Official No:  93440     Port Number and Year: 6th in Milford, in 1890

Description: Steel and iron side / beam trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Schooner  rigged: foresail, mainsail, mizzen.

Crew: 8 men (1890); 9 men (1902, 1904).

Registered at Milford: 24 Nov 1890

Built: T. R. Oswald & Co., Castle Pill, Milford, in 1896.  (Yard no. 255)

Tonnage: 131.78 grt  65.54 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 107.7 / 20.5 / 10.15

Engine: C 2-Cyl. 50 hp..  Engine: W. King & Co., Glasgow



24 Nov 1890: Steamship Birda Co. Ltd., Docks, Milford

Manager: Frederick John Sellick.


1895: Thomas Ridley Oswald, Castle Hall, Castle Pill, Milford.

Managing owner.


11 Nov 1904: Edward Tower, 11 Grove Place, Swansea.


6 Jun 1905: Herbert Collings, 16 Philpot Lane, London.



Jun 1905: Unknown Portuguese owners; Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores.


By 1914: Sociedad Portuguesa de Pescarias. Lisbon.


1920: Empreza Portuguesa de Pescarias, Lisbon.


1926: Cia Portuguesa de Pesca, Lisbon.


Landed at Milford:  3 Jan 1891 - 27 Jan 1904 (Fished out of Aberdeen from 1 Jul 1901 to 3 Jan 1902.)


G. Garnham, cert. 2371, age 28, born Sittingbourne, residing - ; 7 Jul 1891; 7 Jul 1892

William Thomas 1234, 31, Hull, - ; 21 Sep 1891; 9 Jan, 5 Jul, 20 Jul 1892; 11 Mar; 7 Jul 1895

J. Cammish 2239, 37, Scarborough, - ; 30 Jun 1893.

F. A. Walker 4322, 31, Lynmouth, - ; 3 Jul, 9 Nov 1893; 1 Jan 1894

Henry Belton 3706, 31, Lincolnshire, - ; 30 Nov 1893

Thomas Leyland 05547, - , Hull, Hakin; 30 Jun 1894

James Kilby 1427, 32, Hull, Great North Rd., Milford; 27 Sep 1894; 24 May 95

Alfred Alexander 4073, - ,- , 6 Milton Tce., Pill, Milford; 9 Jan 1895

William Days 01411, 44, Hull, - ; 3 Oct 1895

W.H. Fletcher 1042, 33, Cheshire, - ; 5 Jan, 5 Jun 1897

R. Robson 5087, 24, Scarborough, Gladstone House, Robert St.; 14 Aug 1897; 1 Jan, 5 Apr 1898.

J. Cottrall 10736, 45, Barking, - ; 14 Mar 1898.

G. C. Masters 5545, 27, London, Greville Rd., Milford; 8 Jul 1898; 9 Jun, 10 Jul 1899.

Thomas Leggett 4759, 24, Gorleston, - ;  9 Sep 98.

F. Dollar 641, 42, Lyme Regis, - ; 24 Nov 1898.

Samuel Knapman 1779, 35, Dartmouth, - ; 16 Jan 1899

W. M. Dunile 1074, 42, Bath, - ; 14 Apr 1899

R. Gladingboul 4386, 30, Ramsgate, 12 Aug 1899

J. Curtis 5274, 24, Yarmouth, - ; 4 Sep 1899

W. Stephenson 2769, 37, Hull, - ; 21 Oct 1899

W. E. Wales 5484, 26, Ramsgate, - ; 1 Nov, 4 Dec 1899

J. A. Walker 4332, 36, Lynmouth, 5 Green Tce., Hubberston; 15 Jan 1901

W. Langley 6847, 40, Lowestoft, 53 Robert St., Milford; 10 Jun, 17 Jul 1901

Jack Welham 6150, 29, Yarmouth, - ; 11 Oct, 14 Nov 1901; 3 Jan 1902

Thomas Marks 02454, 46, Wellington, Commercial Hotel, Milford; 23 Nov 1901

J. Coaker 4190, 30, Brixham, Meads Rd., Milford; 10 Jan 1902

William Maunder 1460, 41, Hull, 43 Port Tennant Rd., St.Thomas, Swansea ; 19 Aug 1902; 12 Jun, 10 Jul 1903

H. Rayworth 3687, 33, Hull, - ; 25 Jan 1903.

W.T. Smith 5908, 25, Bexhill, 7 Margaret St., St.Thomas, Swansea; 9 Feb, 31 Oct 1903.

