Evan Thomas, Radcliffe and Company

Evan Thomas, Radcliffe and Company was one of the more prosperous and best-known of Cardiff-based shipowning companies, established in 1882 by a Ceredigion sea captain, Evan Thomas, and a Merthyr Tydfil businessman, Henry Radcliffe. Prior to 1939 one of the principal activities of the company was the transportation of Welsh steam coal, this trade reaching its peak in the years immediately prior to World War I. The company was finally wound-up in the 1980s.

Messrs. Evan Thomas, Radcliffe and Company
Limited Company
Founded1882, as Messrs. Evan Thomas, Radcliffe and Company in Cardiff, United Kingdom
HeadquartersCardiff, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Captain Evan Thomas, Henry Radcliffe (founders)



In 1881, Evan Thomas, a Master Mariner from Aberporth in Ceredigion who had served with Jones Bros. of Newport an J. H. Anning of Cardiff, went into partnership with Henry Radcliffe, a Merthyr Tydfil businessman and they purchased their first ship together. The combination of master mariner and businessman as partners was not uncommon at this time in Cardiff.

It was not hard for the partners to raise money to buy their first ship, with most of the capital being raised in Wales. The partners risked very little of their own money, instead purchasing the ship on mortgage. The capital being raised as shares in a single ship company.

Evan Thomas

Captain Evan Thomas was a Master Mariner from the West Wales village of Aberporth in Ceredigion. His family resided at Dolwen, a substantial house overlooking the beach.

He was the son of Hezekiah Thomas (1805–1869) who owned a 47-ton ketch, Pheasant, and part-owner of a number of other vessels. From Aberporth coal and limestone was imported by coastal vessels from South Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay. Evan Thomas's brother, Thomas Thomas (1836–1911) was a part-time sailor, part-time farmer, and became secretary of the Aberporth Mutual Ship Insurance Society.

Capt. Evan Thomas obtained his master's certificate and after eight years as Master in Steam in the tramps of the Baltic, Mediterranean, Black Sea, and United States of America proposed the setting up of a new ship-owning company in Cardiff, the booming coal metropolis.

Evan Thomas commanded the first vessel purchased by Evan Thomas, Radcliffe, namely the Gwenllian Thomas.

By 1884 Evan Thomas gave up the sea, and upon his death at the age of 59 on the 14 November 1891 the company he had established less than ten years previously owned as many as 15 tramp steamers.

Evan Thomas had issue, a son and four daughters.

Henry Radcliffe

Henry Radcliffe (1857–1921) was a businessman from Merthyr Tydfil an important Welsh industrial town. Upon the death of Evan Thomas in 1891, Henry Radcliffe took into partnership his younger brother Daniel. Henry Radcliffe died in 1921 at the age of 66 at his home in Druidstone, St Mellons. He left issue, a son, Wyndham Ivor Radcliffe and two daughters, Clarissa Gwendoline Gwynne Maitland and Sarah Ethel Radcliffe. He was an extensive owned of land in the Vale of Glamorgan and included shareholdings in a large number of companies in South Wales including the Taff Vale Railway, Barry Railway Co., Vale of Glamorgan Railway Co., Tempus Shipping Co., Cardiff Port Iron & Coal Storage Co., North's Navigation Collieries Ltd., Great Western Colliery Co. Ltd., P. & A. Campbell Ltd., Cambrian Railways, Alexandra Docks Newport and Guest Keen & Nettlefolds.

Upon the death of Henry Radcliffe, the chairmanship of the company passed on to his younger brother Daniel.

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe of Tal-y-werydd, Penylan, Cardiff, joined the company at the age of 24 in 1892 having previously worked for Cardiff shipowners J. H. Anning and the Turnbull Brothers. Upon joining the company he promoted rapid growth with the result that in 1900 the business owned a total of 24 ships.

Daniel Radcliffe died on 29 March 1933.

The Early Years

As Evan Thomas, Radcliffe's business succeeded, more and more ships were added to the fleet. As many as 31 single-ship companies were registered in the company's name. The Gwenllian Thomas went to sea under the command of Evan Thomas, his partner taking charge of the office at 4 Dock Chambers and all the chartering arrangements. In 1882, a second vessel, the Iolo Morganwg (1,292 tons) was purchased from Palmers of Newcastle who has already built the Gwenllian Thomas. In 1883 came the Kate Thomas (1,588 tons) and the Anne Thomas (1,419 tons) followed by the Wynnstay (1,542 tons) in 1884. Around this time Evan Thomas gave up the sea.

