John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  145031   Port Number and Year:      -  in London, 1920 (LO466)

                                                                               83rd in Hull, 1923 (H862)

                                                                                  1st in Milford, 1930 (M52)

                                                                                    -  in Aberdeen, 1949 (A641)

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

Crew:  10 men (1924)

Registered at Milford: 27 Jan 1930 as KENNETH MCRAE

Built: 1919 by J. P. Rennoldson & Sons, South Shields as CHARLES LEGG.  (Yard no. 312)

Tonnage: 274.73 grt  105.65 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  125.1  / 23.4 / 12.6

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 180 > 480 ihp; 10 kts.  Engine: 1918, by builders; boiler: 1918, by Palmers Ship Building & Iron Co., Hebburn.




14 Sep 1920: The Secretary of the Admiralty, Whitehall, London W1.

Managing owner.



20 Nov 1923: Hull Northern Fishing Co., St. Andrew's Dock, Hull.

Manager: William R. Nowell.


7 Jan 1930: John McRae Knight, 'Cunjic House', Hakin. (64/64)

Managing owner. (Died 10 Sep 1936.)

27 Jan 1930: As KENNETH MCRAE M52.


23 Nov 1936: George Knight, 27 Hamilton Tce., Milford (Marine engineer)

James Yeandle, 201 Robert St., Milford  (Engineer)

Ivor Jonathan Powell, Charles Ville Place, Neath (Accountant)

George Trevor Kelway, St. Annes, Point Fields, Hakin.

Manager: Harry Eastoe Rees, 'Mirador', The Rath, Milford.



25 Nov 1936: Milford Steam Trawling Co. Ltd., Docks, Milford.

Manager: Harry Eastoe Rees. (Same address.) (25 Nov 1936 - 18 Sep 1938).

Manager: James Carpenter Ward. (Same address.) (From 19 Sep 1938).



26 Aug 1949: Ailsa Craig Fishing Co. Ltd., North Esplanade, East Aberdeen.

Manager: George R. Wood.


Landed at Milford: As KENNETH MCRAE:  10 Feb 1930 - 19 Nov 1936.

As MILFORD COUNTESS: 2 Dec 1936 - 27 Sep 1939;

As HMS MILFORD COUNTESS: 26, 29 Feb 1940; 9 Apr 1946.

As MILFORD COUNTESS: 23 Jun 1946; 12 Jan, 2 Apr, 17, 19 Nov, 21 Dec 1947;

                                              16 Jan 1948 - 10 Apr 1949; 6 Aug 1949.

Skippers: Albert Saunders (1939); Alec Smith, 'Nobby' Clark (both post-War).


Charles Legg, age 20, born Deptford; Landsman, HMS VICTORY, at Trafalgar.

1919: Launched for the Admiralty (No. 4213) as CHARLES LEGG.  Sold to mercantile (as LO466), and renamed RODERIGO.

6 Jan 1930: Hull registry closed.

May 1937: Represented the Milford fishing fleet at the Spithead Review.  [See photographs below.]

Aug 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to minesweeper, as MILFORD COUNTESS.

1940: Transferred to Mediterranean Fleet, and joined 91st Minesweeping Group for sweeping off Tobruk, Port Said and Suez.

9 Apr 1946: Returned to Owners.

1959: Broken up.

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 26 Aug 1949.  Vessel transferred to the port of Aberdeen

 Accidents and Incidents

From a local newspaper dated c. 20th August 1931:


    On Monday* morning, the Milford steam trawler "Kenneth McRae" towed into the docks another Milford trawler, the S.T." Elk",  owned by Messrs Curphey and Son. The "Elk" had broken down while engaged in fishing off the Hats and Barrels.  She had trouble down in the engine room through a circulating pump not operating.  Luckily the "Kenneth McRae" was working the same area of fishing grounds and came up to offer assistance, which was accepted and resulted in her coming alongside, passing a warp out and commencing the tow back  to Milford docks.

    The following morning the steam trawler "Mansfield", owners Messrs Ritchie & Davies, also came up with a helpless companion, the S.T. "Victor", owner Mr W. H. East, which had lost her rudder and fortunately met the "Mansfield" near the Smalls, on the fishing grounds about 50 miles off St. Ann's Head.

    Singularly enough, this was the second salvage on successive voyages for the Skipper Chris Masterson of the" Mansfield" to pick up and tow home, back to Milford.  Only the week before he found the steam trawler "Sea Hawk", a vessel out of the port of Plymouth.  She had lost her propeller and was helpless.   Skipper Masterson took her in tow and brought her to her home port (Plymouth), after a tow of about 140 miles from which will be assumed that the "Mansfield" has changed from her class of work, fishing, to salvage.


 [*17th August - both KENNETH MCRAE and ELK landed on that date.]


From an unknown local newspaper of the week beginning 1st November 1936:


    The four steam trawlers of the McRae Steam Trawling Company, which were recently purchased by the Milford Steam Trawling Company Limited, will be renamed shortly.  We are informed by the new owners that the names will be Milford Duke, Milford Duchess, Milford Count and Milford Countess.  It is evident that a royal and regal line is being followed.

    It is rumoured in the port that a number of further additions to the port's fleet is contemplated.  Three boats for Charles H. Brand and Company are being subjected to survey.





MILFORD COUNTESS dressed overall bound for the Spithead Review

John Stevenson Collection


Another photograph of the COUNTESS at the Review

Courtesy of Robert Kettle



From an unknown local newspaper, dated c. 11th May 1939:


    A large number of steam trawlers from Milford's fishing fleet were amongst those to greet their Majesties the King and Queen on their voyage to Canada in the "Empress of Australia", as they passed close to them amidst the rolling breakers of the Atlantic fishing grounds.  It was 4.30 p.m. on Sunday that the Royal tourists and their accompanying escort passed them, and all the ships in the vicinity kept up a continuous whistle on their sirens.

    This information comes from the s.t. "William Bunce" (Jenkerson and Jones).  Promptly came the response to the nearest trawler, the s.t. "Milford Countess" (Milford Steam Trawling Company), which, it will be recalled, represented the Milford fishing fleet at the Spithead Review.    

    The message reads, "Please pass to all fishing boats in your company from His Majesty the King - Thank you and good fishing."

    Later, the "Milford Countess" (Skipper Albert Saunders) received the following reply to a message of best wishes sent on behalf of the Milford fishing fleet: "The King and Queen sincerely thank all in the Milford fishing fleet for their kind message", signed Private Secretary.



From the West Wales Guardian, probably of  Friday 8th February 1946:


     News has been received that the "Milford Countess", still on Admiralty service, is on her way back from foreign waters, and should soon join her sister ships in Milford. 



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 26th August 1949:


    The Milford Countess has been sold to the Ailsa Craig Co., Aberdeen, and left the port on Wednesday to fish a voyage round to her new owners.


L-R: Firemen Danny Phillips & Fred Eden, Bosun Fred Hartridge, 2 Eng Tim Thomas, 3rd Hand Fred Blowers, Skipper John Blake, Chief Eng ?, Mate Sid Evans, W/T Operator Joe Barker, Cook Ted (Dai) Evans, Donald Baker (on pleasure trip), Deckie J.Turner

John Stevenson Collection


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