GORDON RICHARDS M217
Official No: 137774 Port Number and Year: - in Altona (Hamburg), 1907 (SD.42)
13th in Milford, 1928
Description: Steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged: mizzen
Crew: 10 men
Registered at Milford: 22 Dec 1928
Built: 1907; by J. Duthie & Sons, Aberdeen. (Yard no. 275)
Tonnage: 217.44 grt 48.94 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 120.5 / 22.0 / 9.6
Engine: T 3-cyl. 72 nhp. 9 kts.; engine and boiler W.V.V. Lidgerwood, Coatbridge, Glasgow.
As GUDRUN SD.42
1907: H. F. Ulrich, 5 St. Pauli, Fischmarkt, Altona, Hamburg.
Later: Reederei Gerda & Gudrun, Altona.
Manager: H. Popp, Hochstrasse 33, Altona, Hamburg.
As GUDRUN SD.42
Dec 1928: Hakin Trawling Co. Ltd., Docks, Milford.
(Joseph Samuel Pettit, 'Wayneflete', The Rath, Milford.
Horace Samuel Fiddy, 'Stratford House', Shakespeare Ave., Milford.
Frederick Steer, 22 St. Peter's Rd., Milford.)
Managing owner: Joseph Baron Bardsley Huddlestone, 'Dania Villa', Wellington Rd., Hakin.
22 Dec 1928: As GORDON RICHARDS M217.
14 Mar 1937: Westward Trawlers Ltd., The Docks, Milford.
Manager: Erel Edwin Carter, 16 Great North Rd., Milford.
Landed at Milford: (SD.42) 5 Dec 1928; (M217) 1 Jan 1929 - 10 Jan 1938.
Skippers: H. King (1931); John Binham (1934); W. H. Johnston (1938)
Gordon Richards (1904-1986) was a famous jockey, knighted in 1953.
Reederei is "Shipping Company".
21 Sep 1929: New propeller fitted.
c.22 Jan 1938: Foundered during a storm, date and location unknown; possibly on 14th January, off Fastnet. [See below]
Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 8 Feb 1938.
Accidents and Incidents
Log book entries:
While fishing in Lat. 50 Long - 8 West., we sighted the S.T. "KUROKI" with disabled signals. The Skipper of the "Kuroki" signalled to me that he wanted a tow back to Milford as he was unable to use his engines. The reason he gave was that a fishing trawl had entangled the ships propeller. I put my warps on board the "Kuroki" and commenced towing at 5.30 p.m. on the 21/12/31, and arrived back in Milford and anchored at 9 p.m. on the 22/12/31.
H. King. (Skipper)
While fishing S by W 35 miles from Galley Head Light we had a phone call message from the S.T. "Slebech" asking for assistance as he had broken down. His engines were okay, but on trying to steer found his rudder was broken. We steamed to his position which was 15 miles S by W of Galley Head. We reached him at 1.30 on 28th December. I put both my warps on board of him and commenced towing at 2 p.m., and we arrived back at Milford and anchored at 10. 10 a.m. on the 29/12/31.
H. King. (Skipper)
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 24th August 1934:
A thrilling story of how a disabled steamer was towed across the Irish Sea through Monday's gale was told on Wednesday, when the Milford steam trawler "Gordon Richards" arrived in Rosslare Harbour with the Glasgow steamer "Nugget" in tow. Skipper John Binham, of the "Gordon Richards", stated that on Monday afternoon at about four o'clock his vessel was hove-to off the Smalls Lighthouse with the sea running mountains high.
"Suddenly, through the driving rain and spray," he said, "I saw a ship come along flying signals of distress. She asked us tostand by. We got as near as the fearful seas would permit, and stood by until ten o'clock on Monday night. We then saw that the steamer, which proved to be the "Nugget", would not survive much longer, and I decided to try to get a line on board. Neither of the vessels had a wireless, so we could not summon help. Approach to the steamer was dangerous, and two or three times we were within a hair's breadth of crashing into her. At the third attempt, however, we got a line aboard, then we put fifteen fathoms of cable on each of two pieces of wire, and got both on board. We then got moving, but the "Nugget" listed so badly that her starboard gunwale was under water, so we did not dare to turn her before the sea or she would have gone down. We accordingly decided to make for Rosslare Harbour although it meant a tow right across the channel. Twice during the night the tow ropes parted. The thick strands of steel were being cut through by the strain. We felt we could not desert the "Nugget" and though the approach looked like certain death, we twice got the tow ropes fixed."
