Reproduced by permission of Lancashire County Council

Official No:  162133   Port and Year:  Cardiff, 1939 (CF4)

Description: Steel side trawler; single screw, oil fired.  Ketch rigged. Cruiser stern.

Crew:  12 (1962).

Built: 1939, Cochrane & Sons, Selby.  (Yard no. 1201)

Tonnage: 314 grt  116 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 130.7 (143.8 oa)  / 24.5 / 11.9

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 125 hp.  Amos & Smith, Hull




1939: Neale & West, Wharf St., Cardiff.

Manager: Joshua S. Neale.


As FD48

1956: Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Co., 238 Dock St., Fleetwood.

Manager: Fred Parkes, Blackpool.

Jan 1957: As BOSTON HERON FD48


19 Dec 1957: Milford Fisheries, Docks, Milford.

Manager: Owen Limbrick.


1961: Merchants (Milford Haven), Docks, Milford.


Landed at Milford: 18 Jan 1958 - 27 Nov 1962

Skippers: Arthur Harvey (1958); Jack Bean (jnr.; 1961-62)

Notes: 30 Aug 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty and completed as a minesweeper. (P.No. FY.610)  1 x 12 pdr.

Oct 1945: Returned to owners.

1955:  Laid up.

1956: Neale & West closed their Cardiff base.

14 Dec 1962: Wrecked on Scalpay; 7 survivors, 5 lost.  [See newspaper reports below.]

 Accidents and Incidents

From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 27th December 1957:


    The new addition to the Milford Fisheries fleet, the "Super Castle" trawler "Boston Heron", arrived from the port of Fleetwood on Monday, in charge of Skipper Reggie High and a Milford crew.

    The "Boston Heron", an oil-fired vessel, will be commanded by Skipper Arthur Harvey, and is due to sail on January 2nd.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 1st July 1960:


    The Fisheries trawler Boston Heron, in charge of Skipper Arthur Harvey, sailed on Monday on a voyage of discovery under the auspices of the Ministry of Fisheries and the White Fish Authority.  The trawler is on the first of a number of experimental voyages to "The Farm" - unproven grounds to the westward of Ireland.  They will rendezvous at Cork with the Fisheries' own experimental vessel and in addition to fishing experiments there will also be a scientific study of the grounds.

    The Boston Heron is due back on July 11th.  Mate with Skipper Harvey is Mr. Jack Scoble, the bosun, Mr. Oliver Smith-Howell, and the Chief Engineer Mr. W. Bailey.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 5th January 1962:


    The hake trawler Boston Heron, formerly of the Milford Fisheries fleet, is being prepared for sea and it is expected she will sail on Monday on her first voyage for her new owners Merchants (Milford Haven).  She will be in charge of Skipper Jack Bean, her master with the old owners.

    The trawler Nobel is also being got ready, and a spokesman for Merchants Ltd. said it is hoped to get her away in a week to ten days.  She will be in charge of Skipper Albert Riby, who was her master while with the Fisheries fleet.



L-R:  Mat Owston and Jackie Dyson (who was later lost on her)

John Stevenson Collection


Gorman Harding on the right

John Stevenson Collection



The Times, Tuesday, Dec 04, 1962; pg. 12; Issue 55565; col E

     News in Brief


    Inhabitants of Scalpay Island, in the Outer Hebrides, were keeping watch last night for the crew of the trawler Boston Heron, which struck a rock close to the shore during a strong wind.

    The crew of about 14 abandoned ship after a hole was torn in her hull.  Most of them are believed to have got ashore on rafts or boats, but local people kept up a search in case some were still in difficulties.  An Admiralty official said that a store-carrying vessel, the Robert Dundas, had been ordered to the area to help.  Other vessels were reported to be near by.


The Times, Wednesday, Dec 05, 1962; pg. 6; Issue 55566; col G

     Grounded Trawler: 3 Still Missing



    Islanders of Scalpay searched the beaches today until dusk for signs of three of the crew still missing after the trawler Boston Heron ran aground last night on Glas Island off the east coast of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.  Stornoway lifeboat which went to aid the stricken vessel returned to port this morning.

