HELEN MCRAE M17
MILFORD DUCHESS M17
As DINAS FD268 (1948-54)
Courtesy of Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust and The Bosun's Watch
Official No: 141963 Port Number and Year: - in London, 1919. (LO ?)
- in Ostend, 1919 O.207
24th in Fleetwood, 1922 (FD413)
5th in Milford, 1929.
- in Fleetwood, 1948 (FD268)
Description: Castle Class steel side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged: mizzen sail.
Crew: 14 men
Registered at Milford:18 Jun 1929
Built: 1919 by C. Rennoldson & Co, South Shields, for the Admiralty, as JAMES GILL. (Yard no. 202)
Tonnage: 275 grt 120 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 125.4 / 23.4 / 12.6
Engine: T 3-Cyl. 89 hp; 10 kts. Engine & boiler by R. & W. Hawthorn, Leslie & Co., Newcastle on Tyne.
As JAMES GILL LO ?
1919: The Secretary of the Admiralty, Whitehall, London SW1
As PIERRE FRANCOIS DESWARTE O.207
Aug 1919: Société Anonyme "Delta", Ostend
Manager: J. Nierinck.
Sep 1922: Jules H. Nierinck, Blackpool.
As OUR MONICA FD413.
5 Oct 1922: Jules H. Nierinck, Desmond House, Queen's Drive, Blackpool.
9 Oct 1924: Boston Deep Sea Fishing & Ice Co. Ltd., Fish Docks, Grimsby.
Manager: Fred Parkes, Wyberton, Boston.
8 Jun 1929: McRae Steam Trawling Co, Milford.
Managing owner: John McRae Knight, 'Cunjic House', Cunjic, Hakin. (Died 10 Sep 1936)
18 Jun 1929: As M17.
22 Jul 1929: As HELEN MCRAE M17.
23 Nov 1936: George Knight, 27 Hamilton Tce., Milford (Marine Engineer)
James Yeandle, 29 Robert St., Milford (Engineer)
Ivor Jonathan Powell, Charles Ville Place, Neath (Accountant)
George Trevor Kelway, 'St. Annes', Point Fields, Milford
Manager: Harry Eastoe Rees, 'Mirador', The Rath, Milford
As MILFORD DUCHESS M17
25 Nov 1936: Milford Steam Trawling Co., Milford.
Manager: Harry Eastoe Rees
James Carpenter Ward. (9 Sep 1938)
16 Apr 1948: Dinas Steam Trawling Co. Ltd., 210 Dock St., Fleetwood.
Manager: David Marr.
Apr: As DINAS FD268
Landed at Milford:
As HELEN MCRAE: 1 Aug 1929 - 20 Dec 1936.
As MILFORD DUCHESS: 1 Jan 1937 - 28 Aug 1939.
HMS MILFORD DUCHESS: 26 Nov 1944.
As MILFORD DUCHESS: 27 Mar 1945 - 2 Apr 1948
Skippers: 'Nobby' Clark (pre- and post-War); Harry Rich (post-War).
James Gill, age 42, born Poole; A.B., HMS VICTORY, Trafalgar.
31 Aug 1939: Requisitioned for war service and converted for minesweeping duties; 1x12 pdr. (P.No. FY.613).
Converted by Philip & Son Ltd, Dartmouth. [See photograph below.]
1 Jan 1941: Based at Portsmouth. (Ty/Lieut. R.P. Drane RNVR).
Jun 1941: At Portsmouth with M/S Group 55 (Senior Officer: Acting Ty/Lieut Cdr R. P. Drane RNVR).
8 Dec 1944: Returned to owners.
Mar 1945: Completed Special following restoration at Milford.
Jun 1954: To Hammond Lane Foundry Ltd, Dublin for breaking up. Arrived Dublin from Fleetwood under own power. Fleetwood registry closed.
Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 16 Apr 1948.
[Information from the Fleetwood Maritime Trust and the Bosun's Watch website.]
Accidents and Incidents
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.
[ The DUNCAN MCRAE was renamed MILFORD EARL, not MILFORD COUNT.]
From an unknown local newspaper of c. 29th March 1945:
Milford's fishing fleet is gradually building up its strength. The Pair Fishing Company have brought two new boats to the the port, the s.t. "Tanager", and the s.t. "Cosbeach" [?]. Two other derequisitioned boats, the "Milford Duchess" and the "Lephreto", started fishing from the port last week.
The labour position, however, is still acute. Men are lacking to to man the sea-going trawlers, and also to unload the the returning fish-laden trawlers. In the circumstances there is a great possibility that Sunday work will once more become necessary on the fish market.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 7th June 1946:
On Wednesday, five local trawlers, the Duchess, Lephreto, Avonstream, Ellesmere and Cotswold (the last named a 140 footer, recently arrived for A. J. Tilbrook) were held up owing to a shortage of deck crew, a state of affairs which has reached alarming proportions. The present dearth is chiefly due to the departure of many East Coast fishermen, who have opted to return to their home ports, chiefly Hull.
Note from Gil Mayes: MILFORD DUCHESS after conversion to a minesweeper taken in the River Dart off Philip & Sons' shipyard at Noss. Both MILFORD COUNTESS and DUCHESS were converted by them to the minesweeping role. In Derek Blackhurst's excellent book on the history of Philip & Sons there is a pic of the pair being fitted out.
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