As OCEAN LIFEBUOY YH29 (1929-56) [See below for her appearance after conversion]
© Barry Banham Photo Collection
Official No: 161629 Port and Year: Yarmouth, 1929 (YH29)
Description: Steel side drifter trawler; single screw; coal (later oil) burning. Ketch rigged.
Built: 1929, by A. Hall & Co., Aberdeen. (Yard no. 616)
Tonnage: 131 grt 56 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 94.3 / 20.1 / 9.7
Engine: T.3-Cyl. 39 rhp. By builders. 1958: 2 SA 5-Cyl diesel engine; 39 bhp = 9 kts. Crossley Bros.
As OCEAN LIFEBUOY YH29
1929: Bloomfields, Ltd., South Denes, Gt. Yarmouth.
Manager: Neil Mackay, Ocean House, Gt. Yarmouth.
As DEELITE YH29
1955: William Henry Kerr, (Ships' Chandlers), Docks, Milford
Manager: W. H. Kerr, Shakespeare Ave., Milford
Landed at Milford: 8 Jun 1956 - c.1973
Skippers: Bill Phillips (1971)
Aug 1931: Report on British Legion Balloon Race. Local prize winner.... connected with British Legion at Ludford Park on August Bank Holiday, awarded to Mrs B. Pritchard of Gravel Hill whose balloon alighted on sea off the coast of Pembrokeshire... message written on post card and returned.... 'This balloon was picked up on Aug 3rd at 7pm by steam trawler 'Ocean Lifebuoy' YH 29, our position being 6 miles from Caldy Island in Pembrokeshire. We are now at sea, and our voyage will not end until Saturday, but in meantime I can put it aboard another trawler going into harbour before me. I shall be pleased to do so. Wishing the lady to whom this belongs the best of luck in whatever competition she has competed. Yours sincerely, Skipper K Thompson, ss Ocean Lifebuoy, Milford Haven.
[Ludlow Advertiser, 15th October 1931. Thanks to Alan Brisbourne for this news item.]
Nov 1939: Requisitioned as OCEAN LIFEBUOY (P.No. FY.1504) and converted to a minesweeper.
Jan 1946: Returned to owners.
1958: Converted to diesel.
1973: Broken up.
Accidents and Incidents
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 25th November 1955:
Application has been made to the Ministry of Transport for three Milford trawlers to be renamed. Mr. W. Wilcox is asking for permission to change the name of his drifter trawler Ocean Vim to Sally McCabe. Sally McCabe is the Mr. Wilcox's baby grand-daughter, whose home is in Cape Province, South Africa.
Mr. W. H. Kerr has applied to change the names of his vessels Ocean Lux and Ocean Lifebuoy to Deelux and Deelite.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 26th September 1958:
One New Trawler and Three Converted
Another ultra-modern motor trawler for the Milford fleet will be launched at the Lowestoft yard of Messrs. Richards Ironworks on Monday for the firm of Messrs. Pettit and Youds. The launching ceremony will be performed by Mrs. Virtue Pettit of Milford Haven, and will bear her name, the M.T. Virtue Pettit. She is a sister ship to the 1161 ft. "hake" class vessel Picton Sea Eagle owned by Picton Trawlers Ltd., and is expected to be in service within eight or nine weeks — a valuable addition to Milford's catching power. Today (Friday) Mr. E. E. Carter's "hake" class trawler Milford Star sails from Appledore for Milford after being converted from coal to oil burning at Messrs. C. K. Harries' yard. She was bought from Aberdeen earlier this year and was formerly the Star of the East. This week-end also at Messrs. Richards Ironworks Lowestoft yard, Mr. W. H. Kerr's drifter trawler Deelite is on her trials after conversion from coal to diesel power and she will rejoin the Milford fleet early next month. Another vessel of the same firm, the Deelux, is also being converted and when she is completed Messrs. Kerr's will have an all-diesel fleet. ...............
Altogether 21 vessels will be oil or diesel powered at the port by the end of the year — nearly half the total fleet of forty-six ships.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 28th October 1966:
FISHERMEN ILL.— Mr. H. P. Everitt, Marble Hall, bo'sun on the trawler Deelite, who recently fractured his ribs in an accident at sea has been discharged from the County Hospital, but is still under medical care. Mr. Eddie Ellis, Pill, second engineer on the Lord Collingwood, has been admitted to Glangwili Hospital. Mr. Eddie Harding, Marble Hall, mate of the same drifter-trawler, is also a hospital patient. Mr. Billy Hawkins, Wellington Road, mate of the Hector Gull, is ashore ill.
From an unknown newspaper of Monday 18th October 1971:
Two trawlers were towed seventy miles to Milford Haven yesterday after spending several hours without power in gale force winds near the Irish coast. One trawler, the "Deelite", with seven men on board, had broken down with engine failure and drifted within eight miles of sandbanks when she was taken in tow. The second ship, the 100 ft. long "Constant Star", had gone to her aid, but fouled her propeller on a tow rope. Both were taken in tow by sisterships, the "Picton Sea Lion, and "Picton Sea Eagle", which were fishing thirty five miles away.
A diver examined the "Constant Star" when she arrived at Milford Haven, and the vessel is expected to return to sea today, after the propeller has been freed.
The skipper of the "Deelite", Mr. Bill Phillips, said they had not been worried. The ship broke down with engine trouble on Wednesday afternoon, and was eventually taken in tow at midnight.
"We had radioed for assistance and there was no panic," he said. The "Constant Star" was twenty miles away from them at the time, and they knew there were other ships in the area. It was while trying to get a tow rope to them that the "Constant Star" fouled her own propeller.
"It's just one of the hazards of fishing," said Mr. Phillips.
From The Irish Times of Friday 14th September 1973, p.5:
Trawler to be scrapped
The 158-ton Milford Haven trawler Deelite, which operated off the Wexford coast during most of its 48 years, is to be scrapped. The Milford Haven fleet numbered more than 50 ships half a century ago, and is now reduced to 11.
Courtesy of Robert Kettle
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