Les Jones Archive
Official No: 302404 Port and Year: Lowestoft, 1961 (LT371)
Description: Steel side trawler; single screw, motor.
Built: 1961, Brooke Marine, Lowestoft. (Yard no. 279)
Tonnage: 166.45 grt 55.97 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 98.0 / 22.4 / 10.2
Engine: 4 single acting 5 Cyl. 500 ihp. A. K. Diesel, Lowestoft.
7 Jun 1961: W. H. Podd, Salisbury Rd., Lowestoft.
1968: Re-possessed by White Fish Authority.
7 Apr 1969: Norrard Trawlers, Docks, Milford.
Owner manager: Fred Ingram.
1992: Supreme Fishing Co., Belfast.
Landed at Milford: 1969 - 1991
Skippers: A. James (1978-81); G. Tripp (1978-80)
Aug 2001: Acquired by Glover Marine, Bideford, having been abandoned in Milford Haven with harbour dues and other charges unpaid; part converted to houseboat. Towed to Bideford by the tug DATCHET, beached at Northam and being stripped.
17 Oct 2011: Having been beached for ten years up-river of Appledore Shipbuilders yard, she was towed to Richmond Drydock, Appledore, for scrapping.
[Information from Gilbert Mayes.]
Accidents and Incidents
Axe Falls On Milford Fishing
From the West Wales Guardian of an unknown Friday in April 1969:
Great news for Milford and its fishing industry is today's announcement by the Norrard Trawling Co. that they have purchased two near-water trawlers from Lowestoft. They are the 100ft. Bryher and Rosevear, 5-year-old diesel engined trawlers belonging to W. H. Podd of Lowestoft.
Speaking to a "Guardian" reporter, Mr. Alan Packman, a Director of Norrard, said the firm had tendered for all five trawlers in the Podd fleet. "We have got two of them, we are very pleased about it and we are hoping to get the vessels around to Milford next week.
The new boats will bring the Norrard fleet up to twelve vessels, nine of them in the ownership of the firm and three under management. Norrard Trawlers were formed in 1946 by the late Mr. Fed Ingram, D.S.M., who had sailed as a trawler engineer and who had unbounded confidence in the men and the industry locally.
Since his lamented death in an accident, the Company's high traditions have been maintained by members of his family, and their latest purchases are an earnest of their intentions and hope in the future of the industry and the port. They come at a time when Milford's fleet has been reduced to 18 vessels and the additions can do nothing but good. All will join with us in commending the firm on their courage and enterprise and wish them well.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 9th March 1973:
The trawler "Bryher", Skipper J. James, returned to port on Tuesday to land its bosun, Mr. John Gapski, Nubian Crescent, Hakin, with an injured shoulder He was hit and thrown to the deck by a wave while the trawler was fishing off the Cornish coast.
After treatment by Dr. S. Singh when he landed, Mr. Gapski went to the County Hospital for further treatment, then allowed home to recuperate from severe bruising.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 6th January 1978:
"It's an ill wind ... " is the old proverb which proved cheerfully true this week for Skipper Affie James and the crew of the Milford Haven trawler Bryher, hit by engine trouble (the cooling system) as they fished on the Tusker grounds.
With a gale increasing to force 9, the Milford fishermen called for assistance on Tuesday afternoon, after realising the necessary repairs, although minor, had to be carried out from the outside of the hull.
Their call was answered by another Norrard Trawlers vessel, the Norrard Star (Skipper Alex Simpson), who broke off fishing to take the Bryher in tow. With the fierce wind in a favourable quarter it was decided to make for Milford, and the ships docked at their home port late that night.
The ill wind which had broken her scheduled trip proved to be a right prosperous start for the Bryher, whose 88 kits of prime fish sold for £5,340 in a week when supplies are at their scarcest. The Norrard Star landed 15 kits to gross £2,931.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 16th June 1978:
(Exclusive by Ethel Clark)
The axe which been poised over Milford Haven's fishing industry finally fell on Thursday when Norrard Trawlers Ltd. announced that they are going into liquidation.
