Other Mariners from Arbroath

Besides my great grandfather David Dorward Raitt and his brother James Dorward Raitt, their father John Raitt and his brother Alexander, and Alexander’s son of the same name, and other relations such as Alexander Croal and Robert Stormont and possibly a couple of Dorwards, there are also various other Raitts from Arbroath who were master mariners. Although they appear, at first glance, not to be my relatives in recent times (though who knows who was related to whom before records proper began) I have thought it appropriate to include some information about them here, together with (first) more distant relatives who do not have a page of their own. I have included other Raitt mariners not emanating from Arbroath on a separate page.


Details of the required examinations these sailors would have had to have passed are given on a separate page, as is some of the flavour of what it took to be a Master Mariner in the days of sail. A separate page covers some shipwrecks various family members were involved in.


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Alexander Croal


Like so many other individuals, there appear to have been two Alexander Croals - both born in Arbroath within a little over a year of each other (one on 18 January 1801 and the other on 7 May 1802), and both master mariners. Furthermore, the records may have confused both men - as well as me - but I think I have sorted them out. Like his ship master father Alexander, Alexander Croal, husband of Susan Raitt and brother-in-law of her ship master brothers Alexander and John Raitt, was given his Certificate of Competency (number 2459) as Master under the seal of the Board of Trade on 28 February 1851. His Master’s Certificate of Service, number 36.920 and granted on 4 February 1851, showed that he had been born at Arbroath on 18 January 1802 (in fact it was 1801) and had been employed in the capacities of Mate and Master for 19 years in the British Merchant Service in the coasting and foreign trade. Although his date of birth is given as 1802, I believe this is “my” Alexander Croal rather than the one who was actually born in 1802, partly because I think it more likely that he would have known the exact day of his birth rather than possibly the year.


Alexander made a Master’s Claim for Certificate of Service on 22 November 1850, when he was aged 48, at the port of Arbroath for the following ships (the first was of the port of Dundee, the remainder from Arbroath):


Britannia (64 tons) – served as Apprentice in Coasting trade from March 1813 – March 1818


Mary Ann (110 tons) – served as Seaman in Coasting and foreign trade from April 1818 – Dec 1824


Sundry ships - – served as Seaman and Mate in Coasting and foreign trade from Jan 1825 – Jan 1832


Gratitude (brigantine, 170 tons, built 1823, registered Arbroath) – served as Mate in Baltic trade from 1 Feb 1832 – Dec 1834


Margaret (108 tons) – served as Mate in Foreign trade from Feb 1835 – July 1839


(140 tons) – served as Mate in Baltic trade from July 1839 – Dec 1842


Britannia (60 tons) – served as Master in Coasting trade from March 1843 – April 1845


Britannia (brigantine, 130 tons, built 1844, registered Arbroath) – served as Master in Foreign trade from Aug 1845 – Aug 1847


John and Jean (schooner, 72 tons, built 1837, registered Arbroath) – served as Master in Foreign trade from Aug 1847 – Oct 1849


Avon (180 tons) – served as Mate in Foreign trade from Feb 1850 - continuous


Lawton (sloop, 39 tons, built 1841, registered Arbroath) - served as Able Seaman in Nov 1875


It was possibly Allan’s son William Allan Raitt, born 1898, who died aged 44 on 28 Nov 1942 after being torpedoed by U-177. William was in the Merchant Navy and Second Engineer Officer aboard the troop transport vessel Nova Scotia. His parents were listed as Allan and Annie Raitt, and his wife as Florence Raitt, of Liverpool.



Samuel Bowden Raitt


Samuel Bowden Raitt, born 29 October 1867 in St Vigeans, to David Raitt and Louisa Bowden was a marine fireman and a stoker in a steamship. The 1891 census for Medway, Kent, has Samuel, aged 22, unmarried, born Arbroath as a donkeyman aboard the S.S. Daisy (an iron schooner steamer). Later that same year he is recorded as Sam B. Raitt serving as a donkeyman aboard the Pickwick from North Shields, a vessel of 1140 gross tonnage and 730 net, from 20 Aug 1891 – 4 Oct 1891. His previous ship was the same – thus he must have served on it between April and August 1891. And in fact he served once more on the same ship between 5 Oct 1891 – 7 Nov 1891. Details of Samuel and his family can be found on the Raitts of Conon and Colliston page, while details on his namesake son emigrated to New Jersey as did other children and their story can be found on the New Jersey Raitts page.


