Author Topic: Kellys Coal Boats  (Read 88302 times)


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Re: Kellys Coal Boats
« Reply #315 on: August 11, 2018, 11:20:03 PM »
Having unloaded bricks from Bloom in Belgium, the S.S. Annagher set sail from Abercorn Basin on Saturday 11th December 1937 loaded with 610 tons of scrap metal destined for Llanelly in Wales. Everything from a 'needle to an anchor' was how her mate William Hunter later described the cargo. The steamer kept to the Co.Down side of the Lough and with a strong wind blowing it promised a lively trip once the Copeland Islands were passed. Off Grey Point a slight list to starboard was noticed and when it became clear that to venture into the open sea in this condition would be foolhardy, Captain James McCalmont decided to turn back. By this time the steamer was off the South Briggs Buoy and having turned broadside to the wind, her list suddenly increased as the unwieldy cargo shifted. There was now nothing to do but run for the shore and with her starboard deck almost awash and her crew assembled on the bridge, the Annagher came ever closer to Ballymacormick Point, blowing her siren and firing rockets as she went. These were seen by Orlock coastguard s and Groomsport life-saving crew were called out.
The Groomsport men saw five rockets soar up and they scanned the wind-whipped sea anxiously for signs of a ship, but to no avail. Then in faint moonlight, a black object was seen in the water. It was William Hunter, the mate, barely alive and the only survivor of the Annagher.
Donaghadee lifeboat scoured the area for hours, but to no avail and one by one the bodies of nine drowned sailors were washed ashore. Hunter later said that the steamer had 'suddenly went from under us' but could not say how he, a non-swimmer should have been saved.
The wreck was located and buoyed, but salvage attempts failed and it was eventually dispersed by explosives.

My father James Hawthorne from Islandmagee served on board the "Annagher" . At that time the family had thought he had gone down with the ship. In fact my father had taken leave from that trip and was lucky to escape the fate.[/size]


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Re: Kellys Coal Boats
« Reply #316 on: February 02, 2020, 04:30:21 AM »
Browsing through this topic I found some interesting information of the history of John Kelly Coal Company although I note that many if not all of the contributors to the topic no longer post which in itself is another story.

Sadly many of the photos have been deleted but that is down to Photobucket's policy of no more freebies.

The following quoted paragraph from an article on the history of the company caught my attention,

"Samuel Kelly, son of John Kelly (founder of the John Kelly Coal company) was born in 94 Castlereagh Street, Belfast in 1867. When his father died suddenly in 1904 Samuel took control and continued to expand the Kelly fleet. In 1911 the firm became `John Kelly Ltd.' with a capital of £50,000. 

In 1921 Samuel bought the Annagher Colliery near Coalisland and  began   production in 1924. He brought two hundred miners from Cumberland  and   Scotland and built a housing estate, Newtownkelly, to accommodate  them."

I Googled Newtownkelly but it would appear to part of Coalisland and I'm not sure if the company is still in existence although there is a cross reference to Kelly Fuels Limited.

Anyhow, the history of John Kelly Coal Company makes an interesting read.


Billy Fish

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Re: Kellys Coal Boats
« Reply #317 on: February 02, 2020, 11:01:46 AM »

A great read at a bargain price. £46.00 on Amazon.  :o
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Re: Kellys Coal Boats
« Reply #318 on: November 08, 2020, 01:22:40 AM »
My Grandfather was a captain on Kelly’s coal boats in the 50s and 60s,  his name was Robert Johnston, he lived in the white abbey area in the 60 and 70s. I remember sitting in my granny’s house as a young boy and she had a radio that could pick up the ships radio and you could here them giving weather reports etc. The boat names that come to mind are the Ballyedward and the Ballrobert. He sailed between Scotland and Larne.