The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1918 to 1939 PURIRI - Yard No 273 - Motor Cargo Vessel - Anchor Shipping Co, New Zealand - Built 1938

Leith Shipyards

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PURIRI - Yard No 273 - Motor Cargo Vessel - Anchor Shipping Co, New Zealand - Built 1938


M.V.PURIRI was Ship No 273 built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

 The original (First) M.V.PURIRI Ship No 273

(photo credit unknown)


Owners    Anchor Shipping & Foundry Co, New Zealand
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Motor Cargo Launched    25/10/1938
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    180' 0" Weather    
Beam    35' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     14' 0"      
G.R.T.    927 tons      
Props    2      
Other known names   N/A    
Current Status   Sunk when striking a mine April 1941    
Content on will be added as and when available. 


The collier PURIRI around 1939.

(photo credit unknown) 

The ship PURIRI is named from a type of tree endemic to New Zealand


Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was hoped for a long and successful working life.

This page is dedicated to the Men who gave there life and to the injured when the PURIRI struck a mine.

The modern twin screw motor ship PURIRI was built for the New Zealand Anchor Steamship Company, launched and delivered just before the start of World War II, regarded as the most modern collier of the New Zealand Coast she was to carry out her work before she was quickly requisitioned into the New Zealand division of The Royal Navy, she was destined to be converted to become a mine sweeper and was commissioned in April 1941. and took its place with the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla, organised in April to sweep the Hauraki Gulf to eliminate the mine menace.

On 14th May, the same year, two of its vessels, HM ships Gale and PURIRI, were steaming to locate and destroy a mine found in the nets of the fishing launch Pearline about eight miles from Bream Head, near Whangarei, when PURIRI struck a mine, sinking immediately with the commanding officer and four ratings killed and an officer and four ratings injured. The survivors, five officers and twenty-one ratings, were rescued by Gale. The mine struck on the side of the ship near the bridge and the telegraphist aboard at the time rushed up to the radio office to find just a gaping hole there. At a resulting enquiry, blame was attributed to the senior officer of the searching ships for lack of care in the ships under his charge.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.


Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.


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