CAPE TOWN H998
John Stevenson Collection
Official No: 128121 Port and Year: 68th in Hull, 1908 (H998)
Description: Steel side trawler; single screw, coal burning. Crabber. Wheelhouse aft. Ketch rigged.
Crew: 9 men (1908).
Built: 1908, Cook, Welton & Gemmell, Beverely. (Yard no. 169)
Tonnage: 188 grt 74 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 110.5 / 21.6 / 11.7
Engine: T 3-Cyl. 49 rhp. Amos & Smith, Hull.
30 Oct 1908: Hull Steam Fishing & Ice Co., St. Andrew's Dock, Hull.
Manager: Joseph Vivian, St. Andrew's Dock, Hull. (1908-28)
Robert Burton, St. Andrew's Dock, Hull. (1928-32)
Charles H. Emerson, St. Andrew's Dock, Hull. (1932-36)
11 Dec 1936: Colin H. Brand, Docks, Milford.
18 Mar 1938: Robert P. Lewis, 'Park House', Fishguard.
Manager: William Wilcox, Greville Rd., Milford.
1943: Pair Fishing Co., Docks, Milford.
Manager: H. J. Richards
1946: Cranbrook Shipping Co., Bevis Marks House, London. EC3
Based at Lowestoft, but remained H998
Landed at Milford: 6 Dec 1936 - 29 Nov 1945
1917: Requisitioned into the Fishery Reserve and renamed CAPETOWN II
1919: Returned to owners, and reverted to original name.
Dec 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty, renamed STORMCOCK and designated a minesweeper.
Jan 1940: Returned to owners and reverted to original name. (Between her landings on 2 Dec 1939 and 12 Jan 1940; requisitioned for approximately 3 weeks.)
1956: Broken up at Brugge.
Accidents and Incidents
The Times, Monday, Jun 20, 1938; pg. 11; Issue 48025; col G
News in Brief
The crew of the steam trawler Horatio were taken off by the steam trawler Cape Town and landed at Milford Haven, South Wales, on Saturday. The Horatio is reported to have sunk between 30 and 40 miles off the coast.
From the West Wales Guardian, 24th June 1938:
The 130 ton Milford trawler "Horatio", owned by Messrs. C. H. Brand & Co., sank shortly after midnight on Friday, following two explosions in the engine room. Her skipper and crew of eight were saved by another Milford trawler.
The "Horatio" was fishing about 30 miles west-south-west of St. Ann's Head, and had just completed hauling when the explosion occurred and water poured into the engine room. Skipper Lockner blew distress signals on the ship's siren and the steam trawler "Cape Town" (Messrs. Lewis and Wilcox), which was fishing about half-a-mile away, quickly hauled up her nets and steamed to the rescue. The crew of the stricken traw1er got into their small boat and rowed to the "Cape Town", but Skipper Lockner, Chief Engineer Albrow and another member of the crew returned to the "Horatio" and a hawser was run aboard the "Cape Town".
It could be seen that the "Horatio" was doomed and sinking fast, but Skipper Jeff James of the "Cape Town" decided to take the risk and try to tow her as far as he could because the "Horatio" had been fishing on the best ground in the vicinity and if she was left to sink there, there would be a danger of nets being fouled in the future. He was foiled, however, for the "Horatio" turned clean over and his crew had to slash away the hawser connecting the trawlers as the "Horatio" slid to the bottom 40 fathoms below.
The "Horatio", which disappeared one and three quarter hours after the first explosion, is the fourth Milford trawler to meet with disaster this year, the blackest since the war at the western port. On January 14th, the "Gordon Richards" (Mr.E.E.Carter) was seen for the last time running before the hurricane on the fishing grounds, no trace was ever found of the trawler or her gallant crew of ten. Quite recently the trawler "Tranio" (Messrs H.E.Rees & Co.) went on the rocks off Ireland in a fog and became a total wreck, [but] all the crew escaped injury. Now the "Horatio" has gone and the black record of 1938 reads - four ships and thirteen men.
"What really happened I can't say," Skipper Lockner told a Guardian reporter on Saturday, when the "Cape Town" arrived at Milford. "Several attempts were made to enter the engine room, but these failed owing to the steam and water. We had hauled our trawl and were going to pay the trawl out again when the explosion occurred in the engine room. There was a terrific bang, how the Chief Engineer was not scalded to death I don't know. Within half-an-hour the engines were awash and the ship was settling fast. We sent out distress signals and took to the small boat. A little later the 'Cape Town' came along and took us aboard. We made another trip to the 'Horatio' and after boarding, made a tow rope fast. I had just returned to the 'Cape Town' when the 'Horatio' went down. It was amazing, she turned right over and the tow rope had to be slashed away. There were 70 kit of fish aboard." Skipper Lockner has held a skipper's ticket since 1921.
Chief Engineer Albrow said he was bending down to open the cocks and reduce the density of the boiler (blowing off is the common term), when there were two explosions in quick succession and scalding steam drove him from the cocks. At the same time he was sprayed with the sea which was rushing in through the ship's side. "After the first explosion there was an inrush of water," he explained. "The second explosion was not so loud as the first, but the steam was intense and I was driven on deck. How I escaped scalding 1 don't know. The Skipper asked me what had happened, but I could not tell him. I tried to re-enter the engine room but could not do so, it was impossible to even look through the fanlight because clouds of steam were pouring out. Water was rising rapidly and the only thing we could all do was to take to the boat. My opinion is that a fitting was blown off the ship's side, the water was too much for just a burst pipe. From the time the explosion occurred until she went down was only one and three quarter hours, so it must have been more than a burst pipe."
He mentioned that when the Skipper, another seaman and himself returned to the "Horatio" from the "Cape Town" they found the water in the engine room to be too deep to do anything. When they left the "Horatio" for the last time her decks were awash. When they reached the "Cape Town" fifty yards away, the " Horatio" turned clean over, her keel upwards, and then slowly slid forward from view. He paid high tribute to Skipper Jeff James for his plucky action in trying to pull the "Horatio" away from the fishing ground.
The First Mate, Mr. George Setterfield, said there was a double report followed by a tremendous rush of steam from all the hatches. When it was realised how serious was the position the skipper ordered them to launch the boat and to stand by, it was lucky that the "Cape Town" was so near. Ernest Boulton, the youngest member of the crew, is only 18 years of age and it was his second trip to sea.
Captain Jeff James, Skipper of the "Cape Town" , told our representative that when he drew near the "Horatio" he could see she was low in the water. "We decided to take her in tow," he added, "but she went down almost immediately after we had made the tow ropes fast". Skipper James has completed 50 years at sea, 42 years as skipper.
Fred Lockner. Skipper, Prioryville, Milford.
George Setterfield. First Mate, Hakin.
Robert John. Second Mate, Herbrandston.
Richard Albrow. Chief Engineer, Prioryville.
W. Lewis Bosun, St. Ishmaels.
E. Boulton Deckhand, Hakinville.
A. Sandy. Deckhand, Hakin.
W. Thomas. Deckhand, Marble Hall, Milford.
Fred Johnson. Cook, Milford.
From a local newspaper, possibly the West Wales Guardian of Friday 15th July 1938:
The Milford steam trawler "Cape Town" (W. M. Wilcox) brought into port last week a huge crab, netted off the Smalls. The total weight was 15 lbs, each claw weighed 2 lbs 3 oz, [and was] 17 ins long, 5 ins broad.
Skipper Jeff James, who was the man to catch the crustacean, said he had never seen anything like it in his 50 years experience.
See the Loss of the HORATIO
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