The Eilian was the first vessel to be built at William Thomas new slip facing the outer basin at Amlwch port. She was at the time the largest vessel to be built at the port. She was a wooden schooner launched in March 1889 but broke away from her small towing steamer and floated in the direction of Cemais. She was recovered and taken to Caernarvon to have her engines fitted by the De Witon Company.  Only 7 weeks after being launched her name was changed to Express and later still to Exchange. She was sunk on 6th July 1899 after a collision with SS Afrique of Marseillles off St Catherine's point.

The rescued crew consisted of her master Richard Griffiths aged 34 of 10 Chapel street,Amlwch Ebenezer Griffiths aged 19 also of Amlwch.

in 1908 another vessel called Eilian was built at Amlwch.
She was a three masted auxiliary schooner and marked the end of an era of ship building at Amlwch.

On 4th June 1918 the local press reported at Holyhead noted "The Motor schooner Eilian brought 5 survivors of an enemy submarine into Holyhead from a submarine sunk by a decoy schooner during the day".