The Thyatira, Thompson’s first composite ship, was also a very ticklish
vessel to handle when wool-laden. One her maiden voyage she went out to
Melbourne in 77 days, but took 96 days to get home, during which passage she
gave her officers much anxiety owing to her extreme tenderness.
Captain Mark Breach, one of the best known of the Aberdeen White Star
captains, entered the employ of the firm as the second mate on the newly
launched Thyatira. The Thyatira was on the berth for Melbourne when he joined
her. One his second y aboard he was superintending the stowage of cargo in the
hold, when old Stephen Thompson cam down to have a look around. The Thyatira’s
owner happened to be smoking a fine meerschaum pipe, an young Breach, being
completely ignorant of the identity of the visitor, immediately went up to him
and informed him in no uncertain language that his lighted pipe was dead against
all rules and regulations. Mr. Thompson, without disclosing his identity, at
once apologized and returned his pipe to its case. Presently when the visitor
had departed, the mate asked Mr. Breach what he had been talking to Mr. Thompson
about. And one may well imagine tat the new second mate was somewhat scared when
he learnt that it was his owner to whom he had been laying down the law.
However, the mate comforted him by telling him that Stephen Thompson had been
very pleased and prophesied that he would be a good servant to the company.
Mark Breach afterwards served as mate of the Miltiades, then commanded the
Jerusalem, Aviemore, and finally the famous Patriarch.
The Thyatira was a very favourite ship and mad some very good passages. She
and the Jerusalem both loaded team home for China on more than one occasion, and
made passages of under 110 days in the N.E. monsoon.