer sailing out of Liverpool throughout his seafaring career, I believe with Albert Holt vessels and, quite probably, on the Blue Funnel Line. He was born in 1892 and must have retired around 1958 at which time, according to family history, he was Chief Engineer of the line. He lived in Birkenhead and was awarded an OBE in 1946. His Discharge Number was 877977.

    Is anyone able (and kind enough ) to point me in the right directions re my search.

  9. SUSAN TURNBULL says:

    I will be fortunate to accompany my Mum to the rememberence service at the Pier Head once again on Monday 12.11.2013.
    My Grandfather John Benson Cavanagh(Jack) and his Father Joe Cavanagh sailed with Blue funnel.
    I have fond memories of meeting Grandad at the ship when it docked and the Chineese crews carrying me down the gang plank because I was frightened to walk.
    Jack was Cheif Steward and Mum wears his cap badge with pride every year.She always enjoys a quick chat with Canon Bob Evans before we leave the memorial.

  10. from Chris Williams says:

    re: Arthur Longbottom, Master Mariner, Membership No 774
    I am sad to tell you that Arthur passed away on Wednesday 3rd January 2013 at Mariners Park Care Home, Wallasey. His funeral will be held at Landican Cemetery, Arrowe Park Road, Birkenhead on Monday 14th January at 1:30PM.
    Arthur spoke very fondly of his time with Blue Funnel and shared some of his memories with his family.
    He leaves a widow, Doris, daughters Ann & Karen and their families and will be sadly missed.

  11. derek andrews membership #715 says:

    lovely to listen to the banter and all the background scousers making their comments.keep up the good work

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