Official No:  136226    Port Number and Year: Hull, 1915

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

Crew: 9 men (1915); 10 men (1934).  

Built: 1915, by Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd, Goole. (Yard no.171)

Tonnage: 191 grt  72 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 110.2 / 21.6 / 12.0

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 55 rhp; by Earle’s Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Hull



As H224

23 Jan 1915:  Kelsall Brothers & Beeching Ltd., St.Andrew's Dock, Hull.

Managers (1915-19): George Beeching, 114 Westbourne Ave., Hull;         

                                   John E.A. Kelsall, 'Donegal House', Love Lane, Billingsgate, London.  

                 7 Jun 1919: John Slater, 7 East India Ave., London EC3  

                    28 Sep 1928: Robert Burton, St.Andrew's Dock, Hull.

                 16 Sep 1932: Charles Hugh Emerson, St.Andrew's Dock, Hull.


9 Oct 1936:  Yolland & Llewellin Trawling Co, Docks, Milford.

Manager: John Yolland, Snr.


30 Apr 1937:  Yolland Trawling Co., Docks, Milford.

Manager (15 Jun): John C. Llewellin.


25 Mar 1941:  Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Co., Fleetwood.

Manager: Basil A. Parkes, Cleveleys.


16 Apr 1943:  James Johnson, Scarborough.


20 Oct 1944: Pair Fishing Co., Milford

Manager: Henry J. Richards, Docks, Milford


18 Mar 1946:  John C. Llewellin, Docks, Milford


14 Jun 1946:  Walton Fishing Co., Milford

Manager: John Charles Llewellin.


Landed at Milford: 20 Oct 1936 - 12 Mar 1941; 25 Oct 1944 - 11 Mar 1946

Skippers: Harold King (1938-40)


Grackle is a name applied to various birds of the genus Gracula, including Mynas, and in angling the name of an artificial fly.

Feb 1915:  Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a minesweeper (Admy.No.1218). 1 x 6 pdr.

1918: Based at Devonport.

12 Mar 1919: Returned to owners.

11 Apr 1940: Towed HATSUSE into Milford from the west coast of Ireland. (See Skipper's statement below.)

19 May 1955: Hull registry closed; broken up.

[Information kindly supplied by Gil Mayes.]

 Accidents and Incidents

From an unknown local newspaper of c. 2nd March 1939:


   The sad news was received at Milford on Monday by the owners of the steam trawler "Grackle" (Messrs. Yolland and Llewellin) in a wire from the skipper, that the third hand, George Marjoram, age 29, of Glebelands, Hakin, had been washed overboard and drowned.  There no details as to how the sad fatality occurred.

    The "Grackle", with her companion pair vessel "Grenada", left Milford docks on Wednesday evening of last week.  Mr Marjoram leaves a young widow, a daughter of Mr Goffin, Hakin, and one child.  He was a native of Lowestoft, and had worked out of Milford for some years.

    The vessel was working on the Westward hake grounds.


Statement by Harold King of 10, Waterloo Rd., Hakin, Milford.   12th April 1940. 

I am the Skipper of the steam trawler “Grackle” of the port of Hull, H224, Official Number 136226.  I have been Skipper of this ship for about two years.  We fished out of Milford and we left this port on the 2nd April (Tuesday) 1940, bound for the fishing grounds. 

On 8th April (Wednesday), we were fishing in lat. 52.30N long. 12.10W , off the West Coast of Ireland.  About 9 o’clock that evening we sighted a vessel showing distress signals.  He was about two miles away, bearing west south west from us.  We had just then hauled our gear and was preparing to shoot again.  We proceeded to the vessel and spoke to him.  The wind then was north north west, moderate, but a big swell.  He told me that the tail end shaft was broken and that he required assistance, and I told him I would tow him to Milford and he agreed.  We manoeuvred our vessel and eventually got a line aboard the other vessel, and he hauled in about 120 fathoms of our combination rope (about four inches in diameter).  We shackled our combination to his anchor cable and when all was made fast we commenced the tow.  We were some time getting fixed up and the tow actually started about 10.45 that night.  The weather then was moderate and a heavy swell from the west with wind from north north west. 

