Ashore at Freshwater West, May 1906 [See newspaper story below]

Courtesy of Mike Bennett

Official No:  108322    Port and Year: 52nd in London, 1898 (LO164)

                                                                 17th  in Swansea, 1906 (SA25)

                                                                     -    in Aberdeen, 1912 (A439)

                                                                     -    in  Grimsby, 1918 (GY1213)

Description: Iron side / beam trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged.

Crew:  9 men (1912)

Built: 1898; by Edward Bros., North Shields.  (Yard no. 565)

Tonnage: 153 grt  53 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 105.5  / 20.8  / 10.9

Engine: T.3-cyl; 56 rhp;  by North East Marine Engineering Co., Sunderland



As LO164

Mar 1898: Castle Steam Trawlers Co. Ltd., London.

Manager: George Hogarth Douglas Birt.


As SA25

13 Aug 1906: Castle Steam Trawlers, South Dock Basin, Swansea.

Manager: Crawford Heron.


16 Dec 1908: John Cairns, St Margaret’s, Fife; & James William Petersen, Edinburgh.

Managing owner: James William Petersen. 


As A439

15 Jan 1912: Thomas Stephen, 172 Markey St., Aberdeen.

Managing owner.


As GY1213

10 Oct 1918: Charles Dobson, Fish Docks, Grimsby.

Managing owner.


Landed at Milford: 26 Apr 1898 - 16 Jul 1904

Skippers: 1898-99: Limbrick

1899: Murgatroyd; Horth;.

1900: Murgatroyd; Garnish; Newman; Taylor.

1901 - 02: Newman

1902 - 04: Cobley


Manorbier Castle is a Norman castle located in the village of Manorbier, five miles south-west of Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

27 May 1906: Ran aground at Freshwater West.  (See story below.)

12 Jun 1906: Salved by the Rouse family of Hazelbeach, Pembrokeshire.

Jun 1915: Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a boom defence vessel based at Scapa Flow, Orkney; later accommodation ship.

1920: Returned to owners.

Dec 1921: Broken up.

05 Dec 1921: Grimsby registry closed.

 [Thanks to Andy Hall for information.]

Accidents and Incidents

The Times, Thursday, Dec 21, 1899; pg. 15; Issue 36018; col A
     Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division.


    This action was brought by the owners, masters and crews of the steam trawlers Skomer and Manorbier Castle to recover salvage for services rendered to the barque Ryevale, her cargo and freight, off the south coast of Ireland between November 5 and 9 of this year.  The Skomer is a steam trawler of 151 tons gross register, with a crew of nine hands, and with engines of 350-horse power indicated.  Her value is £5,500.  The Manorbier Castle is a steam trawler of 52 net register, with a crew of nine hands, and with engines of 3[??]-horse power indicated.  Her value is £5,500.  The Ryevale is a barque of 873 tons gross register, with a crew of 17 hands.  About 3 a.m. on November 3, when on a voyage from Shields to Callao with a cargo of coal, cement and other bulk goods, her main topmast and main top-gallant mast carried away, and her main yard became untrussed.  About 6 a.m. on the same morning the Skomer, which at the time was lying-to owing to bad weather about 125 miles to the southward of the Old Head of Kinsale, fell in with the Ryedale in her injured condition.  It was agreed that the Skomer should stand by the Ryevale and tow her to the nearest port.  The vessels were made fast, and about 1 p.m. the towage commenced, but the hawsers parted about 3 p.m. The Manorbier Castle had by this time come up in the course of a voyage from Milford Haven to the fishing grounds off the south coast of Ireland.  Both trawlers were then made fast to the Ryevale, and the towage again commenced.  The ropes twice parted during the night of November 6.  On the morning of November 7 the Manorbier Castle broke adrift, and the Skomer towed alone.  The Manorbier Castle then left for Queenstown for further assistance.  The Ryevale anchored about 9 a.m. on that day, being then about tem miles to the southward of Roche's Point.  The crew of the Ryevale went on board the trawlers.  About 11 a.m. on November 8 the Skomer took the master of the Ryevale to Queenstown, where new ropes were obtained.  About 7.30 a.m. on November 9 the two trawlers again took the Ryevale in tow and brought her to a safe anchorage in Queenstown by noon of that day.  The value of the Ryedale was £2,600, of her cargo £1,183 10s. 6d., and of her freight £442 6s. 7d., in all £4,225 17s.1d.

    Mr. Robson, Q.C., and Mr. Bateson, appeared for the Skomer; Mr. Aspinall, Q.C., and Mr. Sutton Timmis for the other plaintiffs; and Mr. Lang, Q.C., and Mr. Batten, for the defendants.

    mr. justice bucknill, in giving judgement yesterday, said that this was a very valuable service, indeed he had seldom heard of a case in which the work had been better done.  He did not believe that the crew of the Ryevale had shown any signs of cowardness, or that her master had any intention of abandoning her.  The services deserved a high award, and he would give the sum of £1,470, which he would apportion between the two trawlers by giving £840 to the Skomer (of which £700 would go to the owners, £40 to the master, £25 to the mate, and £75 to the crew) and £630 to the Manorbier Castle (of which £500 would go to the owners, £40 to the master, £15 to the mate, and £75 to the crew).  In each case the crew's shares would be divided according to the rating, and those who did the boat work would have half a share extra.



