Unit History: Prince Line
Prince Line / (Rio Cape Line / Furness Withy)
James Knott set up in ship broking / managing in 1875 and is recorded as purchasing a fleet of small sailing vessels. However, he managed this fleet as a broker, although recorded as ’owner’. In 1882 he purchased his first steamship and in 1884 founded the Prince Steam Shipping Co. Ltd., one of several single ship companies formed by Knott. The sailing ship broking business ceased in 1887 when he passed it to William Milburn, South Shields. In 1895 Prince Line (1895) Ltd was formed which took over all the 14 ships of the previous single ship companies 1897 the rights to Furness Withy’s Mediterranean - New York passenger / cargo service were acquired. By 1898, 38 ships were owned and the company was redesignated Prince Line Ltd. After Italian emigration legislation of 1906, Prince Line withdrew from the Italy - New York service. In 1916 Furness Withy purchased the company, primarily because James Knott had three sons, two were killed in action during the Great War and the third was posted missing but was later discovered to be a prisoner of war in Gallipoli. James Knott then retired to Jersey.
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