Official No:    108426   Port Number and Year: 7th in Milford in 1897

Description:  Steel side / beam trawler; steam screw; coal burner. Schooner rigged: mainsail and mizzen. 

Crew: 9 men (1897)

Registered at Milford: 2 Aug 1897

Built: by Duthie & Sons, Aberdeen,1897.  (Yard no. 191)

Tonnage: 164.95 gross 38.31 net 

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  105.6 / 20.7 / 11.25

Engine: 52hp, by Hall, Russell & Co.



2 Aug 1897:  Charles Thomas Blethyn, 117 Charles St., Milford. (Managing owner.)

Robert Cole, 117 Charles St., Milford.

c.1902: Edgar Garnham, St. Ann's Rd., Hakin. (Skipper and joint owner.)


Landed at Milford: 19 Aug 1897 - 28 Dec 1902


John Chamberlain cert. no. 0988, age 43, born Happisburgh (Norfolk), resided St. Ann's Rd., Hakin (from 1900,  Priory Rd, Milford); signed on 19 Aug - 30 Dec 1897;  10 Jan, 29 Feb, 14 Jul 1898; 13 Jan, 24 Jul 1899; 12 Jan, 27 Jul 1900; 26 Jan 1901

Henry John Dove 2301, 47, Great Clacton, - ; 1 Feb 1898

Edgar Garnham 1571, 35, Sittingbourne, St. Ann's Rd., Hakin; 2 Jul, 29 Jul 1901; 3 Jan 1902


5 Jan 1903:  Foundered 10 miles south of Coningbeg Lightship  [See below]

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 6 Feb 1908

 Accidents and Incidents:

From the Aberdeen Weekly Journal of Thursday 15th July 1897; Issue 13250:


Launch of two trawlers at Aberdeen

A new steel screw trawler, built to the order of a Milford owner, was yesterday launched from the yard of Messrs J. Duthie, Sons, & Co., Footdee.  The vessel, which has been carefully designed, and is of a beautiful model, was christened, as she left the ways, "the Doris" by Miss Mary Duthie.  The dimensions are:― Length over all, 117 ft.; beam, 20ft.; and depth, 12ft.  The Doris has been built to above 100 A1 at Lloyd's, and will be fitted with a raised quarterdeck.  All the latest appliances for prosecuting the trawling industry on the south coast of England, &c., will be supplied, including Rodgers' independent acting double-barrelled winch, and Holmes' patent deck fairleads.  The sub-contractors for the engines and boilers were Messrs Hall, Russell, and Company.  It is interesting to note that this is the fifth vessel built this year to the order of Milford owners by the Messrs. Duthie, and at present they have three other vessels in hand.  After the launch, the company present were entertained with cake and wine in the Messrs Duthie's office, and "Success to the Vessel" was enthusiastically pledged.



From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 1st September 1897:




            The body of James Woodrow, boatswain of the new steam trawler “Doris”, who was drowned off the Smalls on the 19th inst., as reported in our last issue, was picked up by the trawler Lynmouth about ten miles from where the fatality occurred, on the evening of Thursday last, and was at once brought in to Milford Haven. Mr H. J. E. Price, coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr W. Page was foreman, held an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the sad occurrence at the Globe Hotel on Friday afternoon last.

            The first witness called was Mr J. Chamberlain, master of the “Doris”. He deposed: I knew the deceased, James Woodrow, quite well. He was boatswain of the trawler of which I am the master, and was, I believe 34 years of age. We brought the boat round from Aberdeen, which place we left on the 11th August, and started fishing when we reached the Smalls. On the 19th (the morning of the accident) we were thirty miles south-west of the latter place. About two o'clock deceased was engaged in assisting to shoot the trawl, when from some cause or other, what is known as the messenger pulled him over. Immediately the alarm was given we got the lifebuoy and boat out but he never appeared on the surface again, or we should have seen him. It is quite possible he struck himself in going overboard. It was one of his regular duties he was engaged in. There was another man aft with him at the time. Deceased's duty was simply to guide the warp.

            By Mr Pearce (a juryman): The sea was smooth at the time and there was a light on the deck of the vessel.

            In reply to Mr Prior (a juryman), witness said that at the time of the fatality deceased was not in the position he should have been in, and he had been warned previously not to stand in that particular place.

