Additional information courtesy of David Scrivener, Mike Thompson, Andy Hall, Christine Simm & Barry Johnson Milford Trawlers
Admiralty Number: 3509
Official Number: 143965
Yard Number: 670
Gross Tonnage: 276
Net Tonnage: 107
Length: 125.5 ft
Breadth: 23.4 ft
Depth: 12.8 ft
Built: Smith’s Dock Co Ltd, South Bank-on-Tees, Middlesbrough
Engine: 480ihp T.3-cyl by Smith’s Dock Co Ltd, South Bank-on-Tees, Middlesbrough
Boiler: Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd, Jarrow
9.3.1917: Launched by Smith’s Dock Co Ltd, South Bank-on-Tees, Middlesbrough (Yd.No.670) (“Castle” class) for The Admiralty as PETER LOVITT (Ad.No.3509).
19.5.1917: Completed (1-12pdr and W/T).
1919: Engaged in commercial trawling.
12.1.1919 – 22.07.1919: Landing at Milford.
16.12.1919: Registered by The Admiralty at London (Part I) as PETER LOVETT O.N.143965.
2.1920: At HM Dockyard, Pembroke completed fitting out for fishing under Special Survey of Lloyd’s Register and classed 100 A1 Stm Trawler at Milford.
3.2.1920: Registered by The Admiralty at London (Part IV) (LO300).
5.3.1920: First landing at Milford.
At a date between 18.5.1920 – 18.6.1920: Allocated to Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, London.
13.8.1920: Minesweepers’ Cooperative Trawling Society Ltd, London registered.
1920: Allocated to the Minesweepers’ Cooperative Trawling Society Ltd, London.
08.03.1921: Last landing at Milford (Last of 32 landings at the port). Possibly laid up.
1.1922: Scheme abandoned, the necessary working capital of £100,000 having not been subscribed.
23.1.1922: Sold to William Preston, Fleetwood.
28.1.1922: London registry closed.
31.1.1922: Registered at Fleetwood (FD398). William Preston designated managing owner.
22.2.1922: Sold to Robson Trawlers Ltd, Fleetwood. Robson Preston designated manager.
8.5.1923: At Fleetwood Police Court, Calder McLeod of Aberdeen was fined 20s after having been in custody for a week He was accused of stealing from Thompson’s pawnbrokers, Church Street, Fleetwood on 30th April, a jersey valued at 14s. The accused had visited the
shop and looked at several jerseys agreeing to buy one and when the manager Charles Murray’s attention was diverted for a few moments, he left the shop. On putting away the jerseys, one was found to be missing. Traced to the trawler by PC Almond, the jersey was found under his bunk.
3.5.1027: Homeward from fishing grounds in heavy weather when off Maughold Head, Isle of Man sighted dismasted sailing trawler.
Closed the vessel and found that she was the Liverpool ‘nobby’ PLAYMATE (LL101) 8.36 grt with sail hanging in water and waterlogged.
Launched boat and found her to be abandoned and a suitcase was recovered. Connected and commenced tow for Fleetwood but boat was in danger of being swamped and tow let go.
4.5.1927: Arrived Fleetwood and suitcase which contained letters and the will of Corbett was lodged with Customs authorities.
(Playmate, Sk. Richard Knowles and crew John William Corbett, had left Liverpool on 30th April for Douglas, IoM and the fishing season.
In the evening of 1st May, after a rough crossing they were off Douglas, but a mist settled and obscured the harbour lights, so they were forced to lay off. At about 10.30pm a storm broke and the boat was in danger of being swamped. At about 2.00am the following morning the mast broke and they were helpless. Making signals of distress they were sighted by the Norwegian steamer ASGERD (1308grt/1924)(Capt Hansen). A boat was launched and the crew taken onboard and subsequently landed at Preston).
12.10.1932: In late afternoon, homeward in heavy weather some seven miles SSE of Bahama Bank buoy (Sk. Fred Chard), sighted distress signals from wooden steam “coaster” GIRL MAY (81grt/1907) (ex steam drifter (FR473/GK89)) on passage Ayr – Salcombe with coal. They
had called at Whitehaven for stores and provisions and after leaving in the afternoon caught in a severe storm. During the storm the ships boat was lost and suddenly the vessel started to take in water. For a short time pumps were able to cope until the engine room was flooded and the fires extinguished. In darkness, Sk. Chard skilfully positioned the trawler and launched the boat with a volunteer crew +. With difficulty they succeeded at the third attempt in rescuing the seven crew members * . Steamed around overnight in the hope of being able to connect but at daybreak there was no sign of the vessel which had foundered.
13.10.1932: Survivors landed at Fleetwood.
11.1933: Laid up at Fleetwood.
2.1934: Sold to Shields Engineering & Dry Dock Co Ltd, North Shields.
10.2.1934: Sailed Fleetwood for North Shields with a North Shields crew.
16.02.1934: Arrived North Shields.
