One of the exceptions to Ross
& Marshall's naming convention of the suffix "light"
was the Mellite, which had been built as an iron-hulled dumb
lighter, originally named "Salisbury", in 1886.
Two years later, in 1888, she was
engined with one of a pair of engines from an 1840- ish built
steam yacht's hull which supposedly had come to grief, wrecked
locally. First registered at Greenock in 1904 to
Alexander Ross. By 1920 she is registered to Wm Campbell of Greenock,
and by 1930 with Light Shipping.
In her latter years, the Mellite
became a water carrier at The Tail of The Bank and supplied
the big Cunarders and Canadian Pacific liners on the, by then,
summer only North Atlantic run, a trade which came to an end
in the late 1960's, the Mellite was then sold to Burke's of
Greenock and employed on The Holy Loch 'rubbish run' for the
U.S. Navy. Despite assurances that the Mellite ended her days
at the breaker's yard at Dalmuir in 1968, rumours continue
that her owner Willie Burke had a fine appreciation of the old
lady and that, rather than give her to the merciless hands of
the scrapmen, of which he was one himself, he had quietly and
very deliberating scuttled her in a quiet area of the river
where she could lie undisturbed and
well away from even the most curious of divers. Such are
the romantic tales of puffers !
The photograph on the left shows her in 1904 in the James
Watt dock, Greenock, alongside the capsized hull of the newly
built Belgian training ship "Comte
de Smet de Nayer" , which was to founder in the Bay of
Biscay just two years later with the loss of 34
lives. The undated shot on the right is of her on