Happy Haggis will help you trace your Scottish family tree.

S.S. Daphne Disaster - 3rd July 1883

The sinking of the Daphne.

On the 3rd July 1883 the Clyde shipyards suffered one of their worst disasters. The SS Daphne was a 460-ton steamer to be used on the Glasgow-Ireland run. The ship was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Messrs. Alexander Stephen and Sons at Linthouse, Govan. Within three minutes she had capsized with over 200 workers finishing the internal fittings still on board. 124 died as a result.

As was usual in the launching of ships two anchors and cables were employed to check the way on the vessel after she had entered the water. On this occasion the checking apparatus failed to function. The starboard anchor moved some six or seven yards, but the port anchor dragged for about sixty yards and the current of the river catching the ship at a critical moment turned her over on her port side.

A joiner who survived named Kinnaird wrote: "I was busily engaged on the deck, and felt the vessel moving on the ways, and nothing occurred until she had taken the river. Then an extraordinary scene happened, and tremendous shouts arose from those on board. I felt the vessel toppling over to the right and in a moment every person on board was hurled into the water. The shrieks and cries were terrible. I, along with some others, scrambled on to the bottom of the vessel, which was turned upside, and retained a hold. In a few moments a man came round with a small boat, and asked me to jump into the water. I did so, and was rescued. There would be about twenty persons besides myself who clung to the bottom of the vessel, and also succeeded in getting into the boat. Round about I could see a large number of people struggling and shouting in the water. Prior to the accident there were so many men and boys on deck that it was difficult to move about. I believe that over two hundred people were in the vessel. I cannot possibly describe the heart-breaking scenes which I witnessed."

An enquiry was held and the yard owners were exonerated from any blame, leading to claims of a cover up. One of the outcomes of the disaster was the limiting of personnel aboard to only those necessary for mooring the ship after the launch. The ship was raised and repaired at Govan Dry Docks and emerged as the ‘Rose’.

Such was the scale and tragedy of the disaster that there are two SS Daphne Memorials in Glasgow. One is located in Elder Park, Govan and the other on the other side of the Clyde in Victoria Park, Whiteinch, representing the loss to those communities involved.

The following notes are from The Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette, 7th July 1883 & 14th July 1883.

Robert Baylis, aged forty-three years, a carpenter, is amongst the unrecovered dead. He resided in Paisley and was known amongst his fellow-workmen as “Paisley Bob”. He has left a widow and seven children, the youngest an infant. When his wife heard of the accident she hurried to Govan, but could not find him in his lodgings. He was one of those upon the ill-fated vessel. The poor woman stated that her husband left home on Monday morning. He turned back three times saying that he could not understand what was wrong but he felt ‘sweer’ to leave, as he felt as if something was going to happen to him.

The Daphne still lies in the bed of the river, and no search was made on Thursday for the bodies, which are still lying in her hold and engineroom. About thirty of the victims who perished on Tuesday were buried on Thursday, and a number were buried yesterday. The method fixed upon for raising the Daphne is to close up all apertures, pump the vessel dry and bring it on a level keel by means of pontoons. These operations will necessarily occupy a few days.

Her majesty the Queen on Wednesday caused to be sent to the Lord Provost the following inquiry regarding the catastrophe at Linthouse:- “Windsor castle, 4th July, 6pm. “From Sir Henry Ponsonby, Windsor Castle, to the Lord Provost, Glasgow. “The Queen hopes that the account of the loss of life at the launch on the Clyde is exaggerated. Her Majesty, who is greatly grieved at the disaster, asks if you can give her any further information”.

