The Schooner ‘W. M. J.’

Written by S. Ablott
First Published
Code flag - JuliettCode flag - BravoCode flag - RomeoCode flag - Kilo


W. M. J. was a 79 foot schooner of 103 tons. The initials come from the name of her owner William M Jefferies of Briton Ferry in Wales who registered the ship at Swansea. After launching in February 1867 she went to Goole before her first sea-going voyage to Plymouth on the 25th of March, arriving on the 30th. She next made a stop at Paignton in April, then a trip up to Barrow in Furness before making her first visit to her home port of Briton Ferry on the 13th of May that year.

The Trade

She worked mainly in the UK coastal trade in the Irish Sea visiting the ports of Wales, Ireland and the West of England. She occasionally visited the East Coast and Mainland Europe.

The Docks at Briton Ferry
The Docks at Briton Ferry

On the 24th of July 1876 under the command of Captain Stephen Lloyd of Newport, she delivered a cargo of 21 foot lengths of rails to Briton Ferry. These were for the construction of the narrow gauge railway from the Kilkivan coal pit to the depot in Campbeltown by the Campbeltown & Machrihanish Light Railway Company.

The Wreck

In October 1890 a new skipper and mate signed on to the ship at Runcorn, Thomas and Patrick Hinds from Killough, County Down. Their first assignment on this ship was to take a cargo of coal out of The Mersey to Cork in Ireland.

They set sail from Runcorn on the 19th of October, but were forced to cancel the voyage and put back into Runcorn. They set off again on the 5th of November. On the 7th they reached the mouth of The Mersey, but the schooner went aground on Liverpool Banks and was totally wrecked. Thomas and Patrick Hinds were drowned along with two other crew, a man and a boy who's names are unknown.


Map showing the approximate location where the vessel was thought to have been lost, or the last known position.

Vessel Details for W. M. J.

Official Number:56032
Code Flags:JBRKCode flag - JuliettCode flag - BravoCode flag - RomeoCode flag - Kilo
Vessel Name:W. M. J.
  • William M Jefferies of Britonferry
  • John Thomas 1867 69
  • Stephen Lloyd 1874
  • James Philips 1877
  • John Phillips 1881
  • John Evans 1884 88
  • Henry George 1890
  • Thomas Hinds 1890
  • Swansea
  • Neath 1872
Notes:Monday July 24th 1876, delivered 21 lengths of rail to Brittonferry for The Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway Company.
Construction:Iron Bolts
Trade:UK coastal trade, sometimes to the continent.
Fate:Wrecked on 7th of November 1890 on Liverpool Banks. Master Thomas Hinds and Mate Patrick Hinds drowned with two others.


  1. Lloyd's Register of Ships.
  2. The Mercantile Navy Lists.
  4. Machrihanish Online - Machrihanish Railway

Last updated

© 2017 Burton upon Stather Heritage Group

Creative Commons. Background Photograph by Bruno Girin. Used with modifications under license.