Courtesy of Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust and The Bosun's Watch

Official No:  113639    Port Number and Year: Hull, 1902

Description: Steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged. Crabber.  Wheelhouse aft.


Built: 1902 by Cook, Welton & Gemmel, Beverley. (Yard no.308)

Tonnage: 164 grt  65 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 105 / 21 / 11

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 40 rhp.= 10 kts.   Engine by Amos & Smith, Hull



19 Apr 1902:  Hull Steam Fishing & Ice Co Ltd, Hull


19 Nov 1930:  Colin H. Brand, Docks, Milford


12 Oct 1939:  Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Co , Fleetwood.


12 Mar1941: Yolland Trawling Co., Docks, Milford

Manager: J. C. Llewellin


17 Feb1945:  Milford Fisheries, Docks, Milford

Manager: Owen W. Limbrick


Landed at Milford: 24 Nov 1930 - 30 Jun 1939; 25 Mar 1941 - 16 Jul 1945

Skippers: Chris Masterson (Jnr.) (1936); Charles Thomas (1938); William Corney (1945)

Notes: Oct 1914:  Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a minesweeper (Admy.No.644). 1 x 6 pdr.

1919: Returned to owners.

30 Dec 1935: Assisted steam drifter FEASIBLE disabled off the Smalls,  and towed her to Milford (Skipper Chris Masterton Jnr).

17 Apr 1941: Together with FORT RONA, attacked off the Irish coast by aircraft dropping gas, bombs and torpedoes, with no damage or injuries. [See official report below.]

24 Jul 1945: Lost on SW Irish grounds after striking a mine 25 miles S by SW of Old Head of Kinsale; all crew picked up by Milford trawler PHOEBE (H881) and landed at Kinsale. [See story below.]

[Information from the Fleetwood maritime Trust and the Bosun's Watch website.]

 Accidents and Incidents

From the Western Telegraph of Wednesday 1st January 1936:



13 Hours' Fight for Life Off the Smalls

    For thirteen hours the crew of another Lowestoft drifter, Feasible (managed at Milford Haven by Mr. J. Breach) battled for their lives off the Smalls.

    Tragedy, however, followed in the wake of the boat, for one member of the crew, Edward Halliday (aged 27), of Lowestoft, was washed overboard and drowned.

    With her compass gone and part of the wheelhouse washed away the Feasible signalled for aid and at 3 o'clock on Monday afternoon she was taken in tow by the s.t. Gozo, owned by Messrs. C. H. Brand and Co., Milford, and skippered by Mr. Chris Masterson (junior).




From an unknown local newspaper c. 7th April 1938:


    Two more of the smaller class of Milford Haven trawlers are being converted to the Spanish pair methods, and are expected to put to sea this week.  They are the steam trawler Gozo, and the steam trawler Alonso, belonging to Messrs. C. H. Brand and Company.  The vessels will be in charge of two of the port's most experienced hake fishing skippers, Messrs. Charles Thomas and Albert Saunders. 

    Another interesting experiment is the fitting out for the first time of a local trawler for seine net fishing.  The vessel is the steam trawler "Westholme", which belongs to the newly formed Westholme fishing company, under the management of Messrs. Peter Hancock and Sons.  The experiment will be watched with interest.



From an unknown local newspaper dated c. 7th April 1938:


    J. F. Gwyther has been favoured with instructions to offer for sale at the Conservative Club, on Friday 15th September, the steam trawlers Alonzo, Cairo and Gozo.  These ships are of the ex-fleeter type, strongly built, and the class suitable of pareja (pair fishing, Spanish style.)




From ADM 199 [?] /257, in the National Archives, supplied by Roger Griffiths, via Gil Mayes:







                                                                                                                                              23rd April 1941




            We were bound from Milford Haven for fishing and when attacked had 50 kits on board.  We were armed with a Lewis gun, and all confidential books are still on board.  The number of the crew, including myself, was 10.  There were no casualties.  The vessel was wiped [i.e., de-gaussed to neutralise magntic mines].


