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British shipping companies (W)

Last modified: 2016-03-12 by rob raeside
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Walford Lines Ltd.

[Warbler Shipping Ltd. houseflag] image located by Jan Mertens, 11 February 2006

A British house flag on a Kennedy, Hunter & Co. (BE) list of agencies - although I don’t know the exact year. The company is listed as Walford Lines Ltd. (London), also called Leopold Walford Shipping Ltd (or even Entente Steamship Ltd). This firm seems to have been active between about 1914 (then called Walford & Co.) and some time after WWII – I’ve found traces of them in 1918-20, 1930-31, and 1945, not counting a Danzig episode you’ll find further (where it is said that the firm was established in 1919). In any case Walford ran a coastal and river shipping business, operating – for instance – a route between London and Dordrecht in the Netherlands. There was also an Agence Maritime Walford in Antwerp (founded in 1902, according to one source, and dissolved in 1919) which was involved in the foundation of the Compagnie Maritime Belge. A short Danzig episode however is well documented. In October 1921 the Norwegian company Bergenske cooperated with Walford Baltic Transports Ltd (1920-1922, founded by Leopold Walford) in establishing the Bergenske & Walford Baltic Transports Ltd, active in shipping wood. The firm’s warehouse was called Bergford, a name derived from the two parent companies and retained when Walford withdrew after only one year of involvement.

Sources (text concerning Danzig, in German, put first):

http://miless.uni-duisburg-essen.de 
http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:2xBDuPKJY5wJ:users.skynet.be
http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:YyJzNrmsqqsJ:users.skynet.be

The above account is not very consistent due to lack of facts; the house flag is rather bewildering as well. It is blue and bears what seems to be a red ground sloping away to the right. On this slope is placed a large red saltire, near the hoist and touching the flag’s upper edge; in the fly above the slope appear red initials W and L.
Jan Mertens, 11 February 2006

[Warbler Shipping Ltd. houseflag]  [Warbler Shipping Ltd. houseflag] images by Eugene Ipavec, 19 March 2008

The flag shown shown above has "WL" in the fly, but a button provided by Tim Burt, and identified as that of Leopold Walton Shipping Ltd. has an "LW".  It is uncertain which is correct (or both). The red ground sloping away to the right (shown on the button as a semicircle) is probably the curvature of the Earth.
Eugene Ipavec, 7 February 2008

In the 1928 German Flaggenbuch we can see in part II, II. Gruppe: Britisches Reich (i.e. Group II: British Empire), nos. 407 and 408, both
versions of this flag together. LW stands for Leopold Walford Ltd, London whereas LW represents Walford Lines, London.
Jan Mertens, 18 March 2008


Warbler Shipping Ltd.

[Warbler Shipping Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 15 January 2006

Warbler Shipping Ltd., Lowestoft - horizontal orange - blue - orange flag, in center black "W".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 15 January 2006


George Warren & Co.

[George Warren & Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 4 April 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "George Warren & Co. (Liverpool), Ltd." (#174, p. 44), a company based in Liverpool, as red with a white diamond."

The house flag of the company says it all, according to its history reported on the "TheShipsList" website:
"Successor to the White Diamond Line of sailing packets which failed in 1857, they bought up many of their ships and continued the Liverpool - Boston trade as George Warren's Line of Liverpool and Boston Packets. The company started passenger steamship sailings in 1865 as George Warren & Company. They became the White Diamond SS Company in 1898. In 1912, Furness Withy & Company acquired a controlling interest in the company and a new company - George Warren & Company (Liverpool) Limited was formed. In 1922 the name became Warren Line (Liverpool) Limited and in 1934 they took over the Johnston Line and Neptune Steam Navigation Company to form the Johnston-Warren Line. They became known as the Furness-Warren Line in 1947. They sailed mostly Liverpool to Boston, but also made calls at Halifax and Philadelphia."
http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/warren.html
Ivan Sache, 4 April 2008 


Waterford Steamship Co.

