Official No:  144027            Port and Year: Hull, 1920

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

Crew:  11 men (1920).

Built: 1920, by Cook, Welton & Gemmell, Beverley.  (Yard no. 416)

Tonnage: 290 grt 127 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  125.5  / 23.5 / 12.7

Engine: T.3-Cyl; 86 rhp; by Amos & Smith, Hull



9 Jan 1920: The Iago Steam Fishing Co., The Docks, Milford.

Manager: Edward D. W. Lawford. (Same address.)


28 Nov 1922: Albion Steam Fishing Co., 92 West Dock Avenue,  Hull.

Manager: George H. Brown. (1922-37.)
                  W. Holroyd. (1937-39.)


7 Feb 1939: Mills Steam Ships Co. Ltd., 138 Leadenhall, London EC3

Manager: Charles E. B. L. Curzon, 104 West Dock Ave., Hull.


15 Jan 1942: J. Marr & Son, Fleetwood.


Landed at Milford: 10 Jan - 1 Oct 1922



Thomas Altoft: Master's Mate, HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN, at Trafalgar;  on 2nd November 1814, died on the hospital ship HMS SUSSEX.

2 Jun 1919: Launched for the Admiralty ( as a minesweeper, but completed as a fishing vessel.

12 Mar 1920: Convoyed the disabled French steamship LA SALLE to Queenstown.  [See story below.]

28 Nov 1922: George H. Brown, 92 West Dock Ave. Hull.  (Managing owner.)

[According to the Mercantile Navy List, 1922-39.]

30 Aug 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted for minesweeping duties (P.No.FY.552). Based Aberdeen with 41st MS Group.

9 Feb 1940: Attacked while minesweeping 20 miles NE of Aberdeen by two Heinkel IIIs.  Two of the four minesweepers in the group were sunk, but the ALTOFT escaped serious damage.

22 Apr 1946: Returned to owners.

8 Nov 1947: The THOMAS ALTOFT on Saturday night reported to be on the rocks of the island Harris.  The crew of 15 were rescued in rough seas by the Grimsby trawler FLANDERS. [The Times of Monday, 10th November 1947.]

(She was a constructive total loss.)

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

Accidents and Incidents

From The Scotsman of Friday 22nd April 1921, p.3 :



    In the Admiralty Division yesterday, Mr. Justice Hill concluded the hearing of the case in which salvage remuneration was claimed in respect of services rendered by the Milford Haven-owned trawler, Thomas Altoft, and the Clyde Steamship Company's tug, Flying Foam, stationed at Queenstown, to the French three-masted wooden steamship, La Salle, in March last year.

    Having lost her rudder, the La Salle, steering by means of her twin screws, was convoyed by the Thomas Altoft some 180 miles to a position off Queenstown, whence the vessel was towed into port by the Flying Foam.  The defendants tendered in the case of the Thomas Altoft 700, and in the case of the Flying Foam 100.  The value of the salved property was 49,772.

    His Lordship, in giving judgement, said that it was clear that the master of La Salle was very glad to have the attendance of the trawler.  He was not unnaturally anxious and it gave him great confidence to have the Thomas Altoft there, so that if the necessity arose the trawlercould have given him valuable assistance, either by towing ahead or making fast astern and acting as an outside rudder.  When bespoken, the trawler had been one day on her fishing ground, was on the fish, and had had two good hauls.  She spent two days in the service, and she lost another three days before she was back on the fishing ground.  When a trawler engaged on her own industry was called to perform such a service as this, she should be liberally rewarded.  In the circumstances, the 700 tendered was insufficient, and he awarded to the  Thomas Altoft 950 and costs.

    With regard to the Flying Foam, her service was of the smallest, consisting of an hour's towage for a distance of seven miles.  Therefore, in her case, he considered that the tender of 100 was sufficient.  Her owners and crew would get costs up to the date of tender, but must pay the costs after that date.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 29th April 1921 :




    Mr. Justice Hill in the Admiralty Court on Thursday heard a claim to salvage remuneration brought by the trawler Thomas Altoft, belonging to the Iago Steam Trawler Co. (Limited) of Milford Haven, for services rendered to the French steamship, La Salle, which was found disabled and with her rudder gone off the Irish coast of March 12th of last year.

    The tug Flying Foam also made a claim.

    Mr. Batten, K.C., appeared for the plaintiffs, with Mr. J. G. Trapnell for the Thomas Altoft  ... and Mr. Eustace W. Brightman for the Flying Foam ...; and Mr. Stephens K.C., and Mr Alfred Bucknill appeared for the defendants ...

    His Lordship said he should give a liberal award because he thought trawlers on the fishing ground should be encouraged to give up their fishing and assist vessels in distress, without making a nice calculation as to whether they would lose money by it He gave the trawler 950 and the tug Flying Foam 100


[Note: The date of the incident, 12th March 1920, conflicts with the date of the trawler's completion, given as 1st July 1920 on the Miramar Ship Index, and Toghill.]


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