At 12.30 a.m. on the 9th, our ship on rising on a swell, parted the swivel half way in the combination.  We heaved our part back on board and he did the same with his part.  There was considerable danger to us in a following sea taking the broken combination and fouling our propeller.  We steamed round him then, and told him that we would pass back to him our combination with a big shackle attached to it, so that he could fix up his end to it.  We got our combination all fixed up and we then had to steam round him again and threw our line to him, and he then hauled in our part of the combination.  We got all fixed up again and started to about 1.30 a.m. on the 9th (Tuesday).  The weather was about the same.   

About half an hour after we started to tow again, the combination parted, again owing to the westerly swell.  We then got ready 120 fathom of a brand new combination and we steamed around him and told this, but he said he wished us to take 150 fathom of his steel wire, and we succeeded in getting this connected up to our vessel.  We had to do a lot of steaming and manoeuvring around him to get this fixed up, and it took some time.  We started towing after getting all fixed up and it was then about 3 a.m. on the 9th (Tuesday). 

We carried on then with the weather about the same, and the “Hatsuse” ranging in the heavy swell making the tow all the heavier.  As we approached the Fastnet the wind went to the east (moderate), being a head wind all the way to the Smalls, making the tow more difficult, then the wind dropped but still from the east. 

We arrived off the Milford Docks at 1.30 p.m. GMT on Thursday, April 11th 1940.  About two miles off St. Anne’s Head we shortened the tow wire and we then got up to an anchorage off the Milford Docks.  We went up alongside him and dropped our anchor and he made fast to us.  He was taken into Milford Docks by the Docks tug on last night’s tide.  By Dock Regulations only a Dock tug is allowed to take vessels into Dock. 

The crew of my vessel eleven men all told and we were coaled, iced and provisioned for a trip of 14 to 15 days.  We were fishing as a pair with out S.T. “Grenada”, and I had a talk with him when we sighted the “Hatsuse”, and he came on after us as in the event of no serious assistance being required we would have both gone on with our fishing as a pair.  On account of this, and that we rendered the services, the “Grenada” came along with us to render further assistance to the “Hatsuse” if this was required.  He was with us up to the Old Head of Kinsale, and I then told him to get back to Milford with his fish.  He left us at 7.30 on Wednesday morning.  We saw no lights of vessels when we picked up the “Hatsuse”, but we sighted the lights of a few fishing vessels to the  east of us, after we had been towing about three hours.  We saw very few vessels until we got to the Smalls.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 14th March 1941:


    The gunners who gave a splendid account of themselves in the recent attack on their trawlers were Mr. Arthur (Toddy) Evans, and Mr. Frank Hawkins.  Mr. Evans, who has four brothers in the Services, lives at Pembroke Dock, his wife, before marriage being Miss Lilian Smith, Gwyther Street.  He is a son of Mrs. Evans, Brooke Avenue, Milford.  Hawkins, who is also in his 30s, is married, and lives at Shakespeare Avenue.


[ Mr. Evans was aboard the GRACKLE, and Mr. Hawkins was on the P & Y. ]


From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 15th February 1946:


    As a direct sequel to the dispute between the Skippers and Mates Section of the T. & G.W.U and the owners of pair fishing trawlers over the employment of Spanish Fishing Masters, the Spanish method of pareja-fishing has ceased at Milford.

    The "Charmouth" and "Grackle" have already been converted to fish solo, while the "Trumpeter" and "Shama", the other boats belonging to the Pair Fishing Co., will be converted later this month.  The Don Trawler Company's "Tanager" and "Grosbeak" are also coming in for alterations pending their return to fishing singly.

    It will be remembered that the skippers and mates claimed that demobilised local skippers should be put in as masters instead of the Spanish uncertificated fishermen holding the berths, one on each trawler in addition to a normal skipper.  The owners claimed that the Spaniards were indispensable, and that if the Union persisted, they would either move their boats to another port, or convert them to fish singly.  There was a deadlock for a few weeks, and as the skippers and mates were adamant, the trawlers are being converted, but will not leave the port.

    Taking another step in their new policy of fishing with single boats, the Pair Fishing Company has purchased the Castle boat "John Lister" from the Iago Trawling Company of Fleetwood, with which Capt. E. D. W. Lawford is associated.  She will be at Milford early next month, and Skipper Reggie High will be in charge of her.

    The "Charmouth" has been taken out on her first solo trip by Skipper Jack Garnham.




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