As DILYS M35 laid up during strike in August 1932.

Courtesy of Keith Morgan

Official No:  99714     Port Number and Year: 31st in Grimsby, 1893 (GY548)

                                                                                    -  in Boston, 1916 (BN5)

                                                                                    -  in Grimsby, 1918 (GY1225)

                                                                               11th in Milford, 1929

Description: Side / beam trawler. Iron plating on steel frames. Steam screw; coal burner. Wheelhouse aft; yawl rigged.

Crew: 9 men (1893, 1918, 1928).

Registered at Milford: 17 Oct 1929

Built: by Mackie & Thomson, Govan,  in 1893.  (Yard no. 75)

Tonnage: 139.04 grt  54 net (1893) 56.01 net (1914)

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 99.3 / 20.1 / 10.4

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 40 hp..  Engine: 1893, Muir & Houston, Glasgow




9 Oct 1893: Grimsby and North Sea Steam Trawling Co. Ltd., Fish Dock Rd., Grimsby.

Manager: John R. Mackrill, Cleethorpes, nr. Grimsby.


Nov 1915: W. Burns, Grimsby.


As BN5

Feb 1916: Walter Stringer, Herbert Stringer & Harold Stringer, Boston, Lincs..

Managing owner: Alfred Stringer.


As GY1225

1 Nov 1918: Jack Mengel, 269 Hainton Ave., Grimsby.

1919: Jack Mengel & Co. Ltd., Fish Docks, Grimsby.

Managing owner.


Oct 1921: Beeley & Sleight Ltd., Fish Dock Rd., Grimsby.

Manager: George Filmouth, 22 Manor Ave., Grimsby.


Aug 1928:  Oliver Curphey, 'Red Croft', St. Ann's Rd., Hakin.

Managing owner.

17 Oct 1929: As M35


6 Aug 1932:  Edgar Erel Carter, Colliery Agent, Docks, Milford (64/64)

Managing owner.

Aug 1932: As DILYS


Landed at Milford:  18 Aug 1928 - 24 Aug 1932.

(Left Milford as DILYS on 6th September, caused by the Skipper and Mates strike, and arrived at Dartmouth, leaving then on 17th September, having sunk on the same day.  See newspaper articles below.)

Skippers: Avery Pitman (1929); Frank Armitage (1932).


Cetus is a constellation, named after a sea monster in Greek mythology, located near to other water-related constellations such as Aquarius and Pisces.

1918-19: Fishery trawler (GY548)

10 Nov 1929: Lost screw and towed to Milford Haven by the Belgian trawler NADINE (see below).

17 Sep 1932: Run down by SS ZELO and foundered in the English Channel (see below).

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: Sep 1932.

 Accidents and Incidents

From an unknown local newspaper, from the week beginning 3rd March 1929:


    Avery Pitman, skipper of the steam trawler "Cetus", was summoned by Captain W. R. Marrs, Dock Master, for refusing to obey the orders of the Dock Master when entering the Docks on March 26th.  Mr. G. T. Kelway (Price and Kelway, solicitors) conducted the case for the prosecution, and evidence was given by Captain Marrs and Captain Hurry.  Mr. Kelway described the case as one of cutting in. Damage was done to the steam trawler "Phineas Beard", and owing to the action of the defendant, the Dock gates had to be closed.

    Defendant, in the box, declared that he had been done out of his place, with the result that he had lost 40 on the trip.  Asked by the Chairman how he could account for this, defendant replied, "By the time I got in, the prices in the Market had gone down."  The "Phineas Beard", he said, hit him.  His story is corroborated by his mate, Samuel Lonsdale, who was at the wheel.

    After a shot retirement, Mr. D. G. Jones (Chairman) announced they had decided to inflict a fine of 1.  Defendant thereupon shook hands with the complainants and the prosecuting solicitor.




The Times, Monday, Nov 11, 1929; pg. 23; Issue 45357; col E
     Mails and Shipping Outward Mails, To-Day's Dispatches



(from lloyds)


Fishguard Radio Station. Nov. 10th. Following from British s. Clan Macneil at 9.57 a.m.: Steam trawler Cetus lost propeller 20 miles east of Tuskar.  Wants a tug.