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 5th December 1902:




            Yesterday morning the trawler "Manorbier Castle" belonging to the Castle Line towed in one of Messrs Morley, Sellick and Price's vessels that she had found lying at anchor off Thorn's Island with her main shaft broken.   



The Times, Tuesday, Dec 15, 1903; pg. 6; Issue 37264; col F
     Shipping Disaster.


The Milford Haven steam trawler Weymouth Castle [ sic ] put into Milford yesterday morning and reported the loss of five of her crew and one of the crew of the Manorbier Castle, another Milford trawler.  The disaster occurred in Corunna Bay on Thursday evening.  The weather being too rough for fishing, five men from the Weymouth Castle and five from the Manorbier Castle went ashore in one boat.  Two hours later, when the boat was expected to return, cries were heard.  A boat put off from the Weymouth Castle, manned by Skipper Longthorpe and some others.  They found that the boat with the ten men had met with a heavy surf.  Seven were washed out of her, and one of these, the boatswain of the Manorbier Castle, swam ashore, and was taken off the rocks next morning.  The skipper, second engineer and a deckhand of the Manorbier Castle managed to keep in the boat, and were rescued.  The following is a list of the drowned: Alfred Brown, deckhand, Milford, married; William Seymour, boatswain, Brixham; Samuel Knight, third hand, Milford, married; William Holman, second engineer, Milford, married; and William Varley, trimmer, Milford, single, all of the Weymouth Castle; and Jack Garnett of Hull, formerly of Milford, third hand, of the Manorbier Castle.


[Note: Skipper Longthorpe was skipper of the WEYMOUTH; there was no trawler named WEYMOUTH CASTLE. ]


From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 18th December 1903:


Disaster to a Milford Trawler 

Two Milford Haven trawlers, when they came into dock on Monday morning, had a grim tragedy of the sea to reveal. The news has spread sadness over the district and brought desolation into a few homes. Six fishermen who went out from this port a few days ago are now lying beneath the waves off the Spanish coast. The Manorbier Castle, belonging to Spanish Steam Trawlers Company, and the Weymouth and the Portsmouth, owned by Messrs. Sellick Morley, and Price, were fishing off Corunna and Cape Ortegal, on the Spanish coast. Thursday was boisterous, wind, hail and rain making fishing impossible. Five of the crew of the Manorbier Castle and five men of the Weymouth begged leave to go ashore just to say that they had been in Spain They were given leave, for how long is uncertain, but at eleven at night the ten men got into one of the Manorbier Castle's boats to go aboard their respective ships. Just what next happened can only be conjectured, as the night was pitchy dark and the boat was hidden from the vessels in a small bay. What is known is that shrieks and cries were heard, and a boat was put off from the Weymouth to see what was wrong. They found that instead of ten men, three men were only in the boat, namely, the skipper, second engineer and deck hand of the Manorbier Castle. These reported a that whilst the boat was passing through heavy surf seven men were washed away by the heavy seas they shipped. Of these seven, one, the bos’un of the Manorbier Castle, was picked up alive next morning on the rocks. The bodies of the other six have since been found. The three survivors on the Manorbier Castle have since been landed at Milford.  Of the six men drowned four were married and belonged to Milford.  Jack Garrett, one of the Manorbier Castle’s crew drowned, though living at Hull was well known  at Milford, his father being skipper of one of the first trawlers.  The names of the other men drowned are:

William Seymour, boatswain, married, belonging to Brixham.

William Holman, second engineer, married, of Milford.

William Brown, dock hand, married, belonging to Hubberstone.

Thomas Knight, better known as Smoker, third hand, native of Yarmouth; married, and living at Hakin.

William Varley, trimmer, single, native of North Shields.

The trawler Portsmouth put a crew aboard the Weymouth to bring the vessel home.

A. Fonseka, a coloured man, cook on the Weymouth interviewed by a reporter, said that no one on board the Weymouth could tell how the accident happened. Besides being dark, the night was wild.  The boat of the Manorbier Castle was in a little bight and hidden from the view of those on the Weymouth when she capsized. All he knows is that five men from the Weymouth were in the boat when she capsized, and all were drowned.

Skipper Longthorpe was in charge of the Weymouth this voyage, but the regular skipper is William Melland.