    The bodies of four men were washed ashore between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. today and the five survivors were expected to arrive in Stornoway tonight.  Mr. Finlay Morrison, skipper of the fishing drifter Scalpay Isle, directed operations when a small rowing boat was launched with three men on board to rescue two men on the shore of the island.  A third man was found later by a life saving apparatus team.

    The two men told Skipper Morrison that they had got a grip on the rocks by clinging to seaweed.  Mr. Morrison described conditions at sea as among the worst he had ever known in his long experience.  The search for the three missing men will be resumed tomorrow.


The Times, Friday, Jan 25, 1963; pg. 6; Issue 55608; col G

     News in Brief

MARINE ENQUIRY. -  The Minister of Transport has ordered a formal investigation into the stranding and subsequent total loss of the s.t. Boston Heron, of Fleetwood, on December 3, 1962, off the Isle of Scalpay, Harris, Outer Hebrides.


From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 7th December 1962:





            Already depressed by unemployment, the port of Milford Haven on Tuesday was plunged into shocked sadness by a trawler disaster in which seven men lost their lives.

            In a storm late on Monday the 314 tons, 131 ft trawler Boston heron ran aground on rocky, uninhabited Glas island off the coast of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

            Stornaway lifeboat, a lifesaving apparatus team and the Fisheries Protection cruiser Brenda, all went to the rescue of her crew of twelve.

            Two exhausted men were taken off the stricken ship by breeches buoy, three other members of the crew struggles ashore on a beach battered and bruised by seas which local people have described as some of the worst ever seen on that notorious coast.

            At dawn one body was recovered from the sea and within a few hours three more bodies from the wrecked trawler had been found.

            Later the fifth body, that of the Bo’sun, was recovered from the sea.

            It is believed that the Boston Heron’s boilers exploded when she hit the rocks.  The ship was driven by oil fuel burners and escaping oil was an added hazard to the survival of the crew.



            The seven men who lost their lives in the tragedy were:-

Bo’sun Jack Dyson (42), 56, Gellyswick Road, Hakin (married with one daughter).

Deckhand Bob Brown (29), 2, Stratford Road, Milford Haven (single).

Cook Billy Hannaford (37), 7, Rectory Avenue, Hakin (single).

Chief Engineer Bill Bailey (62), 38, Clarence Street, Pembroke Dock (married).

Second Engineer Harold J. Edwards (59) c/o R.N.M.D.S.F., Milford Haven (married).

Fireman Harry Harries (59), of St. davids (single).

Fireman Bill Prickett (53), 8, The Close, Johnston (married, one daughter).



            The survivors are the trawler’s master

Skipper Jack Bean (41), 53, Richard John Road, Milford Haven.

Mate John Donovan (33), 13 Stephen Street, Milford Haven.

Third Hand Brian Naden (27), 18, John Lewis Street, Hakin.

Deckhand Frank Fisher (51), 32, Gellyswick Road, Hakin.

Deckhand Chris McCulloch (27), 70, Haven Drive, Hakin.

            The first three are married; the two deckhands are single men.



John Stevenson Collection


From The Irish Times of Friday 12th April 1963, p.9:


Certificate of skipper suspended


    The skipper of the British trawler, Boston Heron, which foundered off the Hebrides last December with the loss of seven lives has had his certificate suspended for three months.

    The Ministry of Transport Board of Inquiry, announcing its decision at Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, on Thursday found that the stranding and loss of the vessel with the consequent loss of life were contributed to by the wrongful default of the skipper, John William Bean, in failing to heed the warning given by the Decca navigator and not immediately taking drastic action to haul his vessel out to starboard.

    The board held that, after the stranding, all proper steps were taken by the skipper for the preservation of his vessel and crew.  Life-saving appliances on board were in accordance with regulations, and the Boston Heron was in all respects seaworthy.



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