The "Nugget's" list to starboard was gradually getting worse, every gigantic sea swept over her, and she was shipping water all the time. Her furnaces were washed out, she had no steam and her bilges were choked, the pumps were useless, every man in the "Nugget's" crew had his life-belt on, and at last her crew decided to abandon her. They cleared away the starboard life boat, but when they attempted to lower it a wave smashed the davits and carried the life boat away.
"It was just as well," continued Skipper Binham, "as no boat could have lived in the seas that were running and the entire crew would have been drowned. We towed her all night and all day Tuesday. The wind blew South West, but the force of the gale never abated. It must have reached a velocity of over seventy miles an hour. Towards dusk of Tuesday night we sighted Rosslare Bay, and a few hours later we made port."
Boatswain E. Davies, of the "Gordon Richards", stated that it was the worse experience he had been through in all his seafaring existence. Every scrap of food on board the "Nugget" was either washed out of the galley or destroyed by the sea water, and the crew did not have anything to eat for fifty hours. Skipper Binham, he added, never rested for the whole of the fifty hours.
The "Nugget"' was bound from Rotterdam to Garston with 520 tons of ore, and the cargo shifted in the gale. She is commanded by Captain Ferguson, and carries a crew of about fourteen. One of the "Nugget's" firemen had his head injured, and Mr Ernest Moxey, the mate of the "Gordon Richards" had his hand lacerated by the wire tow rope. The disabled "Nugget" at present lies at anchor in Rosslare Bay. She is a three masted vessel of the collier type. The "Gordon Richards" is owned by the Hakin Trawling Company, the Managing Director of which is Captain Huddlestone, one of the oldest Skippers in Milford. She is 118 feet long and is in charge of Skipper Binham, who is twenty eight years old. With the mate, Mr Ernest Moxey, he came to Milford some years ago from Brixham. They have been fishing regularly on Milford boats since. The other members of the crew are Bo'sun Davies, third hand Davies, deck hand C.Leigh, cook Williams, chief engineer Scriven, second engineer Thomas, firemen Hogg & Thomas. She will proceed to the fishing grounds, and is not expected back in Milford for a few days.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 19th March 1937:
A private company, Westward Trawlers Ltd., was registered on March 15th, with a capital of £10,000. Directors - Edgar E. Carter, 16, Great North Road; Richard S. Bowen, Grove House, Port Talbot.
Our Milford correspondent was informed on Thursday that the Company was formed to take over the Hakin Steam Trawling Company's fleet of five trawlers: the Kuroki, Kyoto, Slebech, Caldy and Gordon Richards. This is understood to mean that the services of the present managing director of the Company, Capt. J. H. B. Huddlestone, are to be retained.
The Times, Tuesday, Jan 25, 1938; pg. 5; Issue 47901; col D
Mails and Shipping Outward Mails, Forthcoming Dispatches
Telegrams received from Lloyd's Sub-agent at Castletown, Berehaven, indicate that enquiries were being made on Jan. 22 for news of the trawler Gordon Richards, and that up to 10 a.m. on Jan. 23 the vessel had not been found among the trawlers sheltering in Berehaven, where the weather was, at that time, bad. In reply to enquiry asking for the last report of the trawler, the owners telegraph from Milford Haven, Jan. 24, as follows:- Sailed from Milford afternoon Jan 12.
