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W H J ALEXANDER LTD

Company Reg No. 245855 incorporated 1929 and dissolved 1978.  

SUN TUGS

Page last updated 23-3-2013

   
 
 
William Henry James Alexander was born in Milton, Gravesend in 1858.  W.H.J. Alexander Ltd began operating from Wapping as a lighterage company in 1883. In 1891 he was living at 83 Pepys St, Deptford. 1899 saw the beginning of the use of the prefix 'Sun' on all their vessels. For many years they were based at St. Johns Wharf, Wapping, where 'WHJ' was reputed to often sleep on a camp bed. WHJ died in 1929 and the business was inherited by his six sons, all tug masters, and two daughters. Besides owning tugs and lighters the family also owned sailing vessels, one of which the Orion had been built in Rotterdam in 1901. William's sons, George and Charles,  ran the business after their fathers death, and they also skippered  tugs at Dunkirk. 1938 saw them contributing four tugs and 150 barges to the Silvertown Services consortium and thereafter they concentrated on ship towing. On 27-1-1969 they joined with Ship Towage (London) Ltd to form London Tugs Ltd. Tugs not mentioned in these pages will be found under the London Tugs Ltd fleet list.

FLEET LIST

FRANK - SUN XI

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FRANK
 
Photog unknown
  
Built 1896 by by R. Craggs & Sons, Tees Dockyard, Middlesbrough. L74.5'. B17.8'. D9'. 76grt. 3nrt. 320ihp 2cyl 14"x30"x22"s compound steam engine by J Stewart and Sons Ltd., Blackwall. ON108814. 
 
 1896 Launched named Looker for Joseph Constant, London.  1896 Completed renamed Frank.  1897 Sold to Harry Reep, London.  1900 Sold to Ada Reep & Cecil Cancellor, London.  1903 Sold to John Ash Thompson, Cardiff.  1906 Sold to Charles W. Duncan & Ernest Harrison, Middlesbrough. 1914 Transferred to Charles Duncan & Son Ltd., Middlesbrough.  23-12-1914 Sold to William H. J. Alexander, Wapping.  26-1-1915 Sold back to Charles Duncan & Son Ltd., Middlesbrough.  19-5-1917  Chartered to Elliot Steam Tug Company Ltd., London and requisitioned by Admiralty for service on River Thames, based Sheerness. 3-11-1919 Returned to owners. 1919 Sold to William J. Guy, Cardiff.  1929 Sold to Loucas G. Matsas & Sons, Piraeus, renamed Taxiarchis. [Call Sign: S.Z.M.Q.] 8-1978 Scrapped at Perama.   
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LITTLE ENGLAND
 
Photo M Wemban colln.

Built 1884 by Francis Mowatt, Castle Iron and Steam Works, Milford Haven. Steel screw tug. L73’. B14.7’. D8.2’. 50grt. 160ihp 2cyl 16"x30"x18"s compound engine by E. Burrell and Sons, Thetford. Acquired 1884. Disposed 1889. Scrapped 1929. Official No. 91857.

1884 Delivered to Unknown owner. 1885 Ourchased by William Henry James Alexander, Wapping, London, named Little England. 1888 Sold to Robert Stoker, Paul and William Paul, Ipswich. 2-1891 Sold to J. H. Heron and W T Postlethwaite, Liverpool. 3-1893 Sold to  W. T. Postlethwaite, Liverpool. 7-1894 Sold to Liverpool Screw Towing and Lighterage co., Liverpool, renamed Sedgecock. 9-1904 Sold to  Francis and Samuel Burns and James Strong, Belfast. 1-1906 Transferred to James Strong, Belfast. 1928 Scrapped at Belfast.
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STOCKWELL
 
Photo Ray's Colln.

Built 1890 by Stewart and Latham Ltd., Blackwall.  . L67.5’. B15.1’. D7.8’. 47grt. 8nrt. 45nhp 2cyl 14"x28"x20"s compound steam engine by Vulcan Ironworks Co., Hull. Acquired 1890 Disposed 1938. ON98041.

1890 Delivered to George J Lucas Ltd, London, named Stockwell. 3-1890 Purchased by  W. H. J. Alexander, London. 1-1912 Renamed Sunlit. 1918 Service with US Army. 2-11-1929 Transferred to  W P & G F Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W H J Alexander Ltd., London. 3-10-1938 Sold to Silvertown Services Ltd for £1000, renamed Silverlit. 11-1940 Req by Admiralty for patrol service. 3-4-1942 War Dept. service. 4-11-1942 On Admiralty service in South Atlantic. 23-11-1942 Sold to British Government [MoWT], for service in Africa. 8-1946 Sold to unspecified owners in West Africa- no further trace.
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SUN
 
 
Photo Ray's Colln.
 
