The technical specifications of the ship were recorded in a special journal by the shipbuilder, William Gray & Co of Hartlepool. The entry also notes the date when ownership was transferred to Francis Yeoman of West Hartlepool on 24 January 1906.

William Gray entered the shipbuilding industry in 1863 through a partnership with Joseph Denton. The company grew to employ 3,000 men working eleven slipways and included the Central Marine Engine Works at the outbreak of the Great War. Production continued throughout the war with the yard completing 30 cargo liners and tramp steamers, 13 vessels for the Admiralty, and 30 ‘standard’ cargo ships for the government’s Shipping Controller.

The CHELFORD was built by William Gray & Co, West Hartlepool, in 1906, for Francis Yeoman & Co of West Hartlepool. Francis Yeoman passed away in 1914, and at the time, his son Harry Yeoman was the managing owner of the CHELFORD at 133 Exchange Buildings, Cardiff. The CHELFORD was in ballast, i.e. carrying no cargo, and on passage from Glasgow to Barry Roads on 14 April 1918 when she was torpedoed by UB 73 in St George’s Channel. The crew managed to escape with no loss of life before the ship sank.

MAS260418. William Gray & Co Yard Book. The Museum of Hartlepool, Hartlepool Borough Council.

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