Isabella, Henry Stuart, Adella, and Henry James Salt
After that fateful day, HENRY JAMES spent the next 29 years at sea, sailing in various tramp steamers, making ports of call from the far East to North and South America and hundreds inbetween. His Certificate of Discharge book reads of the exotic and the mundane. Transiting the Panama Canal only 10 years after its completion by Colonel Geroge W. Goethals to sailing the Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Black Sea during the first World War with stops in South Africa, Argentina, India, and Italy to name but a few.

Of course, what would the life of a mariner be if not for the many coastal runs to and from ports within the UK.

One can only imagine life at sea during this time, specifically with the hazards of war just over the horizon. All told, over 17,000 Merchant Seaman sailing under the British Red Ensign were lost at sea between 1914 and 1918.
Liverpool has a larger fleet of merchant vessels than any other seaport in the world. As an industrial centre Liverpool is famous for its shipbuilding yards, in which large merchant and war vessels are made. It also has large iron and brass foundries, engine-works, sugar-refineries, breweries, etc. It is a great shipping point of emigrants to America.

The NEW International Encyclopedia 1905
Certificate of Discharge Book - Henry James Salt
SS Roxby (2nd Engineer) 26 Jun 1904 - 3 Sep 1904
SS Wandby (2nd & 1st Engineer) 29 Sep 1904 - 11 Mar 1912
SS Stagpool (1st Engineer) 24 Jul 1912 - 30 May 1923
SS Sedgepool (1st Engineer) 22 Jun 1923 - 16 Oct 1926
SS Salmonpool (1st Engineer) 4 Nov 1927 - 15 Dec 1933
Henry James Salt - Service History
After review of the eventual destiny of those vessels in which he served, one can only surmize that, with the exception of his time in the Steam Ship Roxby, HENRY JAMES truly did live the charmed life of a mariner. Always continuing to his next attachment well before the "last days" of each vessel.

Name Built Gross Ton

SS Roxby 1893 3,043

SS Wandby 1899 3,981

SS Sedgepool 1918 6,530

SS Salmonpool 1924 4,803

Lost in a collision with the SS Glasgow near the Hook of Holland on 3 Sep 1904.

Registered under Sir Robert Ropner in 1916, she was bound from Algiers to Portland, Maine when she ran aground under a full head of steam in a dense fog at Kennebunkport Maine on March 9, 1921. It was told by people from Kennebunkport that when the ship hit the rocks, it shook the whole town. The vessel lay on the rocks for months before it was cut up for scrap. Large sections of the hull and its intact boiler and rudder still remain at the wreck site today. Before her unfortunate demise, the SS Wandby would be the first of three Defence Equipped Merchant Ships (DEMS) to engage and sink a German U-Boat and her successful attack would lead to the start of what would become known as “Ropner’s Navy”.

Torpedoed during convoy duties with convoy SC-7 on 19 Oct 1940 by U-123. The German
submarine left Kiel under the command of Karl-Heinz Moehle on 21 Sep 1940 for operations in the North Atlantic and arrived at Lorient on 23 Oct 1940 after four and a half weeks. Karl-Heinz Moehle hit six ships on this patrol and all of them were in convoy.

Was seized by the Germans in 1940 and renamed the Putzig. In 1945 she was returned to England's care and renamed the Empire Salmonpool. Eventually sold to Costa Rica in 1955, renamed the Puntarenas and then scrapped in 1958.
A Truly Charmed Life at Sea ...
SS Wandby Aground - 1921
SS ROXBY (1893-1904)
Code letters: NJSK Official Number: 95930 Master: Captain D.L. Shield

Rigging: steel single screw steamer; 1 deck & partial Awning Deck; 2 tiers of beams; 5 cemented bulkheads

Tonnage: 3,043 tons gross, 2,278 under deck and 1,964 net

Dimensions: 315 feet long, 40.5 foot beam and holds 20.3 feet deep; Poop 29 feet; Quarter Deck 102 feet; partial Awning Deck 184 feet

