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Whale factory ship

The whale factory ship Southern Harvester at anchor in Longhope bay.Seen wae the Neb ower the port/qtr, Can anyone remember why she was there. I do know the reason but lets see if anyone else does, And no I dont think it had anything to do wae the large school o whales that came into Longhope Bay in the early fifties which is another story.
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Picture added on 23 March 2008
Alan, I seem to remember this ship being in some sort of trouble in the Pentland Firth. I cannot remember the year, but I seem to recall that the Longhope lifeboat attended. She was probably piloted in for repairs by one of the Lifeboat crew.
Added by Fred Johnston on 25 March 2008
Dont know why The Southern Harvester was in the bay, but it's good to get more photos from you Alan- thought "yae hid teen the poots wae hiz".
Look forward to hear about this and many more.
Added by John Budge on 25 March 2008
I have no memory of her there Allan, might this have been around 1956 when I was on the River Fisher? Would she have been coming round the north bound for the South Atlantic, or was the whaling finished by then?
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 25 March 2008
I haven't seen this photo before boys but I will try and find out for you.
I joined her Tyneside 8th October 1962 on what was to be my first deep sea voyage after about six weeks filling in time on the Norwegian coast. This was also the last British Whaling expedition. I doubt very much if any of us would willingly undertake such a venture these days.
This was the last.
Added by Ian W Gibson on 25 March 2008
I see she had both anchors down, might this suggest that weather conditions had been bad when she was there?
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 26 March 2008
If Sandy's memory was serving him ok he said it was 1952, and Fred's right. She was on passage when the crew were alerted by a horrible scruttling screeching sound coming fae the belly o her, so they put into Longhope bay to investigate. Sandy was wan o the divers that went doon an they found that wan o the bilge cods (bilge keels) had come adrift from the hull. Some forty feet or so was hanging down below the ship. He said that the rivits hid been riven right out o her so right enough no very nice in a bit o motion.------------Allan
Added by Allan Besant on 26 March 2008
I found a bit about her on another site, says she was sold to Japan in july 1963, and was scrapped in 1971.
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 27 March 2008
You are quite right Jimmy, she was sold to the Japanese after the end of the 1962/63 season for a period of 3 years, primarily for the quota rights which were valued at £450,000. At the end of the 3 years she was returned to Salvesen, by which time her scrap value was only £200,000. Salvesen then sold her on to A/S Akers Mek, Verksted, Oslo as a floating workshop. Thus Salvesen bowed out of whaling gradually over the 3 years. First closure was Leith shore station after the 1960/61 season. Followed by the Southern Venturer end 1961/62 then the Harvester.
The company had seen the writing on the wall and consolidated their coal/timber products link to Norway. The First of 6 "Sal" ocean going tramps, was Saldanha. A/B Gotaverken built one a year approx ending with the Salambria in 1964.....Ian
Added by Ian W Gibson on 28 March 2008
Yes Jimmy that is correct. She returned to Liverpool after the end of the 62/63 season. Shortly after her quota rights were valued at £450,000 and she was sold to the Japanese. Interestingly The Southern Venturer went the same way at the end of the 61/62 season. She & quota rights were valued at £2,150,000. The shore station at Leith ceased to operate after the end of the 60/61 season, so that in 3 years Salvesen left the whaling altogether and consolidated their Norwegian trade and also diversified a bit more into tramping, building 6 new 12, 000 tonners each year from 1959. All were built at A/B Gotaverken Gothenburg and prefixed "Sal". Saldanha, Saldura, Salmela, Salvada, Salvina & Salambria. I did about 5 years in total on them 2 trips of which ere in the region of 14 months but considered myself lucky in the days of 2 year articles.......Ian
Added by Ian W Gibson on 29 March 2008
Sorry about the repeat info boys, not completely on top of this IT lark yet.....Ian
Added by Ian W Gibson on 31 March 2008
Sammy and Sydney Taylor from Longhope were at the whaling down in South Georgia.
Anybody remember if they were on the Southern Harvester, or were they shore based down there?
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 01 April 2008
As far as I know Sam worked on a catcher and Sid was shore based I believe driving winches, hauling ashore the whales.
Not too many o these men left now who went away to the whaling.
Added by John Budge on 02 April 2008

Im trying to find people who knew my father his name was Ronald ( Nobby) Clarke he sailed on the Southern Venturer season 1952-53
he was employed as a Deck Galleyboy and was 20 years old.

