John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  95766      Port Number and Year: 3rd in Bristol, 1890 (BL4)

                                                                                7th in Milford 1915.

Description: Iron crabber class side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged: foresail, mainsail and mizzen.

Crew: 9 men (1915)

Registered at Milford: 29 Jul 1915

Built: W. Harkess & Son, Middlesborough in 1890 (Yard no. 124)

Tonnage: 139.32 grt  39 net. Amended 1914: 56.18 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 95.5 / 20.1 / 10.75

Engine: C 2-Cyl. 45 hp.  Engine and boiler by Vulcan I.W., Hull



As BL4

8 Aug 1890: Western Steam Trawling, Shannon Court, Bristol

Manager: Frederick Joseph Sellick, 'Marine Villa', Murray Cres., Milford. (Died 26 Sep 1903)

                    Sydney Morgan Price, Murray Cres., Milford. (From Sep 1903.)

As M54

29 Jul 1915: David Gwilym Jones, 35 Dewsland St., Milford.  (64/64)

Managing owner.


20 Nov 1918: John McRae Knight, 'Craigland', Wellington Rd., Hakin.

Managing owner: David Gwilym Jones, 35 Dewsland St., Milford.


27 Feb 1919: John McRae Knight, 'Craigland', Wellington Rd., Hakin.

Managing owner.


25 Feb 1920: Charles Graham, 20 Great St. Helens, London EC 3. (By 1923: Exchange Buildings, Hull.)

Manager: John McRae Knight, The Docks, Milford.

                Charles H. Legard, Fish Docks, Grimsby. (By 1923.)


Landed at Milford:  

As BL4: 26 Sep 1890 - 22 Jun 1911; 13 Jan 1913 - 24 Dec 1914; 9 May - 22 Jun 1915.

As M54: 4 Jun 1915 - 27 Jun 1920; 12, 14 Jul 1922.


R. Payne 1890-91; Ebbeson 1891; Hallett 1891; Limbrick 1891-2; Foreman; Harsing 1893

Norton 1894; Day 1895; Erey; Pettit; Cobley 1896; Whittington 1896; Leader; Bird 1897

Royal; Rumbold; Masters 1900; Collins 1903; Martin; Foster; Aldridge 1904; Hewer 1905

Chaney; Adams; Reed; King; Leader; T Bird 1913; J. W. Rumble 1914.

F. J. Smith (Cert. 5288) 1915.

A. J. Howard (Cert. 2956) 1920.


Jan 1915: Requisitioned and converted to minesweeper. Admy. no. 963. Returned to fishing fleet in April.

1917: Requisitioned into Fishery Reserve. 

1919: Returned to owners.

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 15 Jul 1925.  Broken up at Milford

 Accidents and Incidents

From the Aberdeen Weekly Journal of Monday, July 18, 1892; Issue 11687.




[From Lloyd's ― Saturday]


    The Avonmouth, steam trawler, was reported by telegraph from Milford as having drifted on the rocks yesterday during a dense fog; extent of damage will not be fully known till the bottom has been examined.



From The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post of Saturday, December 19, 1896; Issue 15167.



    The schooner Sarah Gibson, from Par to Runcorn, cargo china clay, was run into and sunk in Milford Haven Harbour on Wednesday morning by the steam trawler Avonmouth.


From The Cardiff Times of Saturday December 19, 1896:


    On Wednesday morning the schooner Sarah Gibson, owned by Fisher Brothers, of Barrow-in- Furness, loaded with china clay, was run into and sunk by the steam trawler Avonmouth. The schooner immediately after the collision sank, the crew barely having time to save themselves. The topmasts of the schooner are visible at low water off Hakin Point.



From The Weekly Mail of Saturday 20th January, 1906:



    On Tuesday at Fishguard Petty-sessions William Ellis, skipper of the Seahawk, a steam trawler of Swansea, was mulcted in £20 and £6 2s 6d costs for illegally fishing with a trawl-net inside the limits of the Milford Haven Sea Fisheries District, a mile off Newport Head, Cardigan Bay, on the 6th of July last.

    Samuel George King, skipper of the steam trawler Avonmouth, was for a similar offence at the same time and place fined £10 and £6 17s. 6d. costs.

    John Armitage, skipper of the sailing smack Mary James, was ordered to pay £5 and £1 11 costs for fishing inside the limit of the district in Fishguard Bay on the 12th of July last year.



From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 25th July 1906:


    On Thursday evening the steam trawler "Avonmouth" left Milford Docks for the fishing grounds.  About eight o'clock, and when about twelve miles off St Ann's Head, the trimmer, named James Davies, was engaged in dumping ashes from the stokehold (hauling them up inside the ventilator in old carbine drums and tipping them over the side).  The second engineer down below was filling and pulling them up to Davies, and after a long delay in returning the drums he went up on deck to see if anything was wrong.  He could not find any trace of him, or the drum.

    The skipper of the trawler, Jack Leader, was informed, and a search was made which proved to be futile.  The vessel then returned to Milford and the skipper reported the sad occurrence.  It can only be supposed that the unfortunate young man must have over balanced and fallen over the ship's side.

    James Davies was only 22 years of age, single, and a son of Mr Davies, plumber, working on the Docks.  They reside in Hakin.



From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 6th November 1907:


    A telegram was received at the offices of Messrs Sellick, Morley & Price on Monday morning from the skipper of the steam trawler "Avonmouth", which left Milford on Friday, to the effect that he had put into Cork on Sunday with the body of the second engineer, Matthew Lynn, a man about 50 years of age, who fell dead aboard the ship.

