John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  127356    Port and Year:  Banff, 1912 (BF484)

                                                                  Ramsgate, 1920  (R219)          

Description: Steel side / drifter trawler; coal fired. Ketch rigged. Pareja (pair) fishing.

Crew: 9 men

Built: by John Duthie, Torry Shipbuilding Co., Aberdeen; in 1912.  (Yard no. 372)

Tonnage:  92.53 grt  38.67 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 86.0 / 18.6 / 8.7

Engine: T.3-Cyl; 42 rhp; by W.V.V. Lidgerwood, Coatbridge, Glasgow.



As BF484

1912:  William Finlay, 6 Campbell St., Cullen, Banffshire.

                                     3 Cathy Tce., Cullen, Banffshire. (1919-20)

           George Finlay, 2 Campbell St., Cullen, Banffshire 

Managing owner: Wm. Finlay.


As R219

12 Jun 1920:  Robert Kinnear, 55 High St, Doncaster.


21 Jul 1920: The Doncaster Steam Trawling Co. Ltd., Equity Chambers, 55 High St., Doncaster.

Manager: Thomas W. Chapman, 'Grassholm', Crescent Rd., Ramsgate.


15 Oct 1921: George Herbert Russell, 'Landsdown House', Hamilton Tce., Milford.

                      Robert William Hancock, Milford.

Managing owner: G. H. Russell. 


22 Jun 1936: George Herbert Russell, 'Landsdown House', Hamilton Tce., Milford.

Managing owner.


27 Apr 1939: Tilbrook Trawlers Ltd., The Docks,  Milford.

Manager: James L. Cobb, 'Frampton', North Road, Milford.  


Landed at Milford:

(Seasonal, Mar - Oct) 27 Mar 1923 - 29 Nov 1924

4 Mar 1925  - 18 Nov 1939

Skippers: G. Bradley (1921); William George Stanford (1928); James Walter Duffield (1931); J. W. Chenery (1936); G. Thompson (1939)


Uberty from Old French 'uberté': fertile growth, abundance, fruitfulness, copiousness, plenty.

[Wiktionary; the lexical companion to Wikipedia.]

May 1915: Requisitioned by the Admiralty (no.3155) as a net vessel. 1 x 3pdr.

1919: Returned to owners.

Nov 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a minesweeper.

8 May 1944: Bombed and sunk by a Junkers 88 off Lowestoft; no survivors.

[Information kindly supplied by Michael Hunt, Curator, Ramsgate Maritime Museum.]

Accidents and Incidents

UBERTY and ARDENT - Transcription of statements taken on 25th June 1928:


    We have taken full statements from the Skippers of the respective vessels.  No independent evidence has been available.

    According to the skipper of the "Uberty"  that vessel on the morning of the 16th September last having been lying with her bow to the dock wall about abreast of the premises of Yarmouth Stores Ltd., and having two trawlers immediately on the west side of her, but none close to her on the east side, gave the signal to go astern, and moved astern at about half a mile an hour, the "Ardent" being at that time observed opposite the ice factory of Brand & Curzon Ltd., and about four hundred yards distant and coming astern.  When the two vessels were about twenty yards distant from one another, the skipper of the "Uberty", realizing a collision was likely, stopped his engines and immediately afterwards rang them quickly full speed ahead on a port helm.  At about the same moment the "Ardent" shouted to the "Uberty"  to go full speed ahead.  The "Ardent" continued to come astern, although her engines had been stopped and well within about half a minute there was an impact between the two vessels, the stern of the "Ardent" striking the starboard after gallows of the "Uberty"  knocking them back flat on to the galley.  At the time of the collision the "Ardent's" engines were stopped, but she was still moving astern. Her engines had at no time been noticed to have been rung ahead.  At such time the "Uberty's" engines were moving full speed ahead but she also still had stern way on. When the collision occurred the "Uberty" was about one hundred feet distant from the market wall, her bow being about twenty feet away from the nearest trawler lying there. The "Uberty" had the "Ardent" under observation from the time the former cast off until the collision.

     When the "Ardent "was first observed she seemed to be coming along very slowly, not more than one mile an hour, and it is thought that she subsequently increased her speed to four miles an hour, considered to be an excessive speed in the dock. It was the intention of the "Uberty" to cross the track of the "Ardent", but owing to the subsequent increase as stated in the speed of the "Ardent", which was first noticed when the vessels were about twenty yards apart, the "Uberty" found that she was unable to do so. When the astern signal was about to be sounded on the "Uberty's" whistle by a member of the crew pulling the whistle cord, the second time the signal was given the cord snapped, but it was possible by pulling on the end of the broken cord.  This was before she had cleared the trawlers, and a third such signal when she was against the sterns of the trawlers, at which moment the "Ardent" was distant about fifty yards on the starboard side of the "Uberty", and coming astern at about four miles an hour. It is that had the "Ardent" rung her engines ahead at that stage, collision would have been avoided and that the "Uberty" would not go ahead then owing to the presence of the trawlers mentioned.  Two astern signals were sounded by the "Ardent", namely, the first when she was about abreast of the ice factory, and the second when the "Ardent" had proceeded about a further one and a half ships lengths.  These were the only two vessels on the move in that part of the dock. The dock gates were not about to close. The "Ardent" maintained her course throughout until she stopped her engines. 

