John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  118776   Port Number and Year:  87th in Hull,  1903.  (H770)

                                                                                  9th in Milford, 1930.

Description: Steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged: foresail mainsail and mizzen

Crew:  9 men (1904); 10 men (1930).

Registered at Milford: 20 May 1930

Built: 1903; by Mackie & Thompson, Govan.  (Yard no. 296)

Tonnage: 183 grt  65 net  (1914: 72.49 net.)

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 109.1 / 21.5 / 10.6

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 45 rhp.10 kts.  1903, by W.V.V. Lidgerwood, Coatbridge, Glasgow.  Boiler: 1903, by A & W. Daglish, Pollockshaw



As H770

5 Oct 1903: The Great Northern Steamship Fishing Co. Ltd., St. Andrew's Dock, Hull.

Manager: William Richard Nowell, 2 Kensington Villas, Hessle Rd., Hull. (1903.)

                 Fred Smith, 40 De la Pole Ave., Hull. (1913.)


1918: The Hull Steam Fishing & Ice Co., Hull.

Manager:  Joseph Vivian, St. Andrew's Dock, Hull. (1918.)

                 Robert Burton, St. Andrew's Dock, Hull. (1928.)


As M85

20 May 1930: David Thomas George, Deems Hill, Milford.  (Doctor.)

Manager: James Ritchie, Docks, Milford.

                William Wilcox, 22 Greville Rd., Milford. (17 Feb 1939)


Landed at Milford: 30 Apr 1930 - 11 Jan 1945

Skippers: William H. Cherrington 1932; Walter Smith 1938; Frederick J. Dawes (1945)


May 1915:  Requisitioned and converted to a minesweeper. (Admy. no. 1777) 1x3pdr.

1919: Returned to owners.

25 Apr 1930: Hull Registry closed; to Milford Haven.

8 Dec 1932: Towed the schooner ELIZABETH DREW to Milford.  [ See below. ]

Jan 1938: Charged for fishing in Irish waters.  [ See below. ]

14 Jan 1945: Lost  50 miles N by E of the Bishops Rock Lighthouse, after collision with H.M. Corvette TRILLIUM [See story below.]

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 22 Jan 1945.

Accidents and Incidents

Statement by Skipper Cherrington:


On the eighth of December 1932 at four a.m., whilst fishing ninety miles West of St. Ann's Head in a strong East South East Gale, we came across the Schooner "Elizabeth Drew" . She was shewing distress signals.  We went to her assistance and at the Skipper's request tried to get our wire on board and on two occasions we parted the wire. So we then steamed as close as we could and shouted to him that we would stand by him until the weather moderated, to which the Captain agreed. At five thirty p.m. the same day he put up another distress flare, so we went up to him again, and he asked us what shore light that was, that he could see.  I told him it was the Old Head of Kinsale.  He then told me he would make sail before the wind, so I watched him get under way, and as he was making good progress I left him to carry on. During operations we broke the winch clutch bars, and brake screw. We lost fourteen hours of good fishing, and during the manoeuvres we had driven forty miles from the position we first sighted him. We parted a new Dan line, and lost a some of our pallets. In rendering this service under severe weather conditions we nearly lost our our ship, owing to the tow ropes fouling our propeller, and it was only with great difficulty we got our our vessel freed.

Signed. William H. Cherrington.

Skipper of the steam trawler "Ely".


Statement of Claim by Owners of S. T. ELY for services:

To loss of time (Fishing Time), standing by "Elizabeth Drew" in distress an ESEly Gale -                                                                    50.0. 0.

Overhauling and repairing winch on "Ely" [on] return to Port, including renewal of winch clutch bars etc and brakes -                           10.0.0

Dan Line and Pallets lost -                                                                                                                                                              3.10.0

Examination of Propeller and Tail End shaft to ascertain extent of damage (if any) caused through Tow ropes fouling propeller -         15.0.0

It will be noted from the report of the Skipper of the "Ely" that at the time he first saw the "Elizabeth Drew's" signals,

he was fishing successfully, but on his return to the original position, the fish had "taken off"; estimated further loss (say) -              21.10.0


Note - This voyage realised only 121, whereas the trip previously landed on the first of December 1932 realised 216.

[ELIZABETH DREW: Official No. 65145. Wood Aux. Screw Schooner. Registered Plymouth. Owner R. O. Carver. Built 1871, Stribley, Padstow. Tonnage 112. Length 82.5. Breadth 22.7 Depth 10.8. Skipper W. C. James. ]



From The Weekly Irish Times of 22nd January 1938, p.6:


Three-Mile Limit.― When the adjourned case against Captain Walter Smith, of the trawler Ely, of Milford Haven, for fishing within the three-mile limit came before District Justice Crotty at a special court in Bantry he held that he had no jurisdiction as the jurisdiction of the court was limited to three miles from the outermost outland.  He marked the case accordingly and allowed 7 expenses.