            We left Milford Haven at 2115 G.M.T. on the 9th April in company with FORT RONO [sic].  We proceeded without incident until 1900 on the 17th April; I was speaking to the Skipper of the FORT RONO saying that it was inadvisable to go to Ballycraig as a trawler had been bombed there the previous morning, when I saw two planes approaching us from astern.  We were fishing with Bull Rock N.W. by N. and Fastnets S.E. by E., the sea was smooth, wind N.E force 2.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky and visibility was excellent.  We were steering a N.E 'ly course making a speed of 11 knots when we saw the planes, one large and one smaller, approaching from the South'ard about 40ft above the surface of the water, at a distance of 3 to 5 miles.  I shouted to the Skipper of the FORT RONO, who was on our port quarter "Look out, here the Jerries come" and at the same time instructed all hands to take cover with the exception of the Bo'sun and myself.  I knew that the usual tactics were to rake the decks with machine-gun fire and that is why I gave the order to take cover.  I had the wheel and immediately commenced to zig-zag, telling the Bo'sun to take the gun.  However, as the smaller plane was painted green from the rudder to amidships I naturally assumed that it was Irish and I told the Bo'sun to withhold his fire.  The smaller plane, which was similar to the HE.111 K., circled our ship, made a wide sweep and then flew around the FORT RONO.  The larger plane, which had four engines, and which I believe to be a Fokke-Wulf Condor, then started to circle our ship.  It was painted black and had one cross underneath it's [sic] starboard wing.  After having circled the vessels about three times the planes went away to the South'ard and we hoped that they had disappeared for good.  However, we still kept watch which was rather fortunate for, when I looked out of the port window a few seconds later, the planes were sighted approaching from astern, head to wind: they circled to seaward of us and when 50 yards distant on our starboard beam both commenced to pump out a thick dirty yellow vapour.  From the Fokke-Wulf it was pumped from underneath the fuselage and from the fighter plane it came from the ventril.  It bellowed [sic] out in great clouds and was so thick it was impossible see through it.  Whilst carrying out their operation the planes had decreased their speed considerably; they continued to pump out the vapour for 5 to 7 minutes and it must have been very heavy as it immediately fell to within a foot of the surface of the water where it eventually covered an area of about half a mile at a thickness of about 6 ft.  As soon as I saw the gas floating down I shouted to everyone to hold their breath and I began to steer away from it.  The Fighter plane, having released it's [sic] gas, then zoomed upwards with a terrific roar and it's [sic] exhaust was quite normal.  The bomber simultaneously released a salvo of 5 bombs which fell flat until they almost reached the water and then went head first into the water 20 yards away on our starboard side.  Three failed to explode.  They were about 4ft. long and of quite large diameter.  At the same time as releasing the salvo, a torpedo of about 6ft. was dropped; it fell flat into the water on our starboard side about 40 ft. from the ship's side.  It then passed right underneath the ship exploding on the port quarter, and sent up a column of dirty yellow water to a height of about  60 ft.  The bomber then dropped a salvo of five bombs on the starboard side of the FORT RONO and disappeared to the S.W.


            The gas smelled like bad oranges and was most obnoxious.  Although we had all held our breath we must have got a whiff of the gas which affected our eyes making them hot and inflamed.  Our mouths immediately became dry and parched and our lips burned as if from excessive smoking.  We felt the desire to start drinking immediately and had a terrific thirst for 24 hours after.


            After the planes disappeared we heaved the gear back, let go the brakes and proceeded at a speed of 7 knots.  The FORT RONO steamed into Berehaven and as it was getting dark we steered for home.  Before reaching land, however, a fighter appeared and circled our ship.  He disappeared for a few seconds and then returned again circling our ship but at a greater distance.  He then went away and we sailed into Bally [----]


            We returned into Milford Haven at 11[14?] on Saturday the 19th April.


[Note:  The FORT RONA was bombed and sunk by German aircraft 15 miles WSW of Bardsey Island, in the following month (13 May 1941).]




From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 27 July 1945:



Believed To Have Struck a Mine

Crew Arrive In Milford To-Day   


    News was received in Milford Haven on Wednesday that the steam trawler "Gozo" (Milford Fisheries) has been sunk. The trawler struck a mine in the south-west Irish fishing grounds the previous day.

    The crew, under Skipper W. Corney, 56,Wellington Road, Hakin, is safe although one of them, Third Hand W. J. Mitchell, 74, Cromwell Road, Hull, received an injury to the ribs. They were rescued by the s/t "Phoebe" and taken into Kinsale where they were picked up by one of the company's boats. They arrived in Milford Haven this morning. (Friday) .

The members of the crew are: Skipper Corney; mate, W. Ryan, 2,Honeyborough Road, Neyland; bosun, W.Bullough, 2, St David's Road; third hand. W. J. Mitchell; deck hand, P. Holden, 65, Coleman Street, Hull; deck hand, A. E. Pattenden, 13, Old Shoreham Road, Brighton; cook, G. Jones, 51, London Road, Pembroke Dock; chief engineer, M. Eynon, 2, Castle Terrace, Milford Haven; second engineer, S. Wootton, Evergreen, Marloes; third engineer, G. Sinclair, Church Avenue, Choppington; decky-learner, J. Francis, Field Road, Worcester.



    The "Gozo" struck a mine at 9.30 a.m., the explosion occurring in the forrard starboard gallows. Badly damaged, the ship began to sink steadily and she went down at 1.15 p.m.

    The "Gozo" was owned by the Milford Fisheries Ltd., and is the second ship the firm has lost this year. Since the war, the firm has lost all the ships it originally had in service.

    As soon as he knew that the crew was safe, Mr. O. W. Limbrick, managing director of the firm, sent messages of re-assurance to their dependents.




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