Courtesy of Keith Morgan

[See also foot of page.]

Official No: 303258    Port Number and Year: 7th in Milford, 1962

                                                                                 -  in Grimsby, 1967 (GY1386)

                                                                                 -  in Aberdeen, 1968 (A58)

Description:  Steel side trawler; single screw motor vessel.

Crew: 12 men

Registered at Milford: 27 Dec 1962

Built: by Atlantic Shipbuilding, Newport, Mon., in 1962. (Yard no. 88)

Tonnage: 308.38 gross 97.02 net 

Length / breadth / depth (feet):  120.9 / 26.55 / 12.15

Engine: One internal combustion vertical, oil; four single acting. 6 Cyl; 875 bhp; 13 kts.  Mirrlees National, Stockport



27 Dec 1962:  Welsh Fisheries Ltd., 26 Hamilton Tce., Milford.

Manager: Henry William Kerr, Ships' Chandler, The Docks, Milford.



6 Mar 1967: Ross Trawlers Ltd., Ross House, Fish Docks, Grimsby

Manager: John Malcolm Ross.



Nov 1968: British United Trawlers (Aberdeen) Ltd., Aberdeen.


By 1970: Craig Stores (Aberdeen) Ltd., Aberdeen.


By 1979: British United Trawlers (Aberdeen) Ltd., Aberdeen.

[ Not listed as BIRCHLEA in Olsen's 1983. ]


Landed at Milford: 13 Dec 1962 - 8 Dec 1963; 19 Jun 1965 - 3 Nov 1966

Skippers:  Sid Hearne (1962); Jimmy Jobson (1963); Ivor Phillips (1963, 1966); Clifford Saunders (1966).


Aug 1966: Accompanied HMS VIDAL to Newfoundland.  (See newspaper report below.)

1980: While lying derelict in Aberdeen, was considered as a possible replacement offshore radio station to replace Radio Caroline, to be named Radio Phoenix, in international waters off the coast of Kent.

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 23 Mar 1967. Vessel transferred to the port of Grimsby.

 Accidents and Incidents:

From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 14th December 1962:


    The latest addition to the Milford fishing fleet, the hake class ship Welsh Consort, arrived at Milford on Thursday, and is due to sail Saturday (tomorrow), in charge of Skipper Sid Hearne.

    She is a sister ship to the Welsh Monarch, which joined the fleet some weeks ago.  Both trawlers are owned by Welsh Fisheries Ltd., and are managed at Milford by W. H. Kerr.

    Two more similar vessels, the Welsh Prince and the Welsh princess are due to be completed in the next four months, and they too will sail from Milford Haven.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 4th January 1963:


    After a splendid Christmas and New Year at sea, the trawler Argo of Pembroke on Wednesday landed a good catch of hake in a week which has been bleak indeed for the Milford fishing industry. 

    In charge of Skipper Jim Jobson, the Argo of Pembroke caught 188 kits of fish, 66 of them good quality hake.  She made an excellent 2,100 total from her 12 days voyage. 

    The only other vessel to land since Saturday was the latest addition to the fleet, the Welsh Consort.  From her maiden 16 days fishing trip, the new trawler brought in 207 kits, including 45 of hake, and grossed 1,790 on Monday.  Her master is Skipper Sid Hearne.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 27th December 1963:




    Shock Christmas news for Milford is that the Welsh Consort, one of the port's newest trawlers, has left to fish out of Fleetwood and a sister ship, the Welsh Monarch, is expected to follow her within a month.

    These fine hake boats were two of a fleet of four built at Messrs. Bailey's Yard at Newport for Welsh Fisheries and both have been sailing out of Milford for only twelve months.

    The other vessels, the Welsh Prince and Welsh Princess have been at Milford for six and three months respectively and we understand that for the time being they will continue to fish from here, no decision having yet been reached about their future.

    The Consort, which was in charge of Skipper Sid Hearne, has already left.  The local crew has been paid off and she will sail from the north western port with an all Fleetwood crew.



    Mr. William H. Kerr (president of the Milford Trawler Owners' Association) whose firm runs the Welsh Fisheries ships, said on Thursday: "The move has been dictated purely by economics.  These four trawlers cost something like half a million pounds to build and whereas sister ships in an associated company at Fleetwood have grossed over 76,000 for the year, our best grossing here is 45,000.

    Mr. Kerr pointed out that hake catches have steadily declined and when asked what he thought of the future of these bigger trawlers at Milford replied: "Pretty bleak, I should say.  It looks as if the port has to go back to drifter trawlers."



    Speaking with some feeling Mr. Kerr said the Christmas season had been a bitter disappointment.

    "For the first time in the history of the port," he pointed out, "no fish has been landed on Boxing Day because of the flat refusal of the T.O.A. men to land it . . . yet ports like Fleetwood and Hull did so."