From the Les Jones Archive:


In the High Court of JUSTICE, Probate Divorce & Admiralty Division.

Writ issued the 11th November 1929. Between the Owners, Master & Crew of the Steam Trawler "Nadine", Plaintiffs; & the Owners of the steam Trawler "Cetus", & her cargo & freight, Defendants.

1.The Plaintiffs are the owners, master & crew of the steam trawler "Nadine" and together rendered salvage services to the Defendants' steam trawler "Cetus" and her catch of fish in St. George's Channel in November 1929, in the circumstances hereinafter appearing.

2. The "Nadine" is a steel screw steam trawler belonging to the port of Ostend of 280 tons gross register, 125.6 feet in length and 23.5 feet in beam, and fitted with triple expansion engines of 87 H.P. nominal, and at the time of the said services having left Fleetwood on the 1st November, was in the course of a fishing voyage to the Smalls fishing ground, part laden with a catch of fish and manned by a crew of 13 hands all told. The value of the "Nadine" at the time was 6,500, and her catch of fish 77.12.6. making a total of 6,577.12.6.

3. The "Cetus" is a steel screw steam trawler belonging to the port of Milford Haven of 139 tons gross register, 99.3 feet in length and 20.1 feet in beam, and fitted with engines of 40 R.H.P.  At the time of the said services, the "Cetus" was in the course of a fishing voyage part laden with a catch of fish, but having lost her propeller had been drifting for about 17 or 18 hours. The salved value of the "Cetus" was 2,500 and that of her catch of fish 97, making a total of 2,597.

4. In the early afternoon of the 10th November 1929 when the "Nadine" was about 50 miles West of Bardsey Island, a trawler which proved to be the "Cetus" was sighted to the south westward flying a signal of distress. The weather at the time was clear, the wind north west of gale force and there was a rough sea. Whistle signals were exchanged between the vessels and the "Nadine" at once altered course towards the "Cetus". Owing to the violence of the weather it was impossible to communicate by word of mouth, but those on board the "Cetus" indicated by signs that they wished to be taken in tow. It was impossible for the "Nadine" to approach sufficiently close to the "Cetus" to establish communication by means of a heaving line. The "Nadine" was accordingly placed in a position to drift two bladders with a warp attached towards the "Cetus". This manoeuvre was carried out so skilfully that those on board the "Cetus" were enabled to pick up the warp at the first attempt. Thereafter the warp of the "Cetus" was hove on board the "Nadine" and made fast to her winch.

5. Towage for Milford Haven commenced about 2.30 p.m., and shortly afterwards the wind commenced to increase with heavy rain. In the weather conditions prevailing, the master of the "Nadine" considered that it would be imprudent to attempt the inside passage. Course was accordingly set to pass outside the Smalls. The "Cetus" proved to be a difficult tow and the engines and winch of the "Nadine" were subjected to considerable strain. The Smalls were sighted about 7 p.m. and were rounded about 10 p.m. when a course was set for Milford Haven, which was eventually reached at about 2 a.m. on the 11th November. On arrival in the Haven both vessels came together to anchor, the lock gates not being open. At first the "Cetus" was moored alongside the "Nadine" with a view to the greater safety of the "Cetus". Owing however to the ranging of the two vessels in the prevailing wind and sea and consequent damage to the "Nadine" it was found necessary subsequently to cast off the "Cetus" although the tow rope still remained fast.

6. At about 11.30 a.m. both vessels weighed anchor and proceeded into dock. The weather had remained very violent during the night and increased during the morning of the 11th November. In consequence the operation of docking the "Cetus" proved to be a difficult one and during the process a mooring warp became foul of the propeller of the "Nadine" necessitating her being placed in dry dock subsequently at Amsterdam. The "Cetus" was finally docked in safety at 0.15 p.m.

