Courtesy of Keith Morgan

Official No:  121603    Port Number and Year: 8th in Milford, 1905

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

Crew:  9 men (1905); 10 men (1914).

Registered: 22 Oct 1905. 

Built: 1905 by Smiths Docks, North Shields.  (Yard no. 774)

Tonnage: 206 grt  52.61 net (1 Jan 1914: amended by Board of Trade to 78.28 net.)

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 117.5 / 21.55 / 11.5

Engine: T 3-cyl. 54 hp.;  by W.V.V. Lidgerwood, Glasgow.



22 Sep 1905: John Jones, 'Headland House', Priory Rd., Milford. (32/64)

Jenkin Jones, 'Dowlais House', Great North Rd., Milford. (32/64).

Managing owner: John Jones.


9 Jul 1914: Edgar Garnham, 22 Canterbury Rd., Brynmill, Swansea.

Manager: H. E. Rees, Milford.


Landed at Milford:  30 Sep 1905 - 24 Aug 1914; 12 Jan - 25 Jun 1920; 27 Feb 1922 - 24 Feb 1923.


Robert Woodgate Cert. 4187; age 39, born Beer, residing Priory St. (then Brooke Ave.), Milford. Signed on 20 Sep 1905, 3 Jan, 1 Jun, 1 Nov 1906; 3 Jan, 27 Jul 1907; 4 Jan 1908; 18 Jan 1909.

George C. Nichols 05538, 40, Stamford, - ; 10 Oct 1906

George Hanlon 6195, 34, Hull, Warwick Rd., Milford; 26 Mar 1907

James Golding 7358, 26, Liverpool, Greville Rd., Milford; 15 Jul 1907.

William Harrison 4405, 36, Hull, 77 Waterloo Rd., Hakin; 21 Jan, 3 Apr 1909

C. Isaac Wildridge 1847, 44, Hull, 16 Dartmouth Gardens, Milford ; 3 Jul, 12 Jul 1909

Henry Dodd 5287, 37, Oystermouth, ? Hakin; 15 Sep 1909; 4 Jan 1910

Arthur W. Barrett 5307, 34, Hull, Marble Hall, Milford; 5 Jul 1910

B. R. Joyce 8024, 26, Milford, Pill Rd., (later Jubilee Terr.) Milford; 12 Nov 1910; 2 Jan, 5 Jul 1911; 3 Jan 1912; 13 Jan 1913

C. Thomas 8623, 25, Neyland, Warwick Rd., Milford; 28 Nov 1911

George Leggett 7028, 38, Gorleston, - ; 22 Mar 1913

Edgar Garnham 1571; 1914

John Coaker 4190; 1923


Cambria is a name for Wales, being the Latinised form of the Welsh name Cymru. [Wikipedia.]

1906: Insured by the owner John Jones for £6,500.

1 Jan 1907: Off Milford Docks,  ran into port side of EDWARD VII, causing damage to bulwarks (See log book entries for EDWARD VII).

Sep 1914: Requisitioned and converted to minesweeper (Admy. no. 154) [See newspaper article of 5th September below.]

1919: Returned to owners.

28 Feb 1923: Abandoned off the Irish coast; later towed into Cardiff by the ASAMA CF18.  [See newspaper reports below.]

Cert. Cancelled & Registry Closed: 17 Sep 1923.

 Accidents and Incidents


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 6th October 1905:


On Saturday a fine new steam trawler, named "Cambrian," [sic] built to the order of Mr J. Jones, Dowlais House, arrived in port. 



Log book entries:



10 miles ESE of Murso

Bent starboard strake, main rail, stanchion, bulwark plates.  Ran into by unknown steamer.

    Robert Woodgate (Skipper)



Fined G. Meldon, Second Engineer, 5/- for drunkenness and refusing duty.

    W. Harrison (Skipper)



130 miles WSW of St. Ann's Head.

William James, age 24, British, born Milford, residing Steynton.  Bruised leg, thrown against rail of ship by the trawl foot rope.

    Henry Dodd (Skipper)

[See newspaper account below.]



50 miles N by W of Blaskets

Port bulwarks and covering board plates - collision with steam trawler 'Hirose'.

    A. Barrett (Skipper)

    J. Nowell (Second Hand)

[See differing newspaper account below.]



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 22nd October 1909:



        On Monday last the steam trawler "Cambria" arrived in Dock with the boatswain, William James, who met with a serious accident at sea on the previous Sunday evening. The accident was caused by the warp catching him round the leg just above the ankle and throwing him into the sea.  After swimming about for some time he was eventually able to reach a rope thrown to him by the skipper, H. Dodd, who pulled him safely on board. On arriving in port the injured man was conveyed to his home at Steynton, where he was attended by Dr Walker who found that no bones were broken, although his leg was badly bruised.



