Headline: The Atlantic Transort Line 

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S.S. Surrey

Other names: Michigan, Harry Luckenbach
Sisters: Suffolk, Sussex
Builder: William Gray & Co., West Hartlepool, yard number 235
Launched April 16, 1881; maiden voyage August 14, 1881; torpedoed January 6, 1918
Hull: length 330'; beam 40' 2"; 2,949 tons; depth of hold 24' 6" and 31' 3"; 1 funnel; 3 masts; iron hull; 2 iron decks; wood shelter deck
Power: single screw; inverted compound engine by Blair & Co. of Stockton on Tees, cylinders 40" and 75" diameter, stroke 45"; 250 n.h.p.
Steam pressure 175 lbs.; bunker capacity 500 tons; 10 knots
Registered in London; official number 82885


This was the very first ship operated on behalf of the Atlantic Transport Line. The Ships Particulars Books kept by William Gray & Co. record her construction in considerable detail, and note that her accommodation was as follows, "Capn & spare aft, Officers & engineers amidship Crew forward Cattlemen below." John McRoberts noted that "she was furnished with every modern appliance and improvement." The Surrey was built and managed by Bernard N. Baker's London agents, Hooper, Murrell & Williams, and was chartered to the Atlantic Transport Line. Frederick Murrell, a native of West Hartlepool who was living in London at the time, clearly supervised the Surrey's construction on a regular basis and she was launched by Mrs. John P. Hooper. The Marine Engineer (September 1, 1881, p.135) records that Surrey was fitted with Mr. Raymer's patent distilling apparatus of a size calculated to produce 4,000 gallons of fresh water per day. In practice, this apparatus actually delivered some 1,500 gallons daily in excess of the stipulated supply.

The Surrey's maiden voyage took her from Barrow to New York with a cargo of iron ore. Shortly after she was chartered to the Royal Netherlands Steamship Company (KNSM) and fitted with accommodation for over 1,200 steerage passengers. She began sailing on the Amsterdam to New York on April 2, 1882, with 1,258 passengers and made seven voyages on this route under the command of Captain W. Bacon. After her year under charter Surrey was returned to Atlantic Transport Line and by early 1886 she was evidently under charter to the Cambria Line sailing under the command of Frederick Murrell's son Hamilton Murrell.

In 1888 the Surrey was renamed Michigan to comply with the line's new house style of ship nomenclature. The following year she was handed over to Williams, Torrey & Feild's Bernard Steamship Company (which sounds like one of the agent's single-ship companies), and in 1889 was sold on to Christopher Furness. In 1890 the Michigan was sold to Charles Lilburn and then again sold on to C. A. Betys (later Betys, Craig & Company) London. In 1893 she was purchased by Wilhelm Wilhemsen of Norway, and in 1900 was again sold. Her new owner, L. Luckenbach of the Luckenbach Lines, renamed her Harry Luckenbach and converted her to carry oil in bulk. On January 6, 1918, she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 84 in the very north of the Bay of Biscay, North West of Penmarch.

Sources: The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881-1931; http://portcities.hartlepool.gov.uk; Merchant Fleets in Profile 2; the Ships of the Cunard, American, Red Star, Inman, Leyland, Dominion, Atlantic Transport and White Star Lines, Duncan Haws, 1979; The Ships List; The Baltimore Sun, December 29, 1918; Brooklyn Daily Standard Union, July 31, 1882


For more information ...

Kinghorn "The Atlantic Transport Line 1881 - 1931" McFarland, 2011

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