New Zealand


Walter Metcalfe

Emigrated to New Zealand on 22 October 1902, aged 17 years. Departed from London, England and arrived at Wellington, New Zealand stopping at Cape Town, South Africa on route. Also stopped at Hobart, Tasmania. Voyage took 68 days.

Sailed on the R.M.S. Gothic of the Shaw Savill & Albion Co Limited steamship line, registered office 34 Leadenhall Street, London E.C. under Master W H Kidley. 3220 square feet, 7755 tonnes, 259 permitted passengers, 239 actual passengers on voyage.

Occupation noted as Farmer. Sailed under contract ticket 01123 with Caleb Wyatt, aged 32, Farmer, Agnes Wyatt, aged 26, Wife, Jas. Metcalfe, aged 28, Farmer, and Frank Metcalfe, aged 11, Scholar.

RMS Gothic

GOTHIC was built in 1893 by Harland & Wolff at Belfast with a tonnage of 7755grt, a length of 490ft 8in, a beam of 53ft 2in and a service speed of 14 knots. Launched on 28th June 1892 she was designed for service in the North Atlantic but under the ownership of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. was placed on the Australian joint service. Her refrigeration was the newly introduced brine, carbon anhydride cooling system as opposed to cold air.

Only five ships were required for the service and her arrival released Shaw Savill & Albion's Arawa for charter. She was delivered in November 1893 and after a positioning voyage from Belfast to London with calls at Cardiff for bunkers and Liverpool where she was inspected by guests, she commenced her maiden voyage to Cape Wellington on 28th December. At the time she was the largest ship to enter the Pool of London and being the first ship on the route with twin screws she made a record passage of 37.5 days.

During the summer of 1902 she was deployed as a Boer War repatriation transport and operated between the Cape and the UK and the Cape to New Zealand. In June 1906 her cargo of wool caught fire when she was off Lands End and had to be beached at Cattewater, Plymouth. Her repairs took eight months and when she resumed service her accommodation was configured as 104 1st Class and 250 3rd Class. The First Class cabins were reduced to 3rd Class shortly afterwards.

She was refitted in 1907 and transferred to IMMC's Red Star Line and renamed Gothland for a service under the Belgian flag between, initially, Antwerp and Philadelphia and then Antwerp and New York. In 1911 she was placed on White Star's Australian service with the name Gothic and accommodation for 1500 steerage passengers. Two years later she was transferred back to the Red Star Line under the ownership of Soc. Anon de Nav. Belge-Americaine of Antwerp for a summer service Rotterdam - Quebec - Montreal as the Gothland.

In June 1914 she ran aground on Gunners Rock in the Scilly Isles. All 281 persons aboard were safely taken off by the West Cornwall Steamship Co's Lyonese and local lifeboats. Her repairs at Southampton took six months and by the time she resumed service Belgium had been overrun by the Germans and, consequently, she was transferred to the Rotterdam - New York service which she maintained spasmodically. After a refit in March 1919 she returned to the Antwerp - New York - Baltimore service and in May 1921 operated for White Star as the Gothland.

During 1922 she spent many months laid up and in May 1923 was tried out on an Antwerp - Vigo - Havana - New York service but that proved to be too protracted so she reverted to the Antwerp - Philadelphia run. She made her final Red Star voyage from Antwerp to Philadelphia in March 1925 and in January 1926 was sold for £16,000 and broken up at Bo'Ness, Firth of Forth.

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