Official No: 109301 Port and Year: 13th in Brixham, 1898 (BM28)
Description: Wooden smack. Ketch rigged.
Crew: 2 men and a boy.
Built: 1898; by J. W. & A. Upham
Tonnage: 47 grt 39 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet):
1898: G. W. Wilson, Brixham.
Managing owner and skipper.
2 Apr 1906: Thomas J. Jenkerson, Milford.
Landed at Milford: 12 Jun 1907 - 21 Jan 1917.
Skippers: J. Cornish (1910); Giles Taylor (1910-17); Jack McLean (1917)
8 May 1910: Saved the crew of the sinking IVERNA 2 BM279 and landed them at Milford. [ See below.]
23 Jan 1917: Captured and sunk by U-55 (Oberleutnant zur See Wilhelm Werner), 25 miles off Trevose Head. [See below.]
Accidents and Incidents
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 25th March 1910:
On Friday at H.M. Customs and Board of Trade Offices two local naval reserve men were presented with long service medals, namely Mr. A. J. Rust, has put in 25 years’ service; and Mr. Albert Lewis, dockgateman, whose length of service in the Royal Naval Reserve is 22 years. Lieut. Vaughan, divisional officer of coastguards from Tenby in full uniform and on behalf of H.M. the King, made the presentation. The other two men who were also to be presented were at sea and will be presented with their medals at a later date. They are Mr. William Evans, another Hakin man, mate of the steam barge “Pennar,” who has as much as 27 years service; and Mr. J. Cornish, who hails from Brixham, skipper of the local smack “Merit,” who has also served a considerable time.
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 13th May 1910:
LOSS OF A MILFORD FISHING SMACK
Early Monday morning the smack Merit, owned by Mr. Thomas Jenkerson, fish salesman, arrived at Milford, having on board the crew of the smack Iverna II, also owned by Mr. Jenkerson. It appears that the smacks, Our Bairns, Friendship, and Iverna II, all owned by Mr. Jenkerson, had formed a partner fleet and were fishing near each other inside Rosslare Pier on Sunday morning The captain of the Merit, who was admiral of the fleet, observed that the Iverna II was nearing a large sand bank, known as the Blackwater Bank. He immediately hoisted his flag, and the crew of the Iverna II commenced to haul up their gear. Unfortunately, however, the vessel’s head canted outwards, instead of in towards Wexford, and she dragged right out on to the Blackwater Bank, and became buried in the sand.
By this time the crews of the other vessels had arrived, and every effort was made to save the ship but all without avail. In fact they almost stayed too long as the wind kept increasing, and the sea became very rough. It was only under the greatest difficulty that they managed to leave the wreck and regain their respective vessels safely. The Iverna II sank deeply into the sand leaving only the tops of the masts visible. Owing to the weather being so boisterous at the time it was impossible to save anything, and all fishing gear was lost with the ship.
The Iverna II was only just over twelve months old, and had been purchased by Mr. Jenkerson quite recently.
Mr. James Farr, of Brixham, was skipper of the lost vessel.
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 21st October 1910:
A mishap which might have had serious consequences occurred on the fishing smack "Merit" on Tuesday afternoon. The "Merit" was proceeding to sea when the accident happened. The mainsail had been half hoisted when quite unexpectedly a rope gave way and it fell down on to the boom, part of the sail overlapping. This part came in contact with the stove funnel and became ignited. The smouldering sail was noticed just in time (although a fair amount of damage had been done to the sail) by skipper Giles, who promptly extinguished it. The "Merit" had to return to Dock for repairs to her mainsail before ) being able to return to sea.
From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 23rd December 1910:
HAVOC AT MILFORD.
VESSELS DRIVEN ASHORE.
In a more detailed account, our Milford correspondent writes:—
The terrific gale which prevailed last Thursday and Friday wrought tremendous havoc on land and sea. Not since the year 1886 has such a terrible storm occurred on the coasts of
Pembrokeshire. The sea was in an awful fury, and presented a sight terrible to behold. The destruction on land was great, but nothing to compare with that which has wrought on sea.
FISHING SMACK LOST.
Widespread consternation was felt on Saturday morning when Capt. C. Masterson, of the steam trawler “Emerald,” came in and reported the loss of the fishing “Vigilance,” of Brixham. He stated that he observed the “Vigilance” in distress on Friday afternoon near St. Govan’s Head. He attempted to go to her assistance, but ere he could take the “Vigilance” in tow a huge sea enveloped both vessels, and when it had rolled away the “Vigilance” had disappeared from sight. He is convinced that she must have foundered and the crew of four perished. During the afternoon the steam trawler “Calypso” came up the harbour towing the Brixham smack “Lynx,” which had her mainsail blown to pieces and was thus disabled. Fortunately no one was hurt on either vessel. Both vessels had lost their lifeboats, which had been carried away by the seas. The smack “Merit” came up with her bowsprit broken whilst the “Diamond Cross” put into Tenby with her sails blown away and her main and mizzen boom carried away.
From the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 14th March 1917:
Well-known Milford Smacks.
A gloom was cast over Milford on Thursday, when the body of Skipper Giles Taylor, of the fishing smack "Merit" (owner, Mr Thomas Jenkerson), was brought in and conveyed to his home in Priory Road. The story of how he met his death was told at an inquest on Saturday. The deceased, a Brixham man, who like many others had settled down in Milford Haven, was one of the most successful smack skippers at the port, and was highly respected. Deep sympathy is felt with his widow and family.
At the inquest Mr Jenkerson identified the body of the deceased, who was 49 years of age. Witness had known him for 20 years. He left Milford for a trip the previous Wednesday.
Arthur James Brooker, an apprentice on the smack, spoke to going to the cabin to fetch coffee. He returned to the cabin a second time when he heard a wave splash over the smack. When he went on deck he noticed the deceased in the water. He and others succeeded in getting the deceased into a boat, but he succumbed. A verdict of death from drowning was returned.
Skipper's statement, 1917:
Whilst we were fishing aboard the fishing smack "Merit" we were attacked by a enemy submarine ( German). Our position was about twenty five miles off Trevose Head, in the Bristol Channel. The submarine attacked without any warning. The first we knew about it was when he open fired on us. Altogether the German fired twelve rounds at the smack. We were obliged to leave and take to the smack's small life boat. The weather at the time was gale force winds with heavy snow storms. Our crew consisted of three men. My Mate was a Belgie, and the third hand an apprentice.
We were in the small boat twenty four hours before being picked up. The young third hand apprentice a week later was lost on another fishing vessel with all hands
Mr Jack McLean, St. David's Road.
[ January 1917: Merit (smack). 39 tons. Date: 30th January. Position: 20 miles N. by E. from Trevose Head. Cause: Submarine. How attacked: Captured. How sunk: Gunfire. Lives lost: Nil. Merchant Shipping (Losses) HMSO 1919.]
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