17.2.1934: At Shields Engineering Co Ltd, in dock and subsequent repairs afloat.
21.2.1934: Fleetwood registry closed.
22.2.1934: Registered at North Shields (SN14). Thomas S. Read designated manager
24.7.1935: Registered at North Shields as LOWDOCK (SN14).
27.4.1934: Repairs completed.
19.12.1938: Arrived North Shields Fish Quay (Sk. J. Ross). Badly damaged by the recent storm, part of her wheelhouse was smashed by heavy seas, her port bulwark damaged and her small boat lifted out of its chocks. With only 12 hours fishing to her credit in an 11-day trip, Sk. Ross described the trip as the worst in his experience.
20.1.1939: Arrived North Shields Fish Quay and landed engineman Bertie George (55), of Camden Street, North Shields. George had suffered fracture of two lower right ribs when he fell from a ladder in the engine room on 18th. He was taken to Tynemouth Infirmary for treatment but not detained.
10.1939: Kingston Steam Trawling Co Ltd, Hull to be managing agents.
16.10.1939: Kingston sent crew to North Shields to bring trawler to Hull.
17.10.1939: Sailed North Shields for Hull, fishing on the way.
3.11.1939: Arrived off Immingham short of bunker coal, towed to Hull. Landed 287kits, £865 gross.
1.12.1939: Sailed Hull for Aberdeen in convoy then fishing grounds.
16.12.1939: At Hull landed – 15 days 300kits, £954 gross. 3.1.1940: At Hull landed – 16 days 251kits, £679 gross.
26.1.1940: Sailed Hull in convoy for northern grounds (Sk. John W. Moore).
8.2.1940: Return convoy sailed Methil for Hull (Sk. John W. Moore). At 11.15 a.m. 21/2 miles E of Scarborough attacked by German machine guns and bombs. One aircraft hit with Ross rifle and retired, other (Dornier 17E) dropped over twenty bombs, the final one lifting the stern out of the water and damaging telegraphs, steering gear, wireless and DF; no casualties.
10.2.1940: At Hull landed – 17 days 304kits, £688 gross.
12.2.1940: Requisitioned for war service. Slipped at Hull for survey but rejected. On unslipping water ingress observed in stokehole. Slipped again and rivets caulked.
15.2.1940: Owners requested information regarding vessel and advised a profit of £550. Convoy system restrictive, decided to move vessel to Fleetwood.
16.2.1940: Sk. F. Brunton, Fleetwood appointed. Repaired and returned to service.
16.3.1940: Sailed Hull on passage to Fleetwood (Sk. Frank Brunton).
19.3.1940: When 3 miles E of Tod Head, in collision with HMTrawler LADY PHILOMENA (H230/P.No.FY.148) which struck her port side aft in way of the gallows; vessel foundered and eleven crew lost (ø), mate (below aft) Thurston Atkinson survived. Certificate of registry lost with vessel.
28.3.1940: Owners informed BoT of her loss.
30.3.1940: Shields registry closed.
13.11.1940: At Blackpool County Court: Five applications for compensation, totalling £1,540 2s., arising out of the loss of the Fleetwood manned trawler LOWDOCK were granted. The respondents in each instance were the Shields Engineering & Dry Dock Co. Ltd., of South Shields. with David M. Edwards, representing the Admiralty, as third party. The applicants, all of Fleetwood. were Fanny Wareing, who claimed in respect of the loss of her husband, Harold Douglas Wareing; Catherine Bevan, for husband Herbert Cecil Bevan; Ann Baker for husband William Henry Baker; Ellen Miller for son, William Cartmell by former husband; and Christopher Harrison and his wife Agnes for son. Walter Harrison. Mr. A. Riley. of Blackburn (Messrs. Alfred Riley, Sutcliffe & Co.) appeared for the applicants, and Mr. T. Underwood (on behalf of Messrs. W. Banks & Co.) represented the respondents. Mr. Underwood said his clients admitted liability in all the cases and the amounts to be awarded as compensation were agreed. He asked for an adjournment sine die in respect of the third-party issue. The individual sums claimed were: Mrs. Wareing £440 2s., Mrs. Bevan £600. Mrs. Baker £300, Mrs. Miller £100. and Mr. and Mrs. Harrison £100. The Judge made an order in favour of the payment of the several sums, and a question of indemnity was adjourned sine die pending a High Court action to determine which ship was responsible in a collision for the sinking of the trawler LOWDOCK through which the men named lost their lives. The awards carried with them costs on Scale “B” in each case.
