Painting by Steve Farrow
Official No: 107044 Port Number and Year: 10th in Milford in 1896.
Description: Steel side / beam trawler; steam screw; coal burner. Ketch rigged: foresail, mainsail and mizzen.
Crew: 9 men (1896).
Registered at Milford: 7 Oct 1896
Built: Edwards Bros., North Shields, 1896. (Yard no. 525)
Tonnage: 144.88 gross 25.07 net (> 53.55 net; 1 Jan 1914)
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 106.0 / 20.65 / 11.0
Engine: T-3 Cyl 50 rhp; by North Marine Engineering Co., Sunderland
7 Oct 1896: Cornelius Cecil Morley, Milfort, Portlaw, Co. Waterford
William Goff Davis-Goff, Glenville, Co. Waterford.
Manager: F. J. Sellick, Milford.
9 Mar 1903: Southern Steam Trawlers Co., 127 Quay, Waterford.
(Messrs. Sellick, Morley and Price, Milford Docks.)
Manager: Cornelius Cecil Morley, "Cnocaitiun"*, Milford.
(*Probably "Cnoc Áine" , Co. Limerick: "Aine's Hill". )
16 Dec 1911: Walter Fulton & John Stewart, 82 Gordon St., Glasgow.
20 Dec 1911: John Colquhoun, 132 Bridgegate, Glasgow.
Landed at Milford: 8 Oct 1896 - 12 Dec 1911
Harry Glansford cert. no. 1660, age 29, born Hull; signed on 28 Sep 1896
George C. Nicholls 05538, 36, Stamford; 14 Dec 1896; 4 Jan 1897; 5 Jul, 5 Aug 1897; 11 Jan, 6 Jul 1898
W. E. Green 5429, 27, Hull; 9 Feb 1897
J. Richmond 1294, 36, London; 9 Oct 1898; 11 Jan 1899
George Leggett 4759, 27, Gorleston; residing Railway Villa, Haverfordwest; 28 Jun, 7 Jul 1899
A. Bush 4803, 23, Bristol; 28 Jul 1899
H. Pook 5219, 23, Brixham; -
C. Fears 2279, 38, Hull; 18 Apr 1900
H. J. Joyce 5562, 37, Manchester; 11 May 1900
Arthur Windlass 5381, 22, Brixham; 17 Aug 1900
G. T. Cobley 2021, 32, Hull; 2 Nov 1900; 1 Jan 1901
W. Castle 3612, 39, Norfolk; 8 Jul 1901; 6 Jan 1902
John Johnson 2459, 37, Nottingham; 1 Mar, 3 Jul 1902; 14 Jan, 6 Jul 1903; 8 Jan, 8 Jul 1904; 2 Jan 1905
B. Blockwell 2529, 40, Yarmouth; 7 Mar 1905
Walter Dayes 1734, 40, Hull; 3 May, 7 Jul 1905; 2 Jan, 2 Jul 1906
Arthur Lamswood 4931, 30, Brixham; 23 Dec 1905
R. Sanderson 2934, 54 Filey, 22 Dec 1906
A. Taylor 5681, 43, Hull; 4 Jan, 6 Jul 1908
Frank Whittermore 8638, 21, Liverpool; 1 Jan, 27 Aug 1909
J. Daldrey 3711, 37, Gorleston; 1 Jan 1910
John H. Pettit 7106, 27, Hull; 29 Sep 1910; 2 Jan 1911 [Died 8th April 1911 - see story below.]
C. Garnish 3728, 42, Essex; 10 Apr 1911.
Notes: Gloxinia, originally from Brazil, are brilliantly coloured trumpet-shaped flowers.
Built at the same yard as FUCHSIA, with the next yard number.
1 Apr 1915: Sunk by U-10 (Kapitänleutnant Fritz Stuhr), 40 miles NE by E of the Tyne. No loss of life.
Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 20 Apr 1915
Accidents and Incidents:
Log book entries:
40 miles SW by W of St Ann's Head.
Navigated the Steam Ship "Bore" of Christiania to Milford Haven.