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 14th October 1910:




The steam trawler "Cambria", Messrs. J. and J. Jones, returned to port on Saturday afternoon, having sustained considerable damage while at sea owing to a collision. The captain reported that while on the fishing grounds on the previous Friday his vessel was run into by the steam trawler "Montrose" of Cardiff. Much damage was done to the "Cambria", chain plates and angle plates being carried away, while other considerable damage was also done, but, fortunately, the vessel was struck above the water line. As the damage was so extensive the Cambria was immediately steered for Milford.



From The Cambria Daily Leader of Saturday 5th September 1914:


The Milford steam trawler Cambria, owned by Captain J. Garnham (late of Swansea) has recently been taken over by his Majesty’s Government and equipped for the purpose of mine-sweeping.  The Cambria left port on Thursday.



From The Scotsman of Friday 2nd March 1923, p.9:



    The steam trawler Cambrian [sic, passim], owned [ sic ] by Rees Brothers, Milford, was abandoned on Wednesday afternoon at 5 o'clock 64 miles south of Cork Harbour, and is now drifting with decks awash.  Captain Coator [sic] and nine hands were landed in Queenstown at six o'clock yesterday morning.

    The Cambrian left Milford on Saturday for fishing grounds 230 miles west of Milford.  She reached there on Sunday, and as the crew were preparing for the fishing on Monday the vessel was struck with a heavy sea.  A strong wind blowing at the time increased in force, and at 3 a.m. on Sunday it developed into a regular hurricane.  It swept away everything movable on the deck, including the lifeboat, and wrenched the mizzen mast from its setting.  Tremendous seas swept over the vessel, which started to take in water, and at seven o'clock the captain found himself and his crew in a precarious position.

    "Then," said the captain in an interview, "the vessel was hove down with the weight of water in her, while the wheelhouse was awash.  The bunkers and engine room became flooded, and fires put out.  The pumps were choked, so all that was possible was to try to bail out the engine room with buckets.  Our decks were then awash, and remained so till Tuesday.  The weather was so bad that no one could move on deck.

    "On Wednesday we sighted the steamer Green Briar, formerly the famous German cruiser Moewe.  She came along, and we asked for assistance.  The captain attempted to tow us to Queenstown, and though he tried to get the tow rope on board for three hours, he failed.  We were then taking in a great deal of water, and both of us agreed it was impossible to save the ship, and decided to abandon her.

    "The crew at that time had been fighting with tremendous seas for 60 hours to keep the vessel afloat, and were utterly exhausted.  For 48 hours I was at the wheel, and had not as much of a drink of water.  None of us broke our fast from Saturday night till Wednesday morning, when the weather moderated, and we were able to light a fire.

    "The Green Briar put of a lifeboat on Wednesday evening, and a lot of us had to jump aboard, in doing which one man got his finger torn off and another his face injured by stepping between the lifeboat and our own vessel."



The Times, Saturday, Mar 03, 1923; pg. 8; Issue 43280; col C:

     News in Brief

Rescue by ex-german raider

The steamer Greenbrier, formerly the German raider Moewe, landed at Queenstown on Thursday the crew of the Milford trawler Cambria, which had to be abandoned in the Atlantic on Wednesday.  The Cambria got into difficulties during the gale on Monday, and her boats and deck gear were swept away.  Her crew had neither sleep nor food for two days, when the Greenbrier, which was bound from London to Jamaica, came to their assistance.  An attempt to take the Cambria in tow failed, and the crew were then taken off.


From the Pembrokeshire Telegraph of Wednesday 7th March 1923:



On Thursday, Messrs. H. E. Rees and Co., steam trawler managers, received intelligence that one of their fleet, the s.t. “Cambria” had foundered off the Irish coast, and that the skipper, J. Crocker, of Great North Road, and the crew, had been landed at 3 a.m. at Queenstown, by one of the Elder Co.’s liners, the former German raider, “Moewe”.  The vessel, when abandoned was apparently in a hopeless condition, full of water, and some surprise was felt next day when news came that the “Cambria” was in tow of one of Messrs. Neale and West’s, Cardiff, trawlers.  She arrived at the port on Saturday morning, in an almost hopeless condition, stern under water and gives some idea of the terrible time the crew must have had, for this was apparently her condition when they left her.  The Cambria is owned by Skipper J. Garnham, an old Milford and Swansea Skipper, who sails in another vessel.  Vessels arriving from the Moroccan grounds also report severe weather and have been lightly fished.  Fish is naturally expected to be very short this week.