Built 1906 by R. Cock & Sons, Appledore. YN119. L87.3'. B22.3'. D10.5'. 130grt. 550ihp 3cylTE 14"x21.5"x34.5"x24"s 170psi steam engine by J. Stewart, London. Acquired 1906. Disposed 1964. Scrapped 1964. ON120665. Call Sign HGFC later MCLE.

2-1906 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London.  1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London.  1929 Transferred to W. H. J. Alexander Ltd., London. 30-5-1940 Working off Dunkirk during evacuation. 1-6-1940 Under Master H. Cole collected 20 ships lifeboats from Tilbury and towed to Ramsgate. 1-6-1940 1730 Departed Ramsgate towing a launch and 2 lifeboats to  Dunkirk and returned with 173 troops and 28 RN ratings.  Stationed on Thames throughout WW2. 15-5-1964 Arrived at T Ward Ltd, Grays, for scapping.  
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SUN II
 
SUN II. Photo M Wemban colln. 
 
Photo Ray's Colln.
Photo M Wemban colln

Built 1909 by Earles Ltd., Hull. YN556. L100'. B25.6'. D11.3'. 197grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15"x24"x40"x27"s 180psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1909. Disposed 1956. Scrapped 1966. ON129010. Callsign HPDV later MCZB.

24-4-1909 Launched for J Constant, London on behalf W H J Alexander. 6-1909 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander, London.  3-6-1914 Req for Admiralty service, Sheerness. 2-5-1916 Involved in salvage of SS Fridland. 28/30-6-1917 Involved in salvage of SS A B Sherman. 5-12-1917 returned to owner. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London.  1929 Transferred to W. H. J. Alexander Ltd., London.  8-1939  Req by Admiralty. Based Southend under Naval control. 21-9-1945 Returned to owners. 14-11-1955 Picked up six crewmen, standing on wheelhouse roof of coaster Monica M, which had sunk in River Thames following a collision. 20-3-1956 Sold to J.H. Piggott Ltd., Grimsby, renamed Lady Thelma. 27-4-1966 Arrived for scrapping  by P & W McLellan, Bo'ness. 25-5-1966 Scrapping commenced.
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SUN III
 
Photo STL Colln.

Built 1909 by Earles & Co Ltd., Hull. YN557. L100'. B25.6'. D11.3'. 197grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15"x24"x40"x27"s 180psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1909. Disposed 1956. Scrapped 1967. ON129020. Callsign HPGW later MCZK.

5-6-1909 Launched for J Constant, London on behalf W H J Alexander. 7-1909 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander, London. 3-8-1914 Req by Admiralty for service at Sheerness. 1915 Renamed Succour. 1919 Returned to owners, re-renamed Sun III. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London.  1929 Transferred to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London. 8-1939 Req by RN based Southend.  1-6-1940 Under Capt. F.W. Russell crossed to Dunkirk towing sailing barges. 14-8-1945 Returned to owners. 31-5-1956 Sold to J.H. Piggott Ltd., Grimsby, renamed Lady Sarah. 23-6-1967 Arrived Hughes Bolchow Ltd, Blythe, for scrapping.
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SUN IV
 
Photo Ray's Colln.
 
Built 1915 by Earles & Co., Hull. YN613. L105'. B25.5'. D12.4'. 200grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x24"x40"x27"s 180psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1915. Disposed 1966. Scrapped 1979. ON139075. Callsign JLQT later MFXR.
 
17-3-1915 Launched for J Constant, London on behalf W H J Alexander. 8-1915 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander, London. 17-4-1919 Beached SS Emma Mincos at Swanscombe after steamer involved in collision. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London. 5-11-1931 Towed fish carrier Vigilant 2, with defective engine, Gravesend to Billingsgate.  31-5-1940 Towed nine small boats to Dunkirk under Master G. C. Alexander. 1-6-1940 Working off Dunkirk beaches. Loaded 112 men and tugs engineer Wally Jones pulled his own brother, a soldier, from the sea. Towed Walton lifeboat back to Ramsgate. (See log on Tugs of War (1) page). 2-6-1940 07.40 Landed 139 Dunkirk evacuees at Ramsgate. 4-6-1940 Landed 12 Dunkirk evacuees at Ramsgate.  14-10-1940 Req by Admiralty, Steel and Bennie Ltd, Glasgow managers.18-2-1946 Returned to owners. 1-1958 Converted to oil firing. 1966 Sold to Societa Rimorchiatori Napoletani, Naples, renamed San Benigno. 12-1978 Scrapped by Palermo Salvatore & Company, Naples.
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SUN V
 
Photo Ray's Colln.
 
Built 1915 by Earles & Co Ltd., Hull. YN612. L105'. B25.5'. D12.4'. 200grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x24"x40"x27"s 180psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1915. Disposed 1966. Scrapped 1979. ON139071. Callsign JLQB later MFXN.
 