            Samuel Longthorp deposed: I am skipper of the steam trawlerLynmouth”. Last night about midnight we were fishing about twenty miles south-west of the Smalls, and on pulling up the trawl found the body of the deceased in it. All the clothes were on. We returned to Milford at once. The body was recovered about ten miles further in than where the deceased was drowned.

            By a juryman: The body may have been dragged ten miles before hauling it up. We recognised the remains as those of Woodrow.

            Dr W. Griffith deposed: I examined the deceased and could find no injuries sufficient to cause death and in my opinion he died from drowning. He may possibly have been stunned in going overboard and that would account for his not rising again. A verdict of “Accidentally drowned” was returned. The majority of the jurymen left their fees for the widow of the deceased.



From The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post of Thursday 16th February 1899; Issue 15840:




    The steamer Lough Fisher, with engines broken down and cargo shifted, bound from Garston to Penzance with coal, was towed into Waterford yesterday by the trawler Doris, of Milford.  The Lough Fisher broke down off St.Ives on Sunday, and drifted helplessly until picked up.



From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 12th September 1900:


ANTHRACITE COAL FROM A LOCAL COLLIERY. Messrs Walters and Canton, of Nolton Haven, last week supplied to the order of Messrs Cole and Blethyn 40 tons of anthracite coal for use on their steam trawlers Triton and Doris.



From the Pembrokeshire Herald of Friday 4th January 1901:

The Storm

damage to trawlers

    Of the great storm last Thursday evening, the men working on the trawlers running out of the port speak with awe, and say that it was the worst experienced for many years.  The battered appearance of some of the boats that came in Friday and Saturday spoke volumes as to the severity of the tempest.

    The Doris, belonging to Messrs R. Cole and Blethyn, came in on Saturday morning, having had a terrible time of it, and Captain Chamberlain and his crew are to be congratulated on having escaped from a watery grave, and brought the vessel into port at all.  Between five and nine o'clock on Friday morning when about 40 miles off the Smalls, the sea was very rough, and twice the ship was carried over on her beam ends, and righted by succeeding seas.   Captain Chamberlain was badly knocked about, and in reply to a Herald reporter, yesterday said that in his long experience of seafaring life he had never seen such heavy seas as last Friday.  Fortunately for them the weather abated about noon, and they were able to reach Milford safely.  The ship was, however, badly battered about, and it would be quite another week before she could be ready for sea again.  Other members of the crew quite corroborated the skipper's statement and they seem to have have had a rough time indeed of it.


    Other trawlers ran to various places for shelter, but as already stated, they all reached Milford safely.  After the holidays there was some difficulty experienced in getting the crew together.



Log book entry from s.t CAMELLIA:



Fishing grounds, North Saltees

Took crew of the steam trawler 'Doris' on board and brought them safely to Milford Haven.

    J. Gillard (Skipper)


From The Irish Times of 7th January 1903, p.7:


The steam trawler Doris, of Milford Haven foundered on Monday afternoon off the Saltees, Ireland.  The crew, numbering nine, took to the boats and were picked up by the trawler Camelia, which arrived at Milford yesterday.  A heavy gale prevailed when the Doris went down.


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 9th January 1903:



Exciting Experience of the Crew.

            On Monday evening the steam trawler "Camelia", of Milford, arrived in port, having on board the nine men forming the crew of the "Doris" a trawler belonging to Messrs. Blethyn and Co., steam trawler owners, of Milford, which had been lost at sea. It transpired that the crew the "Doris" had been picked up at sea a few miles off the south-east coast of Ireland, and near the Conigsbeg light-ship, after a most trying experience. The crew consisted of E. Garnham (skipper and owner), J. Joyce, M. Callam, W. Thomas, D. Reynolds, T. Goffan, G. Parratt, J. E. Garnham, and J. Williams.