The Black Sea Trade

All the Evan Thomas, Radcliffe vessels were tramp steamers, sailing not along fixed routes but to whatever port in the world the charterers wished. Nevertheless, from 1882 when the company was established until about 1914 there was a pattern of trading with the vessels taking out cargoes of coal from the Tyne ports and South Wales to west European or Mediterranean ports, then proceeding in ballast to the Black Sea, to such ports as Odessa, Taranrog and Novorossisk, returning to British, but more likely a continental port, with grain. This became so much the normal pattern of trading that the annual reports of the company constantly refer to the Black Sea traffic.

This pattern of trading was repeated for almost all the Evan Thomas, Radcliffe ships with little variation until 1912-13 when there was a decline in the trade. Gradually the Black Sea trade declined and Evan Thomas, Radcliffe, in common with other Cardiff shipowners, had to look elsewhere for their trade. The Black Sea trade in its heyday was a very lucrative business and the carriage of coal from South Wales outwards and grain from southern Russia inwards really provided the basis of success for Evan Thomas, Radcliffe. Vessels rarely sailed in ballast except for short voyages from the points of discharge of coal to the Black Sea and from continental ports to Cardiff or Barry.

The Black Sea trade did continue until the early years of the First World War, but some of the vessels were making more frequent appearances in America and south east Asia. For example, the SS Washington, from its construction in 1907 until December 1912, was concerned exclusively with the carriage of coal from South Wales to the Mediterranean and the carriage of grain from the Black Sea ports to Hamburg, Rotterdam and Marseille. In December 1912 she sailed from Barry with a cargo of coal from Rio de Janeiro. She then returned from Bahía Blanca to London with grain and left on another voyage from Barry to Rio de Janeiro returning to Rotterdam with general cargo from New Orleans. She then returned to the Black Sea trade for another five voyages before sailing in ballast after unloading coal at Taranto for Pondicherry, returning with a cargo of ground nuts for Marseille. She then sailed across the Atlantic to New Orleans returning to Marseille in February 1914 with a cargo of wheat.

The SS Llangorse, to quote another example, was used exclusively for the normal Black Sea coal and grain trade from 1907 to 1912; she then crossed the Atlantic to Baltimore returning to Hamburg with grain. After six more voyages to the Black Sea the vessel visited Galveston, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Philadelphia, Rosario, San Nicholas and Aguilas being concerned with the transport of grain and iron ore, to Naples, Barcelona, Glasgow, Genoa and Avonmouth. Gradually, the trans-Atlantic trade was becoming more and more important in the activities of Cardiff shipowners.

The First World War

At the outbreak of war in 1914, Messrs. Evan Thomas, Radcliffe were the largest of the Cardiff shipowners owning a fleet of 28 vessels. During the First World War the company was to suffer considerable losses, a total of 20 ships being sunk.

Post-War Depression

Although substantial sums of money were received in compensation for the vessels lost during the war, Evan Thomas, Radcliffe, unlike some other Cardiff shipowning companies, did not immediately enter the post-war market for very expensive ships and only one vessel, the Ethel Radcliffe, was purchased in 1920 as a replacement for the 20 vessels lost in the war. In 1919, the company owned nine vessels only, with a total gross tonnage of 41,254.

Luckily for Evan Thomas, Radcliffe, no attempt was made in 1918 and 1919 to purchase extra ships, so that the company, unlike some others in Cardiff was well able to weather the storm of the slump in the 1920s. The one new vessel, the Ethel Radcliffe, of 5,673 gross tons was built for the company by Craig Taylor & Co. of Stockton-on-Tees at a greatly inflated cost of £274,019 and she sailed on her maiden voyage under the command of Capt. M. Mathias of Cardigan with a cargo of coal for Port Said; she then sailed in ballast to Mauritius returning to London with a cargo of sugar, then to Norfolk, Virginia in ballast to return to Immingham with a cargo of coal.

In 1919 and 1920 many of Evan Thomas, Radcliffe's vessels were time chartered to other companies, but 1921 saw the slump really biting with the result that many of the company's vessels were laid up for extended periods simply because no cargoes were available to them. Despite this, some of the Evan Thomas, Radcliffe vessels were fully occupied during the first few years of the 1920s, although substantial losses were made on many of the voyages. Despite the fact that some of the vessels were in constant employ in the early twenties, the golden era was obviously over and the annual reports of the various single ship companies that made up Evan Thomas, Radcliffe & Company reflect the general gloom and depression that seemed to have prevailed among the Cardiff shipowners in the early twenties.

In anticipation of those better times, Evan Thomas, Radcliffe surprisingly began to invest money in new vessels in 1925. The new vessels were considerably cheaper than the Ethel Radcliffe of 1920, built when the prices of new and old ships were greatly inflated. Nevertheless, in the 1920s substantial losses were made in the trading of all the vessels.