19-3-1915 Launched for J Constant, London on behalf W H J Alexander. 7-1915 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London. 30-12-1939 Req by RN. 28-5-1940 Towed cutters to Dunkirk under Capt W. Mastin. 29-5-1940 0015hrs Destroyer Montrose collided with tug and came off worst, having to be beached to prevent sinking. 1-6-1940 Working off Dunkirk. 12-11-1945 Returned to owners. 10-1958 Converted to oil fired boiler. 1966 Sold to Societe Rimorchiatori Napoletani, Naples, renamed Punta Alice. 12-1978 Delivered to Palermo Salvatore & Company, for demolition at Naples. 3-1980 Demolition commenced. 8-1980 Completed.


Photo Svitzer UK colln

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SUN VI
 
Photo Ray's Colln.
 
Built 1902 by Allsup & Co Ltd., Preston. YN178. L90'. B19.6'. D10.1'. 139grt. 550ihp 2cyl compound 17"x35"x24"s 180psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1915. Disposed 1960. Scrapped 1960. ON93654. Callsign TWPK later MDSC.
 
11-1902 Delivered to Kings Lynn Conservancy Board named Conservator. 1915 Acquired by W.H.J. Alexander, London, renamed Sun VI.  30-6-1926 Assisted collision damaged Woolwich ferry Squires to berth at North Woolwich. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London. 9-1939 Req by Admiralty. based Sheerness as Dockyard tug. 12-12-1945 Returned to owners. 20-12-1960 Arrived at T.W. Ward Ltd., Grays, for scapping.
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SUN VII
 
In wartime grey, 1940. Photo Ray's Colln.
 
Built 1917 by Rennie Forrest Ltd., Wivenhoe. YN1267. L105.2'. B25.5'. D12.2'. 202grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x24"x40"x27"s 180psi steam engine by Earles Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1917. Lost 1941. ON 142325, Callsign MJBG.
 
12-1917 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander, London. 23-3-1918 Req by  Admiralty for service at Rosyth.  20-12-1919 Returned to owners. 26-1-1920 Flooding number one hold of SS Benoni on fire with cargo of Manila, Jute and Hemp off Gravesend. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London. 9-1939 Req by Admiralty for Downs Patrol . 31-5-1940 Under Master G. Cawsey crossed to Dunkirk towing five tenders from RAF Calshot. 1-6-1940 Crossed again to Dunkirk. 6-3-1941 Mined and sunk, 1-2 miles 60 degrees North Knob Buoy, Barrow Deep, Thames Estuary, five crew lost.
 
Merchant Navy Memorial, Tower Hill, London.
 
 
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SUN VIII
 
See in London Tugs fleet list.
 
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 SUN IX
 
Photo L. Sherritt colln.
 
 
Photog unknown
 
Built 1919 by Cochrane and Sons, Selby. YN732. L100.3'. B25.6'. D11.8'. 196grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15"x24"x40"x27"s 180psi steam engine by Earles Ltd., Hull. Acquired 1920. Lost 1940. ON144405. Callsign KDVW later MJWN.
 
29-7-191 Launched. 1-1920 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London.11-1939 Req by RN for Southend Naval Control.  21-12-1940 Struck mine and sank, between 1 and 2 buoys, Yantlet Channel, Thames Estuary. Three hands lost. 1942  Raised and laid-up by the Ministry of War Transport. Subsequently demolished by T W Ward Ltd., Grays.
 
Merchant Navy Memorial, Tower Hill, London
 
 
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SUN X
 
See in London Tugs fleet list.
 
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SUN XI
 
Photo Rays Colln.
Photo W Simson colln
 
Built 1925 by Earles Ltd., Hull. YN651. L100'. B25.6'. D12'. 183grt. 750ihp 3cylTE 15.5"x24"x40"x27"s 180psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1925. Disposed 1964. Scrapped 1985. ON148618. Callsign KSRG later MNGS.
 
12-5-1925 Launched. 6-1925 Delivered to W.H.J. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W. P. & G. F. Alexander, London. 1929 Transferred to W.H.J. Alexander Ltd., London. 31-5-1940 Under Capt. J.R. Lukes Crossed to Dunkirk. 1-6-1940 In Channel recovered lighter full of wounded troops, including survivors from HMS Keith and tug St. Abbs. 3-6-1940 08.37 Landed 188 Dunkirk evacuees at Dover. 23-7-1940. Req by MOWT for port service. Steel and Bennie Ltd, Glasgow managers.  2-11-1944 Returned to owners. 1964 Sold to Schelde Sleepvaartbedrijf NV, Antwerp, renamed Schelde X. 3-1966 Sold to Rimorchiatori Sardi SMA, Cagliari, renamed Andrea. 1985 Broken up by Caprioni SPA, at Porto Torres.
 
 
 
 
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