The Blantyre Stowaway



I’ve found a tale of a Blantyre man, stowing away on a trans Atlantic ship, trying to get BACK to Blantyre!

The giant ocean liner (cunarder), the ‘Mauretania’, which arrived at Plymouth on the early hours of Tuesday 9th September 1930, had an uneventful voyage across from New York, the passengers having thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, especially in view of the fact that they left the American port in a heat wave which was so severe that one of the assistant pursers, who went ashore, was attacked by sunstroke.

The outward voyage had proved much more eventful, for the famous Cunarder and the new liner Europa, the German “crack” boat, left Cherbourg with only minutes separating them. There was no resemblance of a race, and the captain of the Mauretania made no effort to push his ship; indeed, she had not the necessary oil fuel aboard to make any special speed or record-breaking effort. Nevertheless, after they had travelled abreast in mid-Atlantic for some time, the Mauretania was only three hours later than the new German boat.

When she arrived at Plymouth there was at least one person on board who had not paid his passage. For only two hours after the Mauretania had left New York, a stowaway, Joseph Wills, of Blantyre, Scotland, revealed himself or was caught, his explanation being, apparently, that he wanted to get back to Scotland to Blantyre.

There was no fewer than 1,014 bags of mails to land, and special tender was required to bring them ashore. The Mauretania arrived in the Sound at 5.50 and was cleared for Cherbourg at 7.45 a.m. Amongst the passengers aboard were Sir Etherton, Sir George Lenthal Cheatle, Miss Emma Haig, the actress, Comm Giovanni, the opera singer. Madam. Bathberg, an opera singer, and Mr. and Mrs. Easterbrook, of Torquay. The number of passengers landed at Plymouth was 111.

People will try anything to get back to this wee town!

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