The Second World War

World War II was as disastrous for Evan Thomas, Radcliffe as the World War I for an appreciable proportion of the fleet was lost. No fewer than 11 vessels were sunk:

This left the company with a greatly depleted fleet, for only 5 vessels came through the war unscathed. They were Llanberis, Llangollen, Peterston, Flimston and Llandaff. British ships were being lost much faster than they could possibly be replaced and the Government decided that it would be impossible to back a new shipbuilding programme entirely in this country which was so vulnerable to enemy attack. With this in mind a British Merchant Shipbuilding Mission left for the U.S.A. in September 1940 and the terms of their brief was to endeavour to obtain at the earliest possible moment the delivery of merchant tonnage...of vessels of the tramp type of about 10,000 tons deadweight.

A total of 354 'Fort Type' vessels were also delivered from Canadian yards in addition to the 'Ocean' and 'Liberty' ships obtained from U.S. yards. Evan Thomas, Radcliffe obtained 6 of these vessels together with the Samskern a vessel lent to the Ministry of War Transport under the Lease-Lend system at a charter rate of a dollar a year.

With the great depletion in the fleet as a result of war, the company was forced to look elsewhere for extra tonnage. American and Canadian standard vessels of the 'Fort' type were obtained.

The Latter Years

The period after 1945 was a period of reconstruction and rebuilding, although Evan Thomas, Radcliffe, in common with all other South Wales shipowners, was never to enjoy the prosperity of the pre First World War period. Cardiff was to witness a gradual decline in the fortunes of its docks as the export of coal diminished, for Cardiff, above all, was a coal exporting port and its fortunes had been built on the export of that one single commodity. Many of the Cardiff tramp steamers were concerned in the coal trade and the vessels owned by Evan Thomas, Radcliffe were principally designed for transporting coal. The company, therefore, had to look elsewhere for its freight and with the change of ownership to the Evans and Reid group, as a fully integrated company within the group after some years in partnership with Evans and Reid, the Radcliffe fleet was principally an oil tanker fleet.

In 1946 the company possessed only 5 ships of its own: Llanberis (built 1928); Llangollen (built 1928); Peterston (built 1925); Flimston (built 1925) and Llandaff (built 1937). It was operating another eight standard vessels on behalf of the Ministry of Transport or on charter.

The pattern of trading had changed considerably; the tankers were of course mainly concerned with the carriage of oil from the Persian Gulf, Sumatra and elsewhere to European ports, but the other steamers - the Llanover and Llanwern were concerned with worldwide tramping, rarely visiting their home port of Cardiff.

In 1950 and 1951 too, the Llandaff and Llangollen of pre-war vintage were disposed of which left the company with one vessel only, the tanker Llanishen of 1945 with a new motor vessel, the Llantrisant, a freighter of 6,140 tons built at Bartram's yard in Sunderland. The vessel was launched on 27 March 1952 and delivered to its owners on 5 September 1952. This vessel was destined to remain in the fleet for only five years for in 1957 she was sold to a Vancouver company as the Lake Burnaby. While she was an Evan Thomas, Radcliffe vessel, the Llantrisant was concerned with worldwide tramping.

In the early 1950s the company had few ships, so a number were chartered. Following the delivery of the Llantrisant in 1952, another new vessel, the oil tanker Llandaff was built by Lithgow's of Glasgow. She remain in the fleet until 1960, for much of the time being chartered to the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company Ltd. but on 16 February 1960 she was sold to the Island Shipping Company of Bermuda.

In 1957 a new motor vessel, the freighter Llantrisant was delivered by Bartram's of Sunderland while in the following year the oil tanker Llanishen was delivered from Swan Hunters yard at Wallsend-on-Tyne. In 1960 the tanker Hamilton, built at Tamise, Belgium, was delivered on time charter and the tanker Llangorse built by the Furness Shipbuilding Company of Haverton Hill was delivered. In October 1962 the freighter Llanwern was delivered by Bartrams of Sunderland.

In 1964-5 therefore, the Evan Thomas, Radcliffe fleet consisted of five vessels. By 1970 the Llanwern and the Llantrisant had been sold and in 1971 the last vessel to be built especially for the company the Stolt Llandaff was delivered by S.A. Boelwerf of Tamise, Belgium. She was a specialised oil and chemical tanker and remained as an Evan Thomas, Radcliffe vessel on charter to the company from the Stolt Corporation of Monrovia until December 1981. With the sale of the Hamilton, Llangorse and Llanishen, the Stolt Llandaff was to remain the sole vessel in the fleet until 1980 when two small coastal vessels - the Radcliffe Trader and the Radcliffe Venturer were purchased.

