Courtesy of Jim Porter

Official No:  182007    Port and Year:  Aberdeen, 1947

Description: Admiralty Round Table Class steel side trawler; coal burning; ketch rigged; cruiser stern


Built: by Hall, Russell & Co., Aberdeen, in 1942 (Yard no.763)

Tonnage:   273 grt  103.7 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 126.2  / 23.6 / 14                                                         

Engine:  T.3-Cyl; 80 rhp; by builders




1942: Admiralty.



Feb 1947: Walker Steam Trawling Co., Commercial Quay, Aberdeen



Mar 1956: Milford Fisheries, Docks, Milford

Manager: Owen Willie Limbrick, 'Windyridge' The Rath, Milford


Landed at Milford: 8 May 1956 - 30 Jan 1957

Skippers: Arthur Harvey (1956); Billy Burgoyne (1957)

Notes: 18 Dec 1941: Launched for the Admiralty as SIR GALAHAD and completed as a minesweeper (P.No. T.227). 1 x 12 pdr AA; 1 x 20mm AA; 2 x LG (2x single)

1944: Converted to a dan layer. Took part in Operation Neptune, D-Day landings, attached to 14th M/S Flotilla in Force U.

Apr 1946: Sold to mercantile.

5 Feb 1957: Lost with all hands on the Isle of Mull. [See story below.]

Accidents and Incidents

From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 2nd March 1956:


    "We think this ship is the best type of vessel for the hake fishing at Milford," stated Mr. Limbrick.  The trawler is the 126 feet super-heated steam engined Star of Freedom, built at Aberdeen in 1942 for the walker Steam Trawling Company. 

    Mr. Limbrick also revealed that the new ship would be in the charge of the "Don", Skipper Arthur Harvey, who int he Fisheries trawler Almandine has been top earning captain in the port for two years.  The Almandine is due to dock this weekend, and Skipper Harvey and crew will leave next week for Aberdeen to take over the Star of Freedom, and do a fishing round to Milford.  The Almandine will be taken over by Skipper Jack Scoble who now commands the Fisheries trawler Sea Hunter.

    By the acquisition of this comparatively new vessel, Milford Fisheries Ltd. have implemented the policy announced last year, when the steam trawler Thomas Booth was scrapped.  Mr. Limbrick stated then that the Company would replace her when a suitable opporti=unity arose.

    "The new ship brings our present fleet up to seven larger class vessels," he commented on Thursday.  "We think she is the best type of vessel for the hake fishing at Milford, in which we continue to have faith."

    The Star of Freedom will be renamed, and it is possible that her new name will be one which has very close connections with the Company and the wartime fishing epics of the past.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 23rd March 1956:


    The Milford trawling company Milford Fisheries ltd. has given notice of intention of changing their new trawler's name from Star of Freedom to Robert Limbrick.         

    Their choice will be heartily endorsed in the port for the late Skipper Robert Limbrick, M.B.E., was the brother of the Company's Managing Director, Mr. O. W. Limbrick, and one of the most successful and popular captains in the port.  It was for his work in the former Fisheries trawler Thomas Booth during wartime bombing attacks in the fishing grounds that Skipper Limbrick was awarded the M.B.E.. There could be no more fitting memorial to him.

    The Star of Freedom is due to dock this weekend after a fishing trip round from Aberdeen.




John Stevenson Collection




ROBERT LIMBRICK. - Oban Radio, Feb. 5. - Following received from trawler Westcar at 5 14 a.m., G.M.T.: Trawler Robert Limbrick is aground west side of Ardmore Bay, south side of Mull Sound, near Sgarmor Rocks.

Following received from trawler Samuel Hewett at 5 59 a.m., G.M.T.: Crew of Robert Limbrick have taken to the dinghies.

Southend, Argyll. Feb. 5. - Mallaig lifeboat was launched at 6 15 a.m. to trawler Robert Limbrick, ashore Ardmore Bay, north tip of island of Mull.


Oban Radio, Feb. 5. - Trawler Robert Limbrick: Following received from trawler Westcar

at 8 18 a.m., G.M.T.: I have searched from Quinish Point to Ardmore Bay and seen nothing. Now lying in Broad Bay, Mull Sound.


Following received from trawler Samuel Hewett at 8 53 a.m., G.M.T.: Have searched from Bloody Bay to Treshnish Isles and seen nothing.   

Following received from Mallaig lifeboat at 10 25 a.m., G.M.T.: Our mast carried away, we have rigged jury mast, position now six miles south of Eigg.

Oban,. Feb. 5. -  Steam trawler Robert Limbrick ashore in Sound of Mull early a.m, reported abandoned by crew.


Oban Radio, Feb. 5. - Following received from trawler Westcar at 11 39 a.m., G.M.T.: Trawler Robert Limbrick is now at Quinish Point and is on the beach and listing to wind ward.


Following received from trawler Christmas Morn at. 11 43 a.m., G.M.T. :  Trawler Ocean Harvest reports a small boat on the beach beside the trawler and there appears to be some men beside it.


