M/V Richard Campbell, serving Abaco from Nassau in the 1940s

MAILBOAT NAME: M/V Richard Campbell

PAST NAMES: not known – may not have had one
DIMENSIONS: 85.6′ long, 16.3′ wide, 8′ deep, 89 tons, Official # 159963
CONSTRUCTION: wood – sailing sloop with an auxiliary motor 
BUILDER: Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas
EARLY CAREER: served Nassau to Abaco by 1947
BAHAMAS CAREER: Served Abaco and Miami from Nassau from 1937 to at least 1947
CAPTAINS: Captain Russell (in “Islanders in the Stream” described as a “Conchy Joe captain and mate and all-black crew.”)
FATE: not known
OWNERS: Richard Campbell, Limited, Nassau, N.P. (for G. W. K. Roberts Co. Nassau)

Author Kevin Griffin kindly shared the following excerpt from his upcoming book;

“The G W K Roberts Co, also known as the Monarch Line also operated two small vessels, the 215-ton Monarch of Nassau and 186-ton Richard Campbell, which had been used on the Miami-Nassau mail route before the war, but these two were used on longer 12-day voyages through the Out Islands and usually called at the P&O Dock in Miami. Meanwhile, the Jean Brillant would return at the end of 1942 to resume her winter passenger and cargo service, and next time it would be for a longer spell.”

Here is a passage from “Islanders in the Stream: A History of the Bahamian People. Volume II, From the End of Slavery to the 21st Century” By Michael Craton & Gail Saunders (University of Georgia Press, 2000, pages 316-319) about young Jack Ford from Essex, England, who arrives via the M/V Richard Campbell in Green Turtle Cay in 1947:

“…they had been assigned to a tiny island 125 miles from Nassau which could be reached only by the weekly mail boat. ….The baptism was rough. The Fords set out for Abaco on July 20 in company with the Welsh Methodist minister and his wife on the rickety, cockroach-infested boat Richard Campbell (nicknamed “Wretched Campbell”), with its Conchy Joe [white] captain and mate and all-black crew. They slept on the deck in choppy seas, at dawn passed Hole in the Wall, the rocky southern headland of mainland Abaco, and reached the dock-less settlement of Cherokee Sound just after  sunrise. There the dinghies unloaded “crates of soft drinks, sacks of sugar and flour, and many boxes of good with only a set of initials on top to show who they were for,” taking some fine watermelons, crates of empties, and further orders in return. [citation]
Cherokee Sounds was only the first of the six Abaco settlements at which the Richard Campbell called, following a routine that, though tedious, greatly raised Jack Ford’s admiration for the seamanship, efficiency and toughness of Captain Russell and his crew. From Cherokee, they bucked northward over the ocean, to enter the more sheltered Abaco Sound through the white water of Little harbor Bar. At Hope Town on elbow Cay, the Chief Abaco settlement and home of the commissioner, half the houses were unoccupied because of migration and the remainder unpainted and showing the effects of a recent hurricane. … 
….”The last two stops before their destination were the settlements of Man-o-War Cay and Guana Cay, after which the Richard Campbell detoured to avoid shoals in the always dangerous and sometimes impassable oceans outside Whale Cay, re-entered Abaco Sound through the tricky Whale Cay Channel, and chugged the last five miles to the calm haven on Green Turtle Cay.” 


See also “Harbor Highlights,” by Grover Theis – Waterfront Reporter for the Daily News, The Miami News, March 27, 1940, page 4 A


Carl Sawyer, Agent (P&O Dock)

Mar 29 Richard Campbell due 2 pm passengers freight from Nassau – sails 2 days later


For data on ship/s see http://www.crewlist.org.uk/data/vesselsnumview.php?OfficialNumber=159963
 or http://www.shipindex.org/ships/richard_campbell