Official No:  144513    Port and Year:   London, 1920 (LO349)

                                                                   Boulogne, 1933 (B ?)

Description: Castle Class steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged.

Crew:  11 men (1920).

Built: 1920 by J. P. Rennoldson & Co, South Shields (Yard no. 317)

Tonnage: 276 grt  113 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 125.4  / 23.4 / 12.6

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 69 rhp.; by builders. 




21 Apr 1920: The Secretary of the Admiralty, Whitehall, London SW1.

Managing owner.


13 Aug 1920:  Fishermens’ Cooperative Trawling Society Ltd. [See notes below.]


6 Feb 1922: Arthur S. Bowlby, Gilston Park, Harlow, Essex

Manager: Leonard C. Cockrell, The Docks, Milford.

                Edward D. W. Lawford, Docks, Milford. (By 1930.)

20 Mar 1922: As LOCH NEVIS LO349


17 Nov 1932: Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Co. Ltd, Dock St., Fleetwood

Manager: Basil A. Parkes, 'Wellvale', Warbrick Hill Rd., Blackpool.


Oct 1933: As ST. SIMON B ?

Nov 1933: Soc. Anon. des Pêcheries Saint-Pierre, Boulogne.

Manager: P. H. Ficheux.


1934: Pêcheries de la Morinie, Boulogne.

Manager: P. H. Ficheux.


Landed at Milford: As PATRICK DONOVAN: 4 Jul 1920 - 9 Mar 1921;  8 Feb - 9 Mar 1922.

As LOCH NEVIS: 22 Mar 1922 - 9 Mar 1930.



Patrick Donavon, age 26, born Dublin; OS, HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN, at Trafalgar.

Loch Nevis is a sea loch in Lochaber on the west coast of Scotland. [Wikipedia.]

1920:  Allocated to the Government scheme for the setting up of the Fishermens’ Cooperative Trawling Society Ltd., London. 

20 Jun 1920:  Completed as a fishing vessel ex fishing gear.  Sold to mercantile.

Jan 1922: Fishermens’ Cooperative scheme abandoned, and laid up.

Mar 1930: Transferred to Fleetwood when Edward D. W. Lawford moved his vessels to the port.

8 Nov 1934: Taken in tow by Grimsby trawler COLLINGWOOD, but sank at 10am when 70 miles from Grimsby.  Crew of 17, including two injured men, were landed in Grimsby. 

[The Times, Saturday 10th November 1934.]

[ Thanks for information on the Cooperative Society from Gil Mayes. ]

Accidents and Incidents:

Statement taken on board the Steam Trawler "Loch Nevis" on Tuesday night the tenth day of December 1929:


I, George Henry Thomas, Skipper of the above Steam Trawler make the following statement:


    I left Milford Haven on Monday the ninth December 1929 at 11a.m., and steamed West by South from St Ann's Head for a distance of 24 miles. The weather on leaving Milford was very rough, the wind being very strong and the sea heavy.  This weather continued for twenty three miles and continued to get worse. I was proceeding to a distance of about 45 miles to the Smalls Fishing Ground. 

    At about 4.p.m. on the afternoon of the ninth December I received a message from the watch on deck that a Steamer was on my port bow at a distance of roughly two to three miles.  The weather at this time was very bad with a strong wind from the West and the sea very bad. The Steamer was flying the international signal code distress signal represented by flags N.C. and also two black balls vertically on the fore stay.  The ship was also blowing its whistle, obviously with the object of attracting my attention as my course was taking me past it.  I altered course immediately and proceeded to steam to the ship's assistance, and found great difficulty in handling my ship to bring her near owing to the sea then being on my beam. 

    I eventually got near enough to bring my ship starboard to port of the other ship, being the lee side of the other ship.  We were then hailed by an Officer from the after part of the vessel through a megaphone but it was difficult to understand his message owing to the very strong wind and the severe rolling of both vessels.  I again dropped astern and then went ahead again to try and get his message. The other ship's propeller appeared to be revolving but she was wallowing broadside on the Westerly sea. I got near the vessel again and saw the rudder swinging loose and proceeded so close to the vessel (in order to catch a megaphone message) that the swell being so heavy, the other vessel rolling heavily in a trough, and her port side crashed on to my starboard side doing damage to my vessel.

    I immediately put my helm hard to starboard to clear the other vessel. I saw then that she was the  "Cato"  of Bristol.  I shouted asking him did he want assistance and he replied, "Yes, my rudder head is gone.  I will float a lifebuoy over my stern, we will tow you and you are to steer us." 