The CAMBRIA was later found by the s.t. ASAMA, Skipper J Nightingale, owned by Messrs Neale & West, which towed the vessel back to their home port of Cardiff.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 9th March 1923:



Milford Crew's Terrible Ordeal

    The crew of the Milford Haven steam trawler "Cambria" which was abandoned at sea during the tempestuous weather of last week, will never forget their awful experiences whilst aboard a vessel that was crippled and in a sinking condition.  The men have a thrilling tale to tell of how their little craft, whilst laying to near the fishing grounds, met a hurricane; how she stood for a time, and how eventually she was disabled.  The "Cambria", with her crew, left Milford on Saturday week. She is owned by Mr. Garnham, Swansea, and is managed by Messrs. H. E. Rees and Co., trawler managers, Milford Haven.

    Interviewed by our representative, J. W. Coaker, third hand on the unfortunate vessel, and a son of the skipper, Mr. Coaker, 87, North Road, Milford Haven, said he had not fully recovered from the effects of the exposure and terrible ordeal which, like his comrades, he had suffered.  His nerves were upset, and he wonders that the men ever survived.

    Continuing, Mr. Coaker said that after leaving the harbour on Saturday, everything went well until Sunday night, when they had gone a distance of about 230 miles out westward.  The ship was laid to that night, and everything was made ready so that the trawl could be dropped at daylight on Monday morning.  During the night of the Sabbath, however, the wind rose and increased in violence, until it blew a veritable hurricane.  No alarm was really created, though, because every conceivable precaution had been taken.  Just before breakfast on Monday morning, a tremendous sea carried away the lifeboat which, much to the misfortune of the poor fellows aboard the trawler, contained a store of vegetables, potatoes, and other articles of food.  That was a calamity which caused anxiety, for they required all the food that could be obtained and were thus left without.  No sooner, however, had the lifeboat been swept away, than another sea smashed the boom and tore away the mizzen.   The crew, realising the danger, had "battened" the ship down by fastening all the hatchways and doorways, but at 11 o'clock a mightier sea than ever smote her, having the effect of causing her to list so badly that her lee rail was under water and the wheelhouse practically in the water.  This was a terrible state of affairs.  The hatches burst with the perpetual wash, and the engine-room skylights were smashed.  She soon began to fill, and powerless to do anything, the crew found that the bunkers of coal had been washed into the engine room, which was half full of water.  In this condition the "Cambria" remained from Monday morning until Wednesday afternoon, during which period - about 60 hours - every member of the crew worked unceasingly with one bucket, endeavouring to bale the water out.  Sleep was quite out of the question, and as far as food was concerned, there was none aboard that was fit to eat, for the small quantity of bread, etc., was soaked by the sea water.  To make matters worse, a sea cock in the stokehole, which is generally used for damping ashes, was burst open, and water was pouring in.  A gallant and partly successful attempt to remedy this danger was made by the second engineer, accompanied by the third hand, both of whom went below, where they were up to their necks in water.  The third hand held the second engineer while the latter endeavoured to stop the inrush of water by pushing rags and old sails into the hole.  For a solid hour, and until they were frantic with cold and exhaustion, these two fellows stuck to their task, and they succeeded to some extent in hampering the water.  During this trying period the remainder of the crew cut up parts of the forecastle in order to batten the hatches down.  The fresh water tank burst, and the result was that the fellows, to moisten their parched throats, had to use ice water.

    It is remarkable to note that that the cook survived this ordeal, with one of his fingers almost cut off.  The accident happened whilst water was being baled out, and the cook's finger was smashed by a galley door that suddenly swung.

    On one occasion a ship was sighted and flares were used, but without success.  On Wednesday, about dinner time, the mate sighted another ship, which proved to be the steamship "Greenbrier" - formerly the German raider "Moewe".  She was coming from Liverpool, and when about seven miles away sighted the "Cambria's" distress signal "U.K."  For a considerable time there was no chance of getting alongside.  The "Cambria's" skipper asked for paraffin, and eventually the "Greenbrier" launched one of her lifeboats to take the distressed crew aboard.  It was decided to abandon the trawler..

    During the taking of the crew to the lifeboat - a hazardous task - the deckhand fell between the boat and the "Greenbrier", sustaining severe cuts to his face.  The crew were landed at Queenstown, and came to Milford via Fishguard.

    Mr. Coaker (skipper) says that the crew and himself were absolutely exhausted and almost unable to stand up.



    As a result of the magnificent courage of the crew of the trawler "Asama", owned by Messrs. Neale and West, of Cardiff, the "Cambria" was towed into the West Dock, Cardiff, on Saturday.



Back to Trawlers 1888-1914