G. T. Cobley. (Skipper).
Saturday. Passed derelict vessel, apparently a schooner, about 20 miles W of the Saints Light House. Reported same to Superintendent HM Customs on Wednesday, April 8th.
J. Johnson. (Skipper).
At 5 p.m. on Sunday sighted steam trawler "Upton Castle" (LO 152) about 160 miles W by S of St. Ann's Head Lights with shaft broken. The skipper asked me to to tow him in. We sighted Smalls Light Monday evening. Then the skipper of the "Upton Castle" requested to be taken to Swansea, which we did, and safely docked her on Tuesday at half past ten a.m.
J. Johnson. (Skipper).
August 2nd 1904
125 miles W of St. Ann's Head.
Steam Trawler "Amroth Castle" (LO 161) - collision whilst heaving up our fishing gear, attempting to speak to us and struck our stern causing it to leak. "Amroth Castle's" bulwarks and gallows damaged, port side aft.
J. Johnson. (Skipper).
Walter Patten, age 22, Bosun; born England, Wilton, residing Milford.
Fainting, fell with his throat on main steam pipe of winch, causing serious burns.
Walter Dayes. (Skipper).
W. Potter. (Witness).
E. Stabb, Fourth Hand, wilfully shaking fish from the net over board, and when I told him not to shake them out of the net, replied with obscene language, at 4 a.m., again at 11 a.m. The only one of twelve refusing to obey orders from myself by using the most profane and obscene language.
Walter Dayes. (Skipper).
Allan Lamswood. (Witness).
21.02.1909Small boat launched and found in perfect condition and sea worthy.
F. Wittemore. (Skipper).
From the Western Mail of Saturday 5th November 1898:
AFTER THE WEDDING
MILFORD SKIPPER'S CERTIFICATE SUSPENDED
A special meeting of the Local Marine Board was held at the Board of Trade Offices, Cardiff, on Friday afternoon. Mr. John Cory, J.P., presided, and there were also present Messrs. William Anning, H. Radcliffe, T. W. Lewis (stipendiary magistrate), and C. Baker, secretary. The skipper of a steam trawler, George Courtney Nicholls, was charged at the instance of the Board of Trade of having been drunk whilst in charge of the steam trawler Gloxinia, of Milford, on October 7, with being drunk, and with anchoring the vessel in an exposed position, and leaving her without taking due measures for her safety. Mr. G. Robertson appeared on behalf of the Board of Trade. Mr. J. David defended the accused, and Mr. J. P. Caffery watched the case on behalf of the owners. The evidence was briefly as follows:
― On the morning of October 7 the vessel left Milford for the fishing grounds. The boatswain having got married on the previous day, he brought a bottle of whisky aboard, and shortly after the vessel left the harbour the captain, mate, boatswain, and third hand assembled on the bridge, and commenced the whisky [sic]. The two engineers, William Jones and William Davies, refused to join in, but the other three hands had some. The skipper after a short time became drunk. He steered the vessel into the Jack Sound, and in passing through it a rock was struck, but no damage was done. He afterwards anchored the vessel off Broad Haven, but finding the water shallow, changed the anchorage to Little Haven, and afterwards to Goultrop. He went ashore shortly after three o'clock, and took the second hand with him. The chief engineer sent the second to Milford, to inform the owners, and another captain and second hand came aboard that night. The other captain and second hand did not return.
―For the defence, the chief boatman of the coastguard at Broad Haven, Albert Eli Griffiths, who saw the accused about an hour after he had left the vessel, stated that he was not drunk at that time, but had been drinking.
―William Jenkins, a fisherman of Broad Haven, also stated that the skipper was not drunk.
―Accused stated that he was quite sober enough to do his work. He said that the striking of the rock in the Jack Sound was the result of a mistake on his part. He had not taken any soundings, and did not verify his position by the chart. He went ashore in order to see a doctor. Early in the afternoon he had fallen down on deck, and hurt his arm badly on the elbow, and was afraid that he had broken it. He had to go to Milford to see the doctor, and was laid up for a fortnight. He admitted he had made a mistake in taking the second hand ashore with him.
