Official No: 110721 Port Number and Year: 88th in Hull, 1899 (H462)
10th in Milford, 1928
Description: Iron side trawler; steam screw, coal burning. Ketch rigged: mizzen
Crew: 9 men (1899).
Registered at Milford: 22 Oct 1928
Built: 1899 by Cochrane & Cooper, Beverley. (Yard no. 236)
Tonnage: 161.23 grt 57 net. (1914: 64.58 net.)
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 107.0 / 21.2 / 11.0
Engine: T 3-Cyl. 45 rhp. 10.0 kts. Amos & Smith, Albert Dock Works, Hull
14 Jun 1899: The Hull Fishing & Ice Co. Ltd., St. Andrews Dock, Hull.
Manager: H. Toozes, Carlton Tce., Hull. (1899)
Joseph Vivian, St. Andrew's Dock, Hull. (1913-28)
6 Oct 1928: William Henry East, 84 Priory Rd., Milford.
22 Oct 1928: As M212.
Landed at Milford: 7 Oct 1928 - 2 Apr 1933
Skippers: Percy Sidney Smith (1929)
Pomona is the Latin word for orchard fruit, but is also a goddess in Roman mythology.
Oct 1914: Requisitioned for war service (Admy.no. 401); 1x12pdr.
Dec 1918: Returned to owners.
19 Oct 1928: Hull registry closed.
16 Nov 1929: Towed the schooner HETTY, in distress, to Milford. [See report below.]
14 Apr 1933 - 12 Feb 1937: Laid up at Milford.
19 Feb 1937: Broken up at Ward's Yard, Castle Pill.
Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 15 Apr 1937
[Lofthouse T., Mayes G., Newton D., & Thompson M. (2012): Cochrane Shipbuilders Vol.1: 1884 - 1914.]
Accidents and Incidents
Statement from the Skipper, Percy Sidney Smith, November 1929:
I am the Skipper of the "Pomona" of the port of Milford. The crew is nine including myself.
[On 16th November 1929] whilst steaming approximately 15 miles South West of St. Ann's, one of the crew sighted a ship flying a distress signal, namely, the red ensign upside down. I was called up from my dinner and went on the bridge. I pulled my ship to, but as there was a nasty sea at the time, it was a great risk when I hailed him. He asked for assistance and told me he had no ropes of sufficient strength to tow by. I told him I would take him in tow. His engines were working, to my mind slowly and I told him to stop his engines before I took him in tow. This was to render it easier for me to get into communication with him and also easier for me consequently to tow him along. He then stopped his engines. Owing to the nasty cross sea I had to give him about 175 to 180 fathoms of warp to tow him and had to proceed slow.
We got him in tow at 1. 30p.m., and arrived at Milford without any further trouble at 5.30p.m. The dock gates happened to be open when we arrived and we went straight into dock. Before proceeding into dock we hove up alongside him and lashed him alongside. This is the usual practice.
I took the distress signals as being the last resort. The first thing I asked him on getting alongside was, "Is your ship making water?" He answered me, "No, but we have had a terrible experience." He then told me that they had no rope fit to tow with, and I informed him I would put a wire on board. [There was] no mention of Milford by either of us. What he wanted and asked for was assistance. I was afraid that if the ship was making water the fact of our towing her might be to sink her with risk to her crew.
Last Saturday the 16th, we were proceeding to the fishing ground for the usual fishing voyage. The weather was hazy and we were absolutely alongside of her before she was seen. There was no danger to us in pulling to, the danger was in establishing communication. There was some risk in my manoeuvring sufficiently close to be able to connect up to the "Hetty". We drew ahead of the "Hetty" and we let our ship stop. The weight of his ship gradually carried him ahead of us again and I slowly drew alongside of him. At a distance of about 20 yards, we threw a line on board of him and he pulled our wire on board of him. We got our line on board first shot, then the Skipper of the "Hetty" again asked me to tow him easy as he was afraid of his bowsprit causing damage to the ship's bottom. His bowsprit was hanging by the Bobstay and there was the possibility of the bowsprit striking his bow below the water line and giving rise to damage.
We then started towing. We had to keep on searching the warp as the sea was causing considerable run. It was a ground swell. By searching I mean that additional warp would be paid out from the winch as extra strain was placed on the wire as the result of a heavy sea. The additional portion of wire remained out. We ran some risk in manoeuvring to get the wire on board. We had to exercise considerable skill and care in the towing to avoid parting our warp. I consider that we severely strained 200 fathom of wire. It was practically new, been in use hardly two months.
Weather hazy, cross sea, wind North East, fresh 5. We could have fished in that weather with some risks, and we cannot fish if the wind is more than 6. The weather in fact rather inclined to get worse during the tow. I don't say that it reached 6, it was not squally. She carries two masts, namely, a foremast, the larger one and the mizzen mast. The foremast was gone overboard together with her bowsprit, and she had no sail up on the mizzen mast. There was nothing to be seen of the foremast.
The Skipper and Mate told me that they had been driving in that condition all through the previous night. They had burnt bedding, practically all their clothing and 16 gallons of oil fuel in the endeavour to attract attention. Had anybody gone to their assistance they would have abandoned the ship during the previous night. He also told me that had he been obliged to abandon the ship and use his small boat. He would have stood a poor chance. I took that to mean that his boat was not sea worthy. I saw the boat, it was a very small one. There was no talk of his abandoning the ship when I spoke to him.
The tide at the time was making to the South East. At the time I took him in tow, he was not in a position of immediate danger from land or rocks but before the tide changed he would have been carried to about the St. Govan's shoals. It is a spot where there is a shoal and a very heavy sea. It would have been sufficiently deep to flood the "Hetty" but a very dangerous spot, and they have a lightship stationed there.
The weather during the previous night had been very bad and I expect that any vessel which saw his flares was afraid to approach him in view of the possibility of damaging their own ships by the heavy seas. In heavy weather you just don't lie, but run with the wind or slowly steam into the wind. You run considerable risks of damage to your ship, even the risk of your ship getting lost. The "Hetty" told me that they had on several occasions when the haze cleared up seen the lights of other vessels, but none of them would take any notice. When I picked them up there was no other vessel in sight. I do not have more than a mile and a half radius of vision in those weather conditions. I do not know what the haze had been like at sea during the morning, we did not leave Milford until about 11 o'clock.
They told me that they had been in continual wash throughout the whole of the previous night. They were afraid to trust to their engines as she had shipped so much water down in the engine room. They could not trust themselves in any position near the land in case the engines gave out, as it was likely to do by the action of the salt water upon the plant.
The glass was very low, giving promise of further bad weather. They were absolutely finished, I don't suppose the "Hetty " was half a mile away when she was first sighted. She was then lying on our port bow, about 4 points on our port bow, we were steaming South West by West, and she would be in reference to us about South by West.
The ordinary distress signal is a flag with the letters N.C. on it, that means we require assistance. A square flag with a ball above or below it means the same thing but is used at greater distances. When you see the Red Ensign upside down we take it that it is a last resort, in other words, are in desperate circumstances.
We left again for sea on Sunday morning at 9 o'clock. We didn't have to do any revictualling. His bulwarks were damaged in several places. Our wire did not chafe.
Percy Sidney Smith. ( Skipper)
[The HETTY was a wooden auxiliary schooner of 107 tons, built in 1877. She was bound from Lydney for Kinsale with a cargo, under Captain Stanley Harper.]
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