HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu HMS Conway 1859 - 1974

Š Alfie Windsor 1998
HMS Conway - Click here to return to the menu

Other Vessels Named Conway

The name Conway has doubtless been used by many commercial vessels over the years. We are aware of the following:

Royal Mail Line

1846 - 1870 RMS Conway was a wooden passenger paddle steamer.

Built by William Pitcher of Northfleet and launched on 19 November 1846. Gt 895; 215' x 35' x 16'; oscillating 2-cyl engines, 9 kn; passengers, 40. Single funnel. Maiden voyage Southampton-West Indies 11 April 1847.

She was refit and re-engined in 1862. The original two small funnels were replaced with one large funnel and feather paddles installed. Click here.

On 20 Oct 1867, she was grounded during the great St. Thomas hurricane, and her masts and funnel blown off the ship. Click Here.

She was scrapped in June 1870.

She was the subject of a Belize Stamp - #770 (1985) $3.

In 1904 launched a new RMS Conway (Conway cadets served on this vessel).

She was 2,627 gross tons and steel built by Armstrong, Whitworth, Newcastle.

]in the mid 20's she was employed on the UK - West Indies run.

She was scrapped in 1930.

Emigrant Ship

1851-1875 a clipper ship with the name Conway was built by Owens & Duncan of Portland, St John, New Brunswick, Canmada. She was built of Hackmtac, pine, oak and birch, Ship rigged; sheathed in felt and yellow metal in 1853; partly fastened with iron bolts. Her tonnage was 1,195 tons using old measurements and 1,148 tons using new measurements. Her launch was announced in the local press and her Notice of Registration is held in the Archives of Canada.

Her voyages are not fully documented but:

  • At least one trans-Atlantic trip from Gourock in 1852, with story of passenger written in 1914, accurately describing the ship leaving Gourock Bay on 8th May 1852 (John Paton - Autobiography);
  • Sold to James Baines in April 1853 and was registered in Liverpool. She went from Liverpool to Quebec leaving in April and was back in Liverpool in October 1853;
  • From 1854 she started carrying emigrants to Australia and these seem to have continued through the 1860s. Some Australian records mistakenly refer to this vessel as HMS Conway.
  • There was an infamous trip to Australia in 1854, the first of five trips that have been ascertained:
  • October 1855 arrived Hobart Town;
  • 31 December 1856 arrived Sydney Town and returned to the UK via Bombay. Her master was Capt J Liston.
  • September 1858 she was in Port Philip Bay, Melbourne - two diaries of this journey have been transcribed, those of Annie Gratton and Fanny Davis.
  • In 1860 a trip to India was started with the family and wives of troops in the Crimea, but the ship hit a storm in the Atlantic, about 200 miles from Madeira. She was dismasted and then abandoned. The following day as she was being stripped, another Captain (of the vessel Home - name may have been Spence) with some of his crew persuaded those who were doing this to allow them to salvage the vessel. They set up a jury rig, and sailed to Barbados, taking six weeks. They had the ship repaired, sailed her up to New York and then returned across the Atlantic;
  • There is an indication of the Conway sailing from New York early in 1861 for London. She arrived August 1861 in London from New York with Captain Groves.
  • In 1861 she left Liverpool (where the first HMS Conway was then moored) for India carrying soldiers and their families.
  • There is mention in 1862 of the ship belonging to the de Passe White Horse Line on the trip to Brisbane.
  • In December 1862 she was in Moreton Bay, Queensland, departing in February 1863.
  • In 1872 she was in Bristol and sold to Henry Randall James.
  • She was abandoned at sea in 1875 at Latitude 45N and Longitude 44W (ESE of St John's, Newfoundland), with her crew being rescued by the German barque, Schiller (Golstein).

Harley Stanton has been collecting information on this ship for well over 10 years and his book is about rto be published (Sep 2019). We wil add publication details here in due cousresIf. But if you are interssted in a copy he canbe conteced on or by post: Harley Stanton, P.O. Box 450, Kings Meadows, Tasmania, 7249, Australia.

Other links:

Sailing Ship
On his album The Manchester Angel Ewan MacColl has a song Round Cape Horn describing the voyage of a sailing vessel named Conway. Lyrics here. This is definitely not the emigrant ship above as she never rounded the Horn, however it is not clear whether the name was randomly chosen for the song or if it refers to a real ship.

US Navy

William Conway, quartermaster, of Camden, Maine, refused to haul down his country's flag at the surrender of Pensacola Navy Yard to the rebels 12 January 1861. For his patriotic action he was presented a gold medal by citizens of California and in 1906 a memorial plaque was unveiled at his home in Camden in grateful recognition of his heroic loyalty.The US navy named two ships in his honour:

USS Conway (DD-70, Caldwell Class) ex Craven, a US Navy destroyer (launched 1918) was one of the fifth group of ships involved in the destroyers-for-bases agreement was turned over to Royal Navy crews at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 23 October 1940. She was renamed HMS Lewes. Commissioned in the Royal Navy 23rd October 1940, but did not enter service until February 1942 as a consequence of the need for extensive refit. This was not helped by being bombed while in Devonport harbour in April 1941. She was scuttled on 25th May 1946 off Australia.

USS Conway II (DD 507, Fletcher Class) Her keel was laid 5 November 1941 and launched 16 August 1942 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine. This Conway saw action in WW2, Korea, Vietnam and participated, as a recovery ship, in the "Apollo" space program. She never lost a man to the enemy. On 15 November 1969, Conway was stricken from the register of ships. She was sunk as a target with 5" gunfire by USS Henley (DD-762) 26 June 1970. She was a valiant ship. Her proud record of service in three wars was one to be envied by others who followed. Conway's honoured grave is 149.5 nautical miles due east of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay in 10,210 feet of water.


Vessels Named Conway Castle

Royal Navy

1804-09: HMS Conway Castle (54 tons) was a hired vessel called an Irish Gun Vessel. Details are very sparse but it seems she was hired for use against the French.

1939-45: HMS Conway Castle (FY509) was minesweeping trawler attached in 1940 to the Orkney & Shetland command. She was built by Smiths Dock Co., Ltd. (South Bank-on-Tees, U.K.), displacement: 274 tons.and launched on 4 Feb1916. She was taken over by the Admiralty in August 1939. and fitted with a 6pdr gun. Her role is not known but trawlers were often used in mine laying/clearing duties. Returned to her owner in October 1945.

R. Thomas & Co of Criccieth and Liverpool

A barque, described for some reason as a 'British Barge'. She was 1581 tons, built in 1893 at Sunderland. She was at sea in April 1893 (traveling from Sunderland to Valparaėso. She was German cruiser Dresden off the island of Juan Fernāndez (Robinson Crusoe), in February 1915.

River Pleasure Cruiser

The Conway Castle was launched in 1963 by the River Dart Steamboat Company to carry holiday makers on the River Dart. ]

In 1977 she was sold to Severn Leisure Cruises for use on the River Severn based from Upton on Severn. She was makeing the odd run in 2019 but has just failed her "MOT" and seems likely to be scrapped.

Colonial Mail Line or Union Line

SS Conway Castle  was built in 1877 by Robert Napier & Sons at Glasgow with a tonnage of 2966grt, a length of 349ft, a beam of 39ft 4in and a service speed of 12 knots. Similar to the Warwick Castle but with a different profile she was delivered for the mail service in September 1877. She became an Intermediate steamer in 1883 and on 10th May 1893 she ran aground and was wrecked on Vaudreuil Reef, 12nm from Vatomandry (Madagascar) while on route from London for Mauritius with a general cargo. Read more at wrecksite:


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