― The Court found that the charge was proved, and suspended the skipper's certificate for one month. The charge against the second hand was withdrawn.
[Paragraphing added to original.]
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 4th January 1901:
CAPTAIN AND MATES WASHED OVERBOARD.
On Saturday morning the s.s. Borg, of Christiana, bound to Glasgow with iron ore, was taken into Milford Haven by Mr George Cobby [ Cobley ], skipper of the steam trawler Gloxinia, who reports having picked up the former steamer about 45 miles south-west of St. Ann's Head, with all her boats and compasses gone, and much other damage sustained. The captain, first and second mate are reported to have been washed overboard and lost during Thursday night's gale.
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 14th June 1907:
INQUEST REVELATIONS AT MILFORD HAVEN.
When the steam trawler "Gloxinia", of Milford, was fishing on Saturday off the Smalls Lighthouse the fishing gear caught fast, probably in a wreck. The deck hand, Albert Antwist, aged 20, of Milford, was attending to the winch, when the barrel struck him on the head. The Gloxinia put into Milford, and Antwist died at ten a.m.
Mr. John Roberts, the deputy coroner, held an inquest at the Police Station, Milford Haven, on Monday on the body of Albert Antwist. Mr. W. J. Jones represented the owner.
The first witness called was William Reynolds, the skipper of the Gloxinia, residing at Albion Street. He stated that on Saturday, June 8th, they were fishing 25 miles from the Smalls at 12.30 noon. The fishing gear got entangled at the bottom of the net and they proceeded to haul it up. Deceased, Albert Antwist, was at the winch guiding the warp. The ship gave a heavy lurch, and the next thing he saw was the bollard striking the deceased on the head, and he fell backwards. The terrific strain caused the bollard to break. They picked the deceased up and attended to him, and the ship immediately returned to Milford, where they arrived about six o'clock at the mackerel stage. Deceased was unconscious the whole time. Witness was present when he died the same night.
The Foreman: Was the bollard good?— Yes, no breaks or cracks.
By Mr W. J. Jones: There was no blame as far as the bollard was concerned; it was purely an accidental occurrence.
Foreman: Would it not be a support if the bollard had had a stay? Yes.
The Coroner: Are there stays as a rule ?— I have never seen one.
Mr Jones: If there had been a stay could the accident still have happened ?— Yes, it broke quite off the deck.
William Johnson, mate of the ship, corroborated the skipper's evidence, stating that he heard a crack, and saw the gear flying aft and strike deceased on the head. It was not usual for the bollard to have stays. He thought the cause of the accident was the lurch.
By a Juror: The lever was on the starboard side.
By the Foreman: If there had been a new up-to-date winch deceased would not have been standing at the spot. The kind on this ship were, however, mostly in use.
Elizabeth Gillard, 187, Robert Street, said deceased was her grandson. He was 20 last March. She was fetched to his lodgings, and saw him there. He did not regain consciousness.
Dr. Charles Nelson said that about quarter past six on Saturday evening he was called to see deceased at the Mackerel stage. He remained there and ordered his removal. He was unconscious, and was suffering from a rough, jagged wound on the left side of forehead which penetrated to the bone. He could feel a fissure in the skull. There was also a wound at the back or the head on the left side. He saw him at seven and again at nine p.m. Death was due to fracture of the skull and concussion of the brain.
By a Juror: In his opinion the skipper did all in his power under the circumstances.
A verdict of "Accidental death" and in accordance with medical testimony was returned. The jury added a recommendation that in future winches should be fitted with guiding apparatus to the warp. There was no blame attached to any one.
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 22nd November 1907:
SAFETY AND TRADE OF PORT IMPERILLED.
HEAVY PENALTIES AT MILFORD HAVEN
Alfred Taylor, skipper of the Gloxinia; Richard Hooper, skipper of the Uhdea; James Golden, skipper of the Dowlais, and Hans Tirrell, of the Avonmouth, were summoned for a breach of the Dock bye-laws by entering abreast, or attempting to pass another vessel in entering the Dock gates. The skipper of the Dowlais was charged with attempting to pass another vessel and the others with entering the gates abreast. Mr. Harold J. Evans, solicitor, Milford Haven, appeared for Taylor, Hooper, and Golden.
Captain James, who prosecuted, said there were four summonses taken out against [all four] skippers. Three skippers were charged with going into the dock abreast, and the Dowlais with overtaking another vessel in the dock entrance. That happened on Sunday night, October 10th. Just before the gates were opened there were fifteen trawlers outside. They all lay out by the two buoys. By the time the gates were opened they were all in a heap. After the opening of the gates four trawlers came in one after another. Then the Reliance got across the entrance. After that seven or eight trawlers were lying just outside. Three of them started off, and came for the entrance to the Docks together. They would not separate. When they got a little closer he hailed them to know what they were going to do. They took no notice, and came two abreast, and the third in the middle just a little astern. The Avonmouth was on the Hakin side, the Uhdea in the middle, and the Gloxinia. As soon as the skipper of the Uhdea heard him shout she backed out. Whilst those trawlers were in that position the Dowlais came along. He hailed the skipper to stop his engines, and go astern, but he did not do so until he got right up. He had to close the Dock. While his back was turned the Dowlais entered the Dock against the light. Those cases were very similar to those which had been heard by the magistrates before, only the vessels came in then two abreast. Now the skippers were trying to improve even on that, and to come in three abreast. If the gates were damaged incalculable injury would ensue. He had only taken out summonses against four skippers, but there were a number who were equally to blame and their conduct that night was disagreeable in the extreme.
Cross-examined: He could not say which of the trawlers was ahead before they entered the Dock. All he was concerned about was that they came in three abreast. The Dowlais was further astern.
Do you say the three vessels were abreast at the time of entering the channel? — For all practical purposes. The Gloxinia was on the starboard side. I hailed the Dowlais to stop her engines. The Uhdea went astern.
You moored the Gloxinia and kept her there until all the other vessels had passed into the Dock? —Yes. I kept her there for three-quarters of an hour.
The Chairman enquired as to whether there were any special rules as to which of two or three vessels together should enter the lock first? No, sir, not beyond the fact that I will not allow more than a one trawler to enter at a time. When they like they can form up in line outside just as if they were going into a booking office. When two are coming in together they should hail each other and arrange which should go first. It does not matter very much because one will enter just after the other. On the night in question, however, they were obstinate, at least one or two. They could not deal with what the vessels did previous to entering the dock, and which was right and which was wrong, especially when as had happened, they had a hundred craft in.
Tom Westonbury also gave evidence as to the three vessels coming in abreast, and the Dowlais passing another trawler in the entrance.
Alfred Taylor, skipper of the Gloxinia, said he was first before entering the dock. He could not help what the other vessels did, he came directly into mid-channel. The Dowlais was just behind, and his mate hailed her to go astern when he gave the signal.
Mr. Birt: Were you abreast when you entered the Dock gates? — Nearly so.
Have you ever thought what would happen if you damaged the dock gates?— No, but I know by all the Board of Trade regulations I was in the position to have gone in first.
The Chairman thought that one of the vessels must have been in the position to have gone in first. Was there no rule saying that the one on the starboard side for instance, should be allowed to enter first.
James Golden, skipper of the Dowlais, said he obeyed all Captain James’ instructions, and did not pass any other vessel in the dock. As soon as he was hailed he went astern.
Captain James: Didn't you come in again against the light.
Hans Tirrell, of the Avonmouth, said his trawler was a long way ahead of the others, and they endeavoured to pass him.
Captain James pointed out that it was contrary to the dock bye-laws for two or more vessels abreast to enter at the dock gates. It was not for them to determine which trawler had been leading previously.
Mr. Birt said the skipper of the Gloxinia had stated that he was ahead, and the skipper of the Avonmouth said that his vessel was ahead. The statements were directly contradictory, and did away with the question as to which trawler had the right to go in first.