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The Tayside Maritime History website contains a few sparse details of other Raitts from Arbroath (as well as elsewhere).


James Raitt, shipmaster, home port Arbroath, received his confirmation on 19 Dec 1722 from St Andrews Commission Court.


Captain Raitt was Master of the Plough, which departed Arbroath for Sunderland on 4 June 1831 and returned on 12 June 1831, carrying ballast in both directions.


The Arbroath Timeline website also has quite a few details of Arbroath Boatbuilders, Arbroath registered vessels as well as images of ships.


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There are also a few other Raitts who were captains - though not from Arbroath. One, William Raitt from Aberdeen who was in the Royal Navy and saw action in the Napoleonic and American wars (see under Military  Raitts); and two, in the Merchant Service: Charles Raitt of Dundee, who after being captured during the American War of Independence, joined the East India Company to become a Commander; and David Raitt of Aberdeen, who was captured during the Anglo-American war of 1812-1815, and who afterwards, as master of the Ceres regularly plied to what is now Canada with passengers as well as goods and who was lost overboard. Since the press of the times provided quite some information on these two men, then I have created a separate page for them (see under Other Raitt Mariners).


It should be said that I am not bothering to discover all details about all mariners with the name of Raitt, nor track all their many voyages at the present time. However, when I do come across a new name or ship I will endeavour to add it.


For example, the Perth Packet under David Raitt bound for Rotterdam with Rudd was mentioned in the Leeds Intelligencer for Tuesday 13 Nov 1759. There was also a John Raitt in the marine service of the East India Company. He served as 3rd mate on the Triton (499 tons) for one voyage for Coast and Bay trade – leaving the Downs on 1 Jan 1772 and arriving back there on 8 Oct 1773. We know that on 19th December 1812, the Amphitrite, under a master named Raitt, was driven ashore near Lisbon in a violent gale. And the Ploughman, a brigantine from Aberdeen to America, sailed on 25 April 1819 under her master named Raitt. There will be other references to other voyages by these ships and references to other ships - but it is a long task to check them all!

William Raitt's younger brother James Raitt, born in Arbroath in 1841, was also a seaman, first going to sea at 19, and in the 1871 census being described as a carpenter aboard the ship Good Intent. As a seaman-carpenter in the Merchant Service, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1874 with his family and after a spell on land as a joiner, reverted to seaman carpenter – see under Lyttelton Raitts for details of his emigration and descendants).



Allan Raitt


On 20 Sep 1923 Allen Raitt, identity certificate 993816 was engaged as Chief Engineer aboard the S.S. Valemore of Liverpool. In a declaration stamped 1 June 1831, he certified that he was not now in possession of an unfilled continuous certificate of discharge because he was now a London citizen. Another portion of this documents (with the same ID number) and where he signed his name as Allan, notes that he was born in Arbroath in 1867 and had a rating as First Engineer. He was 5 ft 9in tall, had blue eyes, dark brown hair and a fresh complexion. It seems he had served aboard the Craigmore of the port of Liverpool from 25 Nov 1890 – 22 March 1891 in the capacity of Third Engineer. The vessel had a gross tonnage of 2284 and a net of 1458. He served again aboard the same ship in the same capacity from 10 April 1891 – 4 June 1891, then again from 27 June 1891 – 19 Aug 1891, and also from 7 Sept 1891 – 27 Nov 1891.


Allan was born on 24 May 1867 in Arbroath, the only son (with three sisters) of James Raitt and Eleanor Deuchars. James was the eldest son of David Raitt and Mary Steel. He is in the 1881 census for 12 Hannah Street, Arbroath (almost next door to where the widow of my great great grandfather John Raitt lived with her daughter at number 18) where he is 13 and working in a jute mill. So between 1881 and 1891 he must have got his qualifications as an engineer and gone to sea. Allan died in 1940 in Arbroath.

