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This Month's Featured Article

Courtesy John Swire & Sons.jpg

The Ship That Would Not Die

From 1937, the Sino-Japanese conflict put a stranglehold on Yangtze River trade and by the outbreak of the Second World War many river ships were laid up at Shanghai. One of these was the China Navigation Company’s Wuchang, at 3,426 tonnes, one of largest of the company’s lower river steamers. Built by Taikoo Dockyard in 1914, she was a veteran of a quarter century’s service on the Yangtze when she was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport and sent down to Singapore, to be used by the RAF as a floating depot for bombs and other armaments.

Painted a virulent orange, as a warning to other ships to keep clear, Wuchang lay rusting in the explosives anchorage at Keppel Harbour - the only reminder of her Yangtze career being her Chinese bo’sun, who had stayed with the ship and kept her in immaculate working order, against the day when she would one day return to China Navigation’s service. Click here for more...

What is WikiSwire?

WikiSwire is, and should always be, a work in progress. Our aim is for WikiSwire to become a regular stopping place for those who work for Swire, have worked for Swire or just have an interest in the group, its history and its operations. We want this to be a place where visitors not only find what interests them, but also a place where they can freely share new information, new stories and new images. We hope that WikiSwire will always be growing, evolving and offering something new. We hope to learn as much as we hope to inform.

We started this project with CNCo ships, have since added a few old sailors and are now introducing Cathay Pacific aircraft but we aim, eventually, to extend our reach further into the Swire world.

While much of the content of this site is generated by visitors, a great deal of information and many photographs have been sourced from the Archives of John Swire & Sons, Ltd. These are held at SOAS, University of London and are open to the public. Find out more here.

Contributing to WikiSwire

It is easy to create new pages, link to wiki pages and format the text on pages. There is a full help system so that you can find out how to do things. You will find it similar to Wikipedia. To begin please create a new account by clicking the link in the top right hand corner of the page. Click here for more...


China Navigation Company Ships

China Navigation Company

Founded in 1872 as a Yangtze River steamer company, C.N.Co. is now one of the oldest independent British shipping companies managing owned-tonnage "in-house". With the acquisition of Bank Line in 2003 C.N.Co. vessels can now be found around the world but it is, perhaps, by virtue of its earlier Far Eastern and Pacific field of operations, that the Company and its ships share an extraordinary and sometimes dramatic history.

List of Ships...

Cathay Pacific Aircraft

Cathay Pacific Airways

American Roy C Farrell and Australian Sydney H de Kantzow founded Cathay Pacific Airways on 24 September, 1946. Initially based in Shanghai, the two men eventually moved to Hong Kong and established the airline. Legend has it that Farrell and a group of foreign correspondents thought up the airline's unique name in the bar at the Manila Hotel!

The new company began to operate passenger flights to Manila, Bangkok, Singapore and Shanghai. Expansion was fast and, in 1948, Swire took a 45% share in the company (with 35% held directly by CNCo and 10% by John Swire & Sons Ltd.) Under the leadership of John Kidston Swire, Butterfield & Swire became wholly responsible for the management of the airline.

Cathay Pacific Airways is Hong Kong's flag carrier and is now a world leading international carrier, operating one of the most modern fleets in the skies and with an outstanding reputation for its quality of product and service. From a few old US Air Force Dakota DC3s to over 135 (with more on order) wide-body jets the fleet has changed remarkably but each aircraft has its own story.

List of Aircraft...