The Times, Saturday, Jan 29, 1938; pg. 7; Issue 47905; col D
Mails and Shipping Outward Mails, Forthcoming Dispatches
The owners, Westward Trawlers, Ltd., Milford Haven, state under date of Jan. 26:- We regret to have to announce that the steam trawler Gordon Richards has now been out at sea 15 days and anxiety is being caused regarding her safety. She was last seen and heard on Friday, Jan. 14, the day previous to the severe storm on Saturday, Jan.15. All vessels steaming and fishing in the locality where she was last known to be, have kept a lookout for her, but so far no news has been received.
The Times, Thursday, Feb 17, 1938; pg. 24; Issue 47921; col B
The following vessels, not having been heard of, are considered very much overdue:- Steam trawler Gordon Richards of Milford Haven, 217 tons gross, Johnson master, which is reported to have sailed from Milford Haven for fishing grounds on January 12, 1938, and was spoken by steam trawler Slebech at 5 p.m. on January 14 off Fastnet Rock. .....................
From a local newspaper, probably the Western Telegraph, of Wednesday 19th January,1938:
Nothing has been seen or heard of the Milford trawler, ‘Gordon Richards’ since the morning of the hurricane of Friday, January 14th, and it is feared that she has been lost with her crew of ten. The trawler left Milford on January 12th, for a fishing voyage which usually occupies about ten or twelve days. During the night of the storm she was seen by a sister ship, the trawler ‘Slebech’, which was itself in danger and lost its wheelhouse.
A member of the crew of the ‘Slebech’ told our reporter on Wednesday that the waves were 40 or 50 feet high at the time and the ‘Gordon Richards’ was running before the storm. “We lost sight of her in the seas and it was a miracle that we returned home safely,” said this hardy son of the deep. “I'm afraid the ‘Gordon Richards’ has gone.”
The missing trawler is a crabber class of boat built in 1907 and is owned by Westward Trawlers, Ltd. She is equipped with wireless and the last message from her was received by the ‘Slebech’ on the fateful Friday morning. Seen on Wednesday afternoon, Mr E. E. Carter, manager for the company, was still hopeful. “I am expecting her on any tide,” he said. “She has food and enough supplies on board for a three weeks’ voyage and is probably making up her lost fishing time. Like many Milford trawlers, she most likely had her wireless put out of commission by the storm.”
Others, including the families of members of the crew, were not so hopeful and every tide sees the crowd lining the “wall” in Milford's front street growing larger. One of the members of the crew is the twenty year old son of the Skipper, while the bosun had intended taking his son with him but the youth did not sail. This morning (Friday), Mr. E. E. Carter announced that they had now given up all hope of seeing the trawler again and that the relatives of the crew had been informed.
The officers and crew are:
Skipper- W.H. Johnston, aged 44, Pill Lane, married, with four children.
Mate- Herbert Davies, 36, of Shakespeare Avenue, married, one child.
Bo'sun - Francis Allen, aged 56, Thomas Street, Grangetown, Cardiff, married, no children.
Third Hand - Oscar Johnston, aged 20, son of the Skipper, and living at 8, Priory Road, with his aunt.
Deck Hand - L.A. Terporter, aged 19, single, St. Peter's Road.
Cook - A.D. Goldspink, aged 21, single, 48, Robert Street.
Chief Engineer - James A.Lewis, 46, married, four children, 44, Hakinville.
Second Engineer - Charles R. Orchard, aged 28, married, two children, Prospect Place, Haverfordwest.
Firemen - W.H.Jenkins, 41, married, two children, Brickhouses, Pill.
E.R.Stephens, 23, single, Crundale Road, Rudbaxton, Haverfordwest.
It was Orchard's last trip with the ‘Gordon Richards’ before transferring to the Second and Fourth Wednesdays, Naval Reserve.
Milford's Council Sympathy.
Before the commencement of business at Monday's meeting of Milford Urban District, the chairman (Clr John Lewis) referred to the loss of life during the recent storm, especially of the crew of the steam trawler ‘Gordon Richards’, and the members of the crews of local trawlers who were washed overboard. “Our deep sympathy,” said Clr. Lewis, “goes out to those who mourn their loss.” All members and officials then stood for a few moments in silence.
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