John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  148689    Port Number and Year:   203rd in London,1925 (LO56)

                                                                                      4th in Milford, 1956

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

Crew: 12 men (1925); 11 men (1934); 12 men (1956).

Registered in Milford: 22 May 1956

Built: 1919, by Port Arthur Ship Building, Canada.  (Yard no. 31)

Tonnage: 275.15 grt 118.85 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  125.9  / 23.45 / 13.0

Engine: T 3-Cyl. 61.6 nhp. 9 kts. Engine and boiler by builders




6 Oct 1925: Thomas J. Jenkerson, 'Norfolk Villa', Milford, & D. J. Jones, The Docks, Milford.

Managing owners. 

By 1939:  Leslie J. Jenkerson, 'Homeland', Marble Hall Rd., Milford. (Manager.)


22 May 1956: The Milford Docks, Milford.

28 Jun 1956: As MERCHANT VICTOR M52.

Manager: Frederick Walter Goffin, Observatory Ave., Hakin. (22 May 1956).           

                Leslie David Rees Roberts, Stratford Ave., Milford. (10 Aug 1957).

                James Carpenter Ward, Thornton, Milford. (24 Jan 1959).


Landed at Milford: As THEIR MERIT: 5 Sep 1925 - 16 Oct 1939; 18 Nov 1945 - 20 May 1956

As MERCHANT VICTOR: 22 Jul 1956 - 14 Oct 1958

Skippers: Jeff Tucker (1951); Jas Hastings (1952); George Spooner (1954)


1 Nov 1917: Completed as RCN trawler TR 37

19 Jan 1919: Paid off; temporary loan to USN, and renamed CT 37.

1920: Returned to RCN; placed on sale list.

31 Jan 1930: Driven ashore at Berehaven. (See newspaper report below.)

Aug 1939: Requisitioned as THEIR MERIT and converted to a minesweeper (P.No. FY 522)

Nov 1945: Returned to owners.

6 Mar 1959: Laid up.

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 22 Aug 1959.  Sold to Belgian owners (for breaking up).

Accidents and Incidents


From The Times, Saturday, Feb 01, 1930; pg. 22; Issue 45426; col C:





THEIR MERIT. The owners of the steam trawler Their Merit have received a telegram stating that the vessel drove ashore at Berehaven and has windlass broken and propeller damaged.  Assistance has been sent.  Following telegram received from the owners dated Milford Haven, Jan. 31st, re trawler Their Merit: Ship at anchor Berehaven, afloat, impossible proceed under own steam safely, propeller damaged, making no water.



From an unknown local newspaper (April 1938) :


       Tragedy seems to follow the fishermen of the port of Milford Haven this winter, and on Sunday another life was added to the list, making thirteen gallant fishermen to perish in the Atlantic seas since last January 14th. The poor victim this time was Mr Dudley Charles Cady, aged twenty, deck hand on the Milford steam trawler "Their Merit" (Skipper, W. Davies), owners, Tom Jenkerson and Jones.

    The sad news was  wirelessed to the owners on Sunday, and it was gleaned that the crew made a valiant attempt to save the life of the young fellow.  The  weather was not particularly bad, and deckhand Cady had just been down below for the Mate, and on returning on deck a big wave washed over the vessel's bow, carrying the deck hand Cady over the ship's rail. The crew saw his plight and attempted to save him with the boat hook.  They managed to get the hook into his oilskin frock only to see it split.  They waited for the deckhand to surface again and once more managed to fasten the hook into oilskin frock.  Unfortunately, the same thing happened, the oilskin not being able to stand the strain.  Again Mr Cady went under, only this time it was for ever.  He must have been completely exhausted in his efforts to keep afloat with all of his sea gear on.

    A very sad feature of this affair is that Mr Cady was only just married a month ago to Miss Goldsmith, who resided in Hakinville.  She has a father going to sea (Cook), and a brother Jimmy (Deckhand).  Mr. Cady was not a local man but came from the fishing port of Lowestoft.  They had made their home in Greville Road.


[ Note by Mr. Les Jones: Mr Goldsmith - cook - was in the army during the 1914 - 1918 war as a trumpeter.  He brought it home with him and the people of Chinatown (Hakinville) would always know when his trawler was proceeding to sea, for as the vessel went round the Bull Nose, Mr Goldsmith would step out of his galley playing a loud blast on his trumpet. ]



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 18th January 1952:




    After two years as "runners-up", Skipper Albert Saunders and the "Milford Duke" are once again in top place in the Milford fishing "league".  In 1951 Skipper Saunders caught a greater value of fish than any other individual trawler captain in the port.

    Second in the league on last year's results is Skipper W. Burgoyne, who has moved up a place, closely followed by Skipper Steve Pembroke, who was sixth in the list of 1949 catches.  "Crack" Skipper for 1948 and 1949, Skipper Tom Donovan, D.S.C., is a close fifth in results while consistent Skipper James Jobson again occupies fourth position.

    Here are the leading positions, the ships being classed according to size.