Evan Thomas Radcliffe Ships

ShipBuiltGRTLength, Beam, Draft (ft)Notes

Built by W. Rodgers & Co., Port Glasgow as Craigmore for Craig Line S.G.Co.
Purchased in 1908
1915 - sold to Colonial Coal & Shipping Co. as Thysa later renamed Kostis
1934 - sold as Azbassein
1936 - sold to USSR as Georgi Dimitrov


Built by J. Priestland, Sunderland as Constantinos XII; then Ionia, then Nicos
1938 - Purchased by ETR and named Alex
1943 - sold to S. Casteli & Co. - no change of name
1946 - renamed Noemi
5 June 1958 - scrapped at Split


Built by J. Priestland, Sunderland. Managed on behalf of Shipping Controller 1919-26

Anne Thomas18821,418260x35.3x17.8
Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow

Sold Grogstad & Co., Norway and renamed Lord

Anthony Radcliffe18932,865315x42x20'11"

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
1908 - renamed Bonvilston
Attacked three times in 1916 and 1917 and was finally sunk by torpedo 17 October 1918, 9.5 nautical miles (17.6 km) NW by W of Corsewall Point


Built by Northumberland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Managed on behalf of Shipping Controller 1919-20


Built by William Gray & Co., West Hartlepool
Sold in December 1903 to the Glanhowny S.S. Co. (Bartlett & Owen) as the Glanhowny. Like Evan Thomas, Capt. Thomas Owen was a native of Aberporth and H. A. Bartlett was a Cardiff businessman. The vessel was sold for £8,750 and sailed under the command of Thomas Owen, who died aboard the vessel on her third voyage to the Black Sea.


She was a managed vessel. Purchased from Societo al Navigazione Tomei, Genoa, 29 April 1949.


Built by John Blumer & Co., North Dock, Sunderland for £26,500
3 May 1928 - name changed to Llangorse
20 February 1930 - sold to Tallinn Shipping Co. of Estonia for £17,244 and renamed Maret
1941 sold to USMC and renamed Sysonby
28 September 1951 - Broken up

Catherine Radcliffe19255,589415x55x28

Built by Craig, Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees at a cost of £99,439
22 February 1935. Abandoned after stranding off coast of Japan (Master - T. Owens, Aberporth) Insured for £70,868

Clarissa Radcliffe18892,544296x40.2x20.6

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
On a voyage from Odessa to Rotterdam with a cargo of grain, the vessel met a gale off Cape St. Vincent on 30 December 1897. The cargo shifted and the vessel sank with the loss of 16 lives.

Clarissa Radcliffe19044,703351.5x53.1x27.6

Built by Ropner, Stockton-on-Tees (Yard No. 410). A trunk-decked vessel
1913 - Renamed Llanover
1917 - Renamed Llangorse
1926 - Sold to Watts, Watts & Co. as Laleham for £17,758
1930 - Sold to A. A. Kyrtaras, Andros as Marionga D. Thermiotis
1947 - Sold to Ciu de Nav. Ponanza Ltd., Panama - Antonios K
25 May 1952 - scrapped at Milford Haven

Clarissa Radcliffe19156,042415x55.5x28.7

Built by Craig Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees in 1915 as the Windsor at a cost of £251,000
1916 - Renamed Gwent
1917 – Renamed Clarissa Radcliffe
On 5 March 1943 the ship left New York for Barrow-in-Furness; a straggler within convoy SC-122. She had a crew of 41 and 10 gunners. She was torpedoed on 18 March by U-663 in position 42°0′N 62°0′W. There were no survivors.[10]

Douglas Hill18902,171285x37.8x20

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
March 1908 - name changed to Iolo
August 1909 - sold to Frederick Childs - Selworthy
Lost March 1910.


Built by Ropner of Stockton-on-Tees, launched 2 October 1896.
The name of the vessel was changed to Sarah Radcliffe on delivery of a new Dunraven in 1910.
Sunk 11 November 1916 by submarine U-50 170 nautical miles (310 km) SW of Ushant.[11]


Built by Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Co. Willington Quay on Tyne.
1917 - Transferred to Royal Navy as a Q-ship
10 August 1917 - sunk by torpedo and guns of submarine UC-71 in Bay of Biscay.[12]
Two Victoria Crosses were awarded, one to the ship's First Lieutenant, Lt. Charles George Bonner RNR, and the other, by ballot, to a gunlayer, Petty Officer Ernest Herbert Pitcher.

Empire Eddystone19457,318431x56x38

Built by Wm. Gray, West Hartlepool

Empire Prospect19457,331431x38x38

Built by Shipbuilding Corporation Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1947 - Sold to Goulandris Brothers Ltd, London and renamed Ronald M Scobie 1954 - Renamed Plover
1965 - Sold to Kowloon Carriers Inc and renamed Kowloon Venture. Operated under the management of Wah Kwong & Co (Hong Kong) Ltd.
27 April 1969 - Scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Ethel Radcliffe19205,673415x55x28.9

Built by Craig Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees. Cost £274,019
17 April 1941 - Damaged by E-boat and put into port at Great Yarmouth.
16 May 1941 - The vessel was bombed and sunk in Great Yarmouth


Built by Ropner & Son, Stockton-on-Tees. Delivered 19 July 1898
1910 - name changed to Gileston
1926 - sold to Greek owners for £8,400 as Haralampos P.
1929 sold to W. G. Walton, Cyprian Shipping Co. Ltd. as Danubian
18 February 1954 - stranded in fog off Kilyos in Black Sea on voyage in ballast from Alexandria to Constanza.