Mr. Evans explained that Hooper who was merely acting as skipper of the Uhdea on that occasion, had gone to sea on another trawler. He would have missed his job if he had attempted to have been present in Court that day.
The magistrates retired to consider their decision.
The Chairman on their return said, as his brother magistrate Mr. Birt had already stated, if any damage were to be caused to the gates it might cripple the trade of the town for months and months. The replacing of those gates would cost £60,000, and therefore the skippers of those boats ought to recognize how very careful it behoved them to be in entering the dock gates. The magistrates were determined to put an end to those offences so far as lay in their power. Each defendant would be fined £5 and costs. Two months was granted in which to pay the money.
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 19th August 1910:
While fishing in the Atlantic, 150 miles off St. Anne's Head, on Friday last, the crew of the steam trawler Gloxinia (Messrs. Sellick, Morley and Price), of which J. W. Daldry is skipper, made a remarkable catch. As they were hoisting the trawl aboard they felt they had a good haul, for it weighed approximately three-quarters of a ton. On the bag being cut open in the pound a huge shark thrust out its head from under the fish, and simultaneously leaped out on deck lashing its tail vigorously the while. It was promptly attended to by the crew who dragged it clear of the pound, and in about half-an-hour or so it drew its last breath. The shark measured 9ft. 6in. in length, it was 6ft. in girth, and weighed something like 4 cwt. The tail was all that was retained, and this was fastened to the mast-head.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 16th December 1910:
Stirring scenes at Milford haven .
During the morning the S.T. "Gloxinia" towed up five men from the s.s. "Fford", of Christiania, lying disabled near Dale Roads. Captain Morner, in broken English, told a tale of suffering. He and the other four members of the crew were injured and were taken to Dr Griffith's surgery where they were attended by Dr Walker. The crew of eighteen were Norwegians.
The vessel was caught in the gale off the Smalls. She had the wheelhouse carried away, one boat, davit and steering gear lost, and how the crew made for port is a marvel.
From The Pembroke County Guardian and Cardigan Reporter of Friday 23rd December 1910:
Terrible Experiences at Sea.
On Saturday morning, as a result of the previous day's gale, several trawlers and other vessels put into the harbour, and reported terrible experiences whilst at sea.
The steam trawler "Fuschia" had her lifeboat carried away, wheel-house windows smashed, and her bunkers shifted, and she had great difficulty in making port.
Later, the Milford steam trawler "Gloxinia" brought in five men from off the Norwegian steamer "Fford," of Christiania, which was lying in the Dale Roads. All the men were more or less injured, and were taken ashore, where they were medically treated.
The Milford steam trawler "Weymouth" arrived and reported that the mate, named Frank Wittemore, had been washed overboard at sea.
From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 12th April 1911:
On Saturday night Messrs Sellick, Morley & Price received a wire from Galway, Ireland, stating that skipper John Pettit, junior, of the steam trawler "Gloxinia", was dead. The news caused a painful sensation in the town, and as the cause of death could not be ascertained the anxiety of the relatives and friends was naturally great. Captain Charles Garnish was sent off by the 10.25 train to catch the boat train from Fishguard, en route for Galway, to bring the vessel home. Another wire was to hand on Sunday, but the facts did not come out till Monday morning, when the daily papers contained the painful news that skipper Pettit was drawn into the winch. When in the act of heaving in the trawl he became entangled therein, and was dragged round several times and killed before the machinery could be stopped. The body is being brought home in the trawler which was expected to arrive on Tuesday evening. A strange coincidence is that last trip it was reported that the headless body of a seaman was brought up in the trawl by the same vessel off the Irish Coast. Mr Pettit was one of the youngest skippers sailing out of the port and was only 29 years of age. He leaves a wife in delicate health, and three young children, and was the son of Mr John Pettit, Fish Merchant, and himself a former skipper. Mr and Mrs Pettit had another son drowned at sea some years ago.