    According to the skipper of the" Ardent", that vessel on the morning of the 16th September last, cast off from the south coaling jetty with a view to proceeding to sea, and having sounded the astern signal, moved stern first on a straight course down more or less the centre of the dock, at a speed of about three miles per hour. In the course of that movement the astern signal was sounded three times. When the" Ardent" was level with the west end of the fish market, the "Uberty" was first observed on the port quarter of the "Ardent", about one ships length away, and one and a half ships lengths away from the market wall, and coming astern. The "Ardent's" engines were immediately rung ahead and her skipper shouted to the "Uberty" to go ahead.  "Uberty's" engines were not rung ahead (they may, or may not have been stopped), with the result that there was a collision between the vessels, the starboard after gallows of the "Uberty" coming into contact with the centre of the "Ardent", causing damage to the "Uberty", but none to the "Ardent".  At the time of the collision both ships had stern way on. No whistle signals were heard from the "Uberty" at any time.  There were several ships lying to the eastward of the "Uberty", preventing those on board the "Ardent" seeing the "Uberty" until the moment indicated above.  The last of the three astern signals given by the "Ardent" was sounded about half a minute before the "Uberty" was first observed. They were the only vessels on the move in that part of the dock. It is considered by the skipper of the" Ardent" that had the "Uberty" gone ahead when he shouted, the collision would not have happened.

    Inasmuch as the "Uberty" alone was damaged, she occupies in this matter the position of a Plaintiff, and in order to fix the "Ardentwith responsibility  for payment of the whole or any part of the costs attending the repair of the damage, it is necessary for the "Uberty"  to prove that the "Ardent" was either entirely or partly to blame for the collision. The "Uberty" has failed to prove to our satisfaction that the "Ardent" was in any degree at fault. We believe that the "Ardent" was not travelling at an excessive speed, that a good look out was being kept on her, and the proper signals sounded, and that at the first moment at which the "Uberty" became visible to the "Ardent", that vessel took what steps she could to try to avoid a collision.  We accordingly hold that the "Ardent" was not to blame in any degree for the collision.


Yours Truly,

 G  S. Kelway, Esq., Hakin Point.


Skipper of the "Uberty":  William George Stanford;  of the "Ardent": Chris. Masterson. ]



The Times, Tuesday, 6th November 1928; pg. 29; Issue 45043:


From Lloyds

Milford Haven, Nov 5.Steam trawler ELECTRIC, of Grimsby, struck Barrels Rock and sank in deep water at 11 p.m., Nov 3, following fouling of her propeller with her fishing gear.  Crew picked up by steam trawler Uberty and landed here yesterday, all well. 


[See page for ELECTRIC GY286. ]



UBERTY and UNICITY - Transcription of statements taken on 22nd October 1931 : 


                                                                STATEMENT OF JOHN JAMES WALTER DUFFIELD AND CHARLES EDWARD ELLIS,

                                                              SKIPPERS OF THE STEAM TRAWLERS UBERTY  (R.219) and UNICITY (R.22) RESPECTIVELY.

     About noon on Monday the 5th October 1931, the "Uberty", having Hartland Point bearing south west by west, half west, distant five miles, and the "Unicity" having Hartland Point bearing in the same direction distant six miles, was spoken to by the occupants of a motor boat, who enquired as to whether the "Uberty" had caught any conger eels.  A reply in the negative was given and the boat then moved away towards the "Unicity" but did not speak to those on board of her.  Neither of the two trawlers was on that occasion within what is understood by us to be the bye-law limit.

    At about midnight of the 9th and 10th October 1931 , when both vessels had Hartland Point Light bearing west half north, distant about five miles, we were hailed by an unknown craft with no lights up. I am the skipper of the "Uberty", and was informed by someone on the craft representing himself to be the fishery officer that I would be reported for fishing inside the bye-law limit and for having no lights up, both of which I admit, and I was also ordered to proceed outside the limit line, which I did as soon as possible.

     I, the skipper of the "Unicity"  was informed by someone on the same craft, representing himself to be the fishery officer, that I would be reported on the same charges as the "Uberty".  I  replied the same as the skipper of the "Uberty".  We had both proceeded from different directions to Barnstaple Bay owing to stress of weather, and with a view to anchoring there under the shelter of Hartland Point, the wind at the time blowing from the south west, a whole gale and it was only after we had proceeded inside the bay that we decided to shoot our trawls.

     We live on our respective vessels which belong to Russell and Hancock Trawler Owners, The Docks, Milford Haven.


Sgn  J. J. W. Duffield

 Sgn C. E. Ellis.


[ Both vessels were fined a total of £10. ]



The Times, Tuesday, 5th January 1932; pg. 20; Issue 46022:


From Lloyds

ADELE. Milford Haven, Jan 4.Steam trawler Uberty arrived with steam trawler Adele, of Padstow, in tow, latter having both crowns of boiler down.




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