William Raitt


William Raitt was the eldest son of James Raitt and Elspet Craig and made an application (which cost him £1) to the local marine board at the port of Dundee to be examined for obtaining a certificate of competency as an Only Mate for foreign-going ships on 10 January 1862. He gave as his date of birth 12 May 1839 in Arbroath and his place of address as Townhead, Arbroath. He passed the required examination on 11 January 1862 at Dundee and this information was duly and transmitted by the Examiners to the Registrar-General of Seamen on 13 January 1862 to the Shipping House or Customs House of Arbroath. His certificate, number 24.961 was issued at the port of Arbroath on 17 January 1862. On 1 September 1865 in Dundee William applied to be examined for a certificate of competency as a Master Ordinary. This time he paid £2. He gave his address as 28 Barngreen, Arbroath. He passed the exam on 2 September and his certificate for competency as Master was given, under the seal of the Board of Trade, on 5 September 1865.


In fact, it was just a year or so after he appeared in the 1851 census as a machine flax dresser aged 11, that William is recorded as serving seven months (from Nov 1852-June 1853) aboard the Agnes from Arbroath. From then until August 1861 he served aboard another nine or more vessels for a total of 5 years 5 months at sea for which he could produce certificates for 4 years and 8 months in his capacity as boy, apprentice and able seaman. His ships are named in the list of testimonials and statement of service from time of first going to sea. They include:


Agnes (sloop) - belonging to the port of Arbroath – served in capacity of Boy from Nov 1852 - June 1853 (7 months).  (Could be either the one built 1831, 50 tons; or the one built 1837, 46 tons, both registered Arbroath – in 1846 the master was named Raitt.)


Dunrobin - belonging to the port of London – served in capacity of Boy from June 1853 - Nov 1853 (5 months)


Georgina - belonging to the port of Dundee – served in capacity of Apprentice  from Jan 1854 - Oct 1854 (9 months)


Kurriyong - belonging to the port of Dundee – served in capacity of Boy from May 1855 – Oct 1855 (5 months)


Scotia (brigantine, 149 tons, built 1844, registered Arbroath) - belonging to the port of Arbroath – served in capacity of Boy from Jan 1856 – April 1856 (3 months)


Isa - belonging to the port of Dundee – served in capacity of Ordinary Seaman  from May 1856 – Aug 1856 (3 months).  (May have been the Isla, brigantine, 303 tons, built 1836)


Effort - belonging to the port of Montrose – served in capacity of Ordinary Seaman from Aug 1856 – Dec 1856 (4 months)


Thomas - belonging to the port of Dundee – served in capacity of Able Seaman from March 1858 – July 1858 (4 months). (May have been either the brigantine, 118 tons, built 1827; the  schooner, 70 tons, built 1825; or the sloop, 36 tons, built 1809)


Panmure (sloop, 66 tons, built 1816, registered Arbroath) - belonging to the port of Arbroath – served in capacity of Able Seaman from Aug 1858 – Oct 1858 (2 months)


Sword Fish - belonging to the port of London – served in capacity of Able Seaman from Feb 1859 – July 1859 (5 months)


Kinnard - belonging to the port of Fraserburgh – served in capacity of Able Seaman from Aug 1860 – Aug 1861 (1 year)


Plus Sundry Vessels in which he served as Able Seaman.


Another list of the ships on which he served up to April 1865 which he submitted to obtain his master’s certificate shows that for many of them William was mate. The total time at sea was 8 years and 8 months and he produced certificates for time served of 4 years 11 months. This list does not include all the previous ships (details differ for some of them), but does add new ones.