London, Feb. 5.:  Two bodies and an empty lifeboat believed to be from the trawler Robert Limbrick, were found by searchers on the shore near Ardmore Point, on the island of Mull, this afternoon. The search was intensified for the remaining mem­bers of the crew, who may have been saved in the trawler's rubber dinghy.  ­Exchange Telegraph Company.

Oban Radio, Feb. 5.-Following received from trawler Westcar at 3 44 p.m., G.M.T.: Search has been carried out by us and Mallaig lifeboat, also other ships and 'planes, and have not found anything.

London, Feb. 5.:  Two men are known to have died when the trawler Robert Limbrick, which had a crew of 12, ran aground to-day. The skipper of the vessel was W. Burgoyne of Milford Haven. The Robert Limbrick was said by Tobermory Police to have foundered. Part of the mast bad been sighted, sticking out of the water.


London, Feb. 5. -Ten fishermen were drowned to-day when the trawler Robert Limbrick ran aground off the coast of Mull, Argyll­shire, during a gale. The bodies of two members of the crew have been re­covered from the sea. Hope has been abandoned for the members of the crew who tried to leave the trawler in a rubber dinghy. The rubber dinghy and an upturned lifeboat, its canvas cover intact, were found on the shore near Quinish Point. Exchange Telegraph Company.


Southend, Argyll, Feb. 5.: Mallaig lifeboat returned to station at 6 30 p.m. after searching for survivors of trawler Robert Limbrick, wrecked at Quinish Point, Isle of Mull, Argyll.


Tobermory, Feb. 7.: Trawler Robert Limbrick, ashore Quinish Point,  Mull: Survey shows vessel lying on port side, which not visible but damage to this side suspected extensive. Starboard side so far as visible severely damaged from fore­castle to stem. Shell plating fractured from bulwark to keel and badly holed in way of fish hold also abreast of bridge. Deck fractured abreast of fish hold, stern frame broken, rudder miss­ing, suspect propeller and tailshaft badly damaged. Engine-room and hull flooded and lifeboat badly stove in. Forward portion of vessel flexing with action of sea where fractured, not possible to board. Consider salvage impracticable. Further SW gales will accelerate vessel breaking up. - Salvage Association's Surveyors.




The Times, Wednesday, Feb 06, 1957; pg. 8; Issue 53758; col C

     12 Feared Lost In Wrecked Trawler

Heavy Damage In Gale,

Gusts Of 100 M.P.H.

    A search for 10 of the crew of the trawler Robert Limbrick which sank in a gale off the Scottish coast was abandoned last night.  It is feared that they have not survived.  The bodies of two men believed to be members of the crew and a dinghy were washed ashore during yesterday on the northern shore of the island of Mull.

    The storm which caused the loss of the trawler put other ships in peril off the west coast of Scotland, and four lifeboats were called out.  Gale force winds which reached speeds of more that 100 m.p.h. caused much damage in Scotland and in Northern Island.

    The Robert Limbrick (273 tons) was owned by Milford Fisheries, Ltd.  With Captain W. Burgoyne, of Milford Haven, as skipper, she left for the fishing grounds last Saturday.  The other members of the crew were all from the Milford Haven district.

    The first report of the Robert Limbrick being sighted came from another trawler.  The Ocean Harvest reported having seen her on the beach ay Quinish Point, Island of Mull.  It was later confirmed that she had foundered there.




From the West Wales Guardian of 8th February 1957:


'Taking to Life-Raft'





The sea has claimed twelve more Milford Haven fishermen and the Pembrokeshire port has been plunged into sorrow by the los of the trawler Robert Limbrick with all hands in a 100 mile and hour hurricane off the Isle of Mull, Argyllshire, Scotland, early on Tuesday morning.

The 273 tons Robert Limbrick, owned by Milford Fisheries, Ltd., and in charge of Skipper Billy Burgoyne, sailed from the port on Saturday with twelve men aboard.  At 6 a.m. on Tuesday she sent out out a sudden, short “May-Day” radio message that the ship was aground on the north coast of Mull and the crew was taking to the life-raft.  Immediately another Milford trawler, the Westcar (Skipper James Jobson) steamed to the area to search and was joined by the lifeboat from Mallaig.

For hours Milford Haven prayed and hoped while ships, R.A.F. and Naval planes, coastguard and police searched for the missing crew.  At 1 p.m. a B.B.C. news bulletin reported that two bodies from the trawler had been washed ashore in a dinghy at Quinish and anxiety increased.  Four hours later the search was called off and representatives of the owning firm visited the homes of the crew to break the news that there was little hope for their loved ones.


Almost exactly four years ago eight Milford men perished when the trawler Richard Crofts ran aground near the Island of Coll, only twenty miles across a sound which has now claimed twelve more victims.

This time the tragedy occurred in a terrifying hurricane which swept across Scotland and left behind a trail of destruction.

In Milford and district twenty-eight children have lost their fathers, fourteen of them living within 20 yards of each other, in tragic St. Lawrence Avenue, Hakin.  For four of the men on the Robert Limbrick had their homes in this modern estate road.  All but three of the crew are married men with children and the tenth man’s seventeen-year-old wife awaits the birth of their first child.

