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Shipping Wonders of the World

Part 8


Part 8 of Shipping Wonders of the World was published on Tuesday 31st March 1936.


It included a colour plate illustrating signals used on ships at night. This accompanied an article on Pilots and their Work which is listed below. The coloured plate was attached to page 252 of this issue.


The Cover


This week’s cover shows men going aloft on board the Archibald Russell, a sailing vessel of 2,354 gross tons, under the Finnish flag.  


It was later used as the colour plate with part 33 and called “Going Aloft”. Click on the small icon to see a British Pathe newsreel clip “The Last of the Windjammers” (1931).

Going aloft on board the Archibald Russell


Contents of Part 8


The Lure of Lost Gold

Propelling the Modern Ship

The Drama of Life-Saving

The First Voyage Around the World

Pilots and Their Work

China’s Mighty River

The Menace of the Derelict






The Lure of Lost Gold


Searching for treasure on Cocos Island. Concluded from part 7.

(Page 229)


The Drama of Life-Saving


To race with death and cheat the storm of the lives of men in stricken ships is a task nobly and bravely accomplished by the lifeboatmen. The story of the lifeboat is an extraordinarily interesting one. During 1935 there were 376 launches of British lifeboats of the Royal national Lifeboat Institution, and 492 lives were saved. Since the Institution was founded in 1824 over 64,000 lives have been saved, an average of eleven lives for every week of its 111 years of existence up to 1935. The Institution has 169 stations round the 5,000 miles of coast of the British Isles. The article is by F A Bex, and also deals with the lifeboat service of other nations.


(pages 235-240)

The First Voyage Round the World


The adventures and misfortunes of the great sixteenth-century seaman, Ferdinand Magellan. He led the first voyage round the world, and his name will always stand for courage and persistence, in the face of uncharted dangers. On September 20 1519, five small vessels set sail from San Lucar, a port at the mouth of the River Guadalquivir in Southern Spain. They were led by a navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, who proposed to sail round the world on a voyage of exploration. Some 275 men sailed into unknown and uncharted seas. On September 6 1522, only eighteen of them -with four natives - returned in one ship after unimaginable adventures and hardships. Magellan was dead - killed by savages in the Philippines - but his name lived and lives on as one of the greatest sailors of all time. His was an epic of the sea, if ever there was one. This chapter was written by Sidney Howard and is the first in the series on Supreme Feats of Navigation. You can read more via this link on The First Voyage Round the World.

(pages 241-246)




Pilots and Their Work


The highly responsible duties of the first-class pilot necessitates a thorough knowledge of navigation, and years of experience in ships. The article was written by Frank Bowen. Click on the small image to see a British Pathe newsreel clip “Pilot Ahoy!” showing the work of pilots in New York

Harbour (1940).

(pages 247-253)




Years of experience and ceaseless experiment, together with the ever-widening science of engineering, have made the ship’s engines the marvel that they are to-day - powerful and reliable. This chapter was written by A C Hardy.

(pages 230-234)


(Left) The thrust of the modern liner’s might engines is transmitted to the water by screw propellers that operate in the water in much the same way as the ordinary mechanical screw turns in wood. The propellers thus push the vessel forward. The illustration shows the four-bladed screws of the famous RMS Mauretania. Over 70,000 hp was transmitted on these four screws and they drove the ship at a speed of over 26 knots. Each screw was driven by a separate steam turbine.


Click on the small picture to see a British Pathe newsreel clip “New Propellers for the Mauretania” (1927).

four-bladed propellers of the Mauretaniathe modern lifeboat







Day Signals by Flags and Hoists



This full-page illustrations shows the various flag signals and hoists (largely black balls) indicating a variety of day signals to other vessels. The drawings were probably by the “house” artist,

K M Sibley.


(page 252)

day signals by flags and hoistsnight signals by lights and flares



Night Signals by Lights and Flares



The colour plate issued with part 8 shows the various lights and flares used to indicate a variety of night signals to other vessels. A key underneath the illustration (not shown) provides a full explanation of each signal.


The drawings were probably by the “house” artist,

K M Sibley.


(page 253)

chinese junk


The Menace of the Derelict


A tragic sight and a peril to other craft, abandoned sailing ships caused such havoc in the shipping lanes that special measures were taken to rid the sea of them. This article is by Frank Bowen and is concluded in part 9.


(pages 259-260)



The illustration (right) shows a derelict. The caption reads:


ABANDONED IN THE NORTH SEA. The sailing ship Manicia (ex-Benicia) drifting and helpless, yet not sinking, makes a desolate picture. In 1896 the Derelict Vessels (Report) Act was passed by the British Parliament, providing a fine of £5 for failure to report a derelict, and to-day, the moment a derelict is sighted, the news is flashed out by wireless to warn other ships in the neighbourhood.

(page 260)

the derelict "Manicia" abandoned in the North Sea


China’s Mighty River


The story of navigation on the Yangtze Kiang goes back far beyond the written record. To-day as ever this great river forms a vital highway for maritime trade, but for the sailor it is a highway often fraught with danger and hazard. This chapter is by Sidney Howard and is the second article in the series on World Waterways.

(pages 254-258)



(left) ONE OF THE MOST EFFICIENT SAILING VESSELS ever designed is the Chinese junk, the design of which has been unaltered for centuries. Generally it has a high stern, and matting sails. This type of flat-bottomed craft persists on the Yangtze Kiang, as in other Chinese waters, and the junks form the floating homes of many thousands of Chinese people.


Click on the small image to see a British Pathe newsreel clip “Chinese Junk” showing an imported Junk sailing at Chertsey (1961).


(above right) THE MODERN LIFEBOAT is notable for her ability to stand up to heavy seas. She frees herself of water, and has ample reserve of buoyancy when flooded. The hull is built of two skins of mahogany or teak over a framework of rock elm and oak. Up-to-date motor vessels, which have specially-constructed engines, carry a searchlight, a Morse-signalling lamp, fire extinguisher, oil-sprayer, a line-throwing gun and wireless apparatus.


The drawing includes details of modern lifeboats (lower left), and “how they are rendered unsinkable by numerous flotation boxes” (lower right). The illustration is by

 G H Davis.

(page 239)