RMS Conway, carried Mail UK-Savannah-Nassau-Inagua-Jamaica-St. Thomas-Portugal 1950s

MAILBOAT NAME: RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Conway 
DIMENSIONS: 895 gross tons, 260 horsepower, 215 feet long, 35 feet wide, 16 feet deep, two paddle wheels
BUILDER: William Pitcher, Northfleet England
EARLY CAREER: appears to have been dedicated to the West Indies mail service 1846-1867, or at least 1852-1867 when she was wrecked 
BAHAMAS CAREER: served Nassau and Inagua with international mail from UK, Jamaica, US
CAPTAINS: not known
OWNERS: West India Mail Company
FATE: Destroyed in St. Thomas US Virgin Islands in October 1867, scrapped in 1870.

NOTES: This entry arose from an article in the “Nautical Standard” of Sept. 18, 1852 which cites the predecessor the “screw-steamer Esk”, and which reads in relevant part:

“The Royal Mail steam-ship Conway (850 tons, 260 horsepower), having been fitted with new boilers, and undergone a thorough overhaul both of machinery and hull, sailed on Saturday for St. Thomas, West Indies…. After the arrival at St. Thomas’s of this steamer she will temporarily take up the route on the Northern Islands intercolonial station, now performed by the Derwent, which vessel will proceed to New York…. The Conway is to leave Savannah on the 4th of every month, and will touch ast Nassau (Bahamas), Inagua (Turk’s Island) and Jamaica, leaving Chagres [Portugal] for the same route on the 18th of every month. 

The mails for the Bahamas are now conveyed by the screw-steamer Esk to and from St. Thomas monthly, in correspondence with the TransAtlantic packets, but this vessel will be discontinued by the establishment of the new line of communication, which offers many advantages, not only to the Bahamas but to Jamaica, by providing a monthly mail conveyance both ways with Savannah, whence mails may be despatched by steam-boats and railway to and from New York, and consequently bu the British and North American packets to and from England. 

By this means, an addition to the fortnightly direct packets, Jamaica will have an extra post both ways with England, and the Bahamas two posts per month instead of one, as at present. …and it may be further observed that the military command at the Bahamas will be placed in easy and direct communication with the commander of forces at Jamaica. The mails to and from Turk’s Island are to be exchanged at Inagua. The directors of the Royal Mail Packet Company have made an offer to the Lords of the Admiralty to undertake this service gratuitously, involving the annual performance of 43,764 miles of steaming beyond the amount stipulated in their contract…. The time out to Nassau from Southampton by the new arrangmentes will be 23 days 16 hours, and home 24 days 6 hours, the course of post being 59 days.”

Source: “Nautical Standard” of Sept. 18, 1852

1846 – 1870 RMS Conway was a wooden passenger paddle steamer. Built by William Pitcher of Northfleet and launched on 19 November 1846. Gt 895; 215′ x 35′ x 16′; oscillating 2-cyl engines, 9 kn; passengers, 40. Single funnel. Maiden voyage Southampton-West Indies 11 April 1847. She was refit and re-engined in 1862. The original two small funnels were replaced with one large funnel and feather paddles installed. On 20 Oct 1867, she was grounded during the great St. Thomas hurricane, and her masts and funnel blown off the ship. She was scrapped in June 1870. She was the subject of a Belize Stamp – #770 (1985) $3.

For a vivid account of the loss of RMS Rhone as well as RMS Conway, see http://www.aquaventurebvi.com/account-vessey.html and numerous other accounts, as the RMS Rhone has become a popular diving destination in St. Thomas USVI