    "We regret the fact that the Welsh Consort has had to be transferred, but the switch was inevitable," he said.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 11th June 1965:


    The good news this week for the fishing industry in Milford is that the hake class trawler Welsh Consort, belonging to Welsh Fisheries, is now returning to the port.  The Welsh Consort left Milford on December 11th 1963 for Fleetwood to be followed subsequently by her sister ships, the Welsh Monarch and Welsh Prince, leaving only the Welsh Princess here.

    With the news of a record summer trip by the Princess at Milford this week comes that of the Consort's return.  She left Fleetwood on Monday in charge of Skipper J. Port and a part Milford crew, and will fish a trip round, arriving here the weekend after next under Messrs. W. H. Kerr's management.

    The return of the Consort will fill the gap created by the scrapping of the hake class trawler Nobel, and this shows confidence in the future of Milford. It will bring the strength of the fleet up to 26 ships, with prospects of further increases, for Messrs. Kerr have two drifters under construction at Hessle, one for delivery in November, and the other in December.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 3rd June 1966:


    The Milford hake class trawler Welsh Consort (Skipper Ivor Phillips) was damaged in a mishap off the Scottish coast during her last trip, and returned to Milford on Monday to undergo repairs and land her catch for Tuesday's market.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 17th June 1966:


    The Milford trawler Welsh Consort, damaged when she struck a submerged reef off the Scottish coast a few weeks ago, left Milford this week for repairs at Messrs. Bailey's Ship Building Yard at Newport, Mons. This was where she was built.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 12th August 1966:




    A Milford Haven trawler, the 120 feet trawler Welsh Consort, leaves this week-end to cross the Atlantic to St. John's, Newfoundland, to carry out Admiralty research work in company with the Research Vessel H.M.S. Vidal.

    The three year old Welsh Consort will be commanded by 36-years-old skipper Clifford Saunders of Pill Road, with Skipper Jack Bean of Richard John Road, as Mate, and an all-Milford crew of ten.  All twelve trawler men have been sailing together regularly up to this week as the crew of the "Consort's" sister ship "Welsh Princess", which is now laid up at Milford for a refit.


    ............Mr. W. H. Kerr ... told the 'Guardian' on Thursday: "The Welsh Consort has been undergoing an extensive re-fit at Cardiff for the last couple of months after being damaged whilst on a fishing trip to the west coast of Scotland.  She has been chartered by the Admiralty to accompany H.M.S. Vidal on this research trip and will be working out of St. John's, Newfoundland.  The purpose of the trawler's trip, we understand, is to carry out biological sampling and wirework at oceanographic stations as required.

     When she sails from Milford the Consort will go to Londonderry to join H.M.S. Vidal. The Atlantic crossing is expected to take about eight or nine days and the vessels will then work out of Newfoundland.  The research area lies between 52 and 58 degrees north.  The whole trip is expected to take about a month depending on various factors.  When it is completed the Welsh Consort will rejoin the Milford fleet to return to fishing."



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 2nd September 1966:


"Consort" on Return Voyage

    The Milford trawler "Welsh Consort" (Skipper Cliff Saunders) which left on August 14th on a Fisheries experimental trip to Newfoundland, has begun her return voyage and is due back at Greenock next week.

    The "Consort" working in conjunction with a survey ship, took ten days on the outward voyage and spent five days in St. John's.  Although no confirmation could be obtained from Messrs. Kerrs, it is possible that the "Consort" will not return to Milford immediately but may be needed for other experiments


Photograph of the WELSH CONSORT taken from the survey ship HMS VIDAL, during a voyage to photograph the sea bed.

Supplied by Alan and Terry Saunders



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 7th October 1966:


    For the second time in two months, the trawler "Welsh Consort" sails at the week-end on a trans-Atlantic voyage on charter to the Admiralty. The trawler returned a month ago after a similar charter when she worked on specialised Admiralty research out of Newfoundland in company with a Royal Navy Research vessel.  For her second voyage the "Consort" will again be in charge of skipper Cliff Saunders.  With him as mate will go Skipper Arthur Harvey and the same Milford crew with Mr Ken Davies, chief engineer.  The "Welsh Consort", which is managed by Messrs W. H. Kerr, will call at Plymouth before making her third trans-Atlantic crossing this year.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 13th January 1967:


    In recent weeks it became known in the port that two hake class vessels, the Welsh Consort and Welsh Princess, laid up at Milford for several months, have been seized by the White Fish Authority in settlement of unpaid loans.  Their sister ships in other British ports were similarly reclaimed and all four vessels have been offered for sale by the W.F.A.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 10th February 1967:


    Two hake class trawlers reclaimed by the White Fish Authority have left Milford Haven this week.  First to go was the Welsh Consort, bought by a Grimsby firm.  Last night her sister ship, the Welsh Princess, left in charge of a Scottish crew for Aberdeen, where she is to join Messrs. Craig's fleet, which already includes the Argo of Pembroke.

    The Welsh Princess was prepared for the trip by Norrard Trawlers Ltd.



Barry Banham Photo Collection



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