R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

from around the world
User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:31 pm

Throughout the 2 great wars of the 20th Century, without the assorted fishing vessels, considerably less would have been achieved than actually was.

The assorted craft were almost entirely manned by their own or merchant crews.

The boats came from many sources, comprising principally,
Admiralty trawlers, drifters & whalers.
Purchased trawlers, drifters & whalers.
Requisitioned trawlers, drifters & whalers.
Hired trawlers, drifters & whalers.
Prize trawlers & drifters.
Wood or steel construction and of any tonnage or vintage.

They were employed in tasks ranging from front line to harbour duties.
The dangers encountered by many and the inevitable losses meant many boats sank with their entire crews.
Remarkable men in remarkable boats undertaking remarkable feats.

The debt we owe all of them is inestimable.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
Angus Mac Kinnon
Posts: 2498
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:08 pm

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by Angus Mac Kinnon » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:57 pm

These brave commandeered small ships are certainly owed a debt of enormous proportions, out of ports all around the British and Northern Irish coasts, but in particular the contribution and heavy losses from the ports of Aberdeen, Tyne, Hull, Grimsby and Fleetwood. :(
Angus Mac Kinnon

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:00 pm

4th August 1914.Britain was now at war with Germany.
Inevitable as it was after the previous weeks, the naval preparations were still incomplete.
Thousands of reservists had been mobilised and amongst the weakest areas of defence was the ability to counter the mine menace.
Mine warfare commenced immediately as a part of the Germans means of waging war on the high seas and more importantly the congested coastal waters of the North sea and English channel. This would reap rich rewards for comparatively small risk.
Immediately the RN hired, requisitioned and purchased hundreds of assorted trawlers and drifters as the front line against the war on the mine. Additionally hundreds more had to be constructed.
The men whose livelihoods were sustained by these numerous vessels came too.
Their knowledge, abilities, resoluteness and determination was the real prize.
It would be 23 days before the losses amongst these ships and men started, slowly at first then rapidly escalating, the mine and u boat exacting a heavy toll.
These 1st two boats were both from Aberdeen, admiralty hired trawlers nos 61 and 106.
Full details will follow in my next post.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 6:24 pm

THOMAS W IRVIN
A no - 61. Port A.421. ON 129372
Hall Russell & Co Ltd. Aberdeen, launch 1911.
115'4" x 22'1" x 11'9"
steel hulled
77 net 201 grt
mcy....nk
74 hp. 1 screw
Owner - Richard Irvin & Sons Ltd. North Shields.
Mgr - John H Irvin, 16 Forest Rd. Aberdeen
Req 8 - 1914
Lost 27 Aug 1914, the first of all this groups losses.
Skipper Henry Charles Thompson RNR
12 crew, 3 killed.
At 1625 h this day, she detonated a mine which rapidly sank her.
Based at Tynemouth and whilst operating with 3 other trawlers in the capacity of mine sweepers c 25 miles off the mouth of the Tyne, attempting to clear a mine field laid in the dark hours of 25/26 Aug by layer SMS Albatros accompanied by cruiser SMS Stuttgart.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:23 pm

CRATHIE
A no - 106. Port A.350. ON 129352
John Duthie Sons & Co.
Torry Shipbuilding Co Ltd. Aberdeen.
y no 348. Built 1911 for
Caledonian Steam Trawling Co Ltd.
164 Market St, Aberdeen
115' 1" x 22' 6" x 12' 2"
Steel hulled
78 net, 210 grt
Mcy - James Abernethy & Co
3 cyl TE, 70hp, single screw, 56 rpm
Hired from 14 Aug 1914
Skipper Herbert Henry Cook. RNR.
Lost in the same field as Thomas W Irvin,
40 mins later at 1706h, having already snagged 2 mines.
The 3rd sent her to the bottom taking 2 crew with her.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 8:16 pm

