When the Calchas was launched at Belfast in 1947,
she became the third Blue Funnel vessel to bare the name. Calchas (1) was
6,748 tons and built in 1899, she was torpedoed and sunk off Ireland in
1917. Calchas (2) built 1921, and at 10,304 tons, was the largest of the
three, but sadly she was also torpedoed, and sank with the loss of 31
lives, off the Canary Islands in 1941.
Calchas (3) was the first of the Blue Funnel "A"
Class Mark I to be built, and was launched by the wife
of Lawrence Holt a director of the company. For over eight years she was a
cadet vessel, where most of her deckhands were
with 22 midshipmen, she also carried 14 engineer cadets.
Calches moved to Glen Line in
1957 and renamed Glenfinlas. On her return to Blue Funnel she reverted
back to her original name. In December 1971 she was transferred to
Elder Dempster Line, but unusually for the Ocean group kept the name
Calchas for several months, before adopting the E D's name Akasombo.
Calchas is pictured above, in Elder Dempster
colours, as she sails under a bridge at Montreal, Canada, on the St
Laurence river. She was the first salt water vessel to enter the Great
Lakes, after the winter thaw of spring 1972. And as tradition would have,
her master received a Bowler Hat and a walking cane, from the river
authority, for being in
command. She left the lakes as the "Akasombo" so this could well be the
last photograph of her as the Calchas in E D's colours.
By 1973, she was back in Blue Funnel on the Far
Eastern run as the Calchas. And on July the 22nd while in Port Kelang
Malaysia, loading rubber and latex, a petrol driven Forklift truck, fell
down a deep-tank full of rubber and caught fire. The resulting blaze
rendered her a total loss, and she was towed to Singapore for demolition
in November at the Kevn Hwa, Iron & Steel works, Enterprise Co Ltd.
This fascinating and historically important
photograph of her ablaze, was taken by Jerry Cartwright. He was Second
mate on her at the time.
Many thanks to Jerry, for lending me these two
Calchas at Singapore
photograph, from the Capt Robert Arfon Jones collection