The Steam trawler Manorbier Castle with the survivors on board arrived at Milford on Tuesday morning. One of these men named Carl Kraemmer who was a deck-hand on the Manorbier Castle has in the course of an interviewed stated "Ten of us went ashore between four and five in the afternoon of Thursday five from the Manorbier Castle and five from the Weymouth. We left shore to return to ship somewhere about 10.30 p.m. I was sitting forward in the bow.  We had been pulling for some time along the shore, for perhaps a quarter of a mile, but were not go far from the land when an argument was started as to who could pull best. The bo'sun rose up, and the third hand called out to him to sit down. At that moment the boat turned over, and we were all thrown into the water. In the heavy surf the boat the boat rolled over and over. The first time she rolled over there were six or seven of us clinging to her. The second time there was only the skipper Yelland and myself, and the third time there was also the second engineer, Billy Albert. We three managed to right her, and climbed in but we were sitting with the water up to our chests, expecting every moment to go under, when a boat from the Weymouth came and took us off. The bo'sun had swam ashore.  He told us afterwards that when pitched out of the boat he managed to divest himself of the clothes, and kicked off his boots, and swam ashore. The Spaniards gave him dry clothes, and were very kind. Next morning a boat took him off. Asked why the Manorbier Castle was so far behind the other trawlers, Kraemmer said they met bad weather, and had to lie to for eighteen hours. Asked as to the condition of himself and the other survivors, he said he was all right.  The bo'sun had his feet cut by the rocks, but suffered no other inconvenience. The second engineer was in a bad way when rescued, but was all right before they made port.

A graphic description of the affair has also been given by W. A. Maw, the boatswain of the Manorbier Castle, who says, "We left the boat”, he told a reporter, “about 4.30 or or 5 pm.  There were five from our boat and five from the Weymouth, and we were sent ashore to buy provisions, paraffin, etc. We got paraffin at the first shop, but not the food, but were told to come back next morning. We had a drink or two, several of us, but nothing to speak of, and then away. We went to another place, where we bad a sing-song, and another drink or two, which finished me up, as it did the skipper, the second engineer, the third band and deck hand of the Weymouth. While we were in this house four of our party went into a public-house and three of them got the worse for drink. We went and looked for them. We found the skipper and said it was time to get back. We found all the men. and saw that another two were the worse for drink. We put off about 10.30 or 11 p.m. and when we were three-quarters of a mile from the shore there was a quarrel in the boat between the bo'sun and the trimmer of the Weymouth as to who could pull best. The men got up and there was a rush to one side, and the boat capsized. When I came up I looked round, and all I could see my skipper and third hand clinging to the overturned boat, while another man was making his way to the boat. I saw that the boat would not sustain us all, and struggling out of my sea boots I struck out for the shore. Someone grabbed me and took me down twice with him. When I was nearly exhausted he let go and sank. I don't know who it was. I made straight for the shore, but when utterly exhausted and about to give up my foot touched bottom, and aided by the waves I reached the rocks. I fell unconscious, and again felt myself in the water. I struggled to the face of the rocks, which were too steep to climb, for over five hours. Then I found a small opening and made my way to the village. They could not understand me, but by signs I told them what had happened and they gave me dry clothes. At daylight men, women, and children escorted me to the beach, the women crying when they understood my mates had been drowned. Six men launched a boat to take me out to the trawlers, and then I saw a trawler’s boat searching for bodies, and was taken aboard." The bo'sun added that his feet were lacerated and cut by the rocks over which he had to climb. They bad a very rough passage home to Milford.




From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 1st June 1906:



EX-MILFORD TRAWLER ASHORE. The steam trawler Manorbier Castle, belonging to the Castle Steam Trawlers, Ltd., Swansea, formerly of Milford Haven, has gone ashore in the fog at Freshwater West, near Angle Point. The crew made signals of distress and were taken off by the Angle Lifeboat. The vessel got broadside on the sands, where she still remains. This part of the South Pembrokeshire coast is most treacherous,and many vessels have been wrecked at the spot. The vessel bad a good take of fish when she went ashore. The coarse fish was destroyed, but the finer fish — soles, turbots, etc. — were carted to Angle, and thence across the Haven to Milford, and sold on Milford Fish Market on Wednesday. 

    On Sunday morning tidings were received at the port of Milford Haven that the steam trawler "Manorbier Castle", belonging to the Castle Steam Trawlers Ltd., Swansea, formerly of Milford Haven, had gone aground on the sands of Freshwater West on the Pembrokeshire Coast, in dense fog.      The vessel got broadside on to the shore at high tide and the ship's crew, perceiving their perilous position, flew distress signals.  They were subsequently rescued and brought ashore safely by the Angle lifeboat.  The vessel was left stranded and firmly embedded in the sand.

    On Monday, Captain T. M. Pickering from the Castle Steam Trawlers Ltd., visited the scene of the disaster.  This part of the coast is a particularly dangerous one, and local people are well aware  that many a vessel has become a total wreck at this spot.  There will be considerable difficulty experienced in trying to get the  "Manorbier Castle" off the beach.  Indeed the opinion is expressed that she will probably never be floated from her position.

    The skipper of the "Manorbier Castle" is a well-known skipper in Milford, who used to fish out of Milford before the firm transferred to Swansea.  He is Mr. Walter Smith.


[In fact, she was salved by the Rouse family of Hazelbeach on 12th June, and the photograph above was in their possession.]



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