[Michael Murphy, Limited houseflag] image located by Jan Mertens, 17 July 2010

A Waterford Steamship Co. is listed in 'Flags National and Mercantile...' by James Griffin, Portsmouth 1891, second edition.
White field bearing a red St George's cross, black initials (no serifs) in the corners: "W" and "S" (top hoist and top fly), "S" and  "Co." (bottom hoist and bottom fly - raised "o" above dot).
Jan Mertens
, 17 July 2010


William Watkins

[William Watkins houseflag] image by Eugene Ipavec, 6 February 2009

William Watkins Ltd is a famous British tugboat company which is given excellent coverage on this ‘Thames Tugs’ page. Company history highlights taken from this chapter: founded in 1833 by J.R. Watkins followed by son William. Gradual increase of strength, and consequently range, of tugs finally leading to long distance towing. Additional business included government service (Crimean War, WWI), ferry service, salvage, etc.  Screw propulsion replaces paddles from 1868 on but steam remains. Seventeen tugs prior to WWII, some of them helping in the Dunkirk evacuation. 1950, end date of W. Watkins history proper, sees the formation of Ship Towage (London) Ltd made up of W.W. (bringing in most vessels), Elliott Steam Tug Co., and Gamecock Tugs Ltd. New name London Tugs Ltd after taking over Gaselee and Son Ltd and W.H.J. Alexander Tugs Ltd (aka Sun Tugs) bringing number of tugs up to 36.  Active till 1975 when taken over by Alexandra Towing Ltd, Liverpool.

William Watkins flew a red swallowtail bearing a large white initial ‘W’. The pages following the Thames Tugs history section show it on ‘Anglia’, ‘Liberia’, ‘Monarch’ and ‘Persia’ for instance. Although serifs can sometimes be made out, Thames Tugs – as does the on-line 1912 Lloyds Flags & Funnels – show a sans-serif initial.

On two memorable occasions the company appeared on the world’s cultural scene:
- In 1838 ‘Monarch’ towed the old warship 'Fighting Téméraire' to the breakers, the subject of a well-known painting by Turner: http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/turner/i/temeraire.jpg
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/cgi-bin/WebObjects.dll/CollectionPublisher.woa/wa/work?workNumber=NG524
http://www.svcc.cc.il.us/academics/classes/murray/hum210/terrimt.htm
- Then there is the famous episode of transporting – even if temporary losing – Cleopatra’s Needle, now safe on the Thames Embankment: this happened in 1878.  See:
http://www.modelshipworld.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2902&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=4270&sid=5d21cbca146a6ebe4279fe6cb63e221f
http://www.svcc.cc.il.us/academics/classes/murray/hum210/terrimt.htm
Jan Mertens, 5 February 2009


J.M. Watson and Co.

[J.M. Watson, Ltd. houseflag] image by Rob Raeside, 16 January 2008

A poster entitled "Signals Made at Fort George, Halifax", which displays about 60 flags seen in the Port of Halifax, but without a date. Since it contains the modern Nova Scotia flag, which dates from 1929, it must be later than that. On the bottom row is the red-white-blue diagonal tricolour, with an upside-down red star in the white band - attributed to J.M. Watson and Co.
Rob Raeside, 16 January 2008


Thomas Watson, Ltd.

[Thomas Watson, Ltd. houseflag] by Phil Nelson, 9 April 2000

from Stewart and Styring's Flags, Funnels and Hull Colors 1963


Watson Brothers

[Watson Bros. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 2 April 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "Watson Brothers" (#145, p. 43), a company based in Glasgow
(Scotland), as divided red-white by an ascending diagonal.

Phil Marris gives some details on the Watson Brothers, active in 1860-1928, seemingly named Thomas and Henry J. They originally operated the "Ben Line" but abandoned its title to the "Ben Line Steamer Co Ltd", through amicable settlement, in the early 1900s. A number of their ships sailed regularly to Australia and New Zealand.
http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/GENANZ/1996-12/0851628515
Ivan Sache, 2 April 2008 


Watts, Watts and Co. Ltd. (Britain S.S. Co. Ltd.)

