Craigavon was a small Irish cargo ship completed in 1921 and lost in a storm in 1927.

This page has been created following my receiving an email from Thomas McDonald who was tracing his family history and is dedicated to the memory of his grandfather Captain John Shanks and the entire crew who were lost with the ship.

Unfortunately, so far I have been unable to locate any images of Craigavon itself but if anyone reading this has one I would be grateful if you could contact me - details are on the website Home Page

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Registered owners, managers and operators H Craig & Co. of Belfast
Builders Dublin Shipbuilders Ltd.
Yard Dublin
Country UK
Yard Number 14
Registry N/K
Official Number 145421
Signal Letters N/K
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 682
Net Tonnage N/K
Deadweight N/K
Length 54.9 Metres
Overall Length N/K
Breadth 8.8 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engines Triple Expansion steam engine with cylinders of bore 14", 24" and 38" and stroke 27"
Engine Builders Aitchison, Blair Ltd.
Works Clydebank
Country UK
Boilers N/K
Power 72 NHP
Propulsion Single screw
Speed N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K
Passenger Capacity N/K
Crew N/K

Career Highlights

Date Event
September 1921 Completed
28 October 1927 Last date seen - lost at sea

Service History

Criagavon was a collier operated by Hugh Craig & Co. of Belfast. The company's main business was the import of coal into Northern Ireland, but there was a second line of business carrying general cargo between Belfast and Preston.

I have not so far been able to discover any further details of the voyages of Craigavon but she was undertaking a coastal run when lost.

Loss of Craigavon

Craigavon left Glasgow bound for Briton Ferry near Swansea and was last seen on 28 October 1927 off Milford Haven. The vessel was lost with all hands - Captain John Shanks and a crew of twelve - mainly Belfast men.

An account of the loss was reported in The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser on 12 December 1927.

Singapore Free Press article 12 December 1927. [1]

The storm resulted in many other lost lives. It had a profound effect on the population of the Inishkea Islands off the North-West coast of Ireland. Many of the men of the islands were drowned and this led ultimately to the abandonment of the islands in the 1930s; they remain unpopulated to this day.

In Fleetwood, Lancashire, 90% of the town ended up under water and six people lost their lives. St. Nicholas' Church was destroyed as was part of the sea wall.

Click below to see a short contemporary video showing the flooding at Fleetwood. (There is no sound)

Whilst updating this page in February 2016 I discovered to my surprise that St. Annes-on-Sea, where I live, was flooded for the first time in its history by the same storm. The tide broke through the sandhills where I walk my dogs every day, and flooded nearby roads to a depth of six feet. Tram lines were under water and services stopped, shop windows blown in and chimney stacks blown down. The water would have come extremely close to where I used to live - a Victorian house with a basement and about 200 metres from the shoreline.

Image Credits

  1. Singapore Free Press - External Reference #58.