Before conversion

Kindly supplied by Robert Smith

Official No:  161633   Port and Year:   Yarmouth, 1930 (YH88)

Description: Steel side drifter trawler; single screw, coal. later oil burning. 

Crew:  10 men

Built: 1930, by A. Hall & Co., Aberdeen (Yard no. 627)

Tonnage:  125 grt  55 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 94.3  / 20.1 / 9.7

Engine: T.3-Cyl.  39 rhp; by builders.  1958: Oil; 5 cyl; 360 ihp = 9 kts.




1930: Bloomfields Ltd., 'Ocean House', Yarmouth.

Manager: Neil Macay. [Same address.]



c.1955: Milford Haven Coal Supplies, Docks, Milford

Manager: William Wilcox, The Rath, Milford.


c.1960: East Briton Fishing Co., Docks, Milford.


13 Mar 1970: Hubert Jones (Trawlers), Swansea.


Landed at Milford:  1 Jan 1956 - 30 Dec 1969 [No records of further landings - presumably up to 1976.]

Skippers: Tom Smith (1958-70); Louie Kominek (1970); Charlie Watts (c.1974).


Sally McCabe: for her name, see the local newspaper article in 1955 below.

Aug 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty.

13 Nov 1939: Re-requisitioned as OCEAN VIM  (P.No. FY951) and converted to a minesweeper.

IWM photograph, from Lenton (1998): "British & Empire Warships of the Second World War".

"Ocean Vim could not accommodate the large reel aft for the LL electric sweep, so it was laid along both sides of the upper deck, and was manhandled to the stern for streaming; while there is the usual A-frame at the bow for the acoustic drum. A deckhouse and a small open upper bridge were added; and the only apparent armament is two 303in AA Hotchkiss machine guns aft."

1941: Based Barrow, LL drifter.
May 1943: Employed on miscellaneous Naval duties.
Feb 1944: Re-deployed on miscellaneous Naval duties.
March 1946: Returned to owner.

Apr 1946: Returned to owners.

1976: Sold to Thos. W. Ward Ltd, Sheffield for breaking up at Briton Ferry. Arrived Briton Ferry in tow of JADESTAR GYPSY (LT53).
21 Jun 1976: Yarmouth registry closed.

[Information supplied by the Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust and the Bosun's Watch website.]


 Accidents and Incidents

From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 25th November 1955:


    Application has been made to the Ministry of Transport for three Milford trawlers to be renamed.  Mr. W. Wilcox is asking for permission to change the name of his drifter trawler Ocean Vim to Sally McCabe.  Sally McCabe is the Mr. Wilcox's baby grand-daughter, whose home is in Cape Province, South Africa.

    Mr. W. H. Kerr has applied to change the names of his vessels Ocean Lux and Ocean Lifebuoy to Deelux and Deelite.




After conversion

Kindly supplied by Robert Smith


From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 11th July 1958:


    The Milford trawler Sally McCabe in new guise will leave the Lowestoft yard of Richards Ironworks on July 23rd for her trials.  Three days later she will leave on a fishing trip round to her new port.

    Her owner, Mr. William Wilcox, was given these firm dates when he visited Lowestoft last week.  The vessel has been added to the growing list of Milford trawler conversions to fully dieselised.  Her conversion has taken just over three months.

    In charge of her fishing voyage on 26th July will be Skipper Tom Smith.  Of Milford's present fleet of 47 ships she will be the 18th modern vessel to be either oil fuelled or diesel driven.


Back Row L-R: Freddy Wiseman, 2nd Eng Jones,   ?,   ? ,  Tommy Hankins,  'Tiger' Whatling, Skipper Tommy Smith and Billy Wilcox (Owner)  

  Front row: Billy Jeffs &  Irish Deckie

John Stevenson Collection


From the West Wales Guardian  of Friday 6th February 1970: 


    The East Briton Trawling Company, based at the dockside, Milford Haven, declared at the weekend that it was closing down.  The only vessel under its management, the Sally McCabe, landed for the last time on Wednesday and she will now be put up for sale. 

    Formed before the last war by a local businessman, Mr. W. Wilcox, the Company has been managed for many years by Frank Squires, who has been connected with the fishing industry for 36 years.  Since 1958, the Company directors were Mrs. Doris Wilcox, widow of the founder, and her daughters Mrs. Deborah McCabe and Mrs. Edna Macnamara.  Mr. Fred Wiseman, their market foreman and ship's husband, has been in the industry for 45 years. 

