John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  145745    Port and Year:  Cardiff, 1924 (CF15 )

                                                                  London, 1931 (LO74)             

Description: Steel side trawler; coal fired. Ketch rigged


Built: by Smith's Docks Co., South Bank, Middlesborough; in 1924.  (Yard no. 787)

Tonnage:   301 grt  113 net

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 130.2 / 24.0 / 12.9                                                         

Engine: T 3-Cyl; 99 rhp; by builders.



As CF15

Mar 1924:  Neale & West Ltd., Hope St., Cardiff. (1924-26)

                                                    Wharf St., Cardiff. (1926-31)

Managers: Wilfred Neale, Morley H. Neale, and Joshua S. Neale.  (Same address.)

                    Morley H. Neale, 'Haldon', Clinton Rd., Penarth;       (1927 -

                    Joshua S. Neale, 'Skomer', Marine Parade, Penarth.               1931)


As LO74

16 Dec 1931: T. J. Jenkerson & Jones, Docks, Milford.

Managing owner: Tom Jenkerson.


Landed at Milford: 28 Nov 1931 - 22 Nov 1939; 5 Aug 1946 - 23 Sep 1950

Skippers: James Gale (1939); M. A. Smith (1949); Norman Brown (1950)


Yezo is a Japanese name which historically referred to the lands to the north of Japan. (Wikipedia.)

Nov 1939: Requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to a minesweeper (P.No. FY.829).

1944: Converted to a wreck dispersal vessel.

1946: Returned to owners.

4 Oct 1950: Foundered on the Porcupine Bank; no loss of life.  [See below.]

Accidents and Incidents

The Times, Saturday, Jun 10, 1939; pg. 9; Issue 48328; col G
     News in Brief

A large aeroplane wheel of French make and part of the under-carriage were found in the nets of the trawler Yezo which arrived at Milford Haven yesterday from the fishing grounds off South-West Ireland.  It is believed that the wreckage is part of a trans-Atlantic machine.



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 24th May 1946:


    On Wednesday the reconverted "Hatano"  left on her first post-war voyage in charge of her pre-war skipper, Mr. Tom Donovan, D.S.C., North Road.  This brings the fleet to six ships, compared with sixteen before 1939.

    The firm, which specialised in Castle trawlers, always had a fine maintenance reputation, and their trawlers, to quote a fisherman, were turned out like yachts.  At the start of the war, their whole fleet of fourteen trawlers was conscripted.  Three were returned for fishing, but eleven performed grand work as minesweepers through the war.  Two, the "Nogi" and "Tamura" [ were lost ].  The "Togimo", another Jenkerson trawler, was sunk while fishing off Ireland in February 1940.  The "Yezo" is still in service, the "Settsu" is undergoing reconversion at Plymouth, and should return to Milford within the next six weeks.  The "Our Bairns" is being refitted for fishing at Milford, but it has not yet been decided whether the "David Ogilvie", lately returned from service, will fish again.     


From the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of 13th April 1949:

    Even the piscatorial experts on Milford Market were unable to identify a strange fish landed on Thursday morning from the steam trawler "Yezo", skipper M. A. Smith.

    About 3ft. long, and a foot across its widest part, the fish weighed 30lbs., was very dark brown in colour, and had ragged fins and tail.  No one had ever seen such a specimen before, and it was put on ice and despatched to the National Museum of Wales at Cardiff for identification and specimen purposes.


[ It was sent to the National Museum of Wales, where the Keeper of Zoology, Mr. Colin Matheson, identified it as a rare Blackfish. ]



From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 6th October 1950:


    No details were available as we went to press concerning the fate of the Milford steam trawler "Yezo", which sank without loss on the Porcupine Bank at 8.30p.m. on Wednesday. The "Yezo" sailed from Milford on Thursday (28th September) and was not due back in port until the middle of next week. First news that something was wrong came in Lloyd's messages from Valentia Radio, Ireland, on Wednesday evening, reporting that the "Yezo" was in serious difficulties at Porcupine Bank. Later the Milford trawler "Lord Northcliff" (Messrs J.C.Llewellin Trawlers) reported that the crew of the "Yezo" were aboard the "Sea Hunter" (Messrs Tilbrook Tralders), in charge of Jack McClelland, Hakin, and that the "Yezo" was sinking.

