Official No:  144538     Port Number and Year:  253rd in London, 1920 (LO359)

                                                                                                     10th in Milford, 1920

Description: Castle Class steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning.

Crew: 10 men (1920)

Registered at Milford: 9 Aug 1920

Built: Smith Docks Co., South Bank-on-Tees, Middlesborough, in 1917.  (Yard no. 713)

Tonnage: 275.13 grt  107.43 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 125.5 / 23.4 / 12.85

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 60 hp.10 kts.  Engine by builders; boiler by  Hawthorne Leslie, Newcastle




25 May 1920: The Secretary of the Admiralty, Whitehall, London SW1.

Managing owner.



9 Aug 1920: David Pettit, 'Westcliff', Wellington Rd., Hakin (64/64)

Managing owner.

Later: David Pettit, Docks, Milford.

Manager: Mrs. Elizabeth Anne Heck Pettit, 'Westcliff', Wellington Rd., Hakin .


25 Oct 1934: Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Co., Dock St., Fleetwood

Manager: Basil A. Parkes, 'Clydesdale', Whiteside Way, Cleveleys, Lancs.


Landed at Milford:  25 Jul 1920 - 19 Aug 1934.

Skippers: Henry James Hewer 6526 (1920); M. A. Smith,1929


William Beatty, age 32, born St.Andrews; Surgeon, HMS VICTORY, at Trafalgar.

17 Sep 1917: Launched for the Admiralty (No. 3534) as WILLIAM BEATTY; 1x12pdr, 1x7.5" bomb thrower (A/S howitzer).

4 May 1920: Bought by David Pettit at a sale of ex-government trawlers, held at the Masonic Hall, Milford.

25 May 1920: Registered in London as LO359

28 Jun 1920: As CRESSWELL, and London register closed on 31 Jul 1920.

Nov 1929: Rescued crew of the Milford trawler CAWDOR [see below]

Aug 1939: Requisitioned for war service and converted for auxiliary patrol duties.

12 Nov 1939: Shelled and sunk by U-41 (Korvettenkapitän Gustav-Adolf Mugler).

[See "The Times" article and "Shipwreck Index" below.]

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 13 Dec 1939.

Accidents and Incidents:

From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 23rd November 1928:


    The hurricane of Friday the 16th inst. was one of the the worst experienced in Milford for a very long time.  All over the town the streets were littered with slates and tiles from the roofs, and damage of all kinds was done to property.  The Stratford Theatre had some 40 yards of a six foot wall blown down flat.  It is the wall dividing the theatre from the back of Shakespeare Avenue.  Trawlers came in terribly battered.  One lost her small boat, many had windows broken, and others had almost everything on deck washed away.  The steam trawler "Cresswell" fared the worst. 



From The Scotsman of Tuesday 18th December 1928, p. 10:




VALENTIA WIRELESS STATION, Dec. 1916.― Following from British trawler Calydavia:― Steamer FAGER (before reported) proceeding Preston under own steam, and Creswell, bound Milford Haven.



The Times, Monday, Jan 07, 1929; pg. 11; Issue 45094; col B
     Trawler Crew Rescued In Atlantic.


The Board of Trade have awarded a piece of plate to Mr M. A. Smith, skipper of the steam trawler Cresswell, in recognition of his services to the shipwrecked crew of the trawler Cawdor, of Milford, whom he rescued in the Atlantic on October 31st.  The Cawdor was on the Atlantic fishing grounds in bad weather on October 30th.  On the following day the conditions became worse, and it was found that she had sprung a leak.  The crew endeavoured, but without success, to keep the water down, and an S.O.S. was sent out.  This was received by the Cresswell, which was 40 miles from the position given.  She immediately proceeded at full speed in a very heavy sea, to the assistance of the Cawdor, reaching her between 3.30 p.m. and 4 p.m.  About an hour later it was decided, for the safety of the crew, to abandon the Cawdor, as the fires had been extinguished by the water which had entered the engine room and stokehold, and the crew proceeded in their own boat to the Cresswell.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 11th January 1929:


    The Board of Trade have awarded a piece of plate to Mr. M. A. Smith, skipper of the steam trawler "Cresswell" of Milford, in recognition of his services to the shipwrecked crew of the steam trawler "Cawdor" of Milford, whom he rescued in the Atlantic on October 31st, last.  The "Cawdor" was on the Atlantic fishing grounds when she was caught in bad weather.  On the following day the conditions became worse, and it was found that she had sprung a leak.  The crew endeavoured, but without success to keep the water down, and a SOS was sent out which brought the "Cresswell" to the rescue.


The Times, Wednesday, Nov 15, 1939; pg. 8; Issue 48463; col F


Survivors taken on board U-Boat

    Seven survivors of the Fleetwood trawler Cresswell spent more than six hours in a U-boat after their vessel had been shelled and sunk off the north of Scotland.  When they were transferred to another trawler, the U-boat commander's parting words to the skipper were, "Tell Mr Churchill that the German U-boat men are not the heartless murderers you are led to believe".  Six of the trawler's crew are missing. 

    When the survivors were landed at Fleetwood yesterday by the Fleetwood trawler Phyllisia, the mate said, "The U-boat crew did everything to make us comfortable. They gave us clothing, hot food, brandy and other drinks".       
    The Cresswell was shelled without warning. Ten of the crew escaped on a raft, two clung to a smashed lifeboat and one had a lifebelt. Three fell exhausted from the raft and the two on the lifeboat and the other with the lifebelt were drowned.  The survivors on the raft were picked up by the submarine after two hours.

    After firing at the trawler the submarine disappeared, and the survivors thought she had left them for good. Then the U-boat reappeared and hauled the men aboard. They learned that the submarine had left them to find another ship which could take them on board.

    Frederick Lee, 17, the youngest member of the crew said "We did not know a submarine was near until shells began whizzing all round us. The submarine sent at least 20 shots at the trawler."

    From : At 07.00 hours on 12 Nov, 1939, the Cresswell was stopped by gunfire from U-41 while fishing 18 miles northwest by west of Flannan Isles, Outer Hebrides. The Germans ordered the crew to abandon ship and they then shelled and sunk the trawler from some distance, suspecting a Q-ship. Eight survivors were picked up by the U-boat, but one died of wounds and was buried at sea. Mugler planned to put them on another ship later on.

    At 09.55 hours, they witnessed the sinking of the Arne Kjøde and were transferred to the British trawler Phyllisia at 16.42 hours.



From Larn B.T. & Larn R. (1998): Shipwreck Index of the British Isles - Scotland.


CRESSWELL                                                                12/11/1939

Outer Hebrides, Flannan Isles, 18M NW x N.             58.32N 07.55W


....   This steam trawler was captured by a German submarine, her crew forced to abandon ship, after which she was sunk by gunfire, with the loss of six crew.  ...




Back to Trawlers 1915-1939