Capt. Arthur David LINKLATER

Captain Arthur David LINKLATER 1879 - 1955

Salving the S.S. Lotusmere (i)

There lies the port

L.V. Hesperus - the Gaspar Light Finally, here is a less run o' the mill task on which there is quite a lot of detail. This instruction is addressed to “Captain A. D. Linklater Commanding D.V. Retriever” and is dated 19th January 1915. It contains two parts; the first, the specific task with which Arthur was charged, is typed. The second part was printed as paras. 2,3,4 and 5 and evidently constituted standing instructions to Commanders. SIR,
You are hereby directed to proceed down the river and carry out the following orders;
Please arrange to leave Calcutta tomorrow morning, the 20th instant, and proceed, to Madras. There, make what arrangements you may consider necessary for the salving of the S.S. Lotusmere, which has been reported aground on the Ennore shore about 7 miles north of Madras. If operations are likely to be protracted, advise me by telegram before taking the matter in hand. You will please do all in your power to render assistance to this vessel, at the same time taking care not to run any undue risks. Instructions have been sent to the Secretary of the Madras Port Trust to render you any financial assistance you may require.
On your way down the river please arrange, if possible, to supply oil to the Light Vessel Hesperus at the Lower Gaspar. I will contrive to telegraph to you from Saugor tomorrow the state of the sea off the Madras Coast, as shown in the day's weather report. I will address any communications to you C/o the Port officer, Madras.

2. A report should be furnished on completion of your work immediately you return to Calcutta or from any place you are ordered to anchor.
3. Whether proceeding up or down the river, you will invariably ease down and test the best track on all bars, crossings or places that are subject to changes and if less water is found that is shown in the latest charts you have on board, or has otherwise come to your knowledge, you will telegraph the information from the nearest office both to Calcutta and Diamond Harbour, unless no time will be lost inward bound by bringing the information.
4. Alteration of channels should be given to all ships likely to be crossing these places before the information could otherwise reach them.
5. You will report as to all buoys and light vessels being in position and leading marks if defective must be repaired at once. The condition of all other River Marks are to be noted.
I am, sir,
Your Obedient Servant,
[signed] E. N. Constable
Deputy Conservator
Of course what E. N. Constable really meant was ‘I am, Sir, your Commanding Officer.’ The only reference I have been able to find for the S.S. Lotusmere refers to her as a turret-decked steel screw steamer built for the Irismere Steam Shipping Company by Doxford's at Sunderland in 1908. Registered at 3,910 tons gross (2,491 net & 3,218 underdeck), she measured 350 feet in length with a 49 foot beam and was fitted with Doxford's own 3-cylinder triple-expansion engine developing 292nhp. Her career ended abruptly when she became a War casualty on 2nd October 1916. Whilst on passage from Barry Docks to Archangel with a cargo of Welsh steam coal, she was captured and then torpedoed in the Arctic by the German submarine U-48 about 50 miles N.N.E. of the Teriberski Lighthouse. A ship aground off Madras in January 1915 could have been sunk in the Arctic a year and a half or so later, but it is not certain they were one and the same ship. The next 3 pages deal with Arthur salving ‘his’ S.S. Lotusmere

  1. Arthur usually refers to her as “dear old Auntie May”
  2. Arthur usually refers to him as “dear old Bob”

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