Built by Craig Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees.
18 December 1916 - captured and scuttled by a German submarine U-70 21 nautical miles (39 km) NE by E from Ushant.[13]


Built by Bartram, South Dock, Sunderland.
1948 - sold to Woodham S.S. Co. Cardiff as Woodham Rover
1950 - sold to Schulte & Bruns as Konsul Schulte
14 January 1960 scrapped at Tamise.

Fort La Traite
(Managed Vessel)

Built by West Coast Shipbuilding, Vancouver.

Fort Miami
(Managed Vessel)

Built by Vancouver Ship Repairers Ltd., Vancouver.

Fort Richelieu
(Managed Vessel)

Built by Marine Industries Ltd., Soull, Quebec.

Fort Remy
(Managed Vessel)

Built by United Shipyards Ltd., Montreal
In fleet 1942-49

Fort Rupert
(Managed Vessel)

Built by Grand Trunk Pacific Development Co. Ltd. Prince Rupert, British Columbia
In fleet 1946-49

Fort Saleesh
(Managed Vessel)

Built by North Vancouver Shiprepairers Ltd.

Granton Glen19182,485257x43.8x20

Built by Manitoba S. B. Co., Wis. ex. Catherine, Stratford, Lake Greenwood.
Owned by Culliford Shipping Co. Ltd., liquidated 1947, management of vessel taken over by ETR for 1 year.

Gwenllian Thomas18821,082233x31.2x17

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
Delivered Cardiff 24 June 1882 and sailed with a cargo of coal for St. Nazaire, returning to Cardiff with iron ore from Bilbao. She was commanded by Capt. Evan Thomas.
Sold December 1905 as Richard


Built 1901 as Evangeline by R. Thomson, Sunderland
Purchased from Anglo-Grecian S.S. Co. 1909 for £17,350
1912 - sold for £22,589 to London-Piraeus S.S. Co. Sain Dimitrios
2 March 1918 - sunk


Tanker built by C. Boel et Fils, Tamise, Belgium.
Launched 28 January 1960. Still in service as Feoso Sun.


Built by J.L. Thompson and Sons, Sunderland, for Woodruff Shillito & Co., Cardiff in 1902. Purchased immediately by Evan Thomas Radcliffe
April 1912 - sold to Tom Lewis & Co.
30 May 1917 - sunk off Irish coast by torpedo from submarine U-87 95 nautical miles (176 km) W of Bishops Rock - 1 life lost.[14]


Charter by ETR 6 March 1957 (Owners Velmont S.S. Co.)
Sold to Pieter Hougerverff, Deest (the Netherlands) 23 July 1958
Still sailing as Hamnfiord

High Park
(Managed Vessel)

Built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon-Levis, Quebec.

Iolo Morganwg18821,241251x33.25x18

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
Sold December 1905 as Pontus, later Held (Swedish flag)

Jane Radcliffe18901,830271x37x18

Built by Ropner, Stockton-on-Tees
August 1911 - sold to Otto Weens of Malmö, named Hjalma

Kate Thomas18841,557269x36.4x18

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
Lost near Ceuta 21 October 1895 on voyage from Cardiff to Brindisi with coal.

Lady Palmer18892,752322x40x24

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow for Hall Bros., Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Chartered by Daniel Radcliffe 1890-91
Sunk in Dover Straits 1891.


Built by Ropner, Stockton-on-Tees for £34,000
Jan 1910 - name changed to Badminton
10 February 1912 - sold for £8,500 to Coroniadis Bros. - Coroniadis
1914 - sold as Malgas
1916 - sold as Georgios Markettos


Built by Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Wallsend-on-Tyne for 86,573
Launched 12 October 1927
1950 (17 February) sold to Basil J. Mauros, Piraeus as Theoskepasti
1956 - sold as Valente


Built by White's Marine Engineering Company, Hebburn-on-Tyne as Biddlestone for White Shipping Co., Newcastle.
1940 - Purchased and renamed Llancarfan
30 May 1943 - Bombed and sunk 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) S of Cape St. Vincent.


Built Bartram, Sunderland.
First voyage to Port Said - Poti - Baltimore under the command of J. R. Jenkins, Aberporth.
1 October 1951 - sold to K. G. Bornhofen of Hamburg as Max Bornhofen
1959 - sold to Greek owners as Pilastassios
Ran aground Esbjerg 20 February 1959, refloated 7 March 1959.
Scrapped at Ghent 10 September 1959.


