Chapter 6

James’s Continuing Career

The subsequent board of trade enquiry, held two month later, found that Captain James Pinkham could not be blamed for any of the events.  In fact it was found that every possible effort was made to save the ship.  However, the second engineer, George John Westlake and the chief engineer were severely reprimanded.

The Norfolk and North American Steam Shipping Company, owners of the “West Point”, was taken over by Furness Withy & Co.  They gave Captain James Pinkham a new command four months after returning home. He succeeded Captain J. Roche as Master of the steamer, the “Montauk Point”. James was popular in shipping circles and his friends were very happy to hear that he had received his new command.

Whilst the “Montauk Point” was being loaded in the Liverpool docks in November 1911 James married his sweetheart Lilian at the Liverpool registry office. Just a month before, the “Montauk Point” crossed the Atlantic from Lieth, arriving at Charlston in a record time for such a trip of seventeen days. 

Captain Pinkham continued to master the “Montauk Point” until it was sold by Furness Withy and renamed “Maxton” in 1912.  Staying with Furness Withy his next ship was the “Start Point” on which he saw the outbreak of the First World War.  A second “West Point” was built in 1912 and Captain James transferred to this vessel in June 1915.  A year later he took command of a second “Start Point”.  He continued to command this vessel until February 1917.

The Lloyd’s Captains registers show a break of ten months before Captain Pinkham became master of the “War Sailor”, a ‘standard’ cargo ship built for the British Shipping Controller by the Kawasaki dockyard, Japan.  James was also in Japan during this period.  He may have been there to supervise the completion of this vessel.  Writing to the Oriental Hotel in Kobe, from Nagasaki, Japan, in July of that year, Lilian Pinkham wished James ‘bon voyage’ for his trips as Captain of the “War Sailor”, hoping to see him in Manila.

The voyages undertaken by Captain James and his crew during the First World War were extremely dangerous as they took them through hostile waters. In one incident, in August 1915, a lookout on board the second “West Point” sighted a German submarine 240 miles from London. An unidentified larger ship sailing insight of the “West Point”, appeared to be a more desirable prey as she was seen to quickly change direction and then was rapidly sunk after being torpedoed.  Before the submarine could catch up with the “West Point” she managed to steer a course to safety. For these voyages through hostile waters James was awarded the British and Mercantile Marine medals.  The only other member of the family to have been awarded these medals was Captain Herbert Mansfield Pinkham, the son of James’s cousin, Captain Richard Pinkham.

Furness Withy owned the “War Sailor” but in 1919 she was purchased by the British India Steam Navigation Company and renamed “Hatarana”.  James last voyage as her Captain before he retired was to the East Indies commencing at the end of January 1920.

James Retired with Lilian to a house in Lester Road, Poole, Dorset, which he named "Hatarana".  After four years of retirement he died of heart disease at "Hatarana" on the 1st February 1924 aged 66.

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