Recovering the wreckage of a Handley Page aircraft off Dungeness, June 1929.

(From "Britain From Above" website. See note below.)

Official No:          -                   Port and Year: Ostende, 1909 (O.82)

Description: Steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. 


Built: 1909; John Cockerill S.A., Hoboken (Antwerp), Belgium  (Yard no. 496)

Tonnage: 210 grt  69 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 115.0 / 21.5 / 12.6

Engine: T 3-Cyl; 400 IHP 49 NHP; Earle's Shipbuilding & Eng. Co. Ltd., Hull.



29 Sep 1909:  Soc. Anon. des Pêcheries à Vapeur , Ostend

Manager: John Bauwens.


Landed at Milford:

11 Sep 1914 - 18 Nov 1919; 20 Jan, 19 Nov 1920; 5, 24 Jun, 28 Dec 1921.


1914-1919: Fishery Trawler.

20 Dec 1911: Stranded off Le Coq sur Mer on the night of 19-20th; refloated at high tide. [L'Echo (Belgium), Thursday 21st December 1911. ]

30 Jun 1915: Saved crew of LOMAS. (See articles below.)

25 Dec 1923: Towed the MV GARTHCLYDE, with a cargo of asphalt from Antwerp to London with engine problems, and brought her into Dover.

[The Times, Thursday 27th December 1923.]

17 Jun 1929: GABY went to the aid of an Imperial Airways Handley Page, from Croydon to Le Bourget, and rescued six survivors. Seven lives were lost.  (Wikipedia: "1929 Imperial Airways Handley Page W.10 crash.")

24 Mar 1930: Broken up.  (The new GABY O.87 was built in the same year for the same owners.)

[Information kindly supplied by Maurice Voss.]

 Accidents and Incidents

The Times, Friday, Jul 02, 1915; pg. 8; Issue 40896; col F


     The Belgian trawler Gaby has landed at Milford Haven the captain and 24 of the crew of the Buenos Aires steamer Lomas, which was torpedoed by a submarine on Wednesday morning 56 miles west of the Scillies.  The submarine came alongside and fired twice at the Lomas, the second shot killing the second mate, William Cunningham, of Garston.



From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 7th July 1915:


The Pirates Still Active


    Acts of piracy by the German submarines continue to be perpetrated in the western sea area, and on Thursday afternoon another crew were landed at Milford Haven. The Belgian steam trawler, Gaby, came up the Haven with two lifeboats fast to the stern, and this was regarded as a sign that another crew were aboard. In a very few minutes a boat put off from the trawler and the captain, whose name is Evans, came ashore and proceeded to the office of Mr Kelway, shipping agent. He belongs to Newport, Mon., and the name of his ship was the s.s. Lomas, which belonged to the Great Southern Railway Company, Argentine, and was registered in London. He said they were bound from Buenos Ayres to a British port (Belfast) with a cargo of 4,200 tons of maize, and when about 56 miles west of the Scillies at 11.30 on Wednesday morning, a submarine attacked them, firing shots, the second of which struck and killed the second officer, William Cunningham, of Garston (a widower with two young children). He could see it was useless trying to get away, so got out his boats. After a time they were picked up by the steam trawler. The Gaby was fishing within two miles of the scene and saw the attack. The skipper got up the trawl as quickly as he could and proceeded to the spot to try and save life. After the crew left the Lomas, the submarine recommenced firing, putting seventeen shots in all and launched a torpedo in the starboard side.

    The crew were taken to the Bethel, and our representative heard the narrative of their experience from the men. There were a number of South Walians amongst them. One of them, named Lewis, came from Aberayron, and he said if it had not been for the Belgian trawler coming up they would have perished as there was a terrible sea running. They were given good time to get away and the submarine came up to them. The Germans smiled and were very civil, and seemed almost apologetic for the inconvenience they caused them. The number was U39 and it was not painted but fixed on in steel figures. The steamer's crew was a mixed one, but chiefly British there were Norwegians, Danes and Swedes amongst them.

    A fireman, named Holland, said he was a Newport man. The Lomas left Uskside two and a half months ago with coal for the Argentine, and had been about 33 days on the return journey. He was the first man to see the submarine. When he was up on deck waiting to go on watch be observed an object in the distance, and said to the Captain, "What's that?" The Captain replied, "It's a submarine, sure enough," and then ordered them to get up as much steam as they possibly could. They did, but it was no good, for the enemy soon overhauled them and fired on the Lomas. One of the shots came up through the bulwarks with tremendous force and literally ripped up the poor second mate. They then stopped and got into the boats and the submarine came alongside. The commander asked the name of the ship and what cargo she had. He then told them to get astern and sent a torpedo into the ship and subsequently went off a long distance. The Lomas was slow to sink, and the Captain wanted to go back aboard, but more shots were fired and she sank after about three hours. They were, he said, well treated aboard the Belgian trawler.



From the Haverfordwest and Milford Telegraph of Wednesday 26th November 1919:


Belgian Trawlers Return.



    We were hoplng that we had beard the last of strikes at Milford Haven for a long time to come, but an unusual position arose at Milford Haven Fish Market on Wednesday when the Fishmerchants "Struck" and tabooed the sales.

    On Tuesday afternoon's tide The Belgian Trawler "Isa" and "Gaby" (P.V.) arrived in dock and berthed for landing next morning. Rumours went round that they would not be allowed to land, or at least, if an attempt to do so was made the local fishermen would strike. It was also believed that some of the owners viewed the arrivals in a favourable light. When morning came there was no labour available.

    There were other parties interested in the matter from another standpointthe merchants and they refused to respond to the bell for the first sale and stood off the sales until the Belgians were allowed to land. The officials of the Merchants' Associations interviewed the other parties, and it was arranged that a conference of owners, fishermen and merchants should be held at the Lord Nelson Hotel in the afternoon and that the two vessels which had nearly 700 kits between them should be allowed to land next morning (Thursday).

    The question was debated in all its bearings at the Conference. Daring the war the Belgians practically kept the market going and had it not been for their arrival it is possible the market would have been closed and from the merchant's point of view they are entitled to land at Milford Haven now. The more fish that it available the better for the trade of the port in winter time.

    In this case the point of view of the owners and fishermen are practically he same. The local boats were on Admiralty service as well as the men of all grades, who were thereby precluded from those big earnings which the Belgians reaped daring the time of abnormally high prices, and they consider that the market should be theirs and that the Belgians should remain at home, where there is plenty of outlet for their fish and even if the prices are not so high there, they have had their turn. Of coarse under British trade law they cannot be prevented coming to Milford Haven or other British port. We understand that about 12 of the boats are coming to Milford and the conference decided that after they had landed once they be asked not to return, whilst the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union are communicating with Mr. Havelock Wilson with the object of general action at all the ports. The whole subject raises a knotty point.



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