Built at Lithgows of Glasgow. Launched 26 January 1952
17 February 1960 - sold to Island Shipping Co., Bermuda as Wheat King.


Built by Bartram & Sons, Sunderland. Delivered 6 February 1928.
Maiden voyage Tyne - Algiers (Coal) - Rosario - La Plata - Hamburg (grain) under the command of T. Jones, Aberarth. (Twm Cadno) 2 November 1942 Torpedoed SE of Saint Helena by submarine U-172 in position 27°3′S 2°59′W


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees
18 May 1917 - sunk by torpedo from submarine U-46 165 nautical miles (306 km) NW by W of Fastnet.[15]


Built by Ropner & Son, Stockton-on-Tees. Delivered 26 July 1897
1910 - renamed Llanberis
1927 - sold to Richards, Longstaff & Co., London as Yorkminster.


Built by Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Co., Willington Quay-on-Tyne.
1 August 1917 - Captured and sunk by submarine U-33 110 nautical miles (200 km) SW of Porquerolles Island, Gulf of Lyons. 1 lost life.[16]


Built by Bartram & Sons, Sunderland.
Maiden voyage to Port Said with coal, Cuba to Liverpool with sugar (Master Samuel H. Mathias, Newport, Pembrokeshire)
11 October 1940 - torpedoed by U-38 54°48′N 13°46′W.[17]


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees. Cost £49,371
Sold 4 October 1926 to Greece as Issidoro for £13,500. The vessel completed 81 voyages for Evan Thomas Radcliffe.


Built by Hawthorn Leslie & Co., Wallsend-on-Tyne Cost £86,990
(1st Master - D. G. Evans, New Quay)
8 February 1950 - sold to Nicholas A Simbouras, Athens, as Aretis
1952 - sold as Maria Christina
1960 - sold as Kettara II
7 February 1960 - scrapped as Nagoya


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees. Cost £45,114
8 September 1916 - torpedoed by UB47 48 nautical miles (89 km) WSW off Cape Matapan.[18]
Insured for £120,450.


Tanker built, Furness Shipbuilding Co., Haverton Hill.
Delivered August 1960. In fleet until c. 1966


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees
9 August 1917 - torpedoed by submarine U-33 and beached 8 nautical miles (15 km) N by E of Cape of Crevs, Gulf of Lyon. Total loss.[19]


Built by Bartram, Sunderland for £82,568. Delivered 29 April 1929 and left on maiden voyage from the Tyne to Santos with coal (Master R. Roberts, Aberdyfi, Merionethshire)
23 October 1941 - Bombed and sunk SE of Wick. 58°17′N 2°27′W.


Tanker built as Rye Cove. Purchased from Ministry of War Transport in 1947.
31 May 1956 - sold to Panama as Anna O
25 December 1962 - arrived Castellon, Spain for scrapping.


Tanker built Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend-on-Tyne
Delivered 17 January 1958. Renamed Petrola 19


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees
Renamed Paddington February 1913
Renamed Iolo February 1917
Torpedoed and sunk by submarine U-60 42 nautical miles (78 km) SW of Fastnet 17 February 1917.[20] 2 dead
Master, Chief Engineer and 2 gunners made prisoner.


Built by Pickersgill, Sunderland
1917 - sold to Johnston Line as Linmore
1920 - sold to Dr. T. G. Adams as Shannonmede
1924 - sold to Edw. Nichol & Co. as Littleton
1932 - sold to Heirs of L. Z. Cambanis, Andros as Leonidas Z. Cambanis
3 April 1941 - torpedoed by U-74 SE of Cape Farewell.[21]


Built by Bartram, Sunderland (Launched 4 November 1927 Master John James, Aberporth.
12 May 1942 - torpedoed by submarine U-124 North Atlantic 52°50′N 29°4′W.[22]


Built by Brunswick, Georgia, USA by J. A. Jones Construction Inc. as Samlorian and sold in 1944 to Strath S. S. Co. of Cardiff as Helmspey.
27 October 1949 - Purchased by ETR - renamed Llanover.
19 November 1951 - sold to Liberian Shipping Inc as Capestar
1960 - Resold as Athlos


Motor vessel built by Bartram, Sunderland. Delivered 5 September 1952
1957 - sold to Western Canadian S.S. Co., Vancouver as Lake Burnaby
3 November 1958 - stranded on Bancorran Reef, Philippines - total loss.


Built by Bartram, Sunderland. Delivered March 1958.
Transferred to Elenmaris Corp. Piraeus as Eleni M


Built by Bartram, Sunderland (launched 1 September 1928)
Maiden voyage to Cardiff-Santos (coal)-Rosario-Buenos Aires-Avonmouth (grain and wheat). Master G. Clark, Plymouth.
26 February 1941 - bombed and sunk W of Ireland in position 54°57′N 17°6′W.