    Capt. Kettle has done it again!  In 1949 Skipper Bob Kettle was runner-up in the Castle boats; in 1950 he topped the list and his catches in 1951 gave him a winning lead over steady Skipper George Knight, who took the Lephreto into second place for the second year running.  Two captains who have moved up in the "table" are Skippers Gue and Lawrence.

1.  Richard Crofts (Bob Kettle),  Mr. W. Wilcox.

2.  Lephreto (Geo. Knight), Messrs. Jenkerson.

3.  Thomas Leeds (Harry Gue), Mr. H. Westonborg.

4.  Alexander Scott (J. Lawrence); 5, Their Merit (Jeff Tucker); 6, Settsu (Norman Brown); 7, T. Booth (late Skipper R. W. Limbrick); 8. W. Bunce (W. R. Robertson); 9, Milford King (Albert Beckett)[sic]; 10, Sea Hunter (J. McLelland).




L to R: 'Tenby' Richards, David Kersey, Billy Marchant, Bob Wonnacott and Fred Jones

John Stevenson Collection



From the West Wales Guardian of 10th November 1954:


    A comparative newcomer to hake boats, Skipper George Spooner had a very good trip this week in the Their Merit, his 276 kits including 20 of large, 54 of medium and 47 of small hake of perfect quality.  With hake maintaining its price level, the trip was worth 2,500. 

    In a sister ship, the David Ogilvie, Skipper James Hastings also had a nice catch, his 311 kits including 8 large, 2o medium, 120 small, plus 11 needles, to gross over 2,300.  Thursday's only trawler, the Arthur Cavanagh (Skipper Billy Burgoyne), had 103 of hake and grossed 2,100.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 25th May 1956:


    A staggering blow to the depressed Milford fishing industry is the news that the old established trawling firm of Messrs. T. J. Jenkerson and Sons is going out of business.  The decision means that five Castle class trawlers and the only oil-fired post-war vessel in port will be withdrawn from fishing, throwing another 70 trawlermen out of work.  In addition, the firm has a considerable administration and maintenance staff, and is principally concerned in the Milford Engineering Company, Ltd., which will also be seriously affected.

    Two weeks ago Messrs. Jenkerson, whose principals are the brothers Leslie and Kenneth, scrapped two Castle boats, the Hatano and Alexander Scott. 

    The present fleet consists of the coal burners Lephreto, Damito, William Bunce, Our Bairns, Their Merit, and the oil burner David Ogilvie, which was built in Aberdeen in 1949. 

    It is expected that all the ships with the exception of the David Ogilvie will go to the scrap yard.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 8th June 1956:



    Last week we reported that the Hon. Hanning Philipps and Mrs Philipps had joined the Board of Directors of the Milford Steam Trawling Co., Ltd.

    This week the firm has purchased one of Messrs. Jenkerson's vessels, the Settsu (built 1924) and the Managing Director (Col. D. C. Bruton) stated: "We also intend to buy the Our Bairns."

    The Settsu sailed on Thursday morning for her new owners in charge of her regular master, Skipper Norman Brown.

    The Our Bairns (built 1917) is due in from sea this week-end when it is expected she will be taken over by the Steam Trawling Co.


Docks Company Buy Trawler

    Another announcement which ahs been received with much satisfaction is the news that Milford Docks Company on Wednesday bought the Jenkerson trawler Their Merit.

    Mr. J. C. Ward, general manager of the company, stated on Thursday:  "The Their Merit has been bought by the Milford Docks Company and will operate from the port under the management of Merchants (Milford Haven) Ltd.  Her present skipper, Mr. George Spooner, and most of the same crew will remain with the ship which it is hoped will return to sea on Saturday morning.  She will be renamed to include the word 'Merchant'."

    The Their Merit was built in 1919 at Port Arthur, Canada.  Her purchase by the Docks Company has been welcomed not only because it is a practical sign of the company's declared aim to help the fishing industry in whichever way it can.


Returns to Where She Was Built

    Messrs. Jenkerson's oil-fired trawler the David Ogilvie, built in Aberdeen in 1949, has been sold to the same port.  Mr. T. K. Jenkerson told the "Guardian", "The David Ogilvie has been sold to the North Star Fishing Co., Aberdeen, and will leave some time next week."



From  the West Wales Guardian of Friday 1st February 1957:


    The Milford Castle class trawler Merchant Victor (Merchants Ltd.) docked at the port this Friday morning right on schedule and thus put an end to widespread and alarming rumours which have circulated for the last four days.  The trawler, in charge of Skipper George Spooner, was on a normal fishing trip, due to return today, to land tomorrow.  I believe the skipper and crew were quite amused when they heard the wild stories circulating about their safety.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 6th March 1959:


    With the Merchants Ltd. trawler Merchant Valour being tied up this week, the number of trawler skippers now unemployed at Milford has risen to a score.  In recent months the trawlers Merchant Victor and Merchant Valour, the Lorraine, Peter Carey, Night Hawk and One Accord have all gone to the wall.




Back to Trawlers 1940-88