The majority of the vast number of hired and requisitioned boats came with something more important than the boats themselves.
A huge number of experienced, willing and able men, some of whose families had sailed and fished the deep seas and coastal waters for generations. Their knowledge of those waters would prove vital.
This was not sufficient however, as the crew of a boat would need a gunner or 2 if she was armed, not all were, or extra hands to educate and assist if employed in anti submarine tasks which was very hit and miss.
The bulk of the boats acquired from August and the remainder of 1914 were kept occupied in the hazardous task of mine sweeping where additional hands needed varied from type to type, displacement, machinery and areas in which they would operate, coastal or deeper, but with the early sweeping gear 3 extras was sufficient.
There would be no let up as time ticked by, demands on these men and boats increased with each month.
It would also cause a serious problem by early 1915.
An acute lack of fishing vessels still employed in the roles for which they were intended.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:19 pm

At the commencement of hostilities in aug 1914 the RN had a grand total of 13 purchased trawlers, all comparatively new, with 6 employed in the recently instigated minesweeping role which was still to be perfected.
Scarceley had the ink dried on the paperwork declaring war on the hun, as he would be known, and hundreds more trawlers and drifters would be acquired under a variety of means.
Throughout their RN service and all having names, retained where practical, they were always referred to by the admiralty number each was allocated with many still displaying their port registry number too.
As a random example the hired trawler Abelard of 187t, built 1909 had the port no M.17 and became Admiralty trawler 151.
It was 151 she was referred to in signals and official papers.
151 was hired in aug 1914 and wrecked in service off Plymouth, Devon on Christmas eve 1916.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Sat May 26, 2012 8:31 pm

In just over 4 years of hostilities the following losses occured.

Whalers. 2 for 347 tons.
Admiralty trawlers, 18 at 4719 tons.
Hired trawlers took the brunt with 246 lost totalling 56300 tons.
Hired drifters with 10809 tons comprising 130 boats.

I do not have the total crew losses for these boats, undoubtedly significant as many were to be lost with their entire crews irrespective of the duties being performed. A mine could totally destroy the vast majority, bearing in mind wood was still the most common material used for their construction.

The North Sea, English Channel and Taranto barrage, Adriatic, are where the majority were to meet their fates.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:35 am

These experienced and able men who came with their assorted craft were willing to take them anywhere under trying unfamiliar circumstances, but needs must.
They could sail them anywhere the demands of the conflict dictated, well maintained, sea worthy and available for the numerous and varied tasks which they were called upon to undertake, operating independently but invariably as a group.
Skippers and their crews cherished their charges, doing anything to maintain their comparative independence and non conformist outlook, in a rather tongue in cheek manner.
There was one element of the war at sea which did not suit their outlook whatsoever.
Coming under fire.
Heavy inclement weather was one thing. Being shot at was a total anathma which had no place in their doctrine only exasperated by the submarine menace.
Many acts of valour were to prove that sheer determination would prevail.
Their war bore no resemblance whatsover to that of the Grand Fleet with its big battleships, scouting cruisers and fast destroyers. Let alone uniforms, routines and the Admiralty.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

User avatar
E28
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: R.N. TRAWLERS, DRIFTERS & WHALERS.

Post by E28 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:34 pm

The earlier boats taken up from trade, as previously discussed, were put to the tasks of mine clearance and, to a lesser extent, u boat hunting, primitive and Heath Robinson though the methods were.

All of the assorted fishing vessels were eminently suitable for the former, generally suited to the rigours of North Sea, where their sea keeping and sea worthiness surpassed what the grey navy had to hand, ie, nothing.
So, these boats have a big hole in them where traditionally the catch went. Now, that hole was filled with the requisite component for extended periods at sea. Coal. They could now, if needs be, spend weeks at sea in an endeavour to catch something somewhat heavier than haddock or cod.
This is when the charter system came into effect.
Could your boat steam 1000 miles, attain 8 knots and was less than 10 years old. If so the charter fee was based on 12% per annum of the trawler's value at the time, which was then calculated at £18 per gross ton with £40 per n.h.p. (nominal horse power) of the machinery h.p. of the machinery and boilers, depreciating at 4% per annum.

So, off to war they went. In fact, within 1 week of hostilities commencing in August 1914, 114 were active or fitting out. This figure would become 1000's over the next 4 years.
Raid - Trade - Aid
Thats all folks. Sean. E28

Post Reply

Return to “FISHING VESSELS”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests