Courtesy of Milford and West Wales Mercury

[See also foot of page.]

Official No:    183940    Port Number and Year:  5th in Milford, 1956

Description:  Steel side trawler; single screw motor vessel. 


Registered at Milford: 7 Sep 1956

Built: by Richards Iron Works, Horn Hill, Lowestoft, in 1956.  (Yard no. 430)

Tonnage: 165.85 grt 55.47 net 

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  103.0   / 22.1 / 10.0




7 Sep 1956:  Picton Trawlers, 1 Leadenhall St., London EC3. (Hanning Phillips, Picton Castle, Haverfordwest.)

Manager: Henry William Kerr, Ships' Chandler, Docks, Milford


12 Nov 1956:  The White Fish Authority, Tilbury House, Petty France, London SW1.


18 Aug 1971: Norrard Trawlers Ltd., Docks, Milford.

Managing owner: Frederick W. Ingram, Steynton.  (Deceased. )


29 Sep 1971: Norrard Trawlers, Docks, Milford. (Owner: Gladys Maude Ingram.  Widow.)

Manager: Trevor George Ingram,  Steynton.


Landed at Milford: 23 Sep 1956 - c. 1980?

Skippers: Cliff Saunders (1956);Vaughan Davies (1958); J Manson; Alfred Beckett; Hubert Morgan; Vaughan Davies; A. Simpson (1971)


5 Jan 1960: Found part of crashed Victor bomber off Pembrokeshire coast. [The Times, below.]

Oct 1980: Laid up with cracked engine block. 

[See newspaper article of 24 Oct 1980 below, but cf. wording in the Register. ]

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 18 Feb 1980.  Vessel declared a constructional total loss, and will be going for scrap.

[ According to the wording of the owners, and recorded as such in the Register. ]

Accidents and Incidents

From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 29th June 1956:




    The Picton Sealion, a new drifter trawler for the recently formed Milford Haven company, Picton Trawlers Ltd., was launched at Lowestoft on Tuesday and will join the Milford fleet early in September.

    The new company has been brought into being by the enterprise of the Hon. Hanning Philipps, son of Lord Milford, of Picton Castle, whose wife, Lady Marion Philipps, on Tuesday launched at the Richard Ironworks yard, Lowestoff [sic], the company's first new vessel.  The trawler is the 100 ft. sister ship to Boston Herald, which was sent off on her first voyage by the Duke of Edinburgh last month.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 19th September 1958:


    Local listeners-in on the trawler band early on Monday morning heard the Portpatrick radio station announcing that a Spanish trawler had gone ashore on the Maidens, a reef just outside Belfast.  None of them could speak English and he asked that a British trawler should stand by.  The Milford trawler Picton Sealion (Skipper Vaughan Davies) did stand by.  Fortunately the Spanish trawler was floated off with the rising tide.



From The Times, Thursday, Jan 07, 1960; pg. 6; Issue 54662. 


    A small piece of aircraft metal found in a trawler's net gave the first clue yesterday to the location of the Victor bomber which vanished off the Welsh coast on a test flight in August last year.  The fragment 18in. by 12 in. was lifted on Tuesday during a 15-mile trawl by the Picton Sealion, fishing off the Pembrokeshire coast.



From The Irish Times of 16th November 1964, p.5:


Father of four gives kidney for brother


    In an effort to save the life of his younger brother, a 39-year-old father of four children gave one of his kidneys in a grafting operation on Saturday at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh.  He is Mr. Danny Spillane, of St. Lawrence Avenue, Hakin, Milford Haven, whose younger brother, 26-year-old Larry Spillane, was seriously injured in an accident in July aboard the Milford Haven trawler, Picton Sea Lion.  It was found in hospital that his kidney was seriously damaged.

    Mr. Danny Spillane left his job as seaman on a dredger and entered the Royal Infirmary.  Mrs Spillane was told yesterday that her husband was making good progress and was very comfortable.




From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 21st July 1967:


        trawler on sandbank


    News broadcasts that the Picton Sea Lion [sic] had gone aground, that a crewman had been rushed to hospital and that the vessel was being escorted home by a sister ship, caused some concern at Milford on Thursday.

    Fortunately the incident was not nearly so serious as it sounded.

    What happened was that Mr. Brian Thomas, Swansea, a deckhand on the ship, was taken ill with suspected appendicitis and Skipper George King put into Castle Bay in the Hebrides.

    He was unable to bring the trawler right in because of the falling tide, and while waiting for the lifeboat to come out and convey the sick deckhand ashore the Picton Sea Lion settled on a sandbank.

    On the rising tide she refloated and left to resume her fishing voyage.

    In hospital it was found that the deckhand's appendix is a "grumbling" one and he is being allowed to return to Swansea.

    The Picton Sea Lion (Picton Trawlers) is managed at Milford by Norrard Trawlers.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 19th September 1969:




    The Milford Haven fishing fleet will be further reduced today when the crabber class trawler "Deeside", one of the newest vessels in the port, will leave for Lowestoft.



    Meanwhile there is a big question mark over the only two hake-class boats still left in the port.

    The Clerk (Mr. Andre Devall) reported to the Council's Town Planning Committee on Wednesday that he had received a visit from Major the Hon. R. Hanning Philipps and his accountant.

    Major Hanning Phillips, he said, had asked if Cllr. F. D. G. Jones, as a Trade Union representative, could be present at the discussion when it was indicated that his Company operating the Picton Sea Eagle and Picton Sea Lion would have to withdraw these fishing vessels as the Company was no longer in a financial position to continue.


    (Further enquiries on Thursday revealed that both the Picton trawlers will continue to fish from the port.)



From a local newspaper, probably the West Wales Guardian of Friday 13th November 1970:


    The Norrard Trawling Company have purchased the trawler Picton Sealion from the White Fish Authority, and hope to have her at sea in two months' time, said a spokesman for this go-ahead firm on Thursday.  The Sealion, which formerly belonged to the Picton Trawling Company, in which the Hon. Hanning Philipps, Picton Castle, had a major interest, has been tied up in Milford Docks for some 12 months.  Built at Lowestoft in 1956, the 104ft., 166 ton trawler, powered by 550 h.p. diesel engines, is a sister ship of the Picton Sea Eagle, which already belongs to Norrard's, and her purchase will bring the firm's fleet up to seven modern trawlers.



From a local newspaper, probably the West Wales Guardian of Friday 26th February 1971:


After being tied up for the last 12 months, the crabber class trawler Picton Sealion, purchased by Norrard Trawlers from the White Fish Authority, has been refitted and is due to sail again this weekend.  She brings up to seven the number of diesel trawlers in the Norrard fleet .......



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 16th June 1978:  


 Axe Falls On Milford Fishing

(Exclusive by Ethel Clark)

    The axe which been poised over Milford Haven's fishing industry finally fell on Thursday when Norrard Trawlers Ltd. announced that they are going into liquidation.

    In an exclusive statement issued to the "Guardian" at 4 p.m. on Thursday, the directors of the firm announced that their five trawlers are ceasing operations.  This means the end of Milford's fishing industry as a viable concern.

    The Norrard vessels involved are the Bryher, Rosevear, Picton Sea Lion, Picton Sea Eagle and Norrard Star.

    This means that Milford Haven is left with only two small trawlers, the Westerdale, owned by Mr. Bruno Linke and the Arthur Harvey, owned by two local tugmasters.


[ This decision was rescinded seven weeks later, on 4th August 1978.]



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 29th December 1978:  


Another Blow for Milford Trawlers?

    Beset by weeks of gales, Milford's depleted fishing industry faces the New Year with two of its tiny fleet of eight vessels out of action.

    The future of one of the port's largest trawlers is in jeopardy with the news that the Norrard vessel Picton Sea Lion is laid up because of major engine trouble.

    "The ship has got a major engine defect," confirmed a Norrard company spokesman on Thursday.  "She is laid up and her crew are paid off.  No decision has yet been made about her future.  It depends on a lot of factors."

    Another local trawler, the Westerdale, lost her rudder in the pre-Christmas gales and she too is laid up awaiting repairs.




From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 24th October 1980:  



    A CRUCIAL new threat to the future viability of Milford Haven's fishing industry has arisen with the laying-up of the port's top-earning trawler, the PICTON SEA EAGLE.

    The 110 ft. 22-year-old trawler has a suspected cracked engine block and is laid-up in Milford docks, along with two other Norrard Trawlers ships the NORRARD STAR and the PICTON SEA LION.

    A marine surveyor will inspect the EAGLE next week and on his findings will depend Norrard's decision about the future of the Company, which now has only two vessels operating the BRYHER and ROSEVEAR.

    Norrard Trawlers admit that the withdrawal of the EAGLE is a "bad blow".  It is Norrard which has been the vital cog in Keeping Milford's fishing industry going in recent years and the whole future of fishing at the port is crucially linked with that of the Company.




From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 24th October 1980:  


    Milford's longest serving trawler, the 166 ton Picton Sealion (M22), has quit the port for good.  She is believed to have been purchased by the former owner of the Kinellan and Gilmar, Milford's last acquired pair of trawlers, and will be converted into a cargo vessel for a foreign country.

    Sealion was built in 1956 for a local firm headed by the Hon. Hanning Philipps of Picton Castle.  Her present owners, Norrard Trawlers, bought her in 1969.  She was a former port record holder in 1976, when she landed 12 tons of prime  fish which sold for 7,571 after a 14 day trip under the command of Skipper Trevor Salter.

    She was a regular top earner until serious engine trouble forced her premature laying up some years ago.


John Stevenson Collection



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