As HMT GWENLLIAN FY.544
Official No: 128752 Port Number and Year: 5th in Milford, 1911
- in Fleetwood, 1919 (FD102)
Description: Steel side / beam trawler; steam screw; coal burner. Ketch rigged: foresail and mizzen.
Crew: 9 men (1911).
Registered at Milford: 15 May 1911
Built: Smith Docks Co., South Bank on Tees, Middlesborough, 1911. (Yard No. 467)
Tonnage: 219.69 gross 84.82 net
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 116.6 (31 May 1911: amended to 117.4) / 21.6 / 11.8
Engine: T.3-cyl. 76 nhp. 1911, by Smith's Dock Co Ltd, South Bank-on-Tees, Middlesbrough.
Boiler: 1910, by S. B. Richardson, Westgarth & Co., Middlesborough
17 May 1911: Morgan Watkin Howell, 29 Hamilton Tce., Milford.
11 Apr 1918: Henry Carl Smethurst )
John Wentringham Smethurst ) Fish Dock Road, Great Grimsby.
William Wentringham Smethurst )
Managing owner: John W. Smethurst.
24 Mar 1919: New Docks Steam Trawling Co., Orient Buildings, Station Rd., Fleetwood.
Manager: Joseph A. Taylor. (1919)
William W. Brierley (1924)
1939: Clifton Steam Trawlers, Station Rd., Fleetwood.
Manager: Hulbert M. Bird.
Landed at Milford: 25 May 1911 - 11 Aug 1914
H.J. Hewer cert. 6526, age 36, born Gorleston:, signed on 1 Jan 1912
George C. Nichols 0538, 46, Stamford; 10 Feb, 1 Jul 1912; 11 Jan 1913
B. Bryant 4468, 40, Yarmouth; 18 Feb 1913
Robert Major Limbrick 7616, 51, London; 9 Apr 1913
Gwenllian was the wife of Morgan Watkin Howell.
Aug 1914: Requisitioned for war service and converted to a minesweeper (Adm.No. 354). 1x3pdr. Based at Lowestoft.
9 Feb 1915: Sailed for Dardanelles campaign. (Sk. R.M. Limbrick, RNR). [See local newspaper article below.]
1919: Returned to owners.
12 Nov 1933: Together with LUCIDA, both seized by the Fishery Cruiser DOON when fishing off Barra without lights, and escorted to Campbeltown. [The Times, Tuesday 14 Nov 1933.]
Nov 1939: Requisitioned for war service and converted to a minesweeper (P.No. FY.544)
22 May 1946: Returned to owners.
Jul 1946: Sold for breaking up.
Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 24 Mar 1919. Transferred to Fleetwood owners.
Accidents and Incidents:
From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 31st May 1911:
NEW VESSELS ARRIVE
There has for some time been a suspension in the addition of new trawlers to the port. Indeed for some months past matters have been moving in the opposite direction and several vessels have been sold, chiefly to foreign owners, the latest to change being the "Alpha", owned by Messrs. Blethyn, Gill and Kinnard, which is to follow the "Reliance" to Dieppe. However, this week has seen the arrival of two new vessels of a modern type. On Thursday the "Gwenllian", built by the Smiths Dock Trust, at South Bank, for Mr. M. W. Howell, landed her maiden catch, which grossed £125 with markets down. She was brought round by Captain G. Nicholls and her skipper will be Captain H. Hewer.
From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 14th February 1912:
A couple of rather serious cases of trawlermen being taken so ill at sea that the vessels had to return to Milford with all speed are reported on Friday night. Mr William Pain, Chief Engineer of the steam trawler 'Gwenllian', was brought ashore suffering from pleurisy, and it was necessary to convey him to his home in Brooke Avenue on the ambulance. .................
From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 21st April 1915:
Milford Skippers Home from the Dardanelles.
TRAWLERS' DARING WORK UNDER FIRE.
Deed Worthy of V.C. by Skipper Woodgate and His Crew.
The work of the mine-sweepers in the naval operations at the Dardanelles has been brought prominently before the public during the past month, and we are now able to bring some of the most thrilling incidents of this memorable campaign to the notice of our readers. Amongst the fleet of trawlers engaged in these perilous operations were five of the best trawlers belonging to the port of Milford Haven, viz: the G.M. (owner Captain H. Dove): Beatrice (Mr James Thomas): Koorah (Brand & Company); Syringa (Sellick, Morley Price) and Gwenllian (Mr M. W. Howell). The latter's experience was recorded last week in a letter from the skipper. On Sunday the skippers of the five ships arrived home in Milford Haven. and all have remarkable stories to tell. Their names given in the order of their ships mentioned above are — Captain H. James, senior; Captain H. James, junior (two cousins); Captain Robert Woodgate; Captain J. Blake, and Captain R. Limbrick.