The following is a list of the dead who have been identified:
1/ Michael Flood, holder-on, Hamilton Street, Govan
2/ John Murray (30 years), fitter, Hamilton Street, Govan
3/ John Laden (14 years), rivet boy, 8 Muirhead Street, Partick
4/ Morris Dunn (50 years), labourer, 150 Hamilton Street, Govan
5/ William Mason (16 years), rivet boy, 21 Catherine Street, Anderston
6/ David Grumman (40 years), plumber, 8 Melville Street, Tradeston
7/ John Brookes (20 years), labourer, 85 Langlands Road, Govan
8/ W. Telford (21) dentist, 10 Parkgrove Terrace, Paisley Road
9/ John Manson (39), carpenter, 464 Langlands Road, Govan. View death Certificate & Register of Corrected Entries (compiled when death was not natural)HappyHaggis. Happy to Help.
10/ Matthew Young (40), boilermaker, Mansfield Street, Govan
11/ Angus McNab (19), apprentice engineer, 14 Linthouse Buildings
12/ Andrew Henderson (25), engineer, Overnewton, who was about to be married
13/ James Smith (32), engineer, Anderston
14/ Hugh McIndoe (17), apprentice fitter, 86 Queen Street, Govan
15/ Patrick Beattie (40), labourer, 57 Hamilton Street, Govan
16/ Daniel McKay (18), apprentice fitter, 30 Linthouse Buildings
17/ Alexander McGregor (15), apprentice plumber, 25 Merkland Street, Partick
18/ Michael Harkins (19), apprentice riveter, 44 Castlebank Street, Partick
19/ Crawford Dick (40), foreman Joiner, 3 White Street, Govan
20/ Robert McLellan (34), caulker, White Street, Govan
21/ John Kerr (30), engineer, Thomson Street, Govan
22/ James McNamee (23), joiner, Gallowgate, Glasgow
23/ Patrick Farrel (15), rivet boy, 44 Castlebank Street, Partick
24/ John Sutherland (26), engineer, 10 Parkgrove Terrace, Paisley Road. View death Certificate.HappyHaggis. Happy to Help.
25/ Robert McBryde (36), boilermaker, Fleming Street, Govan
26/ James Robertson (31), joiner, Craig Street, Kinning Park
27/ Dougald Morrison (43), plumber, Anderston
28/ Archibald Greenlees (30), engineer, 48 Elder Street, Govan
29/ Matthew Campbell (17), striker,Logie Street, Govan
30/ James Forbes (42), joiner, 16 White Street, Govan
31/ John Raeburn (40), ship joiner, 113 Dumbarton Road, Partick
32/ David Crawford (30), joiner, 43 Elder Street, Govan
33/ Patrick McGrevy (21), apprentice riveter, 84 Hamilton Street, Govan
34/ Alexander McAndrew (27), joiner, 55 Fairfield Street, Govan
35/ Thomas Fenton (24), joiner, 805 Govan Road, Govan
36/ John Cairney (24), labourer, 31 Hamilton Street, Govan
37/ Duncan McGregor (40), labourer, 108 Queen Street, Govan
38/ Arthur Graham (38), ship joiner, 28 Smith Street, Paisley Road
39/ William W.S. Wyper (25), ship joiner, 40 Plantation Street, Govan, newly married
40/ James Stewart (41), riveter, Crookston Street, South Side, Glasgow
41/ Allan McLean (36), joiner, 123 Stobcross Street, Glasgow
42/ Thomas Hector (16), apprentice carpenter, 181 Hospital Street, Glasgow
43/ Archibald Campbell (30), joiner, 697 Govan Road, Glasgow
44/ Donald McLean (45), caulker, 50 Hamilton Street, Govan
45/ William White (16), apprentice carpenter, 888 Govan Road, Glasgow
46/ William Duncan (30), carpenter, 30 Linthouse Buildings, Govan
47/ James McKenzie (40), joiner, 165 Centre Street, Glasgow
48/ Thomas Hoy (19), apprentice fitter, 24 John Street, Govan
49/ James Sharpe (19(, apprentice fitter, 338 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow
50/ Alexander McIsaac (24), labourer, 41 Albert Street, Govan
51/ Alexander Anderson (28), labourer, 41 Albert Street, Govan
52/ James Black (35), joiner, 19 Mansfield Street, Partick, married, leaves a widow and family
53/ Robert Weir (21), pailter, residing at 87 Plantation Street, Glasgow – leaves a widow and one child
54/ John Fulton (19), plumber, unmarried, identified by his mother who resides in Beith
55/ Andrew McCreadie McGill (18), plumber, married a few months ago and leaves a widow
56/ Alexander Wilson (28), rigger, Craig Street, off Scotland Street, married
57/ Samuel Morrison (30), chief engineer of the Daphne, 32 Stevenson Drive, Crossmyloof, Glasgow, leaves a widow and two children
58/ James McGough (22), riggers labourer, 3 Marr Street, Govan, unmarried
59/ John McNeminan (44), clipper, 30 Hamilton Street, Govan, leaves a widow and six children
60/ William Wilson (33), joiner, 4 Orchard Street, Renfrew, leaves a widow and five children
61/ Edward Goff (21), engineer, 38 Fairfield Street, Govan, unmarried
62/ George McGee (14), snipper boy, residing with his mother, a widow at 14 Hamilton Street, Govan