Built as Nailsea Moor for Nailsea S.S. Co. by Bartram of Sunderland
11 June 1949 - Purchased and renamed Llanwern
21 September 1957 - Sold to Inui Kisen Kabushlui of Kobe, Japan as Kenkon Maru
1961 - resold as Fujisan Maru (to become fish factory)


Built by Bartram, Sunderland (launched 19 July 1962)
Renamed Captain Michael later Agios Penteleimon.


Built by William Gray & Co., West Hartlepool.
February 1912 - sold to Artaza & Co., Bilbao - Arcotis later L. C. Stensland; Hitteroy Browton and lastly as the Russian Voikov.

Maria N. Roussos19093,129346x50x23

Built by William Gray of Hartlepool
Chartered from 28 July 1925 to 21 November 1929

Mary Thomas18892,159275.5x37.8x20.1

Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
May 1908 - sold to the Glanhowny Steamship Company (H. A. Bartlett) as Barto
October 1909 - sold to Samuel Rowe as Jane Rowe


Built by R. Thompson & Sons, Sunderland
Norwegian vessel owned by A. Skibs
Chartered from Ministry of War Transport 1941-46
Sunk by German submarine U-1302 on 2 March 1945 at position 52°4′N 5°42′W[23]


Built by Ropner & Sons, Stockton-on-Tees
Name changed to Iolo March 1913
11 October 1916 - sunk by submarine U-46 153 nautical miles (283 km) N of Vardø, off north coast of Norway[24]


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees.
Renamed Swindon 1913
Renamed Paddington 1917
21 July 1917 - torpedoed and sunk by submarine U-96 250 nautical miles (460 km) W of Fastnet.[25]


Built by Craig Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees (Yard No. 154)
Torpedoed 15 September 1915 by UB-7 10.5 nautical miles (19.4 km) NE of Odessa.[26]


Built by Craig Taylor & Co. Ltd. Stockton-on-Tees
11 August 1918 - torpedoed and sunk by U-156 145 nautical miles (269 km) SW by S of Nantucket.[27]


Built by Thomas Turnbull, Whitehall Dockyard, Whitby. Daniel Radcliffe received his early training with the Turnbull Brothers who were also shipowners in Cardiff where he was for some time a clerk.
Evan Thomas Radcliffe in the early days of the company had their offices at Philip and Lewis Turnbull's premises.
1913 - sold to Artaza & Co., Bilbao named Arpillao


Built by Bartram & Co., South Dock, Sunderland at a cost of £84,647
Delivered 23 February 1925
1948 - sold to Gowan shipping Co. as Burhaven
1950 - sold A. G. Tsauliris as Andrew T
1953 - sold Shamrock Shipping Co. as Raloo
1957 - sold to Costa Rica as Paraporti
27 July 1959 - scrapped at Antwerp.


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees. Cost £48,939
23 May 1927 - sold to Williams & Mordey Ltd., Cardiff for £24,132 as Seven Seas Transport
1927 - sold to German owners W. Kunstmann - named Heinz W Kunstmann
1937 - renamed Herta Engelin Fritzen (same owners)
25 October 1941 - Under a German flag she ran aground and was lost near the Nieuwe Waterweg, Hook of Holland.

PLM 17
(Managed Vessel)

Built Smiths Dock, Middlesbrough for French owners.


Built by W. Gray & Co. Ltd., West Hartlepool for Greek owners.
Chartered 1921-1933

Radcliffe Trader1956622

ex Silloth Trader (1980), ex Rosemary D. (1974), ex Valerie B (1973), ex Sarsfield (1970), ex Edgefield (1965), ex Spolesto (1956)
Built by Noord Nederlandse Scheepswerven N.V., Groningen
Purchased by ETR from Gillie & Blair Ltd. (Stag Line).

Radcliffe Venturer1964504

ex Bea (1980), ex Hattstedt (1974), ex Henriette (1972), ex Tilly (1969)
Built by NV Bodewes Schps., Martenshoek, Netherlands
Purchased from Baltic Schooner Association, Cayman Islands June 1980.

(Managed Vessel)

Built by Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard, Baltimore.

Sarah Radcliffe18891,440272x32.10x21'11"

Built by Ropner, Stockton-on-Tees
April 1910 - renamed Iolo
May 1914 - Sold to Constantine Hadjipateras of Greece as Archimedes; renamed Olteria then sold to Romania as Latium
1930 - sold to D. B. Georgiades, Piraeus as Margarita
3 June 1952 - Broken up.