From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 20th May 1938:


    Mr Howard Thomas, Mate of the Milford steam trawler "Ely" (Messrs. Ritchie & Davies), had a narrow escape from drowning under unusual circumstances on Wednesday afternoon. 

    The "Ely", in charge of Skipper Walter Smith, was fishing off the coast of Ireland on Wednesday afternoon, when a large stone was hauled up in the net.  Mr Thomas, dressed in his heavy sea-going kit - oilskin frock and sea-boots -  was on the rail superintending the removal of the large stone, when a rope snapped and both the Mate and the stone disappeared over the side. His shipmates rushed to the rail, but for seconds that seemed hours, they saw no sign of the Mate.  They knew that if he had gone under the trawler he would be as good as dead, or if he had been knocked unconscious he would never be seen again.  The Mate, however, as he sank, groped out and grabbed below water a part of the net and hung on grimly.  As he broke surface his shipmates gave a cheer and hauled him and the net aboard to find Thomas suffering from a damaged thigh and the effects of his immersion.

    The "Ely" immediately put back to Milford, where she landed on Thursday morning and the Mate received medical attention.




Statement of Protest:


Having in the early hours of the morning of the 14th January 1945, when fifty miles north-by-east of the Bishops Lighthouse, we were in collision with a vessel which subsequently proved to be the H.M. corvette "Trillium" K.172, as a result of which the said steam trawler foundered.

    Henry Hubbard (Skipper)



From the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of 17th January 1945.


    Six fishermen lost their lives as a result of a collision when a trawler was on its way to the fishing grounds. Three of the crew were saved.

    The dead men are:

    Skipper Frederick James Dawes, 5, Wellington Road, Hakin, aged 35, a married man with four children. He was discharged from the Royal Navy in I94I, after 2 years service. His father is Skipper.    

    Bill Dawes of Ramsgate and two brothers are fishing out of Fleetwood as Skippers.

    Frank Hawkings, B.E.M., 87, Shakespeare Avenue, aged 35, a widower. He leaves a I4 year old daughter. Mr Hawkins won the B.E.M. earlier in the war for the shooting down of a German aircraft.

    Deckhand Billy Bullen, 21, Starbuck Road, aged 55, married, a native of Lowestoft.

    Deckhand Jacob Emil Luyoens, a 65 year old Belgian seaman, with a wife and a family living in Belgian territory, which has only recently been liberated from the Germans. He lived with Mr & Mrs Gwilliam, 5, Priory Rd. [A] refugee in Great War, [he] lived in Milford then and visited often afterwards.

    Fireman Stanley John Edwards, aged 30, of 47, Robert Street, had only been fishing for eight months and this was his first trip after a month off.

    Fireman William Ayles, I9, Clarence Street, Pembroke Dock, aged 42, left a widow and five children.  His wife is expecting another child.


The Survivors.

    H. Hubbard, 52, Waterloo Road, a fisherman from Hull who sailed as Mate. He only joined the ship on Saturday afternoon, going as Mate.

    Edward John Smith, 28, Front Street, Pembroke Dock, is 50 years of age, and a native of Lowestoft. He has been going to sea since he was I3 and only recently buried his father who was a Skipper on one of the trawlers from Lowestoft. He appeared to be little worse for his trying experience, except that his legs were causing trouble. "Yes," he said, "I lost every thing I had and I am most grateful to the sailor from the other ship who plunged into the sea and saved me just as I was about gone. I am going over to Milford tomorrow to meet my rescuer who I want to thank."

    Albert Edward Collarbone, 2, Trafalgar Road, aged 53, was sailing as Chief Engineer. He had returned to sea some 14 months ago, after being employed at a Naval Depot. He was in his bunk when the collision occurred. However he quickly gained his feet, but by the time he reached the deck the ship was awash, a large wave knocked him over and when he tried to rise, found his foot caught. All this time the ship had been sinking and he could feel the drag and swirl set up by the sinking vessel. Despite this, he had the presence of mind to bend and release his foot. As his foot was released a large wave picked him up and carried him clear of the ship.  The last Mr Collarbone saw of the Skipper was Mr Dawes rushing to sound the distress signal. That signal was still sounding when the ship went under.

    Leslie Carol Curtis, 62, Waterloo Road, aged 29, the only other survivor from Milford, was also lying down in his bunk at the time of the collision. Hearing shouting he rushed on deck, cut loose a raft, threw it to the Mate and quickly followed it into the icy waters. After hanging to the raft for about 20 minutes, both Mr Curtis and the Mate were picked up, they said by the best boat crew and coxswain they had ever seen. One survivor, speaking of the rescue crew, said, "They were marvellously cool. They took the boat in a good swell right up to the men, just like coming to a wall at the side of a lake."



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