7. By reason of the said services the "Cetus" was saved from a position of great peril and placed in safety. Having lost her propeller she was completely helpless. When sighted by the "Nadine" she had been drifting for 17 or 18 hours in an Easterly direction away from the track of shipping and towards a dangerous coast. The wind increased after the "Cetus" was taken in tow, [and] but for the services of the "Nadine", she would have been in considerable peril of total loss.

8. The said services were rendered with great skill and judgment. The weather prevailing rendered the operation of making fast a delicate one which required much skill in handling and manoeuvring the "Nadine". The towage was a difficult one and during the course thereof, the quarter score of the "Nadine" carried away, her engines and winch were strained and she sustained other damage amounting in all to about 85. In rendering the said services the "Nadine" lost about four days and was obliged to re-victual and coal at Milford.




From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 9th September 1932:







    Police officers from all parts of Pembrokeshire were rushed to Milford Haven in the early hours of Thursday morning, and by 5 a.m. about seventy-five per cent. of the county force had arrived there.  Never before have so many policemen been seen in the port.

    On Monday last the owners informed the Skippers' and Mates' Negotiating Committee that they were withdrawing from the undertaking given on August 22nd, not to sail any of their ships "until further notice."  They intimated that they reserved the right to take steps to sail any vessel which they thought fit and proper from noon on Wednesday.

    One of the smaller Milford boats was got to sea on Wednesday.  She was the "Dilys" (formerly the "Cetus") owned by Mr. Carter and under the mastership of Skipper Armitage.

    It was a strategic move which got the vessel going.  Strikers in the vicinity, watching the boat after she was made ready for sea, saw the food being taken off.  The boat went out and nothing was said.  Then there were rumours and it is stated that a party of strikers travelled by car to Tenby where they thought the "Dilys" would pick up her crew.  But the food and the crew that had been taken off boarded the trawler at Fishguard, where they had been taken by cars.

    This action created much resentment and the news that other trawlers were preparing for sea was received with very mixed feelings.




The Times, Monday, Sep 19, 1932; pg. 9; Issue 46242; col F

a trawler sunk

        The steam trawler Dilys, of Milford Haven, was sunk in collision with the s.s. Zelo, of Newcastle, near the Eddystone about 5 p.m. on Saturday.  A thick fog prevailed at the time.  The Zelo was on her way from Cardiff to Portsmouth with a cargo of coal for the Admiralty and the Dilys was proceeding from Milford to her fishing grounds in the Channel.  The Zelo struck the trawler amidships and holed her so badly that she at once began to settle down.  By means, it is stated, of rope ladders thrown over her side the Zelo took off the captain and crew of seven of the Dilys, and then endeavoured to tow the latter into Plymouth.  This effort had to be abandoned, as the trawler became waterlogged and sank very quickly.  After the accident the Zelo proceeded on her way to Portsmouth, where she arrived yesterday and landed the captain and crew of the trawler.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 23rd September 1932:





Crew Rescued in Nick of Time



    One of the Milford trawlers which was got to sea by strategy during the strike will never return to the port again, for she sank in a thick fog in the English Channel on Saturday after being holed by a collier.

    She was the "Dilys" (Formerly the "Cetus"), one of the smaller of the port's fleet.  Part owned by Mr. E. E. Carter, a colliery agent, of Great North Road, Milford, and by Skipper Armitage, who was in charge of the vessel at the time of the collision, the trawler, which is of the crabber type, carried a crew of eight.  Skipper Armitage is about forty-five years of age and is one of the best known and most experienced skippers in the port.

    The first news of the sinking was contained in a Lloyd's message on Sunday from St. Catherine's Point.  It was passed on by another boat:― "Following received from the s/s "Niton" by radio [ sic; this should read "from Nitonradio" ] 9.10":―


    "Following message from the British steamer 'Zelo,' 6.30. 'Been in collision with s.t. 'Dilys' of Milford.  'Dilys' sank.  'Dilys' crew saved.  Am proceeding Portsmouth."


    Immediately upon hearing the news Mr. Carter left for Plymouth on Sunday night.  Into this port, it is authoritatively stated, the "Dilys" had made one trip since leaving Milford.