63/ Joseph Brown (17), apprentice riveter, 12 Victoria Street, Govan, the only support of his widowed mother
64/ James Hall, joiner, 18 Linthouse Buildings, unmarried
65/ Francis Harvey (22), riveter, 91 Roodpark Street, Govan, unmarried
66/ Duncan Morrison (60), rigger, 31 Copeland Road, Govan, leaves a widow and three of a family, all grown up
67/ John Young (29), riveter, 105 Hamilton Street, Partick, unmarried
68/ James Munro Dowie (20), apprentice carpenter, 73 Maclean Street, Plantation, Glasgow, unmarried
69/ James Miller (20), apprentice engineer, 4 India Street, Partick
70/ James Carbary (22), lanourer, 16 Linthouse Buildings, Govan
71/ James Cooper (27), joiner, 2 Hill Street, Anderston, Glasgow, unmarried
72/ Archibald Stewart (36), engineer, residing at Smith Street, Whiteinch, unmarried
73/ James Hutchison (17), apprentice fitter, Linthouse Buildings, Govan
74/ Alexander Maxwell (16), rivet boy, 107 Broomloan Road, Govan
75/ John Hay (16), apprentice fitter, 3 Helen Street, Govan
76/ John Phillip Lahive (23), carpenter, 3 Burndyke Street, Govan, unmarried
77/ Peter Bradley (32), labourer, 42 Linthouse Buildings, Govan, unmarried
78/ Archibald Pirrie (24), joiner, 810 Govan Road, unmarried
79/ James Douglas Stephen (14), apprentice plumber, 348 Windsor Place, Partick
80/ Charles McCarter (46), caulker, 25 White Street, Govan, inmarried.
81/ Archibald Redpath (59), engineer, 41 Dorset Street, Glasgow, married
82/ John Young (20), engineer, 6 Sommerfield Cottages, Whiteinch, unmarried
83/ George Burton (32), coppersmith, 5 Richard Street, Anderston, Glasgow, married
84/ Robert Baillie (46), shipwright, Inchinnan Road, Paisley, married
85/ Thomas Derry (19), labourer, 13 mansfield Street, Govan, married
86/ Robert McNee (33), joiner, Newton, Renfrew, married
87/ Simon Morrison (21) joiner, 145 Oxford Street, Glasgow, unmarried
88/ Hugh McIlveen (26), engine-fitter, 10 Pinkerton Lane, Renfrew, married
89/ Daniel Dillon (15), rivet boy, 114 Douglas Street, Partick
90/ Henry McLeary (57), labourer, 100 Queen Street, Govan, married
91/ Stephen Goodwin jun. (30), joiner, 91 Bromdyke Street, Govan, married
92/ Robert McLeish (20), labourer, 39 Hamilton Street, Govan, unmarried
93/ Joseph Cavanagh (23), riveter, 39 Hamilton Street, Govan, unmarried
94/ Malcolm Morrison (45), carpenter, 35 james Place, Govan, married
95/ Robert Hutcheson (32), joiner, 107 Graham Street, Govan, married
96/ John Macrae (63), joiner, 4 Hamilton Street, Govan, married
97/ James Welsh (22), apprentice riveter, 100 Harmony Row, Govan, unmarried
98/ Archibald McIlonnan (30), joiner, 41 Lambhill Street, Govan, married
99/ Joseph Cullen (21), holder-on, 11 Walker Street, Partick, unmarried
100/ David Gibson (19), engineer, 113 Brighton Street, Govan, unmarried
101/ John Gibson (25), joiner, 7 Clyde Place, Whiteinch, married
102/ Charles Proctor (30), joiner, 166 Castlebank Street, Partick, married
103/ Alexander Reid (25), carpenter, 12 John Street, Govan, married
104/ Robert Chrystal (29), engineer, 10 White Street, Govan, married
105/ Robert Macdonald (48), engineer, 69 Plantation Street, Govan, married
106/ John Redpath (22), engineer, 41 Dorset Street, Glasgow, married
107/ Neil Haggerty (54), caulker, Orchard Place, Govan, married
108/ James Blackie (37), engineer, 59 Washington Street, Anderston, Glasgow, married
109/ Unclaimed. Upon this body there were found a caulk-line, a gimlet, a two-foot rule, a pocket knife marked “W.H.”, a pair of boot laces in pocket, three lead pencils etc.
110/ James Sheridan (24), riveter, 39 Hamilton Street, Govan, married
111/ Alexander Mathieson (23), engineer, 29 Kinning Street, Glasgow
112/ William Finlayson (19), apprentice carpenter, 12 Fleming Street, Glasgow, unmarried
113/ Francis Paterson (28), plumber, 45 Hairst Street, Renfrew, married
114/ William Reid (23), carpenter, 30 Kinthouse Building, Govan
115/ Robert McWhinnie (55), joiner, 100 King Street, Govan
116/ Thomas Murray (53), labourer, 175 Possil Road, Glasgow, married
117/ Alexander Campbell (39), joiner, 27 Albany Street, Govan, married
118/ George Thomson (22), joiner, 4 India Street, Partick, unmarried
119/ John McDonald (15), apprentice joiner, 15 Gateside Street, Glasgow
120/ Alexander McLean McCreath (20), painter, 630 Murray Place, Govan Road, unmarried
121/ Morris Dunn (44). View death Certificate.HappyHaggis. Happy to Help.

Note: Three names are missing from this list.

Elder Park Memorial (left), Victoria Park Memorial (right)


HappyHaggis.co.uk ©