The Pamir: The Great War

As you would expect, during the First World War, regular duties of the surveyors were suspended so that they could contribute to the war effort. Interestingly, surveyors were originally called to war with everyone else but it soon became apparent that their skills were needed elsewhere. As a result, many were recalled and LR’s main war casualties were in fact clerks.


The Pamir was affected by the Great War, as were many merchant vessels. She was built to sail in the nitrate trade between Europe and Chile via the Cape Horn. On her way home from one such journey, the Captain Max Jürgen Heinrich Jürs heard about the outbreak of war and immediately put into Santa Cruz (Palma), part of the Canary Islands. The ship and her crew remained for 5 years and it is likely that during this time she was a sailing training ship. Sailing vessels were particularly vulnerable to destruction so many took shelter at the closest harbour when war was declared to protect the ship and its’ cargo.

Her home port was Hamburg so she was used by Germany and as such, was given the status of an “enemy vessel” by Lloyd’s Register and as a result of missing her scheduled special survey date in 1917, she was expunged from the register the following year, indicating non-compliance with LR’s rules.


Here she stayed throughout the duration of the war but some time after the conflict’s conclusion on 15 July 1920, she was handed over to Italy as a war reparation. She was however, not in Italy for long, as the Italian government could not find a deep-water sailing ship crew to sail her, so she was laid up in the Gulf of Naples.

As a result, in 1924, the ship's original owners, F. Laiesz bought her back for £7000 to continue her service on the nitrate trade route. Therefore, the next survey Lloyd's Register holds for her is from February of that year.