    On Thursday it was stated at the Tilbrook office that the "Sea Hunter" would continue fishing, the crew having been transferred to Messrs Jenkerson's trawler the "Hatano". On enquiry at Messrs Jenkerson's this morning we were informed that the crew would probably be home on Saturday or Sunday. They could give no further information until they had seen the skipper. The "Yezo", a 301 tons Super Castle class trawler, was built in 1926, and was secured by Messrs Jenkerson's in 1932. When war broke out she was in the command of Skipper James Gale. She was taken over by the Navy and saw considerable service as a mine sweeper, being the last of the firm's Naval Reserve vessels to return at the end of hostilities. Her captain, 48 year old Skipper Norman Brown, Sussex Lodge, Waterloo Road, Hakin, served with the Royal Naval Reserve during the war.

    His crew of 11 are as follows.

Skipper, as above.

Mate. R.A.Matthews, 21, Edward Street, Milford.

Bosun. E.McErvel, 37, Picton Place, Hakin.

Third Hand. E.Sizer,16, Glebelands, Hakin.

Deckhands. K.Wlosowicz, 72, Priory Road, Milford.

                G.Cook, c/o Mrs Blowers, 21,Greville Road, Milford.

                G.Coombes, 6, Glebelands, Hakin.

Cook. A.Freedhouse, 22, Priory Road, Milford.

Chief Engineer. W.Webster, 50, Shakespeare Avenue, Milford.

2nd Engineer. W.Griffiths, 33, Edward Street, Milford.

Firemen. S. Warlow, 16, Coombs Drive, Milford.

J .Power, Ballyaski, Kilmore, Co Wexford, Eire.


From the West Wales Guardian of Friday October 13th, 1950:


    The rescue of the crew of the Milford trawler "Yezo", sinking rapidly on the Porcupine Bank, last Wednesday evening, took a dramatic turn just when the difficult operation was completed. The rescue line to the steam trawler "Sea Hunter", 150 yards away snapped, leaving four men still aboard the partly submerged vessel with darkness quickly approaching.

It was time for quick action and the four left on the "Yezo's" deck, Skipper Norman Brown, Mate R.A. Matthews, Chief Engineer A.T. Webster and Bosun E. McErvel, lost no time in trying to make fast again to the "Sea Hunter". After some anxious minutes they managed to get a line across. "This held," said the Skipper afterwards, "and we all got on to a raft. The 150 yards to the "Sea Hunter" was like a nightmare but we made it as darkness was falling."   By this time water was pouring into the "Yezo's" engine room and it was up to the centre furnaces. The stern of the ship was under water and she sank just before daylight on Thursday. The crew of 12 was later transferred to the steam trawler "Hatano", and they arrived in Milford over the week-end.

    As reported in our later editions last week, the "Yezo", sailed on September 28th, and was fishing on the Porcupine Bank about 190 miles from Berehaven when in a south-westerly gale it sprang a leak. It was found that the trawler had burst a plate under the boiler engine-room, probably when it dropped in a heavy sea. Pumps were brought into operation and strenuous efforts were made to patch her up but without success. At 7 p. m. the order was given to abandon ship.

    Interviewed by a reporter after his arrival at Milford Haven, Skipper Norman Brown said, "I had previously sent a message to the 'Sea Hunter', which was a couple of miles away, to stand by, and later I asked her to come in as close as possible. We tried to launch the ship's lifeboat, but the weather was so bad that she crashed on the rail at the stern. I then ordered the carley float - an emergency life raft similar to those used in the Royal Navy - to be launched and got a line to the 'Sea Hunter' about 150 yards away. We decided to ferry the crew across in three runs with four men, and we had got the second lot over when the line parted and we had to fix another one up by floating a life-buoy across. From the 'Sea Hunter' I saw her go down stern first just after daylight on Thursday. It was a sad moment and touched me more than anything. She was a nice ship in first class condition. All the crew lost everything except the clothes we stood up in."

    Captain Norman Brown paid a high tribute to Skipper Jack McClelland, Hakin, and the crew of the "Sea Hunter" for their fine seamanship.


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