    The Sally McCabe, converted from steam to diesel in 1958, was one of the port's more successful vessels.  Skipper Tom Smith, of St. Lawrence Avenue, Hakin, had sailed on her for 16 years, the last twelve as skipper.  Other crew members, Bert Whiteman, Alan Whatling, Gordon Bennett, Raymond Harding and Hedley Daines, have all between 9 and 10 years' service on the vessel.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 13th March 1970:  


    We understand that the Milford drifter trawler Sally McCabe has been sold the the liquidators of the East Briton Company (Messrs. Pritchard, Read and Co., Haverfordwest) to Mr. Hubert Jones of Swansea.  Mr. Jones is the former owner of the Lord Rodney, well known in Milford.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 10th April 1970:  


    The drifter trawler Sally McCabe, in charge of Skipper Tom Smith and quite a few of her original crew, left for the fishing grounds on Monday.   ............

She is being managed locally by Mr. Frank Squires, who held a similar post with the East Briton Company.  



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 5th November 1970:


     A Milford Haven trawlerman disappeared from the deck of his ship which was sheltering a mile off the Irish Coast on Saturday night.  It is believed that he was washed overboard.

    Twenty nine year old second engineer, Mr John Edward Norman, of 47, Waterloo Road, Hakin, was aboard the drifter-trawler Sally McCabe when it sought shelter from the storm a mile off Rosslare.  At 4 a.m. on Sunday it was discovered that Mr Norman, who was on his first trip, was missing.

    The  Rosslare lifeboat was notified and an immediate sea and coastal search swung into operation. The trawler, which is commanded by Skipper Louie Kominek, and owned by Hubert Jones Trawlers, of Milford Haven, returned to the port on Sunday afternoon. 

    Mr Norman served in the Royal Navy for 12 years and this trip was his first sea-going job after unemployment during the past year.

    The Sally McCabe left the port on Thursday bound for the Irish fishing grounds.

    Mr Norman resided at the home of his mother, Mrs Betty Charlotte Busby, who lives at 15, John Lewis Street, Hakin.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 5th April 1974:


    With a triumphant "cock-a-doodle-do" on her siren the Milford Haven trawler Georgina Wilson sailed from the port at 11 a.m. on Thursday, the first ship to return to sea since the owners decided to lay-up the fleet a fortnight ago because of an economic crisis.

    As she sailed, in charge of Skipper Tommy Smith, Hakin, the Fishermen's Union officials made it clear that her crew had returned to sea without accepting any pay-cut and will be paid under the existing wages and hours structures.



       The Georgina Wilson is one of three Milford trawlers owned by Swansea businessman Mr. Hubert Jones.  Her sister ship, the Sally McCabe (Sk. Charlie Watts) sailed on Thursday afternoon's tide, and a third ship, the Brenda Wilson was due to sail this morning (Friday) with the fishermen's union chairman Mr. Vaughan in command.


    Meanwhile, with fish prices reaching their peak for the traditional Easter demand, eleven Milford trawlers remain tied up in dock.


[ The trawler owners had laid up their ships to put pressure on the Union for a pay cut while requesting the Government for a short-term subsidy to cover increased costs. ]



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 16th April 1976:


    The word 'crisis' is not unknown to Milford Haven's Fishing Industry but this week it has taken on a harsh new reality with the news that the port's operational fleet is down to SEVEN.

    This is the result of the decision of Hubert Jones Trawlers of Swansea to lay up two of their ships, the Brenda Wilson and the Georgina Wilson.  A third, the Sally McCabe is to go to the scrapyard.

    Another trawler, the Jade Star Glory [sic - see below] has been undergoing a refit for some months and was due to sail under the Jones flag.

    This reduces Milford's catching power to seven ships, five owned and one managed by Norrard Trawlers, and one owned by Mitchell and Kerr.

    This weeks crisis has been brought on by soaring running costs, particularly of fuel.  Local owners have complained to the Government about over-fishing of the fishing grounds by foreign vessels and recently called for stricter conservation methods to include banning the use of beam trawls popular with Continental fishermen.



[The reference to JADE STAR GLORY - CTL in Jan. 1974 - is presumably a mistake for JADE STAR GYPSY, which began landing at Milford in 1976.]



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