S. F. Richards 6941, - , Neath, - ; 13 May 1903

B.J. Kippin 5264, 34, Norwich, - ; 7 Sep 1903

F. J. Newman 932, 32, Bristol, - ; 3 Dec 1903


1 Mar 1903: Struck on the Doom Bar. [See press reports below.]

8 Feb 1954: Wrecked on Cabo Rasa, 20 miles from Lisbon. 

[ Information from ]

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed:

"Registry closed 7th Decr 1905 on sale of ship to Foreigners (Portuguese subjects). Advice received from Owner - Certificate of Registry not given up.

J. W. Crocker. Reg. "

 Accidents and Incidents

From the Western Mail of Monday 11th December 1893:





    During Friday's storm, the schooner Ellen, of Carnarvon, from Norway with timber for Cardigan, stuck on Grassholm on Friday and was totally wrecked.  Assistance was being sent from Milford Haven to the captain, who is still on the island.

    Our Milford Haven correspondent states that the schooner was owned and commanded by Captain John P. Owen.  Four of the crew and the pilot were brought into Milford Haven on Saturday afternoon, and in the course of an interview the men stated that the Ellen was bound from Frederickstadt, in Norway, to Cardigan with a cargo of flooring boards.  The captain, owing to the heavy weather put into Milford, and on Wednesday, the weather having moderated, proceeded for Cardigan.  All went well until Thursday night, when a heavy gale came on, the vessel then being eight miles from the Bishops, and the captain again bore back to Milford for safety.  The vessel shipped some big seas, and the crew were kept at the pumps all night, until Friday morning, when all her canvas was carried away by the violence of the wind, the vessel at this time passing Grassholm.  At half past six the vessel became unmanageable, and ran on the rocks, the sea, which was running mountains high, dashing her against the rocks with great violence.  The crew, numbering five .........  climbed the rigging and got on to the rocks by way of the fore-yard.  One of the crew, John Rowlands, was drowned in the attempt.  .......  In this predicament the whole day and following night were passed, the men starving with hunger and almost dying with thirst, until Saturday at noon, when the steam trawler Birda fortunately hove into sight.  Discerning the men on the island the skipper of the Birda got as near land as the dangerous rocks would allow and launched a boat in which were three of the crew, named Longthorpe (who commanded it), Balt and Reece, taking with them a long line and a buoy.  The boat neared the rocks and threw out her line and buoy, the shipwrecked men, one at a time, leaping from the rocks into the surf and seizing the buoy, by which means they were hauled into the boat in an exhausted state, ansd taken with safety to the Birda.  The captain, however, being helpless, could not possibly be got into the boat, and was, there being no alternative, left on the island.  The Birda at once steamed for Milford, landing the men at half past three, the shipwrecked men in the meantime being kindly supplied with food and the necessary changes.  The crew of the Birda, the men declared, treated them like gentlemen.  Hearing that the captain was left on the island in an unconscious condition, the trawler Her Majesty went out to Grassholm at four o'clock, towing the Angle lifeboat out with her but the heavy rolling of the sea would not permit them to get ashore, and, after making fruitless attempts during the night, they returned to Milford on Sunday morning, intending, it is said, to again go out this (Monday) morning, when, it is feared, if they can land, the captain will have succumbed to hunger and exposure. 


[See log book entry below.]



From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 27th October 1897:


Between seven and eight o'clock on Tuesday night, a fireman named William Morse, employed aboard the steam trawler 'Birda' met with a serious accident which will result in the loss of his right leg.  It appears that the vessel about that time stated was fishing off the Smalls, when the man's foot became entangled in the warp, which lacerated the flesh in a shocking manner, in fact the foot was nearly severed from the leg.  The vessel at once put back into Milford, and the injured man was attended to by Doctor Griffiths, who ordered his removal to the Haverfordwest Infirmary.  It is feared that the leg will have to amputated.