Dunrobin - belonging to the port of London – served in capacity of Ordinary Seaman (rather than Boy) from June 1853 - Nov 1853 (6 months)


Georgina - belonging to the port of Dundee – served in capacity of Apprentice  from Jan 1854 - Aug 1854 (8 months)


Kurriyong - belonging to the port of Dundee – served in capacity of Ordinary Seaman (rather than Boy) from May 1855 – Oct 1855 (5 months)


Sword Fish - belonging to the port of London – served in capacity of Able Seaman from Feb 1859 – July 1859 (5 months)


Kinnard - belonging to the port of Peterhead (not Fraserburgh) – served in capacity of Able Seaman from Aug 1860 – Aug 1861 (1 year)


Blairmore - belonging to the port of Glasgow – served in capacity of Mate from March 1860 – Dec 1862 (10 months)

City of Canton - belonging to the port of Glasgow – served in capacity of 2nd Mate from Dec 1862 – May 1863 (5 months)


Mercury - belonging to the port of Calcutta –

served in capacity of 2nd Mate from Aug 1863 – Jan 1864 (5 months)


Southern Cross - belonging to the port of Calcutta –

served in capacity of Mate from Jan 1864 – June 1864 (6 months)


Ticonderoga - belonging to the port of Calcutta –

served in capacity of Mate from July 1864 – Aug 1864 (2 months)


Southern Cross - belonging to the port of Calcutta –

served in capacity of Mate from Sept 1864 – Nov 1864 (3 months)


Knight Commander - belonging to the port of Liverpool – served in

capacity of 2nd Mate from Nov 1864 – April 1865 (5 months)

There are also several other Dorwards from Arbroath (e.g. James (born 1835), George (1839) and John Greig (1855) with mate and master certificates of competence but I have not yet checked whether they were related to the wife (Elizabeth Dorward) of my great great grandfather - so no details are included at present.



Jonathan Raitt


Born on 26 May 1811 in St Vigeans, Jonathan Raitt was a son of David Raitt and Margaret Chapel who married in 1800 in St Vigeans. David himself was the eldest son of Francis Raitt and Jean Watt. (See also Raitts of Conon and Colliston for earlier ancestry.) Jonathan was issued a Masters’ Certificate of Service, number 49.892, on 23 January 1851 at Newport. The document gives his date of birth as 1 June 1811 and his place of birth as Arbroath and states that he had been employed in the capacities of Apprentice, Mate and Master for 25 years in the British Merchant Service in the Coasting and Foreign trade. His Master’s Claim for Certificate of Service submitted on 13 January 1851 at the port of Gloucester, gives his age as 39 and lists the ships he had served on. These ships, all belonging to the port of Arbroath, were:


Othidy (?) (120 tons) – served as Apprentice in the Baltic trade from July 1826 – July 1830


Jane (95 tons) – served as Seaman in the Baltic trade from July 1830 – Aug 1831


Hunter (60 tons) – served as Seaman in the Coasting trade from Aug 1831 – July 1832


Neptune (80 tons) – served as Seaman in the Baltic trade from Aug 1832 – Sept 1833


Trim (95 tons) – served as Mate in the Baltic trade from Oct 1833 – Jan 1836


Arteas (?) (85 tons) – served as Master in the Coasting trade from Feb 1836 – Feb 1837


Reaper (sloop, 45 tons, built 1833, registered Arbroath) - served as Master in the Coasting and Baltic trade from March 1837 – April 1842


Heathen (?) (95 tons) – served as Master in the Baltic and Mediterranean trade from May 1842 – Jan 1848


Danube (195 tons, registered Arbroath) – served as Master in the Brazils trade from Jan 1848 – remaining (i.e. presumably to date of application). He subsequently lost this vessel in the middle of the North Atlantic and also suffered the loss of a ship he later owned, the Favourite (see under Raitt Wrecks).


Jonathan was married twice – his first wife dying just a few days after their first baby was born and the baby also dying a week later. John was at sea at the time. He married again some 20 years later and clearly gave up the sea before 1871 since he is described in the census for Cairnie Street for that year as a retired ship master. He died on 11 July 1892 in St Vigeans. He is mentioned on gravestone stone 1337 in Arbroath Abbey along with other members of his family. He left a will  which was executed on 5 May 1893.

There are two other Stormonts (Robert and Lawrence) who were born in Arbroath in 1845 and 1850 who were also Master Mariners. Their father appears to have been John Stormonth from Perthshire, but since I have not yet established any relationship with the above Robert Stormont then I have not included them here. There is also James Stormont born Arbroath in 1835 who was likewise a Master Mariner. Again, I am not yet sure who he is and who he is related to.