The port and the county mourns the loss not only of twelve brave men but in the words of the Managing Director of the firm, Mr. O. W. Limbrick, J.P., “A splendid Skipper and a Crew of the same calibre.”

Skipper Burgoyne and his Skipper-Certificated mate, Mr. Jack Reynolds, were the leaders of a crew who had been together for a long time and who sailed as an efficient and successful team.  It was on January 2nd that Skipper Burgoyne and most of his crew transferred from the laid-up Arthur Cavanagh of the same firm and the trip which ended is disaster was their third in this vessel. 



Skipper Billy Burgoyne, who was 49, was well-known not only as one of Milford’s most consistently successful Skippers, but also as one of the most jovial.  He was proud of the fact that he was born in the “mother” fishing port of Brixham, the son and grandson of sailing smack skippers.  Skipper Burgoyne first went to sea in 1921, and has held his Master’s Cerificate since he was 20.  Before he joined the Royal Navy in the last war he and his crew were saved from the trawler Fort Rhona when she was sunk by bombing in the Irish Sea.  In the service Skipper Burgoyne served first as a Coxswain on the duty drifters at Scapa Flow and then, promoted Skipper-Lieutenant, joined the Kingston Christobel at Plymouth.  For the last twelve months of the war he was in the Middle East on a drifter trawler at Alexandria.  On his demobilisation he sailed for the former United Trawlers, Ltd. firm and when that concern went into liquidation five years ago, he joined Milford Fisheries, Ltd.  Four years ago Skipper Burgoyne took command of the oil burner, Arthur Cavanagh and began his successful and happy partnership with his Mate, Mr. C. Jack Reynolds.  Skipper Burgoyne leaves a widow, Mrs. Flo Burgoyne, one son Brian, the former Welsh youth soccer international, and now a regular Milford United player and a married daughter Brenda.



Just across the street from Skipper Burgoyne’s home lived the Mate, Mr. Jack Reynolds, aged 51.  Milford born and bred, Mr. Reynolds was the third in line in the family to hold a Skipper’s ticket.  He was the son of Skipper Bill Reynolds, who died last year, and of Mrs. Reynolds, Murray Road, Pill. His grandfather, too, was a trawler master and like his forebears, Mate Reynolds had spent a lifetime on the sea.  He had also been a Skipper for over 30 years, and when Milford’s fleet was larger, sailed in charge of vessels with great success.  Quiet and reticent, Mr. Reynolds was also modest about his five years’ war service in the Royal Navy during which time he saw action in the epic Russian convoys to Archangel and Murmansk.  When the Arthur Cavanagh was laid up seven weeks ago Mr. Reynolds stayed ashore for a few trips.  He joined the Robert Limbrick for the first time on Saturday morning after a last-minute to sail on her.  His wife was formerly Miss Emily Chick, and he also leaves a daughter, Miss Jean Reynolds, a member of the accounts staff of the “West Wales Guardian”, and one son, Engineer Officer Brian Reynolds, M.N., who is now en route for Malaya on a Blue Funnel Line vessel.



The 45-year-old Bo’sun, Mr. Robert Whitlam, was looking forward to the marriage of his eldest son, Robert, next month and bought a new suit before returning to sea on Saturday.  It was Mr. Whitlam’s third trip in the Robert Limbrick and he had been a member of Skipper Burgoyne’s “team” for some years.  Robert, his elder son is a 23-year-old architect working in London.  The younger son, David (14) is a Coronation S.M. pupil and Miss Pat Whitlam (18) the only daughter, is employed by Mr. Ted Humber, Dimond Street. Like her husband, 43-year-old Mrs. Whitlam is a native of Lowestoft.  They have been living in Pembroke Dock for 20 years.  Mr. Whitlam first went to sea on the Lowestoft fishing smacks at the age of 14.  During the war he served in minesweepers with the R.N.R. and also sailed with the Arctic convoys.




    The Robert Limbrick was formerly the Aberdeen trawler Star of Freedom and was re-named in memory of a former leading Skipper when she came to Milford ten months ago. She sailed on Saturday and her crew were:

SKIPPER W. M. BURGOYNE, Carina, Stratford Road, Milford Haven.

MATE C. J. REYNOLDS, 42 Stratford Road, Milford Haven.

BO'SUN R.W. J. WHITLAM, 63 Meyrick Street, Pembroke Dock.

THIRD HAND CHARLES GRIFFITHS, 78 St. Lawrence Avenue, Hakin.

DECKHANDS CLIFFORD PICTON, 48 St. Lawrence Avenue, Hakin; NORMAN TAYLOR, 18 St. Lawrence Avenue, Hakin; MICHAEL M. BURGOYNE, 16, St. Lawrence Avenue, Hakin.

COOK HERBERT J. McERVEL, 92 Observatory Avenue, Hakin.

CHIEF ENGINEER C. RONALD HICKS, 51 Milton Crescent, Milford Haven.

SECOND ENGINEER H. J. DAVIES, Hasguard Hall Cottages, Hasguard.

FIREMEN BASIL R. HUGHES, 97 Glebelands, Hakin; and FREDERICK J. POTTER, 80 Glebelands, Hakin.




[Courtesy of Robert Kelly.]


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