Log book entries:



Wind SW, fishing S of Galley Head.  Shipped a heavy sea, blowing very hard at the time.  Damaged the small boat, mizzen and other trifling things.

    F.A. Walker (Skipper)



Left Milford harbour 7 a.m. proceeded to the fishing grounds.  When passing Grassholm Island observed signals of distress.  Proceeded as close to the island as possible, and launched the boat, manned her with three hands who went as near as possible, threw lines to the shore with life buoys attached and succeeded in rescuing four hands from the schooner 'Helen'.  It was blowing a strong breeze with a heavy sea.  We then proceeded to Milford and landed the men.

    F.A. Walker (Skipper)


30.05.1894 [?]

Thomas Leyland, age 40, Skipper, born Hull, died at 6.00 p.m.  Cause of death - three wounds in the left jaw caused by guiding the warps with a hand spike.  The hand spike flew up and hit him in the face.



Whilst 4 miles NNW of St. John's Point, vessel was struck by a heavy sea during strong gales from the southward.  Mizzen mast and gear carried away.

    J. Kilby  (Skipper)



Thomas Knight, age 43, 3rd Hand, born Ipswich.  His left hand jammed between the gallows and chain.

    F.Dollin (Skipper)



5 or 6 miles NW Saltees Island Lightship.

Towed the steam trawler 'Avonmouth' of Bristol into Milford Haven.  Her engines had broken down.

     F.Dollin (Skipper)



50 miles SW from St. Ann's Head.

Cylinder cover of engine blown off, studs giving way.

    J. Coaker (Skipper)



At sea.  Robert Herd, age 58, Chief Engineer, born St. Andrew's.  Died at sea.

    J. Coaker (Skipper)  W. Adams (Mate)



25 miles SW by W from St. Ann's Head.

Henry F. Lawrence, 40 years old, Chief Engineer, born Grimsby, residing Milford.  Ruptured through falling down in engine room.

    William Maunder (Skipper)



Belfast Ireland.

Collided with wharf, case of oversight, too much sternway.

    J. Joyce (Skipper)

    H. Hubert [ X his mark] (Bosun)



Left Swansea on the 11th, when about 8 miles from Caldy Island we came across the German ship 'Boland' with her rudder gone.  We took her in tow, arrived at Milford Haven on the 13th.

    F.J. Newman (Skipper)




From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 30th May 1902:


An Engineer's Death at Sea.

    On Tuesday morning the steamship Birda arrived at Milford with the body of Robert Hird, chief engineer on the ship, and residing at Hakin, who had been found dead the previous evening. The deceased leaves a widow and a grown up family.

    The inquest was held at the Globe Hotel, Milford, on Wednesday morning before the Coroner (Mr H. J. E. Price), the Rev. Ceitho Davies being foreman of the jury.

    Mr. Coaker, the skipper of the Birda, said the vessel left Swansea on Saturday. Deceased made no complaint till Monday, when he told him he was not well. He sent his son to him, and the latter came back and said his father looked very queer. Witness then went and saw the deceased and advised him to lie down a little. Witness went to see him again about half an hour later, but finding he was sleeping he did not disturb him. When he went to look at him again a short time later he found that he was dead.

    The widow of the deceased was called, and identified the body. She said her husband had always been a strong, robust, healthy man, and she had never heard him complain of being ill.

    Witness was cross-examined by a juryman as to the whereabouts of her son who worked on the same ship as the deceased, and who had disappeared. She eventually said that the last time she had seen him was at about two o'clock that morning. He left owing to his bad behaviour.

    Coroner: It was not for your bad behaviour?

    Witness: No, sir.

    Dr. Griffith said he had made a past mortem examination of the body of the deceased that morning. There were no external marks of violence, and the body was that of a perfectly nourished man. He found the heart and the tendons of the heart to be diseased, and to that he attributed the death.

    A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 19th December 1902:



ACCIDENT TO A SAILOR.- On Sunday evening the "Birda" arrived at Milford Docks with a sailor named F. Lawrence on board, suffering from rupture, sustained in the storm. He was attended by Dr. Griffith's assistant, and on Monday morning was in such a condition that he was able to be brought ashore and sent by train to his home at Bristol. 



