Official No:    87275     Port Number and Year:    -   in Leith, 1884 (LH1088)

                                                                                    -   in Aberdeen, 1890 (A615)

                                                                                  5th in Milford, 1898

Description:   Wooden hull; steam screw - coal burner. Liner.  Yawl rigged.

Crew: 7 men (1890); 5 men, 1 boy (1898); 6 men (1904); 8 men (1916).

Registered at Milford: 12 Jul 1898

Built: 1884 by A.G. Gifford, Leith

Tonnage: 37.12 gross 22.03 net 

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  62.2 / 17.5 / 6.65 

Engine: 2 Cyl; 10 hp., built 1884 by John Cran & Co., Leith



As LH1088

1884: Alexander Cook, Norwood Villa, Stanley Rd., Leith.  (Fish salesman)


As A615

2 Dec 1890: James L. Cunliffe, 'Plewlands House', Spylaw Rd., Edinburgh.

Managing owner.


24 Sep 1896: Long Line Steam Fishing Co. Ltd., 5 Queen St., Edinburgh.

Manager: James Christie.  (Same address.)


As M141

12 Jul 1898: William Robert Saunders, Pill Rd., Milford.

Managing owner.


1899: Percy William Alford, 69 Charles St., Milford. (Wholesale fish merchant.)

Managing owner.

[ Additional information thanks to Douglas Paterson, via Gil Mayes. ]


1916: Messrs. James Hellings and Son, Fish Docks, Milford. (Fish merchant.)

Managing owners.

(Information confirmed by two newspapers dated 4th October 1916.)


Landed at Milford:  

(Seasonal) 28 Jan - 25 Nov 1889; 1 Jan - 28 May 1890; 8 Jan - 17 Jun 1891; 13 Apr - 5 Jun 1892; 13 Apr - 26 May 1893; 3 May 1894; 25 May 1895; 16 Mar - 5 Aug 1896;

(Regular) 23 Jan 1897 - 27 Sep 1898; 17 Mar 1899 - 20 Nov 1913; 15 Jan - 14 Nov 1914; 16 Mar 1915 - 24 Sep 1916.


George Taylor, cert. ?; age 54, born Essex; signed on 1 Jan 1907; 1 Jan 1909

John Winters.

H. Rackley.

Notes:  30 Sep 1916:  Foundered off Lambay Island, Co.Dublin.

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 12 Oct 1916.

 Accidents and Incidents:

From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 14th January 1910:



The steam liner "Earnest," owned by P. W. Alford, arrived in dock on Thursday with a rather curious cargo. On board was the mainsail of the Brixham smack "Ibex" which was dismasted and towed into Podston about a week ago The skipper of the "Earnest" said that he found the mast and sail at sea, but being unable to take the spar aboard, he cut the mainsail off it and brought it into port.


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 21st January 1910:


    We regret that our report of the finding of the mainsail of the Brixham smack "Ibex" was slightly incorrect. We should have said that only a part of the mainsail was recovered and taken into port by Captain Taylor on the steam liner "Earnest" of Milford. 



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 13th May 1910:



    The steam trawler "Weymouth" returned to port on Wednesday morning with Mr. H. Galvin, the skipper, injured. The winch had been damaged at sea, and Mr. Galvin was assisting in the repairs, when a heavy iron bar fell, and struck him on the foot. The injury received caused such pain that he was unable to put his foot on the ground, and consequently was rendered hors de combat.

    The steam liner "Earnest" returned to port on the same date, with the cook, William Hiley, ill. He was taken to his home, where he received medical attention.



From The Cambrian Daily Leader of Wednesday, 4th October 1916:


Disasters to South Wales Vessels.

              On Monday afternoon the fishing boat Violet, of Llanelly, capsized during a squall in Rhossilly Bay and foundered. The two men on board, Messrs. Hopkins and Davies, were picked up by a steamer, and were landed in Tenby Harbour. Later in the day they returned to their homes at Llanelly by train.

