As HMT CONCERTATOR minesweeper, 1939-46

Courtesy of Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust and The Bosun's Watch

Official No:  143964   Port and Year:  London, 1920 (LO430)

                                                                 Fleetwood, 1925 (FD75)

                                                                 Granton, 1934 (GN8)

                                                                 Fleetwood, 1948 (FD276)

                                                                 Aberdeen, 1951 (A680)

Description: Castle Class steel side trawler; single screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged.

Crew:  12 men (1920)

Built: 1917, Smiths Docks Co., Southbank-on-Tees.  (Yard no. 706)

Tonnage:  275 grt  107 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 125.5  / 23.4 / 12.8

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 87 nhp.  Engine by builders.




24 Aug 1920: The Admiralty, London.

Manager: The Secretary of the Admiralty, Whitehall, London SW1.


1920: William H. East (Sen.), 84 Priory Rd., Milford.

Managing owner.



28 Nov 1925:  River Steam Fishing Co. Ltd., 216 Dock St., Fleetwood.

Managers: Thomas F. Kelsall & Henry Blackburn. [Same address.]



1934: Thomas L. Devlin, Linthorp, Craighall Rd., Leith.

Managing owner. 


22 Jul 1946: John Yolland & Others, Docks, Milford.


As FD276

1948: J. Marr and Son, Fleetwood.



9 Mar 1951: Stephen Fishing Co., Aberdeen.

Manager: John N. Stephen.


1958: Seafield Fishing Co. Ltd., Aberdeen.


[Information thanks to Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust and The Bosun's Watch.] 

Landed at Milford: As JOHN THORLING: 6 Dec 1920 - 11 Jan 1922; 4 Jan 1923 -

30 Oct 1925

As CONCERTATOR: 30 Jul 1946 - 27 Jun 1948

Skippers: James Hewitt (1947-48)


John Thorling age 46, born Yarmouth; Quarter gunner, HMS VICTORY, at Trafalgar.

Concertator is the Latin word for a rival.

1917: Completed by the Admiralty (No. 3527), as the minesweeper JOHN THORLING. 1 x 12 pdr.

Aug 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty (P.No. FY.637) as CONCERTATOR, and converted to a minesweeper.

Jan 1946: Returned to owners.

12 Aug 1959: Arrived in Rotterdam for breaking up.

 Accidents and Incidents

As RIVER KENT FD75 (1925-34)

John Stevenson Collection

From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 28th August 1925: 


    When the steam trawler "John Thorling" (owner W. H. East) landed on Monday, she had the tail of a whale on her decks.  When fishing on the Hellings,  about fifty-six miles west by south of St Anne's Head,  the trawl brought up a catch of herrings and a whale,  estimated at forty-two feet long and weighing from seven to nine tons.  A noose was slipped over the tail, but the weight of the fIsh [sic] was so great that the tail was torn off, so the whale minus the tail returned to the sea.  The herrings in the trawl were smashed into pulp, and they were thrown back.  The tail of the whale measured seven and half feet across.

    Skipper Jack Crocker also had a "Blower" in his trawl, which caused them some trouble.



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From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 29th September 1947:


    ..........  Take the case of Skipper James Hewitt of the steam trawler Concertator, belonging to the Yolland fleet.  In two days fishing on the Smalls up to yesterday, he caught about 200 kits of herring, but had burst his wrong size nets four times in the process.  Farmers are to be helped in their harvest on the land by getting the right tools for the job, and the fisherman gathering his harvest of the sea should be able to rely on the proper nets for the job.

    Difficulties apart, the first Milford skipper to dock with Smalls herrings is Mr. Matt Owston, who brought the Thomas Leeds in on Thursday evening after a quick trip.  



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 16th January 1948:


    If those gallant men who go down to the sea in ships, or others connected with the industry ashore, were asked to name the port's leading skippers last year, there would be much scratching of heads and even more heated argument.

    Our records, however, indicate that Skipper-Lieutenant Tom Donovan, North Road, in the Hatano, with crack Milford Skipper Albert Riby, Shakespeare Avenue, Gunner, and Skipper William Rostron, Shakespeare Avenue, Cotswold, finished on level terms.

    In the Castle Class, Skipper Bobby Kettle, Vaynor Road, Richard Crofts, topped the list of catches just ahead of Skipper Jimmy Hewitt, North Road, Concertator, though the average of Skipper Albert Seeling, Edward Street, during his nine months in charge of the William Bunce, gave the port's best monthly return.

    In the inter-Castle Class, 36 year old Skipper Jack Foster, Picton Road, had the best returns, while Skipper Jack Ryan, Stratford Road, once again earned his title of "Crabber King", which he held before the war.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 2nd July 1948:


    Milford's biggest trawler owners, Messrs. Yolland Brothers, have this week sold three of their Castle type trawlers, the Concertator, Tenedos and George Adgell, to Messrs. J. Marr & Co., Fleetwood.  All three vessels will leave the port in a few days, and the Milford crews will go with them to do one fishing trip out of Fleetwood.

    Great speculation has been aroused by the sale, but the Secretary of the firm, Cllr. V. T. Cleaver, told the Guardian, "It is purely a matter of policy.  With a fleet as large as ours, policy has to be continually revised, and this is just that."

    Mr. Cleaver was asked if this might be the beginning of further sales, and replies that he did not think this was so, as far as the immediate future was concerned.

    Asked about the position of the three crews when they completed the Fleetwood trip and returned to their home port, Mr. Cleaver said that their re-engagement was, of course, in the hands of the T.O.A. Seaman's Pool.  That Pool had a list of ships waiting to come to the port, which was at present full to saturation point, so he did not think it would be long before three new ships arrived to take the place of the old.




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