News from 1927 Retirement of Capt Hart

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Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB note: All of the ships used on the White Star/Shaw, Savill & Albion joint service to New Zealand were jointly owned by the two lines, regardless of whether they had a White Star name or an SSA name. Those with White Star names had White Star commanders; those with SSA names, SSA commanders. The joint service was managed and advertised by SSA and all of the ships, regardless of name, were almost always referred to in the press as SSA ships. Thus, this article's reference to "the Shaw Savill and Albion Company's liner Corinthic."

The Evening Post, 25 October 1927
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,


With the arrival at Wellington of the Shaw Savill and Albion Company's liner
Corinthic, this evening, Captain Frank Hart, R.N.R., commander of the
vessel, and one of the senior masters of the company, completes his last
voyage to New Zealand as master of an ocean-going liner. For eighteen years
Captain Hart has been, with but one exception, in command of the Corinthic
on her voyages between New Zealand and the Homeland. He has made 45 trips on
the liner, covering over 1,000,000 miles during these voyages. Captain Hart
is retiring from the sea at the age of 60, after 46 years' service, of which
35 years have been spent with the company to which he at present belongs.

Captain Hart commenced his nautical career at the age of 14, and served his
apprenticeship in Henry Fernie's vessels trading between Liverpool and
Calcutta. He spent all his training period in sail---staying in these ships
until he had secured all his certificates---and was master of a sailing ship
at the age of 24. His first appointment in steam was as fourth officer of an
Inman liner, trading between Liverpool and New York. He later transferred to
the Beaver Line, in the Canadian- Liverpool run, and was with that service
until the company failed, when he joined the White Star line in 1892. He has
been with that company ever since.


The first position occupied by Captain Hart in the White Star Line was as
fourth officer of the Coptic, then in the New Zealand trade. From there he
transferred to the Doric as third officer; but later returned to the Coptic
as second officer. He spent five years on this vessel, being for four years
chief officer; and traded in the Pacific between San Francisco and the Far
East. During this period the Spanish-American War was fought, and Captain
Hart has many interesting experiences to relate about this period of his


Captain Hart was on the Coptic when that vessel carried the first news to
America of the annexation of the Philippine Islands by that country, this
being long before the days of commercial wireless or cable.

After the battle of Manila, when the Coptic was about to leave Hong Kong for
San Francisco, the commander of an American warship requested the master of
the Coptic to take Captain Gridley, of the United States warship Olympia,
and who was very ill, back to San Francisco with him. The American officer
died shortly after the Coptic cleared Nagasaki, and the body was taken
ashore at Yokohama and cremated, and the ashes were taken back to America
by the Coptic.

After leaving the Coptic, Captain Hart had a short term of service in the
Atlantic and Australian trade, before transferring to the Athenic as chief
officer on her maiden voyage to New Zealand in 1901. He was then appointed
chief officer of the Oceanic, of 25,000 tons, at that time the fastest and
largest liner in the trans-Atlantic service. When he was 36 years of age,
Captain Hart received his first command in steam, being appointed master of
the freighter Dovis [sic; should likely be "Bovic"] in June, 1904. In the
following year he took command of the Victorian, and later of the Armenian,
Leyland ships running in the White Star service. In June, 1909, Captain
Hart was appointed commander of the Corinthic, a position he has occupied
every trip except one for the last eighteen years, the one exception being
when he had to stay in England to undergo an operation. While he was waiting
for the Corinthic to return from New Zealand, Captain Hart made two voyages
in the Ceramic, carrying American troops to England.


On the outbreak of hostilities the Corinthic took Army Reservises [sic] from
New Zealand to England, and later carried the 18th and 23rd reinforcements.
The former troops were taken from Wellington to England, via Newport News,
Halifax, and Nova Scotia; and the latter via Cape Horn, Capetown, and Sierra
Leone. This last voyage was very unusual, lasting nearly three months, and
was made on account of the German raiders Seeadler and Wolf being at large.
At Capetown she joined a convoy of ten ships, accompanied by the armed liner

On another occasion, when carrying civilian passengers, the Corinthic had a
narrow escape from an enemy submarine, which appeared off Start Point, near
Plymouth, and was seen preparing for action. A shell from the Corinthic's
gun, however, scared off the enemy, and nothing more was seen.

While in command of the Corinthic Captain Hart also made a voyage with
British troops to Durban; and was also employed n [sic] the trans-Atlantic
trade when the shortage of tonnage was being felt.

Captain Hart, after securing his extra-master's certificate in London in
1893, joined the Royal Naval Reserve as sub-lieutenant in that year. Except
during the war period, Captain Hart has flown the Blue Ensign during the
whole period of his command of the Corinthic.

This popular commander is well known to many New Zealanders, and has carried
many from the Old Country to New Zealand to start a new life in the
Dominion. Captain Hart was also in the command of the Corinthic when Lord
Jellicoe made the voyage in her to New Zealand to take up the position of

After discharging and loading around the New Zealand coast, Captain Hart
will take the Corinthic on the return trip to England, thus completing his
last voyage. He will retire from the sea altogether and settle in England.