The Times, Monday, Mar 02, 1903; pg. 7; Issue 37017; col A
     The Gale.

PADSTOW - The gale continued off the Cornish coast yesterday morning, and in attempting to enter Padstow Harbour, the steam trawler Birda, of Milford Haven, struck on the Doom Bar.  The vessel's position was one of great danger, and the lifeboat and rocket brigade were called out.  The coastguardsmen got a line across the vessel in about a quarter of an hour after she struck.  In the meantime the lifeboat was launched, the wives and daughters of the pilots of the port assisting in getting her off.  The lifeboat took off the whole of the crew of nine men, the rescue being effected quickly, and less than an hour after the vessel struck.

From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 6th March 1903:



        The steam trawler Birda, of Milford, in entering Padstow Harbour on Sunday ran upon the Doombar. The gale was blowing and a heavy sea was running, and the vessel's position was extremely perilous. The lifeboat Arab, which is stationed two miles from Padstow, was promptly launched by eight women, the wives and daughters of the pilots, as there were not men enough present, and the crew having arrived from Padstow, the Arab proceeded through heavy breakers to the steamer's side and took off the nine men, including the captain. The lifeboat went out again subsequently, and warped the Birda into deep water. The crew consisted of nine men:—W. T. Smith (master), S. F. Richards (mate), J. E. Drake (boatswain), F. Richard, (third hand), J. Seaward, E. Furse (cook), John Godbeer (chief engineer), G. A. Davies (second engineer), and W. J. Lane (trimmer). The captain reported that he left Milford on Friday evening, and had been lying to off Trevose Head since five o'clock on Saturday evening. Just before three on Sunday morning he experienced heavy weather from the W.S.W., and shipped a lot of sea. At mid-day he tried to make for Padstow Harbour, but it was blowing half a gale from W.N.W. with a heavy sea. On entering he struck on Doombar.  All efforts to get her off proving ineffectual, he made signals for assistance. When he struck it was nearly low water. The vessel was in a very dangerous position, and, to make matters worse, after the crew had been landed, the cargo boat, Speedy, from Liverpool, came in and cut the communication which had been set up with the shore. The vessel was thereafter at the mercy of the wind and sea. At three o'clock the lifeboat was again launched to try and save the vessel. The crew of the steamer were put on board, and the lifeboat took a rope from the capstan house to the steamer. She was raised, and with the assistance of the capstan the steamer was placed in a position of safety.

        All the members of the crew are well known in Milford with the exception of the trimmer, W. J. Lane. The skipper Smith, is a Hull man, but has been in Milford for many years. Richards, the mate, is a Tenby man but he has been at Milford for some time. Drake is a Brixham man, but long resident at Milford, Frank Richards, though hailing from Hull, has been in Milford a dozen years, Furze, the cook, is a Cornishman, and the two engineers, Godbeer and Davies are Swansea men 



From The Cambrian of Friday 2nd September 1904:

Swansea Steam Trawlers Put Up

    At the Hotel Metropole, Swansea, on Tuesday, Messrs. Leeder and Sons offered, by order of the mortgagees, a fleet of five steam trawlers, the property of Mr. Oswald, bankrupt, namely the Brazilian, Sea Swallow, Sea Gull, Azacanora [sic], and Birda. The first four had been working in the Swansea fish trade up to date of sale. The Birda needed repairs.

    There was no bid for the fleet in one lot. Mr. Leeder asked for a bid over £6,000, saying they had an offer, but were just carrying out their engagement to offer the boats by public auction. Still there was no bid, and the same condition prevailed when the boats were offered separately.

    Last of all the trawling smack Reaper, 63 feet in length, built at Brixham in 1883, was offered. Bids began at £100, and the boat was sold to Mr. W. H. Smith and Co., Goole and Hull, for £150.


From The Cambrian of Friday 9th June 1905:


Swansea Trawler's Trip.

    The Swansea steam trawler Birda left the entrance channel wharf on Saturday afternoon bound for Panta Delgoda, St. Michael's, one of the Azores. She has been recently sold to foreign owners, and was manned by her new crew, under Captain Freebody.

    It is a long trip for a boat of the Birda's class, but she has the reputation of being a trawler of splendid sea-going abilities.



Back to Trawlers 1888-1914