Splinter Fleet

Alphabet Fleet

Early Shipbuilding

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Alphabet Fleet

Although not the Island’s first coastal boat service, the Alphabet Fleet, owned by the Reid Newfoundland Company, holds a distinct place in the history of shipping in Newfoundland. This family of boats had the imperative job of carrying provisions and passengers to the outport regions around Newfoundland’s rugged coastline.

The Alphabet Fleet started with eight boats which were built in Scotland beginning in 1897. The Argyle, Bruce, Clyde, Dundee, Ethie, Fife, Glencoe and Home, each given a Scottish name by the Reid family whose ancestry comes from Scotland. In subsequent years the fleet was increased by the addition of new vessels: the Inverness, Kyle, Lintrose and the Meigle.  As the fleet name suggests, all ship names began with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The Alphabet Fleet gradually disappeared from Newfoundland and by the 1970s the Kyle was the only one left in the Province. Property of the Newfoundland Government, she lies beached at Riverhead, Harbour Grace.

This section of the exhibit will provide you with examples of the correspondence between the builders and the Reid Newfoundland Company, documents regarding specific voyages of the different vessels, and general information of the whole fleet