            On Wednesday, the representative of the Herald had an interview with Capt. Garnham who is well known and highly respected in Milford.  In reply to a question, Skipper Garnham said that he was in his bunk at about half-past one o’clock in the morning, when he was called up as the vessel was ‘making a lot of water’.  The weather was rough at the time, a heavy sea was running, and there was some wind blowing. The trawl was down at the time, but he gave instructions for it to be drawn in. This was done, but matters did not improve, and by this time about 8 feet of water were in the vessel. In the engine room the engineer was working up to his waist in water, and it was obvious that the matter was serious. Capt. Garnham saw that there was a risk water reaching the fires and causing an explosion, and, much against his inclination, he gave directions for the boat to be launched. This was done, and the whole crew got into the small vessel.  This was only a four-oared boat without any sails and for over four hours the ship-wrecked sailors had a terrible experience. The sea was still very rough, and the men had ‘all their work’ to keep the boat clear of water by bailing it out, the result of the heavy seas that were shipped, by means of two buckets. A gleam of hope was experienced by the occupants of the boat on a  light by a passing vessel, but they were unable to attract the attention of the crew and she passed on. Eventually the "Camelia" was sighted, and the attention of the crew having been attracted, she was brought to and the crew were taken aboard. It was only just in time, for immediately afterwards the boat in which they had been seated broke up as a result of the rough handling she bad experienced.  The crew were in an exhausted condition. All the food they had with them was a small vessel containing some soup, but this was soon spoilt. In the course of his narrative, Capt. Garnham said that he never thought to see Milford Haven again. He did not know what became of the "Doris," as after leaving her the crew were unable to see anything of her owing to the storm.


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 13th February 1903:


Board of Inquiry at Milford Haven.

            An inquiry was opened by the direction of the Board of Trade at the Masonic Hall, Milford Haven, on Friday morning into the circumstances attending the loss of the S.S. Doris early in January. The vessel put to sea on January 2nd, and early in the morning of the 5th suddenly sprung a leak and had to be abandoned. After being in a small boat for four hours the crew of nine men were taken on board the "Camellia" and brought to Milford Haven. The inquiry was for the purpose of ascertaining whether the vessel was prematurely abandoned. The magistrates adjudicating were Dr. Griffith (chairman), Col. W. R. Roberts, and Messrs. J. Whicher and J. Ll. Davies. The nautical assessors appointed by the Board of Trade were ...............  The Board of Trade were represented by Mr Talfourd Strick, of Swansea, Dr. T. C. Jackson of Hull, represented the underwriters; Mr Lionel Darby, barrister at law, instructed by Mr W. D. George appeared for the skipper (Captain Edgar Garnham), and crew; Mr W. D. George represented the owners, Messrs. Blethyn, Cole and Garnham and Mr W. T. S. Tombs, instructed by the Port of Hull Trawl Fishers Protective Society, represented Mr Charles Bradnum, the late skipper.

            Edgar Garnham said he was skipper of the Doris on her last voyage. She left Milford on January 2nd with a crew of nine hands, for the fishing grounds. It was his intention if he had had a good trip to return to Milford Haven, but if not he would have gone to Swansea to discharge his fish, and then on to Cardiff to have the boiler re-refitted. When he left Milford the vessel was in good condition and well found. There were three pumps on the deck, which were worked by handles, and after he took over the Doris some eighteen months ago, he had the parts of the hand pumps disconnected, but tied together. He could not say how many pumps he could work from the engine-room. He had been skipper about eighteen months and held a master's certificate. Before he joined the Doris he was in Mr Sellick's employ for ten years trawling, and was six years in one boat.

