War Loss Valuations manuscript ledger for C. H. Rugg & Co
WORLD WAR ONE
No Place No Publisher.
A manuscript ledger; small folio; original vellum boards, with hand written titles to front cover and spine.. The entries are dated from 20th Match 1917 to 26th July 1918. During the First World War C. H. Rugg & Co was the exclusive broker for the UK shipbuilding industry and acted as honorary broker to the Admiralty. In the War, the merchant service suffered heavy losses from German U-boat attacks. A policy of unrestricted warfare meant that merchant seafarers were at great risk. The tonnage lost to U-boats was around 7,759,090 tons, and 14,661 merchant seaman were killed. The ledger has over 200 hand written entries of ships lost while on war service. The entries record details of ships lost with details of valuations and the settlement paid to the owners. Entry No. 41 was for SS Rio Colorado, on 22 March 1917 the ship detonated a mine laid by the submarine SMU UC-50. The steamer had just reached the Tyne having crossed the Atlantic, on passage from Montevideo for Newcastle and had been approaching the mouth of the Tyne with her cargo of wheat, when she struck the mine amidships, blasting a hole in the side of the hull. Sea conditions were extremely rough at the time and she foundered in just 40 minutes. The chief officer, boatswain and two seamen drowned, whilst three firemen and the second engineer were lost and also presumed drowned. The unfortunate captain drowned while attempting to swim to safety. The ship was valued by Rugg & Co at £78,00 and eventually a settlement of £82,500 was paid to the owners Wm Petersen snd Co. of London. The offices of C.H. Rugg & Co in the Baltic Exchange were completely destroyed along with files going back 100 years by an IRA bomb on 10 April 1992. The one-ton bomb killed three people and wounded 91 others. Given the loss of the companies records this must be a rare survival and is a fascinating historical document. The boards are worn and dusty with use.