              News has been received, by the owners, Messrs. J. Hellings and Sons*, Fish Docks, Milford Haven, that the Steam Line fishing vessel Earnest has foundered off Rothabell**, on the Irish coast. The skipper, Mr. H. Rackley, and crew were all saved and taken to Dublin. The Earnest was the oldest vessel fishing out of Milford Haven, and has been very successful in her voyages.



From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday, 4th October 1916:



              A telegram was received on Monday morning by the owners Messrs. J. Hellings & Son*, stating that the steam liner Ernest [sic] had founded [sic] off Rochabell**, on the Irish Coast near Dublin. The crew were all saved and taken into Dublin probably by a patrol boat. No further particulars are to hand. The vessel has had a chequered career and is the oldest vessel in the Milford Haven fishing fleet. For many years she was owned by Mr. P. W. Alford. Since the war she has been in the hands of Messrs. Hellings, and has had a very successful run, her last home voyage reaching what would have been a good trip for a trawler in ordinary times.


* Messrs. Hellings & Sons assumed as owners of the EARNEST in 1916.

**Rockabill Lighthouse, Skerries, Co. Dublin.



 From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 18th May 1917:




    The Haverfordwest County Court was held on Monday, before His Honour Judge Lloyd Morgan, K.C., when Charles Hole, provision merchant, Milford Haven, brought an action against P. L. Alford, owner of the steam liner Ernest, to recover the sum of 23 12s. 1d., balance due for goods supplied.  Mr. Marlay Samson (instructed by Messrs. Williams and Williams) was for the plaintiff, and Mr. R. T. P. Williams for the defendant.

    Mr. Samson said that in 1911, the steam liner Earnest was run out of Milford Haven, the crew consisting of the master, Mr. George Taylor, two engineers, a cook, and four hands.  The catch was divided into 10 shares, the skipper to receive 2 shares, one share to each of the four members of the crew, and the remaining five shares to the owner, who was under an obligation to pay a weekly wage to the two engineers and the cook.  When the vessel went to sea the cook went to the plaintiff and ordered the necessary provisions.  He contended that the owner was responsible for the payment of provisions for the two engineers and the cook.  But on occasions there was not sufficient catch to pay the food bill, and Mr. Samson argued that the owner, either expressly or inferentially, had pledged his credit to the tradesmen for provisions.  This practice continued until November 8th, 1913, when the matter at issue became acute.  On November 8th the plaintiff intimated that he would not go on supplying more provisions until the debt already incurred was wiped off.  The master interviewed the owner, and the latter ratified the action of the former, and accepted liability.  When the plaintiff asked for payment the defendant did not deny liability, but said he would see to it, and that in future he would pay cash.

    It was mentioned that the claim had been referred to the Registrar, and His Honour remarked that Mr. Price had found that the money was due to the plaintiff from somebody.

    Mr. Samson submitted that ratification of the captain's act by the owner constituted express authority.  Continuing, he said that goods were supplied by the plaintiff for cash until 1915, when the Ernest was sold.


    George Taylor, a breezy retired mariner, vigorously repudiated the description of "retired" because he still had to do something to get a living.  Mr. R. T. P. Williams suggested that he had found a better job, but the witness hesitated to admit that.  He said that for many years he was engaged by Mr. Alford as skipper.  Mr. Alford always paid him in respect of the food for the two engineers, and his daughter took the money to plaintiff.  The trouble was all due to some poor catches which they had.  For 45 years he had been running out of Milford and the custom of the port was that the expense of providing food for the boat fell on the owner in the event of a poor catch.

    Re-examined:  He paid the men their shares, and deducted the amount of their food.

    Evidence was given as to the custom of the port by Mr. Rees, clerk to Mr. Farrow, Mr. Ramster, manager for Messrs. Hellings and Cornwell, and Mr. Hutchings, manager for Messrs. Eastmans. They all stated that it was customary for the owners of vessels to be responsible for the payment of provisions supplied to ships.

    His Honour non-suited the plaintiff.


[ Note: A nonsuit terminates the trial at that point, and results in a dismissal of the plaintiff's case and judgment for the defendant. ]



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

EARNEST         30/09/1916

Co. Dublin, Lambay Island, off shore, 12M E    53.32.15N 05.40W

Voyage: Howth - fishing grounds


Foundered/total wreck or loss




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