Resources: Company History and Ships

Company History

Court Line was founded in London by 25-year-old Philip Edward Haldinstein in 1905 with a capital of £30,000 and traded from 1 Leadenhall Street as Haldinstein & Co. Ltd. The family came from Norwich but had a German-sounding name which became a problem during WW1 so, in 1915, Haldinstein shortened his name to Haldin by Royal Licence.

He built up a fleet of tramp ships starting with the first Arlington Court of 1905; Captain S.H. Jones was the Master for her maiden voyage. All of the ships were named after famous country houses with the first word ending in “ton” and the suffix “Court”. The ships names made up an alphabetical sequence which was restarted after WW2. Most purchased ships were renamed to fit in with the sequence apart from Lorca and Marsa – whose names were retained. A new naming standard using the prefix "Halcyon" was introduced when the company moved into tankers in the 1960s.

The size of the Court Line fleet changed over the years as a result of changing trading conditions and the impact of wars. Improvement in freight rates after 1908 led to more ships being ordered. Casualties in WW1 were relatively light. Of the nine tramps in the fleet at the beginning of WW1, Barrington Court (1906) – by then named Margam Abbey - was torpedoed and beached, and Ilvington Court was sunk by a torpedo. Other ships were damaged but repaired.

The fleet reduced to four tramps during the early 1920s due to adverse trading conditions. In 1926 the entire fleet or 26 tramps was registered under the United British Steamship Co. Ltd., (apart from Framlington Court that was owned by a syndicate). The fleet expanded again towards the end of the decade with the purchase of both new and used ships – notably three ships from the company of Evans Thomas Ratcliffe of Cardiff who had died in 1926. A further new 11 tramps were built between 1928 and 1930. Three of them were motorships and the others steam powered. At the end of 1929, Richard Philipps joined the company which then became Haldin and Philipps Ltd., and these gentlemen remained managers until 1948. At this time, Philipps (by then Lord Milford) retired and the company reverted to Haldin & Co. Ltd. (Incidentally Philipps was the youngest brother of Lord Kylsant of Royal Mail Line notoriety.)

Court Line found itself in possession of a large fleet just as the 1930s depression was getting underway and as a result a large part of the fleet was laid up for many years – some on the Tyne, some at Sunderland and some at Milford Haven. The company managed to keep going by mothballing most of its ships and kept its head above water through trading with four or five ships at a time.

Philip Haldin served on the Tramp Shipping Subsidy Committee between 1935 and 1937 and was knighted in 1939. He gave valuable service throughout WW2 to the Ministry of War Transport. During WW2, Court Line ships played a significant role in the convoys that kept the UK going. Also Dorington Court (1938) became the model for the "Empire Ship" building programme and later for the "Ocean" and "Liberty" ships. By the end of WW2 there were only nine surviving Court Line ships.

At the end of WW2, losses were made good on a temporary basis through the purchase of a number of "Empire" and other used ships. A new building programme started in 1952 with the purchase of seven new motor tramps and the old "Empires" were then sold off. Unfortunately freight rates dropped again in 1957 and stayed depressed until the mid 1960s. Court Line had an option for two further vessels in 1962/3 but these were not taken up. By the 1960s, the company’s ship-owning activity was declining. A bulk carrier called Hector Halcyon was purchased in 1961 and renamed Cressington Court (1961). There was then a switch to larger ships and the smaller tramps sold off. Court Line also moved into tankers with a number being purchased and given the hallmark "Halcyon" prefix.

In the 1970s the company diversified into airlines, shipbuilding, ship repairing and package holidays but this led to a cash-flow problem and the company went into liquidation in 1974.

Court Line Ships

Click on the links in the first column of the table to access the detailed history of the ships.

