The Dunira was managed by J & G Frew of Glasgow for her owners, the Home Trade Steam Carrying Co. Ltd of Glasgow. The Dunira was launched by Bow, McLachlan & Co Ltd of Paisley on 18 September 1901 and was a small coastal steamship measuring 90.0′ x 20.2′ x 8.1’ and net tonnage was 57 tons. The vessel was powered by a 2 cylinder compound steam engine, also manufactured by Bow McLachlan that generated 24rhp.
On the 15 December 1913, the Dunira was being towed to Greenock by another company ship the Dunscore as her engines had failed off the isle of Man and had been berthed in Ramsey. As the two ships approached Portpatrick the tow line snapped and the Dunira was swept towards the rocky coast in a freshening westerly breeze. The crew’s distress rockets were quickly answered by the Portpatrick lifeboat which succeeded in taking off two of the crew while the Dunira held at anchor a few hundred yards from the shore. Before the lifeboat could rescue the remaining three crewmen the anchor chain parted and the Dunira was again swept towards the shore. Coxswain Smith succeeded in snatching the three men from the pitching, rolling ship, sustaining considerable damage to the lifeboat in the process, before the Dunira was finally washed ashore at South Witch Rock approximately three quarters of a mile south of Portpatrick harbour where she became a total wreck.
In January 1914, at a meeting of the General Committee of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution the cox of the Portpatrick lifeboat, James Smith jun., was awarded their silver medal together with a pecuniary award for the rest of the crew for gallantry for their actions in a strong south westerly gale and heavy seas which resulted in the saving of the 5 crew aboard the Dunira.