            On the last voyage of the Doris the vessel was taken to Minehead, which was reached at mid-day on the 3rd. They lay five miles from Minehead till 8.30 p.m. and then steamed off for half-an-hour and put the net down. The net was hauled in about 12.30, and as the weather was bad he could not throw it again. They were close to Waterford, and he went below with instructions that he should be called at daylight. They were then lying about ten miles off Hook Point, and at eight o'clock they were about five miles off. At eight o'clock as the weather was bad they brought up in the Passage, Waterford, about 11 a.m. on the 4th. They anchored until nearly eight o'clock at night, when as it seemed fine he had the anchor lifted, finding a heavy swell as they got out. They went out towards the Lightship, and when it was bearing East North East, he called all hands out to shoot the net. That was about 10.30, and it took them half an hour to shoot. They were then about five miles from the Lightship. There was not much wind but a heavy swell. He turned in at 11.30 when he left instructions to go south south-east until three o'clock and then to tow back north until five o'clock. The bo'sun and third hand were in charge. The next thing he (the witness) heard was the second engineer's voice calling out, "Chief, turn out." That was about 1.25. He took no notice because it was usual, and happened nearly every watch. Then one of the engineers came and said, "Skipper, the Chief wants you a minute." He at once went into the engine room where he found the chief, the second and trimmer, and the chief said she's making a lot of water somewhere. He was told the pumps were all working, and he sent to see where the water was coming from. The chief said the water was increasing fast, and he (witness) went on deck and elevated the vessel by putting her in position for hauling up the trawl, which was done in two or three minutes. Witness stopped the engines and was told by the chief he would have to draw the fires. He told him not to do that or they could not do anything. The net was got aboard, bar the after wing, and then witness went to the engine-room where the chief met him and said he would have to draw the fires, as the water was nearly up to the bars. He told the chief to do so, and he watched him stand up to the middle in water while he did so. Witness then went on deck and said, "Come on lads, never mind the after part of the trawl; come and get the boat out or we shall be going down with her." He then believed the vessel was sinking. That would be five or ten minutes past two. He had made signals of distress but as far as he could see no one took any notice, and there was no boat nearer than 6 or 8 miles. He saw all the men in the boat, and they called out to him that if he did not come the boat would go down alongside the vessel, and he got into the boat at 2.30. He saw no trawlers at work from 2 to 4 miles away, and there were no light nearer than he had stated. If the mate said anything different he was mistaken. When they left the vessel they pulled as best they could towards the light. They pulled till 5 o'clock and in that time missed two steam trawlers, which turned round just before reaching them. The crew told him from time to time, "There's the Doris's light, skipper," and he saw a light but it might have been the light of any other trawler for all he knew. He never heard any one say they could see the Doris's light after 4.30. About a quarter to seven they boarded the Camellia, which must have been very close to the Doris, as he did not think they had pulled more than a mile. When they got on board the Camellia her skipper asked had the ship gone down, and he said, "Yes. She is in the south-south-west. You can go and look for her if you like, but in my opinion she has been sunk two or three hours." He told the skipper of the Camellia that the Doris had sprung a leak and he had left her in a sinking condition. The Camellia skipper said it was no use looking for the Doris, as it was blowing a gale, and a fog had come on. Beyond what he said to the skipper, and telling how the vessel bore, witness made no attempt to induce him to go in search of the Doris. Asked why he did not use the deck pumps the witness said he did not think there was any danger and that there was any necessity for it. Half-an-hour afterwards she was making too much water for them to be of any use.


            After a summing up by Mr Strick on behalf of the Board of Trade, and speeches by counsel, the court adjourned till Thursday.




The Court met yesterday to consider the findings, which were as follows.— (1) That the vessel was in a good and seaworthy condition as regards hull and equipments when she left Milford on the 2nd January last. (2) There is no evidence before the Court to enable it to say what was the cause of the vessel suddenly making so much water shortly after 1 a.m. on the 5th of January. The Court is of opinion that every possible effort was not properly made by the skipper and engineers to ascertain the whereabouts of and to stop the leak and keep the water under. (3) The skipper did not take prompt and proper measures for the safety of the ship and under circumstances she was prematurely abandoned.  (4) The skipper after leaving the Doris did not take proper or any steps to save the vessel or to ascertain whether there was any chance of doing so, nor did he endeavour to ascertain whether she bad foundered. (5) The Doris did not ground or touch the rocks at Berehaven on or about the 9th November last. (6) The cause of the loss of the Doris was an influx of water into the engine-room. (7) The loss of the Doris was not caused or contributed to by the wrongful act or default the skipper, Mr Edgar Granham, and the late skipper, Mr Charles Bradnum, or of either of them, or by the chief or second engineer; but the Court is of opinion that the skipper and engineer did not display the energetic and earnest endeavour and resource to save the vessel which it was their bounden duty to have done, and the Court, while not dealing with their certificates, think they are worthy of blame, and censure them accordingly.

            Mr Tombs applied for costs on behalf of Bradnum, but this was resisted by Mr Strick and declined by the Court.


From B.T. and R. Larn (2002):   Shipwreck Index of Ireland 

DORIS        05/01/1903

Co.Wexford, Gt. Saltee Island L/s, 8M SW    51.58N 06.50W.


 Voyage: Milford Haven - Fishing & return


Foundered offshore in wind conditions E force 4.



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