View Full Version : SS. St. Gabriel

Keith at Tregenna
28th October 2008, 12:00 AM
Returning from a holiday in Malta, I bring back a request for information regarding a ship named St. Gabriel. The Zabbar Sanctuary Museum, have on exhibit a model of a ship called St. Gabriel. The gentleman that built the model has sadly passed on and they seek all information to this exhibit. The model clearly shows a H on it's funnel and Haines as a shipping company has been looked at with no results thus far. It has been suggested that this could also be Harrisons or similar and we seek all assistance to help the museum gain further information on this exhibit. The attention to detail of this beutiful model, suggests a love of this lady of the waves and I cannot imagine the model builder would have got the name wrong.

Any information would be welcomed and all credit given to those that may assist, the museum would love to recieve any information as the searches they have conducted thus far have drawn a blank. Thank you in advance for every asistance. REGARDS KEITH.

We will pass on all found to MALTA.

1st November 2008, 12:25 PM
Possibly the SS Gambian. 1940 seized at Dakar by Vichy French renamed St. Gabriel, 1943 released and renamed Gambian, taken over by MOWT renamed Empire Tweed, 1946 returned to owners renamed Gambian, 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Gambia Palm, 1959 sold to Panama renamed Irini's Blessing (Lebanese flag)

Just a thought, but depending on when the model was built, it maybe possible the ship had been on charter to Haines at the time and had the Co. funnel markings painted on during this period. Are there any similarities between the photo and the model.

Keith at Tregenna
4th November 2008, 09:29 PM
I HOPE THAT BY NOW YOU HAVE RECIEVED THE PICS OF THE MODEL: I am no professional and my batteries gave out on camera at crucial time, fortunately, had mobile phone camera at hand / back up. I am uncertain as to how to post pics to new site, but will work on it. Would like to help the guy's at Zabbar Sanctuary Museum. Have seen at first hand the sterling work they attempt and they would love all support. Hopefuly one day, my home town will achieve an MN / maritime museum, Zabbar is described as small, but would put my Town Hall to shame. Our thanks to the people of Malta and to those that know how to remember.

Keith at Tregenna
4th November 2008, 09:34 PM
Thanks for your assistance, Regards K.

5th November 2008, 02:12 PM
Hello Keith,

Definately not the ship I thought it was. Have uploaded the photo for you in case anyone else can help. Can not find anything in Lloyds on this ship. I will get hold of Ted Finch at the Rootsweb site and ask him. He has forgotten more than I know.

Keith at Tregenna
5th November 2008, 10:14 PM
Thank you again for every assistance. The model is another Maltese mystery, we still work on the Tregenna pencil drawing that is also displayed at The Zabbar Sanctuary Museum. We would love to assist the curator in his quests and indeed took the opportunity to visit recently.

I poat the following e.mail recieved todayand hope that members may be able to assist. Regards and thanks Keith.


I'm trying to find out if there's anyone I could contact about crew lists on any of the ships involved in the relief of Malta (1940- 43)

My dad (his name was Tom Beadle) was in the merchant navy in those years and it's a "gap" in our knowledge of where he was and what he was doing (Family History).

If you had any contacts on Malta- would be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

John Beadle
New Zealand

We have contacted John, asking for more information and ask if you are able to assist him - to contact Keith at Tregenna in the first instance. We can pass on any information and ask him also to contact you................. Regards Keith.


10th November 2008, 02:25 PM
Reply from Ted Finch regarding St. Gabriel.

Hi Billy,

Trust you are well.

The only ship I can find with this name was a fishing trawler.

Built 1919 by Duthie Torry Ltd, Aberdeen as the 276 ton trawler, THOMAS LEEDS. 1920 renamed ST. GABRIEL, 1929 reverted to THOMAS LEEDS, 1954 renamed STRATHCATHRO, 20.10.1955 wrecked near 10 mile Beacon, Lagos.

I have no info on owners.apart from in 1947-8 she was owned by Westenburg Trawlers Ltd, Milford.


Keith at Tregenna
12th November 2008, 07:10 PM
Please except my apologies fore the lateness in my response, I did read the post a day or so ago and should have replied sooner. will not make excuses for lack of prompt reply, am pretty tied up with other matters, but mainly was holding on for hope of more response. Will contact Malta tonight with initial response and info gained from yourselves. I know that this may not be the easiest ship to identify. Malta do not seem to ask for assistance on easy stuff.

But, then I would imagine that they have exhausted own inquiry, hence call for help. As with all the slightest info usually helps to find the correct outcome. We thank all so far that have been able to assist and further thank all for every assistance given.

A little on Maltese history may assist, The Zabbar Sanctuary Museum has many maritime exhibits as do many of the churches. It seems that they are called "votives" A little like our wishing wells and ancient artifacts found in watery excavations. To cut a long story short, when a ship hit an event, such as a tempest - where it was thought that there would be no recovery etc. A person may pray to be saved. In return he / she may pledge a donation to a church.

Malta has many votive offerings, many lives saved. Historically the donors etc were not well documented / re-corded hence our quest. The churches / museums of Malta may require much more assistance in the future as the pictures / artifacts are researched and recorded in a new movement - it is a shame that many have been lost forever.