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Like so many from Arbroath, including the Raitts, several of the Dorwards were also mariners. The wife, Elizabeth Dorward (1808-1833), of my great great great grandfather, John Raitt (1805-1880) had at least older four brothers (though not her father) who were seamen (though possibly not ship masters): David Dorward (1795-1852); John Dorward (1800-1822); Alexander Dorward (1803-1863) and James Dorward (1805-1875). John died at sea on 1 Jan 1822 when he was only 21.


According to his register ticket (91.219) issued at Arbroath on 17 Dec 1844 in capacity of seaman when he was 49, David Dorward was born in Arbroath on 4 April 1795 (and aged 50 in 1845 according to one column). He was 5ft 4½in tall, had a dark complexion, black hair, blue eyes and no distinguishing marks, and he could write. He first went to sea as an Apprentice in 1810, i.e. when he was 14 or 15. This may be in fact, a reissue or new issue of his ticket, because alongside his entry is the comment “Cancelled. Ticket lost in shipwreck”.  There is a record for him (entry 5600) when he was aged 40 (born Arbroath) and a mariner belonging to the ship Adelaide of Arbroath and the date of 6 Aug is given. Another record shows he was serving as a seaman on the Adelaide in August 1836. He also served on other vessels, but the details are not very clear. Neither are they for his brothers Alexander and James, both of who seem to have been active as a seaman in various ships certainly from 1834-1840 in the case of Alexander and 1836-1838 in the case of James. None of these brothers got married. David and James Dorward were living in the same house as their sister and brother-in-law John Raitt and their family as well as their mother (Margaret) in the 1851 census.

Robert Stormont


The elder brother of my great great grandfather, Alexander Raitt, married Mary Stormont in 1826 in Arbroath. Their youngest son, also Alexander, followed his father to become a Master Mariner. But the tradition also ran in Mary’s family. Her father, James Stormont, was a seaman in the Royal Navy; his eldest son, William, was a rope maker; while son James, presumably after a life at sea, became the harbour master at Arbroath for 16 years. His last command was the Adah – on which ship Raitts had also served at some point. James Jnr’s son, Robert Stormont, born in Arbroath on 22 Sept 1827 also became a Master Mariner.


Robert was issued his Mate’s Certificate of Service, number 66.385, at Arbroath on 19 December 1850. On the certificate it said he had been born in Arbroath on 22 Sept 1827 and had been employed in the capacities of Apprentice, Seaman and Mate for ten years in the British Merchant Service in the Coasting and Foreign trades. It also mentioned a registered ticket number 248,346. Armed with this certificate of service he then applied to the local marine board at the port of Dundee on 17 January 1851 (paying £2) to be examined for obtaining the Certificate of Competency as Master. He gave his date of birth as 22 Sept 1827 at Arbroath, where he was residing, and he gave his registered ticket number as 222.168.  He was issued certificate number 4172 at the port of Arbroath on 31 January 1851 after having passing the Ordinary Examinations at Dundee on 18 January 1851. The certificate gives his register ticket number of 222.168, notes his birth as 1827 in Arbroath and mentions his address as Union Street, Arbroath. He was awarded his Certificate of Competency as Master, which stated that he was duly qualified to fulfil the duties of Master in the Merchant Service on 27 January 1851 and this was entered at the General Registrar and Record Office of Seamen the next day.


In his Mate’s Claim for Certificate of Service (which had his registered ticket number of 222.168 crossed out and 248.346 written above) at the port of Arbroath dated 24 Sept 1850, Robert, aged 23, listed the following ships (all belonging to the port of Arbroath) on which he had served:


Jean (brigantine, 99 tons, built 1828, registered Arbroath) – served in the capacity of Apprentice in Baltic and Coasting trade from 1841-1845


Marys (brigantine, 186 tons, built 1838, registered Dundee) – served in the capacity of Seaman in Baltic and Archangel  trade in 1846


Jean (99 tons) – served in the capacity of Mate in Baltic and Coasting trade in 1847, 1848 and 1849


Adah (brigantine, 132 tons, built 1827, registered Dundee) – served in the capacity of Mate in Baltic trade in 1850


It is just possible that the father of John and Alexander (and others) who was also named John Croal, a mason by trade, and died in Arbroath in March 1865 was, in fact, the brother of “my” Alexander Croal’s father, Alexander. Although John Snr is said to have been born in 1765 in Arbroath (which would make some seven years younger than his wife), I cannot find that birth. There was, however, a John Croll born in 1758 in Arbroath to James Croll and Mary Petrie. Significantly, they also had a son Alexander born in 1760. One of the witnesses to “my” earliest Alexander’s children was named John Croal, who was probably Alexander’s father, rather than his brother.