[Watts, Wats and Co. Ltd. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, 16 December 2004, based on Wedge 1926

from Stewart and Styring's Flags, Funnels and Hull Colors 1963

Watts, Watts & Co. Ltd. Originated as Watts, Ward & Co. with flag shown under this name by LJC 1885 and Griffin 1895. It changed its name in 1896 but in 1894/5 they had formed Britain Steamship Co. Ltd. and it is through them that the fleet was registered. Bibby Line are noted as taking over Britain Steamship in 1967 but it is not clear whether this also involved Watts, Watts & Co. Ltd. as these latter two are still being shown in association by Lloyds Shipowners in 1970.
Neale Rosanoski, 16 February 2004

Britain S.S. Co. (Watts Watts Co. Ltd.), London: Larousse Commercial Illustré (1930) shows a white flag, a blue letter `W' (without serifs) in the centre. Sandy Hook (illustrator for Larousse) draws a somewhat wider `W', taking up about one third of the flag's length.
Jan Mertens, 4 June 2004


Weardale Steam Shipping Co.

[Weardale Steam Shipping Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 9 April 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "Weardale Steam Shipping Co., Ltd." (#217, p. 47), a company based in Sunderland, as white with two red rings surrounding a blue cross.

Weardale is a valley located in County Durham, once famous for lead mining. The Weardale Lead Mining Company existed until 1931. Whether it was linked to the Weardale Steam Shipping Co. is unknown to me.
Ivan Sache
, 9 April 2008 


J.H. Welsford & Company

[J.H. Welsford & Co. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker

Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels [Wedge 1926]

J.H. Welsford & Company, Limited, Liverpool - white flag - red Maltese Cross.
Jarig Bakker, 31 January 2005


Westcott and Lawrence Line Ltd.

[Westcott and Lawrence Line Ltd. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, the house flag of the Westcott and Lawrence Line Ltd., London. A blue rectangular flag with the yellow initials 'W & L' (Westcott and Lawrence) and a blue pennant above bearing the white initials 'JRE' (Ellerman lines). The pennant and flag are made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. They have cotton hoists and are machine sewn. The Ellerman's initials are printed. The pennant and flag are on a single rope with a toggle attached."
Jarig Bakker, 3 September 2004


Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd.

[Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, the house flag of Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd., Glasgow. A blue rectangular flag with a white disc in the centre. The disc bears a red logo on two arrows pointing in opposite directions attached to a circle. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. The central motif is made of polyester cotton fabric. A rope and toggle is attached."
Jarig Bakker, 3 September 2004


Wight Link

[Wight Link houseflag] by Jorge Candeias and Roy Stilling, 02 Apr 1999

White with a white blue border all around and a red lozenge centered. Very maritime-looking.
Jorge Candeias, 01 Apr 1999

The red lozenge represents the Isle of Wight, which is diamond shaped. In fact the lozenge has a small “nick” out of it to represent the estuary of the River Medina. The whole flag is an adaptation of the "W" flag from the International Code of Signals, and the former livery of Wightlink ferries had the name "WIGHTLINK" spelled out in painted signal flags but with the house flag substituted for the "W" flag.
Roy Stilling, 01 Apr 1999


Williamson Buchanan

[Williamson Buchanan houseflag] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 17 May 2010

From a postcard collection: 12.4.2: Williamson Buchanan
Postcard #12, 4th row, 2nd flag of the collection reads "Williamson Buchanan" and shows blue triangular pennant with a very large yellow crescent and star emblem on it.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 17 May 2010


C.M. Willie & Co. (Shipping) Ltd.

