"Our association with JSH stretches back over two decades. A highly respected, professional organisation, its staff adapt flexibly to our needs, helping ensure a quality service and satisfaction for us and our seafarers alike.”
Mark Lewis, Company Secretary, Pritchard-Gordon Tankers Ltd.
The extraordinary story of
the company starts
in 1939, when Tadeusz Olszowski (father of JSH’s current managing director) boarded a plane from Poland to the UK. With war looming, this was a Polish government mission to hand over their merchant fleet – including Tadeusz’s own ships – to the allies. Tadeusz had only reached Denmark when war was declared, but continued his journey to London, completed the formal handover of the fleet, and joined the British army.
Over the next 6 years, his wife received three letters from him, until their dramatic reunion. Working in a Red Cross camp in Sweden in 1945, Tadeusz was chatting to a fisherman who had started to fish again in Polish waters. This fisherman’s Polish girlfriend had, incredibly, been Tadeusz’s secretary before the war.
She was duly despatched to find Tadeusz’s wife, who was smuggled out of Poland with their two young sons in the fishing vessel's water-tank, eventually landing in Malmö in Sweden. Having finally made their way to the UK, they set up home in Sevenoaks, Kent, close to where the company is run today.
Tadeusz received compensation from the German government for the loss of his ships during the war in the form of two cargoes of coal, and used these to set up bunkering stations in Ceuta and Tangier. By 1952, he had the resources to buy a shipbroking company that had been founded in 1937 by John Stevenson Hamilton on the Baltic Exchange in London. Tadeusz transformed the company, with interests as diverse as shipbroking and owning, coal trading, aviation and property.
In 1989, the company entered the manning business, with the establishment of JSHManCo. In 2005, JSHManCo formed a company specialising in employing seafarers through Cyprus. This was replaced by the Singapore office, JSHCMCo, in 2010. In 2011, we opened our representative office in St Petersburg, Russia.
2012 sees us celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the formation of JS Hamilton's original company, and the sixtieth anniversary of the acquistion of this into the Olszowski family.