There is, in fact, more to learn about this Alexander Croal - he was married to a girl from Greenock, and after having had a couple of children born first in Greenock and then Liverpool (where the first Palmyra was registered) obviously moved to London, where the second (or even the same same) Palmyra was registered, and where the family is recorded in the 1851 census. Widowed, he later retired to Barry, Angus and lived first alone with his daughter Mary and then with her family once she got married. He died in 1886. The vessel Palmyra may, in fact, have belonged to his elder brother John Croal (born 1788) who was also a master mariner and who was probably the individual who sailed the Palmyra as master regularly between London and Demerera, Guyana (Alexander was not yet a master). He became the first mayor of Guyana, earned the title Honorable, had a street named after him, was a member of the legislature there for over fifty years, and died on the island of St Thomas (possibly of rampant yellow fever) on 15 May 1853 en route to America aboard the Derwent. He owned two plantations, one named (significantly) Palmyra, the other Goodhope. It was very likely his younger brother Robert Croal, born in Arbroath in September 1794, also a master mariner, who was master of the Swift on her last voyage, when she was run down by the brig Robert off Flamborough Head in early March 1815 with the loss of all crew and passengers (one of who was a mariner named William Dorward). (See more under Raitt Wrecks.)

There are two verifications in the file for Alexander Croal dated 10 April 1850, one certifies that he served in the Palmyra of Liverpool as Master from 26 May 1837 – 11 Jan 1845 and the Palmyra of London from March 1845 – March 1850; and the second is a certificate of character. A letter from Trinity House, London dated 6 April 1850 transmits the certificates and other papers of Alexander Croal to the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council of the Board of Trade so that they may be verified. I think these two letters actually refer to the other Alexander Croal because he is recorded in the London Daily News for Thursday 16 May 1850 as having passed his masters examination and obtained certificate of qualification. Significantly he is listed as being second mate aboard the Palmyr of London. If he passed his exams in May 1850, then clearly if the certificate of competence on file was granted on 28 February 1851, then it must relate to “my” Alexander Croal.

In fact, the Lawton – a forty year old wooden 30 ton sloop bound for Newcastle from Arbroath with a crew of three and carrying scrap iron – got into difficulties in a force eight north easterly gale off the uninhabited volcanic island of Fidra in the outer Forth estuary on 30 November 1875 (see also under Raitt Wrecks and Raitt Anecdotes). The vessel became stranded and the shipping reports said that it was a total loss. The master and his son were saved, but one of the crew drowned - Alexander Croal. On his death extract, his occupation is given as seaman mate, marine service, and it states that he drowned on 29 November 1875 at around 2am. His residence was given as 4 East Mary Street, Arbroath. The informant was the Lawton owner and master John Spalding who lived at 19 Catherine Street, Arbroath. The death extract goes on to say that at the time the death was registered on 7 January 1876, the body had not been found. A lighthouse was subsequently erected on the rocky island in 1885.

Following Alexander’s death by drowning a line in the 1875 “Register of Accounts and Wages and Effects of Deceased Seamen, etc., received and disposed of” gives the date of receipt of account in this office from the port of Arbroath as 6 December, the name of the ship was Lawton, official number 7151, the description of the voyage merely says “Co” (presumably for coastal), his name is given as Croall, Alex; he was onboard in the capacity as an Able Seaman and his age was given as 74. The particulars of death give the date as 30 November 1875 at Berwick and the cause was give that the ship was wrecked. The net amount due to the estate was 2s 11d. There were no effects to be disposed of and the date when the account was sent to the Board of Trade was 7 December 1875.