Ship Name Year Other Names Fate
Aldington Court (1929) 1929 None Sunk 1942
Aldington Court (1944) 1944 Empire Lord, Anacreon, White Daisy, Robertina Beached 1970 and declared a total loss
Arlington Court (1905) 1905 Penylan, Penrhos, Zovetto, Essex Knoll Broken up 1933
Arlington Court (1924) 1924 None Sunk 1939
Arlington Court (1962) 1929 Southgate, Gela, Cyclopus Broken up 1986
Barrington Court (1906) 1906 Margam Abbey Torpedoed and beached 1917
Barrington Court (1924) 1924 Leon de Nervo, Eletric Foundered 1960
Barrington Court (1952) 1952 Ashkoka Jayanti, Yannis, Blue Pearl Broken up 1975
Bonnington Court 1929 None Bombed and sunk 1941
Cedrington Court 1918 War Viper, Cabotia Sunk 1940
Cressington Court (1908) 1908 Roxburgh, Fotini, Fotini Carras, Hillcote Broken up 1935
Cressington Court (1929) 1929 None Torpedoed and sunk 1942
Cressington Court (1944) 1944 Empire Earl, East Wales, Universal Skipper Broken up 1970
Cressington Court (1961) 1961 Hector Halcyon, Inverkeith, Manchester, Manhattan Broken up 1982
Dallington Court 1929 None Broken up 1965
Darlington Court 1936 None Torpedoed and sunk 1941
Dorington Court (1908) 1908 Vally, Romsdalfjord Wrecked 1920
Dorington Court (1915) 1915 Laleham, Harm Fritzen Scuttled 1948
Dorington Court (1939) 1939 None Torpedoed and sunk 1942
Dorington Court (1940) 1940 Empire Meteor, Giada, Sheikh Total loss and scrapped 1961
Dorington Court (1957) 1957 Eva Broken up 1976
Errington Court (1909) 1909 Bournemouth, Despina, Deslock, Uzan Maru Torpedoed and sunk 1942
Errington Court (1925) 1925 Tharros, Athens, Navidad Broken up 1965
Errington Court (1945) 1945 Empire Favour, Epsom, Penelope, Andromachi Broken up 1976
Errington Court (1957) 1957 Ratna Chandralekha, Indian Endeavour, Tamil Periyar E.V.R. Broken up 1981
Framlington Court (1911) 1911 Cleanthis Torpedoed and sunk 1942
Framlington Court (1924) 1924 Stancourt, Landscape, Ami Banker, Ally Broken up 1958
Framlington Court (1952) 1952 Laxmi Jayanti, Spytos Sunk after a fire 1973
Geddington Court (1912) 1912 Pontos, Icarion Torpedoed and sunk 1942
Geddington Court (1928) 1928 Kyoho Maru Broken up 1971
Geddington Court (1954) 1954 Ghandi Jayanti, Rama Broken up 1976
Halcyon Breeze 1964 Derwentdale, Alnadji Broken up 1982
Halcyon Cove 1955 Keizerswaard, Ionic King, Rana Broken up 1976
Halcyon Days 1958 Edith Borthen, Halcon Broken up 1976
Halcyon the Great 1971 Energy Prosperity Broken up 1984
Halcyon Isle 1956 Konigswaard, Ionic Queen, Alice Known to have been in use until 1977 but final fate unknown
Halcyon Loch 1964 Beau, Sibeau, Woodburn, Yeota E, YEO, Stefania A, Stefanias Broken up 1984
Halcyon Skies 1971 Patianna, Annaxyla Broken up 1985
Halcyon Wave 1960 Snestad, Naess Clansman, North Atlantic Unity, Narada, Noufaro, Noor Ba Broken up 1987
Hannington Court (1912) 1912 Elios, Empire Brigade Torpedoed and sunk 1940
Hannington Court (1939) 1939 None Caught fire and sunk 1941
Hannington Court (1954) 1954 Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi Broken up 1975
Ilvington Court (1911) 1911 Dalebank Torpedoed and sunk 1917
Ilvington Court (1919) 1919 War Sniper, Meandros, Iolcos Torpedoed and sunk 1940
Jevington Court (1925) 1925 None Sunk after striking a mine 1940
Jevington Court (1956) 1956 Krishna Jayanti, Shankara Broken up 1975
Kensington Court 1927 None Sunk by gunfire from U-boat 1939
Lavington Court (1920) 1920 Vincenzo Florio, Afrika Scuttled 1940
Lavington Court (1940) 1940 None Torpedoed and sunk 1942
Lorca 1931 Loradore Broken up 1955
Marsa 1928 None Bombed and sunk 1943
Mersington Court 1920 Giovanna Florio Scuttled 1940
Nollington Court 1924 Conistone Lost after grounding 1937
Ovington Court 1924 Amblestone Stranded and total loss 1940
Pennington Court 1924 Rochdale Torpedoed and sunk 1942
Quarrington Court 1928 None Sunk 1937
Rossington Court 1928 None Sunk after collision 1940
Sinnington Court 1928 Atago Maru, Fukuzan Maru Sunk in typhoon 1961
Tilsington Court 1928 Campania Broken up 1961
Uffington Court 1929 Svarten, Ocean Pride, Fu An Broken up 1967
Wellington Court 1930 Wellington, Pung Juen Broken up 1969