[C.M. Willie & Co. (Shipping) Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 28 November 2005

C.M. Willie & Co. (Shipping) Ltd., Cardiff - horizontal white over green; on white red dragon.
SSource: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 28 November 2005


D.H. Willey

[D. H. Willey houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 12 March 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "D.H. Willey" (#117, p. 42), a company based in Southampton, as blue with a white "W" in the middle.
Ivan Sache,, 12 March 2008 


Wilsons and North Eastern Railway Shipping

[Wilsons and North Eastern Railway Shipping houseflag] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 11 May 2010

From a postcard collection: 11.4.3: Wilsons and North Eastern Railway Shipping
Postcard #11, 4th row, 3rd flag of the collection reads "Wilsons and North Eastern Railway Shipping" and shows a ~2:3 white flag with three white bells(?) set 1+2 on a large red disk centered on the flag.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 11 May 2010


Windermere Lake Cruises

[Windermere Lake Cruises] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 30 October 2010

The company is located in Bowness upon Windermere and exists since 1848 running a service of tourist ships.
The flag is white with a golden brownish inscription “WINDERMERE” and a blue inscription “LAKE CRUISES” below and a light blue wavy line below both inscriptions. It’s remarkable that the flag only is used ashore. Afloat the ships are using the red ensign (stern) and the pilot jack (prow).
Source: I spotted this flag in Bowness upon Windermere on 3 October 2010
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 30 October 2010


Witherington & Everett

[Witherington & Everett houseflag] by Jarig Bakker

Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels [Wedge 1926]

Witherington & Everett, Newcastle-on-Tyne - red flag, white "W&E".
Jarig Bakker
, 5 February 2005


West India & Pacific Line

[West India & Pacific Line houseflag] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 17 May 2010

From a postcard collection: 12.3.4: West India & Pacific Line
Postcard #12, 3rd row, 4th flag of the collection reads "West India & Pacific Line" and shows a ~2:3 plain red flag.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 17 May 2010


John H. Whitaker (Tankers), Ltd.

[John H. Whitaker (Tankers), Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 20 September 2005

John H. Whitaker (Tankers), Ltd., Hull - vertical red-green burgee; on red black disk, white "W".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 20 September 2005


Woods, Tylor & Brown

[Woods, Tylor & Brown houseflag] by Jarig Bakker

Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels [Wedge 1926]

Woods, Tylor & Brown, London - white flag, red knotted rope.
Jarig Bakker
, 31 January 2005


Worldfast Line

[Worldfast houseflag] by Jorge Candeias, 22 Mar 1999

White with a blue and white logo centered. The logo is a disc with a very fat "W" "sailing" on wavy lines.
Jorge Candeias, 22 Mar 1999

Other sites:

Wyre Trawlers

[Tavistock Shipping Co., Ltd. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, the house flag of Wyre Trawlers, Fleetwood. A white rectangular flag with a red 'W' in the centre. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached."
Fleetwood is a port in Lancashire (England).
Jarig Bakker, 4 September 2004

[Tavistock Shipping Co., Ltd. houseflag] by Ivan Sache

Wyre Trawlers. Appear to have originated as Wyre Steam Trawling Co. Ltd. operated by John N. Ward & Son and using a red flag with a white diamond throughout bearing a blue "W" being shown by Lloyds 1912. Ward appears to have disappeared from the scene post WW2 and in the latter 1950s the company became Wyre Trawlers Ltd. lasting until around the beginning of the 1980s.
Neale Rosanoski, 7 February 2005


F. Yeoman

[F. Yeoman houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 30 March 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "F. Yeoman" (#136, p. 43), a company based in West Hartlepool, as
white with a blue saltire and a red rectangle in the middle.
The next flag (#137) in Lloyd's is similar, but with a red saltire and a blue rectangle, as the house flag of "Joseph E. Murrell & Son", also registered in West Hartlepool. There is indeed a "Murrell and Yeoman" company mentioned in West Hartlepool.
Ivan Sache, 30 March 2008 


British Shipping lines: continued