News from 1904 Final sailing of Gaelic II

Mark Baber

Staff member
The San Francisco Call, 13 December 1904
Retrieved from the California Digital Newspaper Collection web site,

Gaelic Sails To-Day
The liner Gaelic, which has been sailing in and out of this port for twenty
years, to-day will leave San Francisco for the last time. The youngest of
the three White Star liners flying the flag of the Occidental and Oriental
Steamship Company, the Gaelic is the first to be retired, because she lacks
the fleetness of her sisters. Both Coptic and Doric have been reengined
since they left the ways at Harland & Wolfe's [sic; should be "Wolff's"]
yard and are able to make better time than the Gaelic. The Gaelic, however,
has had a wonderful career. Never laid up for repairs except for the few
weeks following her going ashore in Oriental waters, she is to-day
apparently in as good condition as when she left Liverpool a score of
years ago. Built for a thirteen knot boat, she made fifteen knots day after
day on her last run from the Orient. Her boilers, old as her hull, have been
treated with such good care that the Federal inspectors have never reduced
her steam pressure limit by one pound and the Gaelic herself is still
classed A1 at Lloyds. Along with her sisters, the Gaelic shared the favor of
passengers to and from the Orient who traveled for pleasure and to whom
comfort was a first consideration. Bigger and faster boats will in time lead
to the retirement of the Coptic and Doric and it will be with great regret
that the "regulars," of whom there are many traveling between here and the
Far East, see the O. and O. flag hauled down for the last time.

The Gaelic will carry about 4000 tons of cargo, 30 cabin passengers, 100
Chinese and 50 Japanese. Captain William Finch of the Gaelic will take
command at Hongkong of the Coptic, turning over the Gaelic to Captain
Beadnell. Whether the Gaelic will be sold at Hongkong or return to Liverpool
is still undecided.


Mark Baber

Staff member
MAB note: As things turned out, Gaelic did in fact return to England after
ending her White Star/O&O service at Hong Kong. She was then sold to the
Pacific Steam Navigation Co. and renamed Callao, She was scrapped in 1907.

The San Francisco Call, 14 December 1904
Retrieved from the California Digital Newspaper Collection web site,

If Not Sold at Hongkong Steamship Will Return to Home Port in England
Starts on Ninety-Fourth Voyage With the Largest Cargo She Ever Carried

The Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company's liner Gaelic, looking as
handsome as on the day she started on her first voyage across the Pacific
twenty years ago, sailed yesterday for the Orient on her ninety-fourth and
last voyage. She has made her last appearance in this port as an O. and O.
liner. Whether or not she ever enters the Golden Gate again depends upon
what happens to her at Hongkong. The famous old liner is for sale, and if
she changes owners in the Orient the fortunes of trade may bring her back.
If she returns to England, she will more than likely be placed in honorable
retirement and maintained as an example of careful living and faithful
service for the benefit of the giddy leviathans now carrying the world's

Sailing on the 13th of the month and carrying thirteen cabin passengers
might disturb some sailormen, but nobody on the Gaelic seemed to be
oppressed yesterday by any superstitious dread.

"Wot's thirteen?" asked a grizzled quartermaster; "wot's Friday for that
matter, or rats leavin', w'en you 'ave a boat as is lucky as the Gaelic W'y,
we've carried more missionaries than any other packet on the bloomin'
hocean, an' we hain't never missed a sailin' day. Thirteen ain't the best o'
numbers, and Friday ain't Jack's favorite day, but 'oly Joes is the worst
luck afloat and we's carried 'em by the dozens. Aye, aye, sir. All clear."

In addition to her thirteen cabin passengers the Gaelic carried about 150
Asiatics and nearly 4000 tons of cargo. She carried a large shipment of
treasure for Japan. Her cabin passengers were:

For Yokohama - George V. la Farge, R. Finch.

Nagasaki - H. F. Teverson.

Manila - M. J. Bedall, J. M. Clarens, Miss Grace A, Coulter, Mrs. James
Fredrickson, Mrs. W. O. Mclntire, Miss Syrena McKee, H. H. Sherrard.

Hongkong - Stanley Amsbury, Mrs. Doris Ellis, A. MacKillop.