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
N.Z. Truth, 24 November 1927
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Evening Post, Wellington, 17 November 1927
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,


The Wellington Returned Soldiers' Association this week presented Captain F.
Hart, R.N.R., master of the Corinthic, with a life honorary badge and
membership card of the association, in recognition of his valued service to
soldiers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Captain Hart is making his
last voyage after forty-six years at sea, thirty-five of which have been
spent in the service of the White Star Line. For the past eighteen years he
has been in command of the liner Corinthic.

The ceremony took place at luncheon on board the Corinthic. Among those
present were Colonel G. T. Hall (president), Colonel H. E. Avery
(vice-president), Major J. T. Watson (secretary), and members of the
executive of the Wellington Returned Soldiers' Association.

The Shaw, Savill, and Albion Company was represented by Mr. James Findlay
(New Zealand representative), Mr. E. V. Bevan (assistant manager), and
Captain T. H. Chudley (marine superintendent in New Zealand).

After the loyal toast had been honoured, Colonel Hall, in proposing the
health of Captain Hart, spoke of Captain Hart's long and successful sea
career. As an able navigator and competent shipmaster he had made many
friends among the thousands of passengers he had carried round the world
without mishap. Distinguished persons who had travelled with Captain Hart
included Lord Jellicoe, when he came out as Governor-General of New Zealand;
Rear-Admiral A. F. Beal, Sir Francis Bell, Sir James Allen, and Sir Thomas
Mackenzie. The Wellington Returned Soldiers' Association could not allow
Captain Hart to retire from the service of the mercantile marine without
placing on record the appreciation of the Wellington Diggers, and of all the
"diggers" he had carried on the Corinthic to and from the Mother Country
during the Great War. In addition, to Army reservists in 1914, Captain Hart
had transported to England the 18th Reinforcement, and half of the 23rd
Reinforcement in 1917. He had also carried two large detachments of American
troops across the Atlantic. In view of his valued services the Wellington
R.S.A. had unanimously elected him an honorary life member of the
association. Colonel Hall said he was sure that every returned New Zealand
soldier would join with the Wellington association in wishing Captain Hart
long life and enjoyment of his honourable and well-earned retirement.
Colonel Hall pinned the silver badge of the R.S.A. on Captain Hart's

On behalf of the association Captain Hart was presented with a greenstone
paper knife, mounted with a silver tiki, suitably inscribed.

In responding to the toast, Captain Hart thanked the association for the
honour they had done him. He said he had been proud to carry New Zealand
soldiers during the war, in which, by their military qualities, discipline,
and good behaviour, they had made a great name for themselves and the
Dominion. He would always treasure memories of his association with the New
Zealand trade, and especially would he value the life membership badge of
the Returned Soldiers' Association.

The toast of the Shaw, Savill, and Albion Company was proposed by Major J.
T. Watson, and responded to by Mr. James Findlay, Mr. E. V. Bevan, and
Captain Chudley. Captain Chudley referred to the war-time service of the
line, and said that the companys' [sic] ships, practically every one of
which was utilised as a troop transport, maintained a regular cargo service
between Now Zealand and Britain during the war period. Ships were diverted
from time to time to other services and trades to meet military and economic
exigencies, but the essential trade of New Zealand was maintained.


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
N.Z. Truth, Wellington, 24 November 1927
Retrieved from the National Library of New Zealand web site,

Captain Hart "Swallows the Anchor"
FORTY-SIX years at sea, of which 35 years have been spent m the service of
the White Star Line, and 18 years in continuous command of the Corinthic, is
the record of Captain Frank Hart, R.N.R., who is now making his last voyage
and will retire from the sea on his return to London next month.

Born m Liverpool on April 7, 1867, Captain Hart went to sea at the age of 14
and was master of a ship ten years later. He joined the service of the White
Star Line in 1892 as fourth officer of the Coptic, in which he made his
first voyage to New Zealand.

Later he became third officer of the Doric and subsequently was promoted
to second officer of the Coptic when she transferred to the trans-Pacific
service between San Francisco and the Far East.

He was four years chief officer of the Coptic, which, during the
Spanish-American War, carried the first news of the annexation by the United
States of the Hawaiian Islands.

After serving as chief officer in the Persic, Medic and Athenic on their
maiden voyages, Captain Hart became "chief" of the Oceanic and in June,
1904, was appointed to his first command in the White Star Line, the cargo
steamer, Bovic.

Eighteen years ago, in June, 1909, Captain Hart took command of the
Corinthic, in which he is now making his 45th voyage. During that time he
has steamed well over one million miles and carried more than 30,000
passengers without a singe mishap.

During the war Captain Hart carried from New Zealand the 18th and half of
the 23rd Reinforcements and across the Atlantic he transported in the
Corinthic 3000 Chinese laborers and two large detachments of American

Quiet and reserved, he has, nevertheless, made many friends among the
thousands of New Zealanders whom he has carried in his time as commander of
the Corinthic. During his present visit to Wellington, Captain Hart's valued
services to the "diggers" have been rightly recognized by his being made one
of them.

The Wellington returned soldiers have elected him an honorary life member
and presented him with the silver badge of the R.S.A.

When he "swallows the anchor" on arrival in London, he will carry with him
into retirement at his home in East Molesey, Surrey, the good wishes of
thousands of New Zealanders.

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