John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  143796    Port Number and Year: 556th in London, 1920 (LO407)

                                                                              2nd in Milford, 1935 (M184)

                                                                                 -   in Milford, 1946 (M161)

Description: Castle Class steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged: foresail and mizzen

Crew:  12 men

Registered at Milford: As M184: 6 Jun 1935; as M161: 1 Apr 1946

Built: 1918 by Bow McLachlan & Co., Paisley.  (Yard no. 357)

Tonnage: 276.87 grt  121.86 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): Keel 106.3  125.7 oa  / 23.4 / 12.8

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 60.7 hp.10 kts.  Engine: 1917, by Fawcett Preston, Liverpool; boiler: 1918, by David Rowan, Glasgow. (Converted to oil in 1947)



As LO407

1920: Ritchie & Davies (West Coast), Docks, Milford


6 Jun 1935: James Ritchie, 'Glenbrae', Wellington Rd., Hakin (32/64) (Died 19 Oct 1940)

William Thomas Davies, 'Wernwydel', Wellington Rd., Hakin (32/64)


1 Apr 1942: Mary Ritchie (widow of above) 'Glenbrae', Wellington Rd., Hakin  (32/64)

William Thomas Davies, 'Wernwydel', Wellington Rd., Hakin (32/64)

Manager W. T. Davies.


16 Mar 1943: Ritchie & Davies (West Coast), Docks, Milford (64/64)

Manager W. T. Davies.


11 Apr 1944: Milford Fisheries, Docks, Milford (64/64)

Managers: 11 Apr 1944 - Owen Willie Limbrick, Pill Lane, Milford

                 3 Sep 1960 - Reynold James Parry, 10 Hakin Point, Hakin

                 16 May 1961 - Reynold James Parry,  Point Fields Cres., Hakin


Landed at Milford: As LO407: 7 Dec 1924 - 2 Jun 1935

As M181: 14 Jun 1935 -12 Oct 1939

As M161:  2 Feb 1947 - 19 Nov 1961

Skippers: 1935: James W. Hewitt , Cert. 4091

1947: Robert H. L. Limbrick

1950: Arthur Harvey

1954: William ('Billy') Burgoyne

1957: W. Hawkins.

Notes: 28 May 1918: Delivered to RN (Admy. no. 3677).  1 x 12 pdr; 1 x 3.5" bomb thrower.

1920: Sold to mercantile.

30 Aug 1939: Requisitioned for war service and converted to minesweeper. (P.No.FY.566)

Oct 1940: Purchased into RN.

1940: Deployed to Mediterranean; 91st M/S Group employed off Tobruk, Port Said and Suez Canal.

25 Aug 1940: Operation Countenance, cutting out German and Italian merchant ships at Bandar Shapur, Persian Gulf.  C/O awarded MBE. 

Jan 1946: Sold to Milford Fisheries.

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: As M181 - 18 Oct 1940; as M161 10 Feb 1962.  Vessel broken up.

 Accidents and Incidents

From a local newspaper, probably the West Wales Guardian of July 19th, 1935:

    The Milford Haven steam trawler 'Arthur Cavanagh' was one of the representatives of the fishing fleet of Great Britain at the Jubilee Naval Review at Spithead on Tuesday. The 'Arthur Cavanagh' which is owned by Messrs. Ritchie & Davies, was under the command of Captain James W. Hewett. This is the first time in history for the fishing fleet to be officially represented at a naval review and the innovation was made by the command of His Majesty the King.  Before the review began Captain James W. Hewett was presented to His Majesty by the Prince of Wales on the quarter deck of the Royal Yacht 'Victoria and Albert'.