Built by Union Ironworks, Alameda, California USA
Norwegian vessel owned by Skibs A
Chartered from Ministry of War Transport 1941-45

Stolt Llandaff197115,585560'1"x79'2"x34'6.7"

Tanker built by N.V. Boelwerf S.A., Tamise, for Anthony Radcliffe S.S. Co. Ltd.
The company was taken over by the Stolt Corporation and leased back to ETR until December 1981.


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees
Named Badminton 1912
23 July 1916 - sunk by submarine gunfire from U-39 63 nautical miles (117 km) NE by N of Cape Carbon, Algeria[28]


Built by W. Pickersgill & Sons, Sunderland
1917 - sold to Johnston Line as Cottesmore
1920 - sold to D.&T.C. Adams as Avonmede
1924 - sold to J.&.C. Harrison as Harpalion
1931 - sold to N.G. Livanos, Chios as Theofano
1937 - sold to V.J. Pateras, Chios as Dirphys
8 June 1941 - torpedoed by submarine U-108 NE of St. Johns, Newfoundland [29]


Built W. Doxford, Sunderland
Owned by Westfal-hausen & Co. Norway
Chartered from Ministry of War Transport 1942


Built by Great Lakes Eng. Works, Ashtabula, Oregon, USA
Norwegian vessel owned by A/S Malmfart
Chartered from Ministry of War Transport 1941-46

Vera Radcliffe19255,587415x55.5x36.3

Built by Craig, Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees.
Delivered 6 January 1925 for £99,393
June 1944 - sold to government for £75,000. Sunk as blockship on Normandy beaches.

Walter Thomas18842,213296x37.4x24.5

Named after Captain Evan Thomas's only son Walter Hezekiah Thomas.
Built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company of Jarrow
Sunk 12 July 1901 after collision with Romney off Europa Point, Straits of Gibraltar on a voyage from Penarth to Derindje.


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees. Cost £52,392
3 May 1917 - torpedoed and sunk off Genoa (Rapallo Bay) by submarine U-63 while on time charter to Italian State Railways.[30]


Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees for £35,556
On 7 November 1910 she was lost at Tolpedu off Polperro, Cornwall, while on voyage in ballast from Rotterdam to Barry. There were no casualties.


Built by Craig, Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees. Cost £54,011
1936 - sold Halcyon Lign, Rotterdam, named Stad Schiedam for £16,006
16 September 1940 - sunk after explosion, believed sabotage 37°0′N 64°0′W on voyage from Bermuda to Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Built by Ropner & Son, Stockton-on-Tees. Delivered 21 July 1897 27 November 1911 - name changed to Jane Radcliffe Torpedoed and sunk by submarine U-74 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) SW of Antimilo, Greek Archipelago, 28 November 1917.[31]


Built by Craig, Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees. Delivered December 1911 (Yard No. 148)
Sunk by gunfire from submarine U-38 70 nautical miles (130 km) SW of Lizard, 21 August 1915.[32]

W. I. Radcliffe18862,076280x35x20

Built by Palmers Co., Newcastle.
Sold in 1903 to the Aberporth S.S. Co. (Dan Jenkins) renamed Aberporth
The Jenkins Bros. were well known Cardiff shipowners with a substantial fleet. One member of the family, Daniel (Bryntirion, Aberporth) broke away from the family group to establish the Aberporth S.S. Co. It was a failure and the firm was soon bankrupt and the ship wrecked.

W. I. Radcliffe19044,748383x50.9x30.3

Built by Richardson, Duck & Co, Thornaby-on-Tees
(Wyndham Ivor Radcliffe was Henry Radcliffe's son)
Renamed Llancarvan - 13 March 1917
Torpedoed and sunk by submarine U-62 370 nautical miles (690 km) E by N from São Miguel, Azores at 38°24′N 17°18′W on 16 May 1918.[33]

W. I. Radcliffe19176,042430x55.6x28.7

Built 1913 as Clarissa Radcliffe by Craig, Taylor & Co., Stockton-on-Tees, delivered April 1913 (Yard No. 155)
1917 - renamed W. I. Radcliffe
12 March 1918 - torpedoed by submarine U-71 in English Channel, but made port.[34]
18 April 1935 - sold to N. Eusthattion & Co., Piraeus, named Marietta
1939 - sold to Leonhardt & Blumsey - Karl Leonhardt
16 March 1946 - Scuttled with ammunition in Skaggerak.


Built by Palmers of Jarrow
Sold in June 1902 for £9,500 to L. Overgaard, Norway - Nora.

Notable captains

Evan Thomas Radcliffe brand was sold to the Evan Reid Group of Cardiff.


  • Jenkins, David, Cardiff tramps, Cardi crews, Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society, Vol. 10, nos. 1-4 - 1984-1987, ISSN 0069-2263
  • Jenkins, J. Geraint, Evan Thomas Radcliffe : a Cardiff Shipowning Company, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, 1982, ISBN 978-0-7200-0247-8

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