The Frigate Bird BF 398 was the first Steam Drifter to be built by the McIntosh family & is thought to be the first to be launched in the Buckie district.


BA May 24th 1900


The fishing steamer BF 398 Frigate Bird recently launched by Messr's J. & W.R. McIntosh, Portessie, which was being engined at Aberdeen by Messr's Hall, Russell & Co., arrived at Cluny Harbour on Saturday afternoon after an eight hour run in face of a stiff breeze. The vessel in her completed state presented a very trim appearance in the harbour.
Her hull is substantially built of wood , but all the deckhouses are of iron. Her engines are of the compound surface condensing type, 45hp with 20" cylinders. Her trial trip took place on Friday, ten miles out from Aberdeen & back. She gave the highest satisfaction, the engines developing ten knots. The boiler is of the ordinary marine type, with two furnaces. There is a handy donkey engine for pumping etc., & forward is fitted a powerful Beccles winch which is supplied with steam from the same boiler, which works up to 130lbs of steam pressure. In the bunkers there are 40 tons of coal, sufficient at 8 tons per week to carry the vessel for the next five weeks.
She left for the West Coast fishing at Stornoway yesterday, & it is the intention of the owners to follow the herring right along to the English coast on the COASTING SYSTEM. Her owners & crew are
Mr. George Murray "Burd" & his son George
Mr. George Murray "Bodge" & his son George
Mr. Alex Murray "Burd"
Mr. Peter Murray "Bodge
while the engineers are Mr. George MacKenzie & his son William, also a cook making nine.

BA November 17th 1904



On Friday forenoon news was received in Buckie that the Steam Drifter BF 398 Frigate Bird, Mr. George Murray "Bodge" skipper - had struck the South Cross Sand off Yarmouth, & had sunk in deep water, all the gear etc. on board being lost. The crew happily escaped with their lives & the clothes they stood up in. The intelligence of the misfortune caused a considerable sensation in the community for the BF 398 Frigate Bird was not only the first of the steam drifter fleet to sail from Buckie, but she is also the first to be lost at sea.
The crew , with the exception of the skipper, came home to Buckie by train, arriving on Saturday afternoon, & in the course of an interview the representative of the Banffshire Advertiser had with one of the crew, the following narrative was elicited.
The Frigate Bird left Yarmouth on Thursday last between 8 & 9am. The weather was calm at the time & the vessel proceeded 18 miles ENE & shot her nets between 12 & 1pm. She hauled at 8pm & found 50 crans of herring in them. There was a good breeze blowing & the sea was hazy & under these conditions she sailed for Yarmouth. When almost into the Roads she struck South Cross Sands at 3-45am on Friday being dark at the time. The whole of the crew were on deck & the vessel was going at fair speed. After the drifter struck, the engines were reversed & kept at it for five minutes, by which time the Frigate Bird backed into deep water.
It was soon evident however, that the vesel had sustained serious damage presumably from striking some sunken wreckage, for she began to fill with water at an alarming rate. Meantime the crew had been busily engaged getting the the small boat ready for launching. It was got overboard & when the last of the nine men, who formed the crew, stepped aboard her, the water was lapping up to the decks of the ill-fated Frigate Bird. She had foundered in about five minutes after coming off the shoal. The little boat was deeply loaded with the following men - Messr's George Murray, skipper - George Murray Jnr. - Charles, William & Alex Murray - Alex Cowie "Dougal" - Geo Pirle - A. Milne & Wm. Knox fireman. Happily the water was calm & the small boat served the purpose of rescuing the crew until three hours later - 7-30am, when they were picked up by the BF boat Surprise, Mr Alex Clark Ianstown, skipper & landed in Yarmouth about 10am Friday.
The Frigate Bird was insured, but the gear & other possessions of the crew were not. The builder of the Frigate Bird was Mr. McIntosh, Ianstown.
The crew left Yarmouth for home on Friday afternoon & the skipper came home yesterday.