29.05.1941: In the Admiralty Division, Mr. Justice Hodson presiding. A claim for the loss of the vessel LOWDOCK (SN 14) by Shields Engineering and Dry Co. Ltd., of North Shields. was brought against Lieutenant Malcolm Edwards. R.N.R. who was in command of H.M.T. LADY PHILOMENA with which the LOWDOCK was in collision. There was also a claim on behalf of the LOWDOCK’s Skipper and crew for loss of personal effects. It was stated that the stern of the LADY PHILOMENA struck the port side of the LOWDOCK and caused so much damage that she foundered in a few minutes. Thurston Atkinson, the mate, who was the sole survivor, told Mr. Hodson, who sat with two Trinity Masters, that the naval trawler did everything possible to pick up survivors. When Lieutenant Edwards gave evidence he expressed opinion that the accident was caused because the Skipper of the LOWDOCK altered course suddenly probably because he wanted to get to seaward of the LADY PHILOMENA and another naval trawler astern of her. Mr. Justice Hodson said would consider his judgment.
4.7.1941: Delivering judgement in an action brought by the Shields Engineering and Drydock Co Ltd, North Shields owners of the steam trawler LOWDOCK and her Master (Sk F. H. Brunton of Agnew Street, Fleetwood) and crew (suing in respect of their effects) against Lieut. David Malcolm Edwards RNR as a result of the collision, Mr Justice Hodson in the Court of Appeal said: “The LADY PHILOMENA was one quarter to blame and the LOWDOCK three quarters, and costS must follow in the same proportions.” The collision occurred in the North Sea about 3 miles off Tod Head and the LOWDOCK sank with the loss of eleven of her crew of 12, most of whom were Fleetwood men who were bringing the vessel round to fish from that port. There was only one survivor, Thurston Atkinson, the mate, of Elm Street, Fleetwood.
The defendant was in charge of the naval trawler. The Plaintiffs claimed damages, alleging that the collision was due to the negligent navigation of the LADY PHILOMENA. Defendant denied the allegation and contended that the LOWDOCK was to blame. Mr Justice Hodson said the speed of each vessel was nine knots and the LOWDOCK apparently continued her speed. The collision was at right angles to the LADY PHILOMENA striking the port side of the LOWDOCK. He could not accept the view for the LOWDOCK that the vessels were approaching end-on, so as to make the LOWDOCK right in starboarding. She blamed the LADY PHILOMENA for altering to port. The LADY PHILOMENA on the other hand declared they were ‘green to green’ when the LOWDOCK attempted to cross ahead. The OOW on board the LADY PHILOMENA, who had sighted at two miles, said he saw the green of the LOWDOCK broaden then give place to red and he called the CO from the chart room.
There was no explanation why the LOWDOCK exchanged a position of safety for one of danger. Her mate, the sole survivor, was below at the time. Mr Justice Hodson said it was suggested she might have seen a trawler astern of the LADY PHILOMENA and acted to bring both the trawlers On her port hand. Her action put the LADY PHILOMENA in great difficulty and was the first cause of the collision. To that action the CO of the LADY PHILOMENA answered by going hard-a-port to bring the ships parallel. He put his engine at stop, slow astern and then full astern. His action in porting was the worst action she could have taken. If the LADY PHILOMENA said she had no time to act she was faced by the fact that the OOW did not himself act but called the CO. The CO should have reduced speed before taking other action. Porting to the red of the LOWDOCK on his starboard bow to cross ahead of her was wrong and the LADY PHILOMENA gave no whistle signal. However, before the collision, nearly all the way was off and therefore she was a quarter to blame for the collision.
2006: The position of the wreck is 56.47N 02.10W sitting in about 60m on an even keel. Bow faces in towards the shore and port side faces towards Montrose estuary, in consequence her port side has built up to approx 8 ft from gunwhale, starboard side clean.
(Peter Lovitt (aka Lovett), Quartermaster, age 42, b. Aldeborough, Suffolk – VICTORY (SB532))
+ Girl May -Volunteers who manned the boat – W.J. Burns, Addison Road; J. McQuirk, Flag Street; H. Bird, Warren Street and E.B.
Harmer, all Fleetwood. Later all presented with a Life-Saving Medal. Sk Chard received a barometer presented by the Shipwrecked
Fishermens’ and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Institution.
* Crew of Girl May – Capt. A. T. F. Morgan, Bristol; A. Vallery, Mate, Glasgow; A. Caravan, 2nd mate, Ayr; W. Hagan, Chief engineer,
Glasgow; W. Burns, 2nd engineer, Ayr; J. Vallery and J. Reid, deckhands, Glasgow.
(ø) Lost crew of Lowdock – Skipper Frank H. Brunton (32), Bosun H. D. Waring (42), Ch Eng. William Baker (55), 2nd Eng. H. C. Benson
(53), J. Bell (59) and D. Scannell (42), Firemen, W. Harrison (21), A. Paton (50), W. Cartmell (42), J. H. Scott (48), and A. Whitehead
(52), Deckhands, all from Fleetwood)
Click to enlarge image
28/04/14: Updated information.
02/07/2015: Updated information.
14/07/2017: Removed FMHT watermark from image.
14/10/2019: Updated wreck position.
27/05/2021: Major update to history.