Isaac Thomas

1899 ~ 1921

Whilst researching the old photographs, we came across a sad story about one of Rhiw's young men. Isaac from Ael y Bryn, went away as a fireman on one of the Cardiff ships. Normally most young men who went to sea would go to Liverpool to seek employment, but it's obvious that young Isaac had more of a connection with South Wales as his father Griffith Thomas worked in the coalmines. His first ship was the "Afon Lledi" but when the tragedy occurred he was on the Hansen Shipping Company's vessel "Stevenstone". She was only six months old and was built in Bideford Devon, and indeed the Captain and some of the crew were from near by Appledore. She was a small steamer of only 1150 tons with a crew of 16, including Isaac and his frend Trevor Thomas from Cardiff. She left Blyth Northumberland bound for Elsinore in Denmark, with a full load of coal, but never arrived, and was never heard of again.


Afon Lledi


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Isaac and Trevor

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Isaac's Parents




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Hansen Line

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Telegram to his parents


Isaac's Letters Home


A Cardiff newspaper report.

Loss of The Stevenstone



Considerable anxiety is felt concerning the safety of the Cardiff steamer Stevenstone owned by the Hansen company (Limited) Bute Docks.

The vessel left Blyth for Elsinore (Denmark) on December 16, and was due to arrive three days later. The distance is 562 miles and as the boat has a loaded speed of nine knots per hour, she is now about ten days overdue.

There are a number of Cardiff men aboard and a report was current at Cardiff Docks on Thursday that the crew had been picked up, but the owners are without any definite information and enquiries are being made by them. The Stevenstone is a vessel of 1,150 tons dead weight, having been built at Bideford and launched in July last. On her last voyage she carried 962 tons of coal as cargo and 116 tons of bunkers making a total of 1,078 tons. She was fitted with two lifeboats, each capable of carrying twenty two persons and also up-to-date life saving appliances. She carries a crew of sixteen men, the following being a list:

Capt, F.E. Prout,. 8 The Quay, Appledore.

Chief Mate, J D Williams, 13 Ladysmith road Cardiff.

Chief Engineer, A. Charles, 34 Glenroy st Cardiff.

Second engineer, R C Stothert, Severn grove Cardiff.

Steward J Swailes, Haverfordwest.

Boatswain, F M Cox, 12 The Quay, Appledore.

AB W Cropp, 16 New Street Appledore.

AB J Whitlock, Silver street Appledore.

AB J McCullan, 44, Market street Appledore.

AB W Rice, 3 Railway street Cardiff.

AB A Lockhit, 2 Church street Newport.

Fireman, I Thomas, Rhiw, Pwllheli.

Fireman, A Cusstie, 11 Albion street, Newport.

Fireman, T Thomas, 11, Kerrycroy Street, Cardiff.

Cabin boy, C Clode, North Church street, Cardiff.

Donkeyman, J Paklukai, 22 Kingsland crescent, Barry.


Thanks to Mr E Morris for all his help.


Brief History of the Hansen Shipping Co. Ltd.

Sven Wohlford Hansen was born in Cardiff in 1876, son of Carl Hansen, a Norwegian who supplied pit props for the South Wales collieries, who settled in Cardiff in the 1860s and set himself up as an importer of pit props, subsequently becoming a coal exporter and ship insurance agent. Initially Sven Hansen worked in the offices of a french coal company involved in the export of Welsh Coal, but in 1910 he and his brother and father set up as Hansen Bros. Ltd shipbrokers and coal exporters. In 1915 Sven Hansen purchased his own ship, the Gledhow, and in 1916 added three more, the Natuna, Ellerslie and Penylan. Then in 1917 he purchased the whole of the fleet of the Hall Line plus four ships from another Cardiff company, Pyman, Watson.& Co. Although the fleet suffered the inevitable First World War losses he still owned 12 ships at the end of the war. He then purchased his own colliery (Graham's Navigation Colliery, Tredegar, Mon,) and the Northam, Devon shipbuilding yard of Clearhouses.

In the early 1920s he added three more vessels to his fleet, including the "Stevenstone" but by this time the slump was affecting business very badly and he sold up. He had been created a Baronet for his services to the war effort following the First World War.


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