In an exclusive statement issued to the "Guardian" at 4 p.m. on Thursday, the directors of the firm announced that their five trawlers are ceasing operations. This means the end of Milford's fishing industry as a viable concern.
The Norrard vessels involved are the Bryher, Rosevear, Picton Sea Lion, Picton Sea Eagle and Norrard Star.
This means that Milford Haven is left with only two small trawlers, the Westerdale, owned by Mr. Bruno Linke and the Arthur Harvey, owned by two local tugmasters.
[ This decision was rescinded seven weeks later, on 4th August 1978.]
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 24th October 1980:
NEW BLOW MAY SIGNAL THE END OF MILFORD FISHING
A CRUCIAL new threat to the future viability of Milford Haven's fishing industry has arisen with the laying-up of the port's top-earning trawler, the PICTON SEA EAGLE.
The 110 ft. 22-year-old trawler has a suspected cracked engine block and is laid-up in Milford docks, along with two other Norrard Trawlers ships — the NORRARD STAR and the PICTON SEA LION.
A marine surveyor will inspect the EAGLE next week and on his findings will depend Norrard's decision about the future of the Company, which now has only two vessels operating — the BRYHER and ROSEVEAR.
Norrard Trawlers admit that the withdrawal of the EAGLE is a "bad blow". It is Norrard which has been the vital cog in Keeping Milford's fishing industry going in recent years and the whole future of fishing at the port is crucially linked with that of the Company.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 31st December 1982:
Milford Trawler Fleet On Stop
Following this week's rejection by trawlermen of a one per cent cut in their share of the catch, four ships belonging to Milford Haven's largest trawler firm are "on stop" and may never go to sea again.
Norrard Trawlers director Mr. Fred Ingram said on Thursday, "I cannot see the boats ever going back to sea again." The vessels ainvolved are the Norrard Star, Picton Sea Eagle, Bryher and Rosevear.
Soaring fuel costs now take up 37 per cent of a trawler's operating costs compared with the 10 per cent involved when the present agreement with the men was made whereby they get 36 per cent of the gross catch.
[The dispute was settled on 13th January 1983, when the crews agreed to a 10 per cent pay cut on all catches up to £7,000.]
From an undated copy of the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of a Wednesday in March 1983:
A co-operative of Milford Haven fish merchants has bought Norrard's three remaining trawlers to give the industry in the port renewed hope. In a deal completed by 4 p.m. on Friday, the consortium bought the equity of the company for £200,000 and took over the running of the Norrard Star, Picton Sea Eagle and Bryher.
Norrard had been operating the trawler company in Milford since 1946, but now the directors, which include the President of the Trawler Owners' Association, Mr. Fred Ingram, have retired.
The chairman of the new co-operative, an amalgamation of fish merchants and smaller trawler owners, Mr. Roy Pettit of Ashley and Co., told the 'Telegraph', "The business will be run much as it was before, and we hope to get over the industry's problems."
The future of the fishing industry in Milford Haven came into question over Christmas, when the entire fleet was laid up by bad weather and spiralling fuel costs. The vessels returned to sea in the New Year, but then ran into more trouble when the trawler owners and the crew failed to reach agreement over the percentage share of the catch. Although Norrard put their four vessels up for sale a compromise was eventually reached with the twenty-five members of the crews.
Now, however, only three vessels remain in the fleet, following the sale of the Rosevear to a company in Lowestoft.
With the livelihood of 250 men, whose employment depended on the fishing industry, threatened by a firm offer for the other fishing trawlers from an East Coast company, the fish merchants decided to move in.
"There would have been no fishing industry left. We've always felt that the industry belonged in Milford, and we now hope that the situation will resolve itself," Mr. Pettit said. "We believe that we need seven or eight trawlers to service the ancillary plants and give the industry the necessary platform with which it could take off."
"There are five vessels now and we could probably do with more. We would hope to buy them and will try to earn enough money to do so," he added.