    Then came fuller news.


    The collision occurred between the Start and Eddystone Lights at about 5 p.m. on Saturday.  There was a dense fog on at the time and the crew of the trawler were horrified to hear a rending crash as the "Zelo" struck her amidships.  She heeled over, then righted herself, and began to take in water.  The crew could see the vessel was doomed and were later got aboard the "Zelo", which received very little damage.  No one was injured in the collision and the crew of the "Dilys" were able to save the major portion of their belongings.

    A search by syren it is stated saved the lives the lives of Captain Armitage and the crew. 

    The "Zelo" and the "Dilys" drifted apart after the collision, the "Dilys" gradually filling.

    After 15 minutes' search with the help of his syren the captain of the "Zelo" found the "Dilys", and, by means of a rope ladder, took her captain and crew on board.



    The Captain of the "Zelo" then attempted to take the "Dilys" in tow for Plymouth, but she was so badly damaged that this was found to be impossible, and the trawler soon afterwards sank.  In this vicinity the depth of water varies between twenty and fifty fathoms.  It is stated that the "Dilys" went down in deep water.  From the Eddystone Light to Plymouth is about ten miles, while the distance from the Start Light is about fifteen miles.  calculations show the "Dilys'" position at the time of the collision as about twelve miles out from Plymouth.

    The captain and crew of the "Dilys" declined to make any statement as to the collision.  On arrival at Portsmouth they went to the local Y.M.C.A., where they stayed until Tuesday, when they returned to Milford.  They all seem to be none the worse for their thrilling experience.

    The crew are all Milford men.  They are Skipper, F. Armitage; mate, W. Jeffs; bosun, F. Jones; third hand, ― Salter; cook ― Branchett; chief engineer, ― Elliott; 2nd engineer, ― Murphy; trimmer, ― Elliott.





Note of Protest dated 26/27th September 1932, in the Les Jones Archive:


By this Public Instrument of Declaration and Protest be it known and made manifest that on this Twenty Sixth and Twenty Seventh days of September One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty Two, before me, Henry William Davies Williams, Notary Public residing at Haverfordwest, aforesaid, and at Milford Haven in the same County, duly authorised admitted and sworn personally came and appeared, Frank Armitage, Master and Skipper of the late steam trawler "Dilys" of the gross tonnage of I39 tons, belonging to the port of Milford, and required me to extend a protest (noted by him at the Office of Mr J.E. Pink, Notary Public, 7, Hampshire Terrace, Portsmouth on the Nineteenth day of September, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty Two) and who did duly and solemnly declare and state as follows, that is to say:


I reside at Milford Haven, and at the date in question was the Skipper of the steam trawler "Dilys" of the port of Milford Haven. The "Dilys" left Dartmouth Harbour at I2.40 p.m. (noon) on September 17th, I932 bound for the Atlantic Fishing Grounds, the wind being West South West, light, and the visibility very bad. The compass course first set was South by West 1 West (Magnetic). After proceeding 8 miles on Log, we altered course to various around Start Point. Our steam whistle was continually sounded owing to the fog. At 2 p.m., with Start Point bearing North, distance four to five miles, we set log and course West North (Magnetic) down channel, and proceeded at full speed ahead, that is between 7 to 8 miles an hour, the fog having lifted, and the visibility there being  good.


We were unable at this time to see Start Point, but made our calculations by reference to the sound of the fog signal issuing from it. At about 3.I5 p. m., we eased engines to half speed, the visibility having again become bad, the fog coming and clearing again at intervals. At 4.30 p.m., we commenced going at full speed again. At 4.20 p.m., a dense fog again arose, and we eased down to slow speed and commenced sounding our steam whistle again, every two minutes. After proceeding on our course about twenty minutes later, we heard a steamer's fog signal right ahead about one and a half miles on our port bow. I reckon the vessel could have been not more than a couple of points on the starboard bow [sic], and inclined to be less distinct. Then we heard a second steamer, it must have been about five miles away. After proceeding slow for about ten minutes longer, we in the meantime continued to sound the fog signal, and the other vessels doing the same, I found we were getting closer to the other two vessels and I also learned that the [one] on my port side was a trawler by reason of the ringing of a bell on her after her whistle.


