Swansea and Port Talbot Docks History

Alexandra Tugs

This page contains a presentation of the Alexandra Tugs at Swansea through the years.

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Below are old photos of some of the tug crews.

Tug crew taken early 1960’s

Britannia Towing Crew Members 1950’s

From left,
Graham Reynolds, Capt. Jack Williams, Jan Staszak, Billy Dalling,
Des Buckley, Joe Vine.

From left,
Unknown, Des Buckley, unknown, Capt. Tommy Pickard.

The Crew of the Herculaneum Taken in 1950’s

The Crew of the Brynforth, Early 1960’s

From left
Paddy O’ Halloran, Jock Pottinger, Capt. Frank Heslop, Farley,
Vivian Archie Moor, Harry Hooker, Arthur Reading


From left,
Ivor Rowlands, Brian Leeworthy,Capt. Danny Jones, Stuart Jones,
David Garrington, Kishan, Jan Staszac

Tug Sloyne

Tug Mumbles
American Harvester

This photo was  taken  in  Hamburg  in  May  1981  on  board  the  tug  Hendon,  where  we  were  to  tow  a  brand  new  floating  crane  to  Port  Suez.  The  job  was  eventually  aborted  due  to  financial  wranglings.The  crew  are.....Back  Row    Myself,  Capt.  Frank  Heslop,  Clifford  Hughes,  Gordon  Harris,  (all  have  since  crossed  the  bar)  Front  Row.....Mike  Arthurs,  John  Blackmore,  Jack  Gunshon.


 This photo  was  taken  in  1997  when  five  of  us  received  gold  watches  in  recognition  of  30  yrs.  service  From  left....Graham  Davies,  Myself,  the late  Clifford  Wiltshire,  Billy  Doel  and  my  brother  Sidney  Tovey.

This picture was taken in October 1998 on the sad occasion of Howard Smith Towage deciding to cease trading in Swansea.
The photo was taken aboard the Egerton.

The Trover.

The  Trover,  the  last  tug  ever  to  be  painted  in  the  livery  of  the  Britannia  Steam  Towing  Company.

Built  in  1943  by  Richard  Dunston,  Hessle,  as  TID  59.  purchased  by  A.T.C.L.  in  the early  seventies  for  Civil  Engineering  work  at  the  new  Port  Talbot  Tidal  Harbour.  Later  sold  and  renamed  Lady  of  Menai.


The photos below are of the first three tugs to be brought to Swansea at the start of the Alexandra Towing Company’s activities at the port in 1924. The ‘Canada’ arrived in March of that year, with the ‘Albert’ and the ‘Herculaneum’ following in December. The company opened its office in Somerset Place, Swansea, in January 1925.  


148 GRT, 5 NRT, (92.5'x20.1'x10.8')

steel, 1 scr, C2cyl by shipbuilder, coal fired, 69nhp-600ihp, sp 12kn

 1902: Built by "John Jones & Sons" at Birkenhead (YN 190)

1902 -xx/04: delivered to "ATCL - Alexandra Towing Co Ltd" at Liverpool

        (GBR flag, regd Liverpool, ON 115267)

1933 -xx/01: sank after hitting a sunken coal elevator in Canada Dock (3 crew lost), raised and rebuilt

1938: transferred to Swansea

1939: broken up at Llanelli.


CANADA 1893:

 Steel, 1 scr, C2cyl by "Muir & Houston" at Glasgow, coal fired, 74nhp-550ihp.  Built by "S. McKnight & Co" at Ayr (GBR) (YN 41) 1894 -xx/01: delivered to "ATCL - Alexandra Towing Co Ltd" at Liverpool (GBR) (GBR flag, regd Swansea, ON 102127)

1950: for breaking up to "Rees Bros" at Llanelly (GBR)

 Steel, 1 scr, C2cyl by shipbuilder, 79nhp  1909: Built by "John Cran & Somerville" at Leith
(GBR) (YN 68) 1909 -xx/03: delivered to "ATCL - Alexandra Towing Co Ltd" at Liverpool
(GBR) (GBR flag, regd Liverpool, ON 127966, c/s MCXR)
1914 : in war service with the UK Admiralty
Broken up at Cork in 1961.

Ron Tovey Index Page