Under our care is an incredibly and carefully detailed shipbuilders model of the early 20th century sunken ship, the St Elwyn. This little piece of history comes in its original glass and wood casing, which is beautifully engraved with the ship’s name atop the box. This boat model is extremely rare; we consider ourselves in credibly lucky to have gotten ahold of such a special piece.
This St Elwyn shipbuilders model is not just any model; it encases a particularly rich and tragic story. The St Elwyn was a British cargo ship built in 1938 by Thompson Joseph L. & Sons and owned by South American Saint Line Read. It was lead by Master Edward Thomas Alexander Daniells. During a delivery of coal from Hull to Santos, the St Elwyn was tragically torpedoed and taken down by a German submarine. At first, the German submarine failed its attempt to shoot at the British ship due to a zigzag course taken by the boat. The ship sank by the stern after being hit by a coup de grâce in the engine room. The submarine in question was u-boat U-103.
When we look at this model of the St Elwyn it is difficult to comprehend how such a robust machinery can be struck and sunk at all. Out of 40 crew members, only 16 were found by the British merchant Leeds City and landed at Gourock; 24 men were lost at sea. This shipbuilder’s model serves today as a memorial to the lives lost aboard the St Elwyn.