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Leecliffe Hall (2) 1961 - 1964

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Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd, Govan, Scotland as hull 811. Launched on May 18, 1961 as Leecliffe Hall for Hall Corporation. Dimensions: 729' 8" loa x 75' 00" beam x 39' 9" depth; 18,071 GRT, 12,888 NRT. Powered by a shipyard-built 8,200 shp cross-compound steam turbine and two shipyard-built Foster Wheeler D type oil-fired water tube boilers. Arrived at Lauzon, Quebec from her cross Atlantic Ocean journey on August 23, 1961 with her hatch openings uncut. Entered service in September 25, 1961.

On a foggy September 5, 1964, at about 17:15, the upbound LEECLIFFE HALL bound from Seven Islands to Lackawanna was struck by the downbound salty APOLLONIA off Saint Joseph de la Rive. The bow of the APOLLONIA tore a hole into the forepeak, damaging the collision bulkhead on the port side and demolished her own bow. With water filling hold no 1, the crew safely abandoned the ship and made it to shore with the assistance of a private yacht, while the tug FOUNDATION VIBERT (now FLORENCE M.) arrived around 19:00. During the four hours she remained afloat, the tug try to tow her ashore but her master decided to remain on stand-bye beside her, as the vessel was becoming too unstable. The master and few crew members who had remained on board decided the to evacuate the ship. The drifting hull eventually touched the bottom and the vessel capsized and rapidly sank drowning the three crew members still on board. The St-Lawrence’s schooner MONICA L did searched with the tug, both they were unable to recover the three missing crew members. The APOLLONIA continued under her own power to Levis, Quebec for repairs. In September of 1966, the hull of the LEECLIFFE HALL was dynamited to prevent it from being a hazard to navigation.

The inquiry into the collision and foundering concluded that the LEECLIFFE HALL had been proceeding upbound and while changing her course at Cap-aux-Oies, she remained on the downbound channel, and that the pilot of the APOLLONIA mistook her radar target for that of another downbound ship until it was too late. The report also stated that both ships were steaming at excessive speed given the conditions of poor visibility that prevailed. Both pilots received five-month license suspensions and Capt. Bowen’s was lifted for six. The court had no authority to deal with the foreign license of the Apollonia’s master. Despite the charge of excessive speed being involved, reliable sources insist that one of the LEECLIFFE HALL’s two boilers was shut down owing to problems, and the maximum speed of which the ship was capable at the time was about eight knots. At the time of the collision Hall Corporation President Frank Augsbury his wife Lee, eldest son Frank III, and other members of the family were guests aboard the LEECLIFFE HALL, along with Canadian Senator Maurice Bourget and his wife Margo. Ironically, the occasion for their trip was the celebration of Mr. Augsbury’s 40th birthday the day before. There were a total of 32 crew members and 10 passengers. The private yacht’s owner which was involved assisting the LEECLIFFE HALL's lifeboat was owned by the Canadian lawyer and parliamentarian Léopold Langlois (future senator).
Collision information provided by Capt. Hubert Desgagnés, retired Coast Guard SAR officer

 

Leecliffe Hall (2) 1961 to 1964
(Hall Corp.)

Construction nearing completion, 1961
(Bob Grahm collection)

Sliding down the ways in Glasgow, May 18, 1961
(Paul Strathdee collection, provided by Ted Wilush)

Tugs take control, May 18, 1961
(Steel & Bennie Album, provided by Ted Wilush)

Being guided to her dock, May 18, 1961
(Steel & Bennie Album, provided by Ted Wilush)

Fitting out in the shipyard, 1961
(Steel & Bennie Album, provided by Ted Wilush)

A closer view, 1961
(Steel & Bennie Album, provided by Ted Wilush)

Out on sea trials off Firth of Clyde, Scotland, July 1961
(Bobby Sinclair collection, provided by Ted Wilush)

A view of the stack during sea trials, July 1961
(Bob Graham collection)

Upbound in the American Narrows on her maiden voyage through the Seaway, September 22, 1961
(Bob Graham collection)

First time entering Lock 7, September 23, 1961
(Photo by Ron Beaupre)

At the Kinston Elevator in the fall of 1961.
(Photo by Gordon C. Shaw, Viktor Kaczkowski collection)

Underway, 1960's
(Photo by Bruce Drope, John Rochon collection)

Upbound above Lock 7, 1961
(Bob Graham collection)

Running light, 1961
(Doug Covey collection)

Laying up in Prescott, Ontario, December 1961
L-R: Tecumseh, Leecliffe Hall, Golden Hind, Mohawk Deer, Soodoc
(Photo by Ron Beaupre)

Loading in Thunder Bay.
(Terry McCullough collection)

Transiting the Welland Canal.
(Terry McCullough collection)

Downbound the Welland Canal below the QEW.
(Terry McCullough collection)

In ballast on the Seaway.
(Doug Covey collection)

In the Welland Canal.
(Photo by Jim Kidd, Ron Beaupre collection)

Downbound in the Detroit River, June 1964
(Historical Coll. of the Great Lakes, provided by Doug Covey)

Upbound in the Welland Canal just above the city of Welland. New
(Matt Miner collection)

Downbound at Mission Pt.
(Photo by Tom Manse, Roger LeLiever collection)

Downbound at Mission Pt.
(Photo by Tom Manse, Roger LeLiever collection)

A Stobart painting of the Leecliffe Hall and the Hallfax passing.
(Painting by John Stobart, provided by Doug Covey)

     
Newspaper Articles

New Hall Vessel Leaves Scotland For Quebec Port
August 25, 1961
(Montreal Gazette)

British Group Seeks To Divert More Ships To Smaller Ports
July 23, 1964
(Montreal Gazette)

Collision-Battered
September 1964
(Montreal Gazette)

Three Seamen Lost Following Return To Ore Carrier
September 8, 1964
(Montreal Gazette)

Officers, Pilots At Fault
May 28, 1965
(Montreal Gazette)

     
Foundation Vibert now Florence M.

Underway in Halifax harbor, 1960's.
(Doug Covey collection)

Florence M. setting in Hamilton, September 22, 2011.
(Photo by Paul Beesley)

Stern view, September 22, 2011.
(Photo by Paul Beesley)

 
Leecliffe Hall (1) 1947 - 1961

Click on above picture for gallery.

 

Masters and Chief Engineers of the Leecliffe Hall
(Courtesy of Russ Plumb)
Masters Chief Engineers
Walter M. Bowen 1961
Walter M. Bowen 1962 - 63
Devona "Tony" Larosee 1964
Walter M. Bowen 1964
Unknown 1961
M. Visser 1962 - 63
Fredrick T. Gay 1964
M. Visser 1964

 


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Last updated: September 2, 2014.

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