    Before leaving Milford for Spithead about six o'clock on Sunday morning the 'Arthur Cavanagh' had been in dry dock for a week before being reconditioned and the local trawler owners were unanimous that the vessel, which was the only Welsh trawler to attend the review, was a worthy representative of Wales and the Port of Milford Haven.  She was inspected by hundreds of people, the majority of whom took the opportunity of taking snap shots of the trawler. No expense was spared in decorating and renovating the vessel, and the work of preparing her was in the hands of the firm 'West Coast', a ship repairing company on Milford Docks.

    The 'Arthur Cavanagh', which is a Castle type trawler, was built for the Admiralty in 1918,especially for mine sweeping purposes, and served her Country with distinction. She was reconditioned upon the cessation of hostilities, and purchased by Messrs. Ritchie & Davies, as a fishing vessel.

    Those on board the trawler, in addition to the crew, were Messrs. W. T. Davies, J. R. Ritchie,(Owners), Skipper J. B. Huddlestone, E. E. Carter, H. Westenborg, H. Llewellyn, E. J. Jenkins, Morgan Tagarth, W. G. Lewis, G. Jameson, Owen (Port Talbot). The three last remained on board for a fishing trip and the remainder travelled home overland.



Skipper                     James W. Hewett

Mate                         Teddy Day

Bosun                        Tom Hewitt

Third Hand                 Billy Armes

Deck Hand                  Arthur Riby

Spare Hand                George Powell

Cook                          Arthur Mayo

Chief Engineer           Currie Thynne

Second Engineer         Bill Rudrum

Fireman                     Harry Joshua

Wireless Operator      George Hastings


Back Row: ? ,  Harry Joshua,   ?,   Billy Armes,   ?

Front Row:   ? ,     ? ,      ? ,     Skipper Jimmy Hewett, Mate Teddy Day,      ? ,      George James, Curry Thyme

Undated photograph, probably taken prior to leaving for the Spithead Review




From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 8th March 1946:


    When the Milford trawler "Arthur Cavanagh" returned to her home port last week after a considerable period of naval service in Eastern waters, a bell was hanging beneath the bridge veranda.  To that bell hangs a tale: it formerly belonged to the ill-fated "San Georgio", one time cruiser in the Italian fleet, but now a barnacled wreck in the harbour in Tobruk, only her funnel and upper works showing above the lovely blue of the Med.  At the relief of the desert fortress, the "Arthur Cavanagh" was first alongside, and one of her crew claimed the bell.

    Mr. O. W. Limbrick, Managing Director of Milford Fisheries, owners of the trawler, is to have the bell placed in the Company's Board Room soon.  The trawler was the port's representative at the last review at Spithead.  She was then in the ownership of Messrs. Ritchie and Davies.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 7th February 1947:


The Milford Fisheries trawler Arthur Cavanagh has been converted to oil-burning.  The work was carried out on the Clyde.  Hers is the first conversion of the kind in the port and the owners are to be congratulated on their enterprising experiment.




From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 8th August 1947:


    When the 'Arthur Cavanagh' docked on Sunday with her flag at the half mast Milford people learned of yet another tragedy. A hearse was waiting on on the Quay to take ashore the body of local man Mr Frank George Stammers, B.E.M., 41, Hilton Ave, Pill, the victim of an accident while fishing off the south of Ireland.

    A married man, 45 years old, with three children, only last week the family moved into a new Council house at Pill. He was Mate on the vessel, and met his death when the trawl was being cut away after a heavy object had fouled it. Two other crew members got injured, Bosun James Thomason, Upper Hill St., Hakin, and Deckhand J .Cook, Warwick Rd, Milford, the latter falling overboard.

    The story of the tragedy was told to the Deputy Coroner (Mr G.E.P. Williams) when he conducted the inquest at the Sessions House, Milford, on Tuesday. Medical evidence was given by Dr. D.A. Rice, who examined deceased at Milford on Sunday. Deceased's whole injuries were from the waist up, the appearance of the body led witness to believe that he had been subjected to very heavy pressure, as he would expect if he had been crushed between a trawl and the rail. The exact cause of death was suffocation caused by the pressure.