    I then went to the lee quarter of the  "Cato"  to pick up the buoy he had floated.  We picked up the line floated by the buoy, but through shortage of this line it parted.  The same procedure was again adopted, though the sea was very rough and the wind very strong from the same quarter.  We picked up the buoy and line and we gave him new wire hawsers one for each quarter.  The  "Cato"  shipped these hawsers and got away, but very slowly ahead.  I stood my ship off about three hundred fathoms to steer with safety.

    It was raining heavily and darkness had set in. The  "Cato" then was making sufficient way to keep my hawsers taut and consequently she was sheering me anything from East North East round to South South East with danger to my ship.  This continued until nearly daylight next morning and our position had scarcely altered. 

    Then about 6.30 a.m. on Tuesday morning the tenth of December a little headway was made.  This time the flood tide was on. We could see the lights of St Ann's, St Govans and Caldy.  I then shortened tn my hawsers after having morsed a message to the  "Cato"  - "Can't you tow harder", to which he replied, "No."

    I shortened wire to try and help him tow better. The "Cato" still continued to deviate considerably from the course which we were trying to steer, and there was still lots of danger for my ship. This continued until about ten o'clock a.m., when I shortened the hawsers to within hailing distance. Because very little headway was being made I hailed the  "Cato"  and said, "If you can will you slip my wires I will tow you."  He said,"Yes", and straight away slipped my wires. I hauled the wires in but could

not get them all in as they were cable laid.  I was forced to cut parts of the cables and lost a considerable amount. I then laid astern until my wires were ready to be picked up by the  "Cato". 

    Immediately the wires were hauled in the bow of the  "Cato"  swung towards Caldy Island and was making some headway.  The weather had now somewhat moderated.  About three quarters of an hour afterwards I got two wires on board the  "Cato" with the aid of a lifebuoy dropped astern by the  "Cato".   I told him that I had about 600 fathoms of wire cable, and he said, "That  will do, I want you to give me plenty of tow rope and leave me well astern."  l told him that I had plenty out.

    I then started to tow him with about 200 fathoms of rope and squared away on our Bristol Channel course about South East by East.  The sea was a little moderated but was still very bad.  Everything proceeded fair until I got in the vicinity of between the Nash Point and the Breaksea Lightship.  We were doing five knots approximately.  The port wire then parted, and I reduced speed to  to three knots as I was afraid of carrying away my starboard wire. I continued towing with one wire, as to stop would probably have meant the  "Cato"  swinging on to the Breaksea Point.

    I succeeded in generally a course from East by South to South East, and arrived off Barry Island by 7.p.m.on Tuesday night the 10th December 1929.  Whilst towing him towards Barry Island Roads, the  "Cato"  dropped anchor and slipped our wire.  I took in the wire and again found it cable laid and 1 had to cut away about 70 to 100 fathoms.

(Sgd.)   G. H. Thomas.



 From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 16th May 1930:



£3,000 Awarded Milford Haven Trawler



    The salving of the steamship Cato, the property of the Bristol Steam Navigation Company (Limited), which got into difficulty in the Bristol Channel in bad weather in December, 1929, was the subject of a claim in the Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice on Tuesday by the Iago Steam Trawler Company, the owners of the steam trawler Loch Nevis, with her master and crew.

    Mr. E. A. Digby, K.C., and K. S. Carpmael (instructed by Messrs. Pritchard and Sons, agents for Messrs. Eaton Evans and Williams) represented the plaintiffs, while Mr. D. Stephens, K.C., and Mr. H. C. S. Dumas (instructed by Messrs Thomas Cooper and Co.) were counsel for the defendants.

    According to the the plaintiffs the Loch Nevis which had left Milford Haven on the morning of the 9th for the fishing grounds off the Smalls saw the Cato about 4 p.m. flying signals of distress.  The Loch Nevis went to her assistance, and in the effort to get close to her the two vessels collided with the result that considerable damage was done to the Loch Nevis.  As the rudder of the Cato was out of action the Loch Nevis made fast astern to assist her to steer, and next day, after they had gone some distance, took her in tow as far as Barry Roads, where the Cato dropped anchor.  The Loch Nevis then lay by, and on the 12th supplied the Cato with provisions.  As a result of rendering these services the Loch Nevis lost fifty days fishing, and suffered damage which cost £1,356 to repair.

    For the Cato it was pleaded that the collision between the two vessels was due to careless navigation on the part of the trawler and caused serious damage to the Cato.

    Mr. Justice Bateson, in awarding £3,000 to the trawler, said he wished he could have made the award much larger.  The trawler did her work like many of these trawlers had done in the most plucky and effective way and saved the Cato from a position of danger in very bad weather.




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