    The deceased was a well known figure on the dock, and was well known as "Sunderland Mat".  He had been in Milford for many years and there is no known relative.



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 22nd November 1907:


Reckless Skippers



        Alfred Taylor, skipper of the Gloxinia; Richard Hooper, skipper of the Uhdea; James Golden, skipper of the Dowlais, and Hans Tirrell, of the Avonmouth, were summoned for a breach of the Dock bye-laws by entering abreast, or attempting to pass another vessel in entering the Dock gates.  The skipper of the Dowlais was charged with attempting to pass another vessel and the others with entering the gates abreast.  Mr. Harold J. Evans, solicitor, Milford Haven, appeared for Taylor, Hooper, and Golden.

Captain James, who prosecuted, said there were four summonses taken out against [all four] skippers. Three skippers were charged with going into the dock abreast, and the Dowlais with overtaking another vessel in the dock entrance. That happened on Sunday night, October 10th.  Just before the gates were opened there were fifteen trawlers outside. They all lay out by the two buoys. By the time the gates were opened they were all in a heap. After the opening of the gates four trawlers came in one after another. Then the Reliance got across the entrance. After that seven or eight trawlers were lying just outside. Three of them started off, and came for the entrance to the Docks together. They would not separate. When they got a little closer he hailed them to know what they were going to do. They took no notice, and came two abreast, and the third in the middle just a little astern. The Avonmouth was on the Hakin side, the Uhdea in the middle, and the Gloxinia. As soon as the skipper of the Uhdea heard him shout she backed out. Whilst those trawlers were in that position the Dowlais came along. He hailed the skipper to stop his engines, and go astern, but he did not do so until he got right up. He had to close the Dock. While his back was turned the Dowlais entered the Dock against the light. Those cases were very similar to those which had been heard by the magistrates before, only the vessels came in then two abreast. Now the skippers were trying to improve even on that, and to come in three abreast. If the gates were damaged incalculable injury would ensue. He had only taken out summonses against four skippers, but there were a number who were equally to blame and their conduct that night was disagreeable in the extreme.

Cross-examined: He could not say which of the trawlers was ahead before they entered the Dock.  All he was concerned about was that they came in three abreast. The Dowlais was further astern.

Do you say the three vessels were abreast at the time of entering the channel? For all practical purposes.  The Gloxinia was on the starboard side.  I hailed the Dowlais to stop her engines. The Uhdea went astern.

You moored the Gloxinia and kept her there until all the other vessels had passed into the Dock? Yes. I kept her there for three-quarters of an hour.

The Chairman enquired as to whether there were any special rules as to which of two or three vessels together should enter the lock first? No, sir, not beyond the fact that I will not allow more than a one trawler to enter at a time. When they like they can form up in line outside just as if they were going into a booking office. When two are coming in together they should hail each other and arrange which should go first. It does not matter very much because one will enter just after the other. On the night in question, however, they were obstinate, at least one or two. They could not deal with what the vessels did previous to entering the dock, and which was right and which was wrong, especially when as had happened, they had a hundred craft in.

Tom Westonbury also gave evidence as to the three vessels coming in abreast, and the Dowlais passing another trawler in the entrance.

Alfred Taylor, skipper of the Gloxinia, said he was first before entering the dock. He could not help what the other vessels did, he came directly into mid-channel. The Dowlais was just behind, and his mate hailed her to go astern when he gave the signal.

Mr. Birt: Were you abreast when you entered the Dock gates? Nearly so.

 Have you ever thought what would happen if you damaged the dock gates?— No, but I know by all the Board of Trade regulations I was in the position to have gone in first.

The Chairman thought that one of the vessels must have been in the position to have gone in first. Was there no rule saying that the one on the starboard side for instance, should be allowed to enter first.

James Golden, skipper of the Dowlais, said he obeyed all Captain James’ instructions, and did not pass any other vessel in the dock. As soon as he was hailed he went astern.

Captain James: Didn't you come in again against the light.

Hans Tirrell, of the Avonmouth, said his trawler was a long way ahead of the others, and they endeavoured to pass him.

Captain James pointed out that it was contrary to the dock bye-laws for two or more vessels abreast to enter at the dock gates. It was not for them to determine which trawler had been leading previously.

Mr. Birt said the skipper of the Gloxinia had stated that he was ahead, and the skipper of the Avonmouth said that his vessel was ahead. The statements were directly contradictory, and did away with the question as to which trawler had the right to go in first.

Mr. Evans explained that Hooper who was merely acting as skipper of the Uhdea on that occasion, had gone to sea on another trawler. He would have missed his job if he had attempted to have been present in Court that day.

The magistrates retired to consider their decision.

The Chairman on their return said, as his brother magistrate Mr. Birt had already stated, if any damage were to be caused to the gates it might cripple the trade of the town for months and months. The replacing of those gates would cost £60,000, and therefore the skippers of those boats ought to recognize how very careful it behoved them to be in entering the dock gates. The magistrates were determined to put an end to those offences so far as lay in their power. Each defendant would be fined £5 and costs. Two months was granted in which to pay the money.



From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 22nd March 1911:


    The "Dartmouth", a steam trawler which some years ago was converted for the purpose of long lining, has been sold privately by Messrs. Sellick, Morley and Price to Mr. John Grand and Charles Davies for £800.  Other old trawlers such as the "Avonmouth", "Bournemouth" and "Exmouth" are, we believe, in the market for selling, and will be disposed of to make room for more up-to-date craft under the firm's management.




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