    The Skipper of the trawler, Mr Robert H.L. Limbrick, 49, Shakespeare Ave, Milford, said he had known deceased for six years, during which time he had been sailing with him. The trawler was fishing off Southern Ireland and at 8 p. m. on Saturday they were proceeding to take in the trawl. Witness was in charge of the proceedings and the whole crew was on deck assisting. The trawl boards came up and witness then connected the bridles to the warp. They then started to heave away, but after heaving four or five fathoms, he found there was a heavy weight in the trawl .

    "I gave instructions to heave steady, that is bit by bit," continued the Skipper, "and at this point I found there was one bridle which had more weight than the other. Eventually we got the two danlenoes up. I then brought our quarter ropes to the winch and found a heavy strain on them. I then hove on the after quarter ropes. I took certain safety precautions. After consultation with my mate (deceased), I decided to cut away the trawl and for that purpose deceased lent me his knife.  I then cut away the trawl so far as the after quarter", he continued. "I made an examination to see that everything was all right as regarded the safety of the men. At that time there was a cry of 'Man Overboard'. I rushed forward and found the deckhand had gone over into the sea. After the deckhand had been got out, I went back to the spot I had left. I found the mate crushed between the rail and the footrope. I immediately cut the footrope to release the deceased, assisted by the Chief Engineer."

    Replying to the Coroner, witness said deceased seemed to be badly crushed and life seemed extinct. "Deceased definitely rushed behind me in attempting to save the deckhand," he added. "The two injured men were near deceased," he went on.

    They then proceeded to Kinsale, where a doctor came aboard and examined deceased. The doctor found he was dead. They then returned to Milford arriving at 2.45 on Sunday.

    Mr. J. Eaton Evans, (representing the owners of Milford Fisheries): "Did you know what the obstruction was?"

    Replying in the negative, Skipper Limbrick added, "I have an idea, but I could not say for certain. It was nothing to do with this mine business."

    The Deputy Coroner: "You don't think it was a mine?"

    Skipper Limbrick: "I would say definitely not a mine. In fact, I was not fishing in a mined area."

    Mr Eaton Evans: "Was there any mechanical defect or difficulty with the equipment which could have accounted for the accident?"

    "Not one," replied witness. "Everything was perfect in every way. There was nothing faulty in the gear. The only fault I should say, if it was a fault, was that I decided to cut away for the safety of everybody."

    "You were frightened by what was in the trawl? "

    "Definitely not."

    The Coroner: "You decided to cut rather than go on forcing it?"  "Yes."

    The Chief Engineer, William James Paines, 58, Dewsland St., said after the gear had been hauled up six or seven fathoms it was found there was an obstruction, and the skipper decided upon the usual procedure to cut away, and he gave orders for everyone to stand clear. The skipper then took on the job of cutting away the gear himself.

    "Every man was well clear of all danger at the time", continued witness. "The next thing we heard then was that there was a man overboard. The skipper and all the rest of the crew rushed to give him assistance. I climbed up to get a rope and was I was coming back I noticed the trawl pulling away. I sang out, 'Everybody keep clear.' The bosun and the mate were standing alongside one another at the time. From my position I should say that they were giving assistance to the man overboard. The next thing I noticed was that the mate was jammed, also the bosun, between the rail and the trawl. The skipper rushed to pull the bosun clear, then he found that the mate was trapped by the trawl."

    Replying to the Coroner, witness said the obstruction was pulling the trawl back into the water. When they could get the trawl up no further owing to the obstruction, the trawl was secured by a messenger wire.

    Questioned by Mr. Eaton Evans, witness said the weather was fine and calm. The 'pulling away' of the trawl was not due to any defect.  "Although I did not actually see how the mate got where he was, I honestly think he must have been giving a hand to the man overboard," added witness.