Construction: 1893, Ropner & Son in Stockton

Propulsion: triple expansion engine with 3 cylinders of 22 ˝, 37 & 61 inches diameter respectively; stroke 42 inches; 246 nominal horsepower; 2 single ended boilers; 6 ribbed furnaces; grate surface 104 sq. ft.; heating surface 3,760 sq. ft.; engine by Blair & Co. Ltd. in Stockton
SS Yearly - Trunk deck steamer
Similar to the tramp steamer SS Robxy
Owners: R. Ropner & Co.
For over 29 years, HENRY JAMES remained under the employ of the Ropner Shipping Company, sailing as an Engineer in various "tramp steamers". In fact, his son, Henry Stuart would carry on in this respect, sailing under the Ropner flag during his Father's final 10 years with the company. Between the two, Father and Son would spend well over 12,000 days at sea in the support of British trade in the early 20th century.
The Ropner Shipping Company ...
The founder of the Ropner Shipping Company, Sir Robert Ropner was born in Magdeburg, Germany and fell in love with the idea of seafaring from reading books, although he had never seen the sea. Traveling to Hamburg, he stowed away on a British ship bound for West Hartlepool. A rough passage cured him of all ideas of going to sea, and he settled in England, found work, and married.

In 1860 Robert Ropner was employed by shipowners T Appleby and Co, Hartlepool and in 1866 Ropner became a partner in T Appleby and Co. Working for a firm of coal exporters, the ambitious young man quickly realised that having his own steamships would earn him and his partners more money than chartering them from other owners. In 1868 a local yard built him the Amy, named after Ropner`s daughter. It did not carry as much coal as expected, and was soon wrecked. Ropner was undaunted, however, and went on to order more ships, first with his partner and later for himself. With his German origins, Ropner was particularly successful in trading with ports around the Baltic.

Ropners was founded in 1874 in West Hartlepool, following the break up of the partnership with Thomas Appleby. So quickly did his fleet expand, that in 1888 Ropner bought a shipyard at Stockton-on-Tees. Maltby is the first ship made there for the company, starting the tradition of its ships ending in -by.

The yard was to build its own special type of tramp ship, the trunk deck ship. The hatches were placed on a narrow trunk, extending almost the full length of the ship. Because of the way ships were measured, this method of construction gave a tonnage figure that was low for the ship’s carrying capacity. As various dues, such as that for using the Suez Canal, were based on the tonnage figure, this reduced costs dramatically. Like other tramp owners, Ropner always looked for ways of reducing his overheads and making his ships more profitable.
In 1903, Ropners created a subsidiary, the Pool Shipping Company, and thus commenced the tradition of its ships ending in -pool. The name of the management company was changed to Sir R. Ropner & Co. Ltd in 1915 by which time his company was managing a fleet of 57 tramps and 350,000 dwt. During both the first and second World Wars, the Ropner fleet was affectionately known as “Ropner's Navy”, after the successful sinking of a least one U-boat, on the 2nd of April 1921, during WWI by the DEMS (Defence Equipped Merchant Ships) SS Wandby.

In WWI the Ropner Co. lost 27 of their ships to enemy action (50% of her fleet) and a further 43 ships owned and managed by them during WWII. By the time WWII finished the company were down to their last 4 ships owned by the Ropner Shipping Co. & 7 of the Pool Shipping Co. The largest loss of ships by any one company in war. During WWII no less than 13 OBE’s, 3 British Empire Medals & 2 Lloyds War Medals were awarded to the Officers & crew of the Ropner fleet. Their Merchant Fleet saw service in every theatre of war during both wars from Dunkirk to D-Day, the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Pacific, Mediterranean, North Africa & North Russia.
Henry James Salt
Xmas 1906

Again the Festive Season comes round with Xmas Day, And my heart goes out in longing for my loved one far away.

But I know his heart is faithful to home & son & wife, And the love he bears towards us will last all through his life.

God bless & keep him safe wherever he may roam, And bring him safely back again to share the joys of home.


 Christmas note from
Isabella to HENRY JAMES while at sea
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the Sea
Henry James Salt (1871 - Unknown)
The youngest son of William George Salt, HENRY JAMES was born on the 16th of November in the year 1871 in South Shields, Durham County, England.

On the 11th of September, 1900, at the age of 28, he married Isabella, daughter of James and Isabella Bain at the Congregational Church in Huntly, just three days after receipt of his 1st Class Engineer Certification. The father of one son, Henry Stuart, and one daughter, Adella, HENRY JAMES lived what can only be described as a somewhat charmed but always exciting life as a mariner.

Unfortunately, much of his earliest years at sea were "Lost at Sea" so to speak. In actual fact, they were literally lost at sea. The first recorded entry in his Certificate of Discharge book reads ... "Renewed. Original lost through ship wreck."

And so began his charmed life at sea ...
The Salt's & the Sea
Port of registry: Stockton