From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 19th April 1911:
SKIPPER'S TRAGIC FATE
SAD STORY TOLD AT MILFORD HAVEN
As reported in our last issue, John Pettit, aged 28 years, skipper of the Gloxinia, belonging to Messrs. Sellick, Morley & Price, met with his death under peculiarly sad and distressing circumstances while fishing off the Irish coast. The circumstances were investigated by Mr. Price, the county coroner, and a jury at the Sessions House, Milford Haven, on Wednesday afternoon. ....
Mr. W. J. Jones appeared for Messrs. Sellick, Morley & Price, the owners of the Gloxinia.
The Coroner said they were met to enquire into the cause of the accident which resulted in the death of John Pettit on board the Gloxinia. It appeared the body was taken to Ireland and the matter was reported to the Irish police; but the Coroner for the county of Galway for some reason, perhaps because the Irish laws were different from ours, decided that an inquest was not necessary. According to English law if a dead body was lying within the jurisdiction of an English coroner, death having resulted from an accident, the law compelled him to hold an inquest. That was the reason they were there that day. He thought they would find the facts very simple.
The first witness, John Pettit, residing at 32, Dartmouth-street, fish merchant, said the deceased was his son, and was 28 years of age last January. He was skipper of the steam trawler Gloxinia. Witness did not know anything about the accident.
A CRY OF DISTRESS
Bertie Hawkins, boatswain, in the employ of Messrs. Sellick, Morley & Price, said he was on board the Gloxinia on April 8th. About half-past ten on that day they were ten miles south-west of Allen Island, on the west coast of Ireland. Witness was ordered to start the steam winch to heave up the trawl, but as the winch stopped the skipper came to it. He heard the winch stop and jumping from the bridge came and asked what was the matter with the winch, and when he told him he told witness to get out of the way, and he would see to it. The skipper opened her out full, and witness went away. He was working with his back to the skipper, when he heard him cry out "Bert."
The Coroner: Was it a cry of distress?
Witness: He shouted "Bert" and then gave a cry. When I looked around I saw the skipper going round the winch, and jumped and stopped her, but before that the skipper had gone round the winch many times. I gave the winch a half reverse turn out and the body fell clear but the legs were still entangled. With the help of the crew we got the skipper out, and we tried to stop the flow of blood by tying a muffler around him. He opened his eyes and when I asked him did he feel better, he said "Yes", and he added, "Pull out my arm," meaning the one which had come away from him altogether. We made for Galway. The skipper died at 12.15 and we reached Galway about 3 o'clock. I asked him how he got into the winch, but he could not answer. He was wearing a loose jumper, and it was probable that the front of the jumper was caught when the skipper was stooping to see what was wrong with the winch.
By the Coroner: He could not say what was wrong with the winch. It stopped, as it had done before, but witness had not reported it.
The Coroner: If it had not stopped this would never have happened?
Witness: If it had not stopped the skipper would not have come to it.
By Mr. W. J. Jones: It was a pure accident.
By the foreman: They had been fishing six days when this happened and had been using the winch every day.
By a juryman: Witness had been on the vessel about two months. The winch had stopped on various occasions during the six days. By reversing it was set going again.
Dr. W. S. Griffith said he had examined the body, and found severe injuries as the result of the accident. In his opinion shock was the cause of death.
NO CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE
The Coroner said that was all the evidence to be brought before them, and having heard what the witness Hawkins had to say, the only verdict they could find was one of accidental death. Of course their duty was simply to enquire whether anybody had been guilty of criminal negligence, such as would make them answerable to the criminal law for the consequences of such negligence. In this case there might have been something wrong with the steam winch, but if it had been reported, and the person in charge knew there was something wrong with it he would not be guilty of such neglect as to be answerable in a criminal for it, but the remedy might be found in a civil court. He thought a verdict of accidental death was the only verdict the jury could bring in.
The jury brought in a verdict to this effect, the foreman giving expression to the sympathy with the relatives of the deceased.
The Coroner said he joined them in that expression; and Mr. W. J. Jones, on behalf of the owners, said they desired to express their sympathy and regret for what had happened.
On Wednesday all the trawlers in dock had their flags at half-mast for Capt. Pettit.
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