We again thankyou for all assistance thus far and hope that we may together assist them further. Many a Maltese sailed in the British Merchant Navy and many artifacts etc are of British ships. With her position as an island, Malta was integral to us and has a rich part to play in both British and British Maritime history.

Last note on this for now, it seems un-likely that because of the religious connection and the expert and attention tro detail of the donor, that the simple things such as ships name etc be incorrect. However, I have found some mention with pictures in particular that it has ben known for some chuirches to have received the same or donations with the name altered.

Would like to exhaust every avenue and ask again for every assistance.



Keith at Tregenna
24th November 2008, 11:07 PM
Recently found a mention of a St Gabriel registered in Hong Kong, I know that this possibly would put her out of the British Merchant Navy remit, but wondered if any one with knowledge of Hong Kong and shipping could also assist further. Would this also explain the H on the funnel, originally mistaken for Haines ? The H is also shown on the model in blue, which is not normal to Haines. WE ARE WAITING FOR MORE INFO FROM MALTA THAT MAY HELP. Recent info suggest that she was sunk by the Germans, but could she have been assisting in the war effort via Hong Kong etc ?

Keith at Tregenna
19th April 2009, 04:17 PM
Still looking into this one, no new leads, thoughts are she may not have been British or registered British and may have been if foreign called San Gabriel, Still interested and all asistance welcomed Thanks K.

19th April 2009, 10:36 PM
Like Teds post says, This is the only link I can find at the Mo,
There is a picture of her on this link,
May help if you could post the piccy you have.
Will keep searching,
Ps,. Just thought could it be a Prayer to Saint Gabriel with a picture of a ship, Nah to easy

Geoff Anderson
20th April 2009, 12:46 AM
Hi Pete.
Hows it hanging?.

Have a look at post No 5 from deep sea. the photo and the model look simular, And if you consider that she had a 5 month refit by 50 local men, before being sold. I would say they look very simular.
what do you think. Anybody.
Geoff :confused:

Keith at Tregenna
20th April 2009, 06:46 PM
Delving again today, found I have been searching for Saint not St. Uncertain if that will make a difference but will try, possibly in lists I have checked Sa but not as far as St ? Would St. Gabriel make much difference to Saint Gabriel in say google searches for example ?

Did find one reference to HALIMAH that I will follow up. Think she was originally or became a St. Gabriel.

I still do not think she would have been with Haines, although a distinct H on funnel. Thoughts are with Greece, is the word Hellenic and again will follow up. May explain the H. Also there was a mention of her possibly being sank by Uboat.

Although I cannot see the models builder taking so much care and then getting the name wrong - Could she have been San Gabriel ? then the following may fit:

San Gabriel SS,

San Gabriel was a Greek Steam Freighter built in 1920. ... Torpedoed on February 18th 1940 by U-61 Cmdr. Oesten and sunk 59 03N 01 ...... In 1929 the vessel was purchased by Atkinson & Prickett of Hull and renamed Easingwold. ... She was sunk beginning of June 1940. All hands were lost. ...

If I bear in mind U.boat then could this one be a possibility ?

August 30, 1940 - U-59 damaged SS Anadara & SS San Gabriel


Can e.mail pictures if anyone requires them of the model, Billy's earlier post has one od them.

Regards Keith.

21st April 2009, 09:13 AM
Hi Keith,
Came up with a genealogy website in Portland, Oregon, Crew census for SS San Gabriel from the 1930's,
Still searching bottom of Barrel,

Michael Buhagiar
27th November 2010, 07:08 PM
Hi all,

I am a volunteer at the museum. Thanks for the compliments shown. I have some photos here of the model. It was scratch built by Saviour Lia a person that served for a long time on mercantile ships. Probably he served on this ship at one time. Here I put some more photos to this thread. It seems that this ship had Cardiff as port of registry hope we can help more for identification

Keith at Tregenna
27th November 2010, 07:20 PM
Cannot thank you enough for your post here, the name of the ships model builder is news to me, as when I was in Malta we had little to go on. Hence Saviour Lia is a name we sought and if this ship had Cardiff as port of registry, then we can look closer. Please if Paul Pace is still with the museum / church please pass on my / our greetings.

Further my visit to Zabbar was last minute and warmly welcomed, My reason was to see the Tregenna pencil drawing and missed what I see from your pics as the Cardiff registry. Would hope this may help a lot and will report back ASAP.

Locally a French steamer Gabriel Guist Hau is both reported and recorded, but will in light of new clues lwill ook further.



Keith at Tregenna


Her Name Was Tregenna is a site created as a tribute to Captain William Thomas Care of Barry, Glamorgan, South Wales and the men of one particular ship, though it now carries additional material.



Keith at Tregenna
28th November 2010, 08:50 AM
The S.T. Thomas Leeds A256 has been mentioned earlier, she was renamed 20.10.1927: SAINT GABRIEL (A256).

Mentions of Registered at Aberdeen, London, Milford, War Service and Lagos, no mention of Cardiff?

More info at:



Keith at Tregenna
28th November 2010, 08:55 AM
Torpedo: 30/08/1940

San Gabriel was a Greek steam freighter built in 1920. She was on route from LIVERPOOL for ST VINCENT C.V and BUENOS AIRES in ballast when she was torpedoed by U-59. 2 crew lost from a total crew 24.



Would love your thoughts and anyone that has an eye for detail may assist further by comparing the pictures.