I thereupon altered course to West North West in order to clear this vessel, as I was getting rather close (probably about quarter of a mile), and could not make sure in what direction she was towing her trawl. After proceeding about three minutes on this West North West course still at dead slow speed, and still sounding my steam whistle, I altered the bearing of the trawler from me to approximately South West, and as the third vessel was getting closer I at the same time stopped my engines. The bearing of this third vessel being then right ahead, I then rang full speed astern and sounded three short blasts on my vessel's whistle. The third vessel which I reckon at that time to have been about three quarters of a mile away to one mile, and which seemed to be approaching me very quickly answered with two short blasts, the sound appearing to come from about three points on my port bow. I again blew three short blasts on my whistle. By this time my ship had stern way. About ten seconds later I sounded three short blasts again, my engine still going astern, and the ship's head paying off to starboard. Then the third vessel which proved to be the steamer "Zelo" at five, five p.m. by the ship's time (British Summer Time) loomed up in the dense fog about one hundred yards away and struck my ship right amidships on the port side.


No other direction signal beyond the two short blasts above referred to came from the "Zelo". When the "Zelo" struck us her head was moving to starboard, and she was travelling through the water at about six miles an hour. [She] seemed to be losing way. After the collision the "Zelo" continued to push the "Dilys" broadside through the water, the pressure causing the starboard rail of the latter vessel to be at this time under the water. By one or two revolutions of the engines ahead the "Zeto" remained in contact with the "Dilys" for some minutes, after which the two vessels slewed round into a position side by side.


I immediately left the bridge after the collision in order to see what damage was done, but could not ascertain the exact amount owing to the extent of damage below the water line. I instructed the Chief Engineer to commence to get all pumps going. The ship at that time did not seem to be making a lot of water, and I made arrangements with the Captain of the "Zelo" to be taken in tow to Plymouth, and gave orders for a tow rope to be got on board of her. After securing the tow rope I went on the bridge and discovered my rudder had broken off with the collision.


We however commenced being towed. After being towed about four to five minutes I found the ship to be making a lot of water, and taking a list to port and I blew my whistle to attract "Zelo's" attention in order to ask her to stop, and I reported the position of matters to the Captain of the "Zelo". I considered it to be impossible to get the ship in, so I had the tow rope cast off and I launched our small boat. After the water had risen in the engine room I could see there was no prospect of saving the "Dilys". I stood by and gave orders to abandon ship, it was five minutes roughly speaking before the "Dilys" foundered. We then proceeded on board the steam ship "Zeto" and were taken to Portsmouth.


The approximate ship's position at the time of collision was eighteen miles from position four to five miles Start Point bearing North, Latitude 50 degrees 4 minutes North, and Longitude 4 degrees 3 minutes and 30 seconds West. Compass course, West North. All my charts were lost.  At  the time of the collision the state of the tide was flood.


All the effects of the ship's crew were lost. The Mate and I were on the Bridge from the time we left Dartmouth until the collision and we were the only people on deck. The documents saved are the Ship's log and the Fishing Register.


Wherefore the said appearer has protested and by these presents does solemnly protest all and every person whom it doth shall or say in any manner or way concern, for all losses shall or may be hereafter suffered and sustained by the owners of the said vessel "Dilys" or others interested in the said vessel for by reason or on account of the premises aforesaid, and which losses, costs, charges, damages and expenses shall or may be recovered from and against underwriters and others concerned in time and place convenient, and as of right appertains such losses and damages having happened and occurred as aforesaid and not having been occasioned by or through the neglect of any of the said vessel's company who and every [one] of whom did their utmost for the preservation of the said vessel.


Thus declared and protested at Haverfordwest in my Office.

In Witness whereof the said appearer has hereunto set his hand, I the said Henry Davies williams hereunto subscribing my hand and affixing my seal.

In Testimonium Veritas - Notary Public.



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