The Reine Marie Stewart, 1087 Tons, was a four-masted barkentine built in 1919 by Richard, Arthur and Frank Elliot of the Dunn and Elliot Company as a coal carrier. When coal was eliminated as a cargo item, the vessel was towed from Portland to Thomaston and tied at Dunn and Elliot’s wharf at the foot of Wadsworth Street. She remained as a floating landmark and visual reminder of Thomaston’s shipbuilding heritage until she was sold by Captain Arthur J. Elliot to the New England West Africa Trading and Shipbuilding Association and towed from Thomaston in 1937.

Sailing under the Panamanian flag en route from NY to an East African port with a cargo of lumber cut for fruit boxes, she was sunk by a torpedo in the South Atlantic during World War II on June 2, 1942 at Lat. 07° 16’ north; 013° 20’ west. She was sailing alone, becalmed, showing no lights and was unarmed.

When about 40 miles southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone, the “Reine Marie” with eleven men aboard was attacked by the Italian submarine Da Vinci. The crew of 11 abandoned the ship in a 16 foot long, clinker-built wooden lifeboat and was eventually rescued by the British SS Afghanistan, which put into Capetown. The crew was repatriated to the US on the SS Monterey.

The Reine Marie Stewart was the last large vessel to hail from Thomaston and the last barkentine built on the Maine coast.

Margaret McCrea
Historian
Thomaston Historical Society

Catalog Number LB2007.1.102738