MAILBOAT NAME: M/V Lady Dundas
PAST NAMES: none
DIMENSIONS: 92′ long (also described as 82.7” long, perhaps on the waterline), 19.5′ wide, 9.3 deep, 97 net tons, 115 gross tons, two-spar rig (schooner?), Fairbanks-Morse engine of 150 hp, 10 knots, capacity of 80 tons of freight, official # 159985,
YEAR BUILT: spring 1939
BUILDER: designed by Harbour Island resident, American ship designer Lawrence Huntington, built in Dunmore Town, Harbour Island, Eleuthera – believed by Berlin T. & Harry Albury
OWNER: Harbour Island Steamship Company Limited, Harbour Island, Eleuthera, later, in the 1970s owned by the Lady Dundas Limited, of which Mr. Basil Butler was a shareholder in 1974 (see below)
EARLY CAREER: replaced M/V Endion and S/V Dart, both of which Captain Harris had commanded. Serviced Dunmore Town, Harbour Island, North Eleuthera, from Nassau, but also plied the route to Cat Island and perhaps other islands, according to Benedict Thielen, December 1964
BAHAMAS CAREER: serviced Harbour Island with passengers and freight
CAPTAINS: William G. Harris and Roy William Smith, Esq.
FATE: In June 1974 M/V Lady Dundas was arrested by Haitian authorities on suspicion of smuggling – see below
NOTES: Her namesake, Lady Dundas was instrumental in establishing the first Bahamas Red Cross organization in Nassau, a role taken over by Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor soon thereafter. The Dundas’ were “pushed out” by London to make room for the Windsors in August 1940 and sent to Kampala, Uganda during the height of World War II…. She was the wife of Sir Charles Cecil Farquharson Dundas (1884–1956)
From Anne & Jim Lawlor’s “The Harbour Island Story,” page 151:
“Just a few months before the somber days of the Second World War, flags flew and the Harbour Island town band played as Lady Dundas, the Governor’s wife, broke a bottle of champagne over the bow of the Lady Dundas. This was the first of the inter-insular mail-boats that gained Harbour island new fame. Designed by Lawrence Huntington, the 92 foot Lady Dundas, with a two spar rig, was fitted with a Fairbanks-Morse 150 horsepower engine able to driver her at a speed of 10 knots and carry up to 80 tons of freight. Her Captain, William G. Harris, a veteran sailors, had captained both previous harbor island mailboats, the Dart and the Endion.”
In the honor’s list in the London Gazette of 11 June 1966, “Captain Roy William Lowe, Esq., Master of the M/V Lady Dundas, Bahamas” was honored. (page 6554, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/44004/supplements/6554/page.pdf)
“On June 8 1974 the Nassau Tribune reported “Haitian seize cargo freighter – report.”
The 85-foot Lady Dundas cargo freighter has been seized by Haitian authorities in Port-au-Prince and its captain and crew arrested on smuggling charges, unconfirmed reports state.
Local businessman, Mr. Basil Butler, a part owner of the vessel said Thursday that “the boat was supposed to have been engaged in legitimate trading business. This comes as a surprise to me.”
The boat, although owned by Lady Dundas Limited, of which Butler is a shareholder, was contracted to an unidentified Haitian operator, he said.
It is understood that the person to whom the boat was leased has also been jailed by officials in Haiti, according to Butler.
The Lady Dundas, which was detained for a short while in Cuba after springing a leak at sea, in late February, has not been in the Bahamas for over six months, Mr. Butler said.
He said he was unable to explain the situation as he could not make contact with Haitian authorities in Port-au-Prince.
He said to his knowledge the boat was carrying freight, “groceries and other goods,” between Miami and Haiti, When the boat was detained in Cuba, where it also underwent repairs, It also had problems obtaining information about her,” Mr. Butler said.
The vessel remained in Cuba for about three weeks before it went to Haiti, he said. It is understood that the vessel was sized sometime earlier in the week.
External Affairs official, informed of the incident, have requested a reported on the boat from the British Consul in Port-au-Prince.
They declined to discuss what problem had arisen involving Lady Dundas and her crew of seven. All the crew are known to be Haitian nationals.
“We are not certain what has happened to the boat but have heard some of the crew may be in custody,” an external Affairs Ministry spokesman said.
Aside from a detailed entry in “Mercantile Navy List 1957” giving specifications and ownership (HM Stationer’s Office, London, 1957), Anne & Jim Lawlor, in their meticulously researched 2008 book “The Harbour Island Story,” (MacMillan Caribbean, Oxford, UK), provide the following accounts of the Lay Dundas, drawn from the Nassau Guardian (4 April 1939) and the Nassau Tribune (9 June 1945). This is from page 151 of the chapter “The Ring of the Shipwright’s Hammer”, “Bahamas Fragments, Bits and Pieces of Bahamian History,” which quotes Benedict Thielen “The Bahamas-Golden Archipelago,” Holiday December 1964, pp. 62- 73, 135-140, http://www.jabezcorner.com/grand_bahama/golden1.htm, notes on Lady Dundas and the founding of the Bahamas Red Cross at http://bahamashistoricalsociety.com/newsletter/201111.shtml
MAILBOAT NAME: M/V Lady Dundas