    The Deputy Corner returned a verdict that deceased was accidentally killed by being crushed between the rail and the trawl.  "I am certain and perfectly satisfied that the proceeding in the course of which deceased met his death was a proper proceeding to take where a trawl becomes jammed in this way," he continued. "I am satisfied also that the skipper performed his duty very efficiently and that he took every precaution. It seemed an unfortunate thing to have happened that this cry of 'Man Overboard' should have come in the act of cutting the trawl. I am perfectly satisfied that deceased with all the rest of the crew rushed forward, probably headlong, to go to the man's assistance and in that way deceased came into contact with the trawl and the rail and got crushed."

    The Deputy Coroner expressed sympathy with deceased's relatives, Mr Owen Willie Limbrick (on behalf of Milford Fisheries), and Mr Jack H. Thomas, (on behalf of the Skippers and Mates Union), associating them selves with these remarks.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 13th January 1950:

    Asked on Thursday about the prospects of Far South fishing, Mr. J. C. Ward told The Guardian, "The potentialities are great, and I am very pleased with the results.  He explained that on the first experimental voyage hake was found south of Cape Blanco, about 600 miles below the canaries.  On the present trip, trawls were shot in the same area, but there was practically no fish, and the Company's four trawlers moved nearly 250 miles further south towards Cape Verde, where hauling was more success.

    "From wireless reports I understand they are getting heavier catches than last time," added Mr. Ward.  "The Maythorn got a wire round her propeller on Sunday, but cleared it, and is carrying on fishing.  We expect the first of the boats to arrive back in Milford for the weekend of January 22nd."

    The round voyage involves a run of 5,000 miles, equivalent to a return trans-Atlantic trip, and three extra hands are carried on each trawler, because fishing can and does continue around the clock, and stowing has to be carried out smartly in the tropical heat.  Their escape from the winter gales on home grounds into the more tranquil conditions around Latitude 20N, and the catches, should ameliorate Milford's pressing problem hake shortage.

    Mr. Ward is to be commended on his foresight and courage, and his skippers and crews deserve praise for their eager and fruitful co-operation.  The Steam Trawling Company's trawlers concerned are the Milford Duke, Duchess and Marquis (Skippers Saunders, Jobson and Rich), and the Maythorn (Skipper Beckett), while the David Ogilvie (Skipper Tom Donovan) of Messrs. Jenkerson's fleet, and the Barry Castle (Consol, Swansea) are also fishing in the area.  The Arthur Cavanagh (Milford Fisheries), in charge of Skipper Arthur Harvey, was stated on Thursday to be still steaming southwards towards the new grounds.


From the West Wales Guardian of 10th November 1954:


    A comparative newcomer to hake boats, Skipper George Spooner had a very good trip this week in the Their Merit, his 276 kits including 20 of large, 54 of medium and 47 of small hake of perfect quality.  With hake maintaining its price level, the trip was worth 2,500. 

    In a sister ship, the David Ogilvie, Skipper James Hastings also had a nice catch, his 311 kits including 8 large, 20 medium, 120 small, plus 11 needles, to gross over 2,300.  Thursday's only trawler, the Arthur Cavanagh (Skipper Billy Burgoyne), had 103 of hake and grossed 2,100.




L to R, back row: Deckhands Richard Trzeciok and George Bosson, Bosun Robert Whitlam, 3rd Hand Dennis Horsley, Fireman F.E.J. Potter, Deckhand Frank Gutierrez.

Front row: 2nd Eng. Jack Sable, Mate Frank Reynolds, Skipper Billy Burgoyne, Ch.Eng. Reg Scriven, Cook Victor Aldred, Fireman Fred Phillips.

From an original photograph kindly supplied by Brian Reynolds, taken for the West Wales Guardian of 21st January 1955




From the West Wales Guardian of 1st March 1957:


    The Milford Fisheries oil burner Arthur Cavanagh returned to sea on Wednesday in charge of Skipper W. Hawkins, after undergoing a two months refit.



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