A representative of the" Telegraph" called upon Captain Harry James, senior, at his home in Robert Street, on Monday and congratulated him upon his safe homing coming. Glad to be home again, Skipper?
Aye, that I am, though it did not look like it on more than one occasion, but, you can take it the sweepers have done fine work out there. Just look at these (here Captain James produced three memoranda from the officer commanding eulogising the work of the trawlers).
Speaking of his experiences since they left Milford in August last Captain James said they spent most of the time in the North Sea, and were attached to the Lowestoft base, and were in the swim at the time of the first German raid on the East coast. It was in the early part of February that they were sent to Devonport to fit out for the Mediterranean and left for Malta. A month later they were in the thick of it, and after a short spell in the Dardanelles his ship the "G.M." and the "Beatrice" were sent with others to the Gulf of Smyrna to work with Admiral Peirse's squadron where he had his baptism of fire. The sweeping is done by pairs. It was here that the trawler "Okino" (of Grimsby) was blown up, probably by a mine, and the "Beatrice" was her sweeping partner. They had completed a sweep, and the "Beatrice" had slipped the sweep wire and was proceeding back to the fleet, leaving the "Okino" to heave in the wire. The latter vessel then followed and had been steaming about five minutes when she was blown up. She went down in about two minutes, and out of the crew of 15 hands ten were killed or drowned. One of the saved was a Milford man—Fred Ingram, second engineer. He had just been oiling the engines when suddenly the dynamo was hurled from its place and flew past him into the bilge. This was the first sign to him that some- thing had happened and he rushed on deck, only to see that the ship was doomed. He jumped overboard and being a strong swimmer was able to take his life-saving collar from his belt, inflate it, and fasten it round his neck. He managed to cling to some wreckage, and after struggling in the water for hours was picked up by the picket boat. The "G.M." also was under heavy fire and with its partner, the "Achilles" (Grimsby) led the fleet in the attack on the Smyrna forts. How we came out of that corner, I do not know, said the skipper, shells and shrapnel were bursting all round, but there were no casualties. The "Beatrice" received a shell in the fore side of the funnel, and part of the missile penetrated into the stoke-hold and a piece of shrapnel struck the chief engineer, William Holland, of Milford Haven, on the head. He was afterwards operated upon and has now recovered.
All the ships were continually under fire, and although they were hit repeatedly, the shells and shrapnel did not strike the vital parts. Some had remarkable escapes, as for instance, one trawler was struck by a shell aft. It went through the bunkers, the fish room, cutting the main stanchion, through 25 tons of ballast and out through the bow. In another case the shell went clean through a trawler from side to side. His experiences in the Dardanelles were not so exciting as at Smyrna, though always dangerous.
The "Telegraph" man next sought out Capt. Robert Woodgate at his house in Brooke Avenue. Modestly but very fully, the skipper unfolded his story, which we venture to think cannot escape the notice of the naval authorities for the deed is worthy of the best traditions of British valour and seamanship. He said that the "Gwenllian" (Capt. Limbrick) and the "Manse Hero" were sweeping partners operating on the fatal night in the Straits when the latter vessel was blown up. The "Koorah" (Capt Woodgate) with other trawlers were on their way down, when the explosion was heard, and cries proceeded from the waters. Capt. Woodgate continued I turned my ship round as I could not bear to think of leaving the poor fellows to drown and we got within call. I asked for volunteers from the crew to launch and man the boat, and boatswain Joseph Abbot, with deck hands Thos. Thompson, and Robert Strachan, at once responded. I myself dared not leave the bridge. The boat got away, and the men from the lost trawler were picked up and brought aboard the Koorah. He got down from the bridge and asked if all were safe and the reply came that the whole crew of eleven had been rescued. He then ordered the boat to be brought on deck, and as it was being heaved up by the tackle a shot from the shore shattered it to pieces. He then told the men all to get under cover and he turned his ship back down the Straits. As his was the last ship, he had the powerful search-lights from both sides concentrated upon him. He was literally peppered from both sides, but noticing that the shots were missing by a certain distance he made towards the north shore. Had he steered down the centre he did not believe they could possibly have survived the fire. It took exactly an hour and a quarter to get clear, and to his dying day die will never forget the experience.
That the authorities appreciate the work of these men is shown by the fact that a special signal of congratulation was sent to the skippers in command by the Vice-Admiral.
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