My father died in 1962 aged 30yo,

I'd love to hear from anyone who sailed with him and would love to see any photos taken during his trip
My father was English about 5ft 10 tall, when he passed on he had receeding hair and wore glasses so may of been the same in 1952

Id appreciate any help in locating old friends of his and links to other web sites that maybe able to help

Added by Jason Clarke on 16 December 2009
Hi Jason. I am sending you an email with some links which may help.
Added by Craig Taylor on 22 December 2009
My father Tony Meechan (Galleyboy) was on the Southern Harvester in 1956. He did a couple of seasons and left in 1958. He spent a season on the Whale catcher the Southern Sundra. He has given all his photos whales tooth etc to the Greenock Museum.
I am trying to locate a picture of the whale catchers.
Added by Thomas Meechan on 17 February 2010
my father inlaw was on both the southern venterer and southern harvester if anyone remembers him he'd love for you to get in touch via my email. His name is RONNY SCOTT from jarrow,t yne & wear.
Added by GEORDIE MYERS on 14 March 2010
I have a whale's tooth that belonged to my Grandfather John Calvert. He was from South Shields. I've just discovered that it has "Southern Harvester, July 25th 1941" on the base of it. I also, have photo's of him on the ship. I'd love to hear from anyone that knew him. My name is Louise Calvert. I'm from Auckland, New Zealand

