The Blue Funnel Line is no more, so:

Farewell to the China Boats

Blue Funnel Line ships were known as the China Boats or the Welsh Navy
in Merseyside/North Wales.


Website created and maintained by John Marshall, aka Ken or Hank.

I don't think that any of the thousands of us who plied the world's trade routes in the conventional cargo liners of the British Merchant Navy in the forties, fifties and sixties ever dreamed that within a generation our way of life would cease to exist as the trade moved into containerships.

As a memorial to the last days those ships I offer a few pictures of them and life aboard them. The pictures are sized to fit an 800 x 600 screen. I was in the Blue Funnel Line and most of the pictures reflect that. Folk who have visited the site before might like to know that I have rejigged some of the pictures now that I know a bit more about how to do it. The links are at the foot of the page.

When the Blue Funnel ship Rhexenor, carrying an innocuous cargo of cocoa from West Africa to Canada, was torpedoed and sunk in 1943 it took the lifeboats three weeks to reach safety. I have transcribed the reports of the officers and offer them via the link below.

I have added a section showing some of the maritime papers and documents associated with British seamen and will add more as time goes by. These range from 1890s Articles (crew lists) to a 1960s Chinese New Year dinner menu, and include the story of the torpedoing of Asphalion off Vizagapatnam in 1944.

Send comments and queries to

Click on the links below:

Ships of the Sixties  in colour.

The Blue Funnel Line  in Black and White pictures.

Rhexenor   reports and pictures.

Papers  - and documents associated with the British Merchant Navy.


In Memoriam

Click here to go to the Awards site