Flying Serpent and Laguna in the Dan McDonald collection

12:49 PM

More images have been added to our Dan McDonald collection on Flickr, including this one of the tug Flying Serpent pulling the cargo ship Laguna into port at the James Watt Dock in Greenock.

  Flying Serpent

The Flying Serpent was built by Ferguson Shipbuilders and launched from their yard at Port Glasgow on 16 March 1909 and then completed in 1911.  It was owned by the Clyde Shipping Company and it's job was to pull large ships and help them navigate the bends in the River Clyde, ensuring that they kept to the deep channels. In it's lifetime it guided many ships including the Cunard Line's famous ocean liner the Aquitania. In May 1914, together with tugs the Flying Buzzard, Flying Falcon, Flying Linnet, Flying Cormorant and the Flying Swallow, the newly built Aquitania was pulled from John Brown's Shipyard at Clydebank, down river into the deeper waters of the Clyde Estuary, from where it went on course to Liverpool for it's maiden voyage to New York.

In the above photograph the tug is pulling the 6,466 ton, 420 foot long ship Laguna, which was built at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Govan.  It was launched on 19 April 1923 and completed in July the same year. The Laguna was a cargo ship owned by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company Ltd., Liverpool and like many cargo ships, was important in transporting essential supplies to the UK from America during the second world war.  On the 31 May 1942, the Laguna picked up 17 survivors who had been adrift in a lifeboat for 3 days after their merchant ship the Yorkmoor had been sunk by a German U-Boat about 530 miles east of the Florida coast. Less than 3 months later the Laguna itself was torpedoed by a U-Boat.  It was part of a convoy and was carrying cereals, cotton, hemp and ore from Cristobal in Panama to Liverpool, and was west of Haiti when it was hit. Two of the ships in the convoy were sunk but luckily the Laguna was only damaged and all the crew survived.  It was towed to Guantanamo where it was repaired and returned to service in November 1942 and continued in working service until it was scrapped in 1952 at Barrow in Furness. The Flying Serpent outlasted it, being sold to Ybarrola Depositos Aceite Conbustible SA, Ceuta, in 1947 and ending the final 12 years of it's life in Spain.

Have a look at the other interesting images of our shipping heritage in the Dan McDonald Collection.

Kirsty Menzies, Volunteer

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