From the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of Wednesday 1st July 1987:
'BRYHER' RETURNS TO SEA
The Milford trawler 'Bryher' left port on Saturday to undergo sea trials, following her recent extensive refit. After five months work, the Norrard ship now boasts a new engine, fish room, propeller and winches. She becomes the seventh vessel currently to be fishing out of Milford. It is hoped that the refit will extend the life of the vessel for at least another 15 years. ............
From either the Fishing News or the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of Wednesday 23rd May 1990:
Milford Haven's resident companies, Norrard and Southard Trawlers, report fair fishing for their fleet of sidewinders over the past 12 months.
At present they are fishing for cod in Area VIIa but last month three ships boosted their earnings with hauls of bass. Bryher, Kinellan and Anguilla took the fish mainly off Trevose Head and prices peaked on Milford market between £7 a pound and £5.30 a pound.
Most of the fish went to Ashley's fish merchants in Milford who sold them to restaurants and hotels.
Norrard and Southard trawlers are now trying to make up for lost fishing time because of the bad weather this winter.
From the Fishing News of Friday 15th March 1991:
Lay-up looms for Milford company
The issuing of redundancy notices to 30 shore based workers at Milford Haven has raised fears that the port's oldest firm, Norrard and Southard Trawlers, will soon lay up its seven aging trawlers.
Ways are being sought out [sic] of financial difficulties facing the firm, which has been hit by shrinking quotas and soaring costs. But the problems of the trawler firm are seen as 'the tip of the iceberg' at the troubled Welsh port.
The Milford Haven company is the remains of a once powerful fleet that made the Welsh harbour a top landing port 30 years ago.
Meantime it appears inevitable that Norrard's seven vessels — Norrard Star, Bryher, Antigua, Anguilla, Kinellan, Gilmar and Dawn Spray — will be laid up until a solution to the present crisis is found.
[In May 1991, only the Kinellan and Gilmar were still fishing; the other vessels were laid up.]
From the Pembrokeshire Telegraph & Cymric Times of Wednesday 13th November 1991:
Port Authority in talks on future of trawlers
The future of three local trawlers is to be considered by Milford Haven Port Authority on Friday.
Port Authority Mike Hyslop said the board would be considering the outlook for the fishing industry, including the future of the trawlers Gilmar, Kinellan andBryher.
The Authority says the experiment to lease the Gilmar had proved successful, with the 110 foot long trawler and its local crew grossing £1,000 a day at sea.
All seven trawlers previously operated by Norrard and Southard Trawlers, now in receivership, have been idle since the summer apart from the Gilmar. She put back to sea three months ago following a lease arrangement between the Authority and the administrative receivers of the vessels.
The Authority has spent more than £300,000 on building a new fish market at the Docks, where the catches from the Gilmar were landed.
From the Pembrokeshire Telegraph & Cymric Times of Wednesday 18th March 1992:
Trawler fleet is sold to Ireland
BY JIM SMITH
Milford Haven's fleet of seven trawlers has been sold to Ireland and will leave the port shortly,
Even though the administrative receivers, Cork Gully — representing the creditors of the previous owning companies — refused to make any comments on the sale of the trawlers it is known they will shortly go to both Northern and Southern Ireland.
This follows the recent announcement by the government that decommissioning grants for the vessels will now be considered.
The trawlers include the Gilmar, which has been leased to the Milford Haven Port Authority and has been successful since returning to sea with its local crew. They have now been laid off.
The Gilmar, Kinellan, Dawn Spray, Norrard Star, Bryher, Antigua and Anguilla, were stopped from fishing last summer when the owning companies went into liquidation.
All the vessels have since been for sale and it was only the Gilmar which went back to sea — earning an estimated £1,000 a day.
Port Authority manager, Mr. Mike Hyslop, said they were now hoping to encourage the new owners to operate the trawlers from Milford Docks and to, hopefully, employ local crews.
Courtesy of Keith Morgan
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