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Duncan McIntosh
b 9/5/1889 d 11/4/1959

Duncan was born at Portessie, Buckie, Scotland in 1889, the third child to John McIntosh, boatbuilder & Christina (nee Robertson). John had two children in a previous marriage to Elizabeth (Robertson), who died age 23yrs.
He commenced his ship-building apprenticeship in 1904, in the employ of his Uncle W.R. McIntosh, who had yards at Portessie & Ianstown. (Duncan's father John had apparently gone broke in 1900). At this time the yards had just produced their last Zulus & were commencing building Steam Drifters.
During his apprenticeship, Duncan had an accident resulting in the loss of his right eye - he thereafter had one glass eye. Steam Drifters launched during this period include BF 162 Concord, BF 188 Mistletoe, BF 304 Guiding Star, BF 573 Hope, BF 574 Vintage, BF 722 Union, BF 846 Zodiac, BF 933 Bloom, BCK 9 Fear Not,
(see pic below) BCK 13 (later 137) Bramble, (see pic below) BCK 20 Hazael & BCK 45 Con Amore.

After completing his apprenticeship in July 1909 aged 20, Duncan left Scotland almost immediately. (The following is written in the family bible)
"Duncan MacKintosh left home by 3-15am train on August 26th, 1909, for Liverpool. Boat 'Empress of Britain' to Quebec, hence to Vancouver, British Columbia"(initialled by his father JMCI)

Nothing is then known until 9/11/1911 when Duncan was engaged as an Able Seaman on the SS Venture at Victoria, British Columbia. The SS Venture was a 599 ton Scottish built freight & passenger steamer, built specifically for servicing the canneries & logging camps along the coast of British Columbia. She could carry 186 passengers & a cargo of 550 tons.
Duncan's time aboard is consistent with a typical trip North to Prince Rupert (near the Alaskan border) & return at the end of the cannery season.

Duncan's movements are then unknown until he signed on the four masted auxiliary barquentine Sound of Jura in September 1916. However in the 'Agreement & Account of Crew' for this voyage, the ship in which he last served is recorded as Katanga, with no Discharge Certificate produced. At the time there were two Katangas in service, one a British owned 330ft single screw cargo ship, the other a Belgian owned four masted steel barque, formerly called the Madagascar. It is more probable he served on the four masted barque as he would have been issued with a Certificate of Discharge from the British ship.
It is also believed he was rejected on applying to join the Royal Navy because of his glass eye. He is also believed to have visited Australia before or during WW1 as well as having survived some time in the water after a ship sinking.

The Sound of Jura was a four masted auxiliary steam powered barquentine, built on the Clyde in 1896. She was purchased by the Southern Whaling & Sealing Co. in 1911 as a cargo vessel to service its whaling interests at South Georgia, Antarctica, making annual trips until around 1919. The original auxiliary diesel engine fitted in 1911 had exploded in 1913, killing the engineer. In 1916 she was re-engined in Aberdeen, with a steam engine this time, probably very similar to the engines fitted to the steam drifters built at the McIntosh yards at Portessie & Ianstown. Most of the McIntosh built steam drifters were engined at Aberdeen. Richard Irvin, partner in the Southern Whaling & Sealing Co. also had interests in the Scottish Herring fishery & an office in Buckie.

Duncan's trip to South Georgia in 1916-17 apparently co-incided with the construction of the whaling station at Prince Olaf Harbour as recorded in the diary of the famous Australian photographer, Frank Hurley (of Shackleton's Endurance expedition fame). Hurley had returned to South Georgia after the Endurance expedition for five weeks to film additional footage of the scenery & wildlife of the island at the request of the 'Imperial Antarctic Film Syndicate'. He was aboard the Norwegian whale catcher Mathilde on a filming sortie to Antarctic Bay.

Entry in the diary of Frank Hurley March 1917

29th March Thursday

" - - - - Returned to our mooring alongside the 'Sound of Jura', an auxiliary barque anchored in Restitution Harbour. We were hospitably entertained by the Skipper, with whom we took & enjoyed meals, & inspected the large station now under construction for the Irvin Co. The surrounding scenery is wild & menacing, with jagged peaks rising to the skies above us, round which the swirling mists & squalls play in seething eddies. In the quiet cabin of the 'Sound of Jura' we played euchre, whilst the howling of the wind & heavy rain without, reminded us of our wild & isolated locality on this outcast Isld.
30th March Friday

Left Prince Olaf Harbour at 7-30am after taking breakfast with Capt. Rochester on board the 'Sound of Jura' - - -"

Prince Olaf Harbour & Whaling Station

After leaving South Georgia the Sound of Jura must have been warned off returning to Britain due to the increased submarine menace, & arrived in Baltimore USA on August 10th 1917, 11 months after leaving North Shields.
Duncan then travelled to New York & took a position as sailor on the steamship Virgil arriving at Manchester on Sept 9th, then supposedly returning to Scotland. Nothing then is known until his arrival in Capetown in April 1923, except that he built furniture for a while at a shed at his half sister's (Agnes Cameron) place at Keith.

Humewood Slipway - Port Elizabeth 1913-14

After arriving at Capetown, there is another blank year until April 1924, when he kept a work diary at the Humewood Slipway at Port Elizabeth. This work diary charges labour out to two workers (the other believed to be his brother Bill) for miscellaneous shipwright's work, until he left for Australia in Jan 1925.

Slipway & swimming beach - Port Elizabeth 1913-14

Duncan's passport was next stamped at Fremantle on 4/1/1925 but he apparently continued on to Sydney.
There is then details in his work book of a weekly pay from ????/25 to Jan 1929.
During this period in 1926 he married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Flett in Sydney. "Lizzie" came from Findochty, being a village close to Portessie back in Scotland, but it is thought they did not know each other there.
They must have then moved to nearby Newcastle, as John was born there in Jan 1928.

Duncan, Bill & baby John 1928, Newcastle, NSW
Sometime in 1928 Duncan received a visit from his younger brother Bill, with whom he is believed to have worked with in South Africa. Bill then went prospecting out of Whitehorse in the Yukon, as this letter to his sister Chris, back in Scotland describes.(THIS IS A MUST READ)
Their second son William was born in 1929 & daughter Christine in 1935. Apart from a period during the great depression when he went gold prospecting, Duncan's lot was general carpentry work, until obtaining full time employment at the Newcastle State Dockyard, where he worked as a shipwright until his retirement.

Scotland 1958 - "Lizzie" 2nd from left - Duncan 3rd from right - Bill 2nd from right
Duncan & "Lizzie" made a return trip to Scotland in 1958 to revisit their relatives. Duncan died the next year of a heart attack aged 69.
Sources & acknowledgements Mr. Ron Stewart "Sail & Steam"
Moray District Library
Buckie District Fishing Heritage Museum
Banffshire Advertiser
Edgar March "Sailing Drifters"
British Columbia Archives
Mr. Peter Henderson, Chathill, Northumberland
Diary of Frank Hurley
Philip Waddingham, France
John Inggs, Port Elizabeth, SA
McIntosh family history sources
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