Added by Louise Calvert on 10 July 2010
my late father sailed on southern harvester & venturer when they got to the whaling grounds he was transferd to a whale catcher almost forgot he was a fireman on all three ships when it was in south shields in dry dock i was on standbye to join her as an ab but the crew member turned so i did not get the job
Added by Nicholas Duke on 12 November 2010
I'm writing a book about whaling and have enjoyed a correspondence with Robert Clarke, the whaling fisheries inspector on the Southern Harvester for several years. Does anyone have any information about, or memories of, him? He's now 91 and lives in Peru.
Added by Chris Kemp on 24 November 2010
Andy Sutherland fae Longhope did a 18 month trip on the Saldanha, am sure he said the captain was called George Barry from Newcastle
Added by Keith Dempsey on 27 January 2011
my father was on the whalers in the 50,s... one voyage i am aware of was he sailed onboard the Balena in 1958...his name was Errol Forsyth and was fireman on ship. would love to here from anyone who knew him or any whalers of that time......................thanks peter forsyth
Added by Peter Errol Forsyth on 03 March 2011
Hello friendly: I am working in a book on the boats that were taken apart in Santander (Spain) from 1960 to 2010. Of the first boat that I am going to try is of the Southern Harvester, taken apart in 1971. I comment this to you because if quereis to see a pair of photos of " Southern" before arriving at the taking apart shipyard, you enter the following page Web: www.andimar.es I hope that it serves the Link to you. A warm greeting
Added by César Solar Fernández on 05 March 2011
Until about 1958/59 my father worked for the Middle Dock Engineering Co. Ltd. in South Shields, County Durham (now Tyne and Wear). during the years up to that time the Southern Venturer and the Southern Harvester were regularly refitted there. The works canteen was not always popular with the dock employees and when Dad worked evening overtime I had the chore of taking him the food and hot drink for his meal break. After finishing his meal he often took me on tours of whichever ships he was currently working aboard. In this way I managed to tour both of those ships and I have fairly clear memories of boarding via the stern ramp and past the racks of flensing knives, looking down into the vast rendering tanks while trying not to inhale the all pervading stench of the whale oil. I also got to walk under the hull of the ships, being small enough then to squease between the keel blocks in the dry dock bottom. So I saw parts of the ships that their crews didn't see.
Some of the crew belonged to the North East of England and others settled here. I remember visiting an elderly (retired?) Norwegian ex-crewman whose bedsit was lined with what I later recognised as birds eye maple and lighted and warmed only by oil lamps and candles. His name sounded like "Ina" and I never knew his surname. Another ex-crewman was an Orcadian who had left the sea to work the Durham coalmines with the intention of saving enough money to return to the Orkneys and buy a croft. Dad had several whales teeth from the ships and he had given a pair of them to a young farmers son in Cumberland. A few months ago the boy, who is now a man in his seventies told me how they had been a geat curiosity when he had taken them to school and how he had eventually been obliged to gift them to his paternal grandmother for them to eventually disappear into the family. Recently I found a polished whale tooth amongst Dad's remaining effects. I think I'll pass it on to the retired farmer Dad would have liked the idea of a piece of maritime history transferring to a rural families history. I wonder what lineage researchers will read into that in a few years time.
Added by Ted Bains on 24 October 2011
My grandad worked as a 2nd engineer on the Southern Harvester in the 50's and he also serviced the harpoons on stopovers as they called them. his name was Billy (William) Regan.
We have a large tooth from a whale as our only reminder of his whaleing days.
Added by Gary Grieve on 01 March 2012
My dad Ole Krogli was a carpenter on both the Southern Venture and the Southern Harvester in the 50's until Chris Salveson sold out company in the 60's. He is 84yr in June and is celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary on 19th April this year. Am trying to put some whaling memoirs together for him. Does anyone out there remember him?
Added by Margaret Payne on 12 April 2012
.My Father told me about his time whaling but I can hardly remember his stories. His name was Robert Turnbull. He lived in South Shields, County Durham, which is now Tyne and Wear, I recall the name Harvester a ship he sailed on and am guessing it is one of the boats mentioned here, he sadly died a number of years ago, he would have been 91 years old, if there is any information out there about him and his time on the whaling boats, I would be very happy to hear from you.
best regards
Added by Robert Turnbull (junior) on 21 February 2013
Hello from Canada: I am presently re-reading the wonderful book "Of Whales and Men" by Dr. R.B. Robertson, published 1954. You may well be familiar with this volume. But if not, he was the medical officer on the 1950-51 British whaling expedition to the southern ocean. There are wonderful descriptions of the difficult work and life of a whaleman, general ship life, as well as numerous descriptions and photos of various individuals. I am quite certain that the ship seen in his photos , and described at length during that voyage, must be the Southern Harvester. I have seen this book for sale on both Amazon and eBay. Best regards - Steve.
Added by Steve Delve on 04 July 2013
My mother was born in South Shields, but married and moved to Lancashire. As a boy I spent many months a year with my grandmother and uncle in South Shields, and spend a lot of time down by the docks, where I would marvel at the Southern Harvester in port. The size of the cats from on board amazed me. I was given two whales teeth by the first mate, who, when in port used to go drinking with my uncle. I still have the teeth today. There used to be a Maritime museum in South Shields, which had pictures of the whaling ships which came to the Tyne, the Southern Harvester being one.
Added by John Barrow on 24 October 2013
My father was on the Southern Harvester in the late 30s. At the outbreak of WW11 he was transferred to catcher duties when in the ice in the southern oceans. At home in Northumberland England we had whales eardrums and other artifact from his 2yr stint whaling

Added by Jim Kelly on 03 November 2013
Just watched the Southern Harvester in a film; great tradition of seamanship,magnificent ships and remarkable people. I spent some time in South Georgia and the Falklands. They must all have been made of steel, men and ships!
Added by Nick Bradshaw; ex-RN on 20 November 2015
My father John Edward James Winstanley saved on the southern Harvester factory whaling ship I'm not sure which year but she was in Birkenhead docks on the Wirral can anyone help me find what year it was and if there's any pictures thank you
Anonymous comment added on 23 October 2019
Great stories, everyone - thanks!

My Dad had a copy of "Of Whales and Men", and I remember reading it as a kid and being fascinated by it. The book never mentioned either the name of the ship that Dr. Robertson sailed on or the name of the company that owned her (possibly because he had some rather unkind things to say about them for the way they left a badly-injured mate of one of their catchers in hospital on South Georgia for months on end, instead of bringing him home as they should have done!).

However, the funnels of the ship in one of the photos in the book look just like those of the Southern Harvester in the picture at the start of this correspondence, so I reckon she's indeed Dr. Robertson's ship.

Any thoughts, anybody?
Added by Dominic Ion on 12 November 2023
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