Brew Family Ships - W

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Reg. No. 153950, code lettering LHVJ, a steel twin screw steamer of 9576 gross register tons and 5625 net, with an oil engine, electric light and a wireless. She was built in by Harland & Wolff Ltd. of Belfast as a passenger vessel with accommodation for 304 First Class and 104 Second Class passengers. Launched on 17 December 1929, she had a length of 461.2 feet, a breadth of 63.9 feet, a depth of 29.1 feet, was fitted with 16- cylinder engines, and was registered in the Port of Melbourne.  RMS Wanganella

Shortly before being commissioned under her intended name, Achimota, the vessel was bought by the Melbourne-based Australian shipping company Huddart Parker, and renamed Wanganella

Leonard Septimus Brew delivered her to Huddart Parker on her maiden voyage as Harland and Wolff's Guarantee Chief Engineer. She departed Belfast on 29 November 1932 under the command of Westralia's former Master, Captain G. Bates,  and made a record passage of just 31 days. News of the vessel's arrival in Sydney appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 2 January 1933, which reported, "The arrival of Wanganella provided the occasion for an unusual reunion. Mr. L. S. Brew, the guarantee engineer sent out with the ship by the builders, Harland and Wolff, found that the pilot who brought the ship into Sydney Harbour was his brother (Captain A. Brew), whom he had not seen for 20 years."

She commenced regular service with Huddart Parker on 12 January 1933.

Wavertree, possibly in San Francisco in 1905 Reg. No. 91286, code lettering KFBL, a fully rigged iron ship of three square rigged masts, weighing 2170 gross tons, she was built by Oswald Mordaunt & Co. of Southampton in 1885, originally named Southgate. She was sold to R. W. Leyland & Co. on 20 July 1888 and renamed Wavertree. She had a length of 279 feet, a breadth of 40.2 feet, and a depth of 26.9 feet.

Albert "Bert" Brew was appointed Master on 19 November 1904 and sailed her from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia, on 27 November, it being his first command, at the mere age of 25. He arrived in Sydney on 31 January 1905, and sailed from Newcastle, N.S.W., on 7 April to Mollendo in Peru, arriving on 10 June. He remained in Mollendo 5 months before sailing for Sydney again on 27 November and arriving 3 March 1906, a voyage of a full 11 months. (Also see Life on a Newcastle Bulk Carrier in 1905)

Albert left her in Sydney, and took command of Halewood, another ship of the Leyland line. She was sold to the Gulf Transport Line in 1909, during the demise of the sailing era, valued at only 3500. Wavertree had led a life dogged by storm damage. On her final voyage, attempting to round Cape Horn during a storm, she was damaged severely, and disabled, little more than a hulk, she limped into Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands.  Wavertree's Officers, 1904. Albert is in the back row on the left

Her owners sold her there "as is" for 2850. She was towed to Punta Arenas and spent the next 36 years in the Magellan Strait being used for wool-storage. In January 1948, she was removed and towed to Buenos Aires and remained there until the director of the San Francisco Maritime Museum found her, after a long search. She was made sea-worthy and towed to New York. 

Now in the process of restoration, Wavertree is open to the public in the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City, where copies of her logs and crew agreements are held. For further information regarding the demise of R. W. Leyland, see the entry for Halewood. See also Wavertree's crew list for the period January 1904 - March 1906.

HMAS (MV) Westralia Reg. No. 153935, code lettering VJNG, a twin screw steamer, 100A1, of 8108 gross register tons and 4717 net, with 3 decks, an oil engine, and 6750 hp, capable of reaching a speed of some 15 knots. She was built by Harland & Wolff Ltd. of Belfast and launched 25 April 1929. She had a length of 431.1 feet, a width of 60.2 feet and a depth of 28 feet.  

She was delivered to her owners, Huddart Parker of Melbourne, Australia, on 15 August 1929, and registered in that port. Originally operating as a refrigerated cargo ship, she was later employed in the Australian coastal passenger trade. Albert Halewood Brew served on her in the Australian Merchant Service in the Pacific Islands from 25 August to 12 October 1934. 

At the outbreak of the Second World War she was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy and commissioned H.M.A.S. Westralia, serving the Royal Australian Navy as an armed merchant cruiser from 1939 until 1946.

H.M.A.S. Westralia chiefly carried out convoy escort duty around Australia and New Zealand. She transported troops to Timor and New Guinea and carried out shipping patrols around Ocean Island and Nauru. She landed a garrison and engineers in the New Hebrides to develop a base for operations against the Japanese in the Solomons in May 1942. In 1944 she took part in landings around New Guinea the Dutch East Indies, and at Leyte. 

HMAS (MV) Westralia

In 1945 she was at the Lingayen Gulf landings in the Philippines, at Balikpapan, and Borneo. On 8 January 1945, Westralia was near-missed and showered with splinters from one of the two kamikazes which hit H.M.A.S. Australia. After the end of the war in Asia, Westralia repatriated troops and supplied the occupation forces in Japan. She was paid off in September 1946.

Reg. No. 186023, code lettering GRGN, this 12,624 gross register ton (7,333 net) oil tanker was built in Blyth, England, in 1954 by Blyth D. D. & Ship Building Co. Ltd. for Ampol Petroleum Ltd. Listed 100A1, the ship was powered by Sulzer Bros. 9 cylinder oil engines and 150lb boilers. She had 1 deck, and measured 556.4 feet in length, 72.2 feet in width, and 29.1 feet in depth. She was registered in London, her Manager was J. Patterson, and her Master J. Frampton.

Albert Halewood Brew joined her as a Foreign Supernumerary for a voyage departing Brisbane, Queensland, on 5 January 1959 and arriving Botany Bay, N.S.W. two months later on 7 March 1959. It is not known which ports were visited during the voyage.

Reg. No. 99628, code lettering NGLS, a steel screw steamer of 2594 gross register tons, with 1 deck and 240hp. She was built in 1894 by Short Bros. of Newcastle, her owners were Whitburn Steamship Co. Ltd., and her Managers were G. Butchart & Co. She was registered in the port of Sunderland, and had a length of 300.4 feet, a width of 40.1 feet, and a depth of 18.9 feet. 

John George Brew jnr. served on her as a Seaman for 2 voyages, from 9 April - 15 July 1897, and as a Boatswain for 2 voyages, from 28 July - 27 November 1897.

S.S. Woodville c.1909 Reg. No. 102028, a steel screw steamer, 100A1, of 2513 gross register tons and 230hp. She was built in 1892 by J. Redhead & Co. of South Shields, owned by the Woodville Steamship Co. of Limerick, her Managers were Balls & Stansfield, and she was registered in the port of North Shields. She had a length of 299 feet, a width of 40.8 feet, and a depth of 18.6 feet. John George Brew jnr. served on her as a Seaman for 3 voyages, between 26 August 1896 and 26 March 1897.

This picture of Woodville was kindly provided by Phil Pain of the Isle of Man, whose grandfather served on her around 1909, some years after John George Brew left her.

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