Additional information courtesy of Adrian Corkhill
Official Number: 132410
Yard Number: 518
Gross Tonnage: 291
Net Tonnage: 114
Length: 130 ft
Breadth: 23.5 ft
Depth: 12 ft
Engine: 90hp T.3-cyl and boiler by Amos & Smith Ltd, Hull
Built: Cochrane & Sons Ltd, Selby
23.1.1912: Launched by Cochrane & Sons Ltd, Selby (Yd.No.518) for Fleetwood Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Grimsby as MERISIA.
13.3.1912: Registered at Fleetwood (FD153).
3.1912: Completed (George E. J. Moody, Grimsby, manager).
9.1914: Requisitioned for war service as a minesweeper (1-6pdr & W/T). Fitted as a Leader. Based Devonport.
Post 12.3.1919: Returned to owner at Fleetwood.
1923: Sir George E. J. Moody appointed manager.
19.1.1932: Monitored radio message from VERESIS (GY483) homeward from Icelandic grounds, swept by seas and lost wheelhouse and compass.
193?: W. M. Kelly, Fleetwood appointed manager.
1936: Sold to Alberic Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Fleetwood (Charles H. Friswell, manager).
17.11.1939: Off Western Isles (Sk. Edgar (Titch) Neave), rescued 5 crew of Dutch tanker SLIEDRECHT (5133grt/1924) adrift in open boat (Sunk 200 miles S of Rockall by U-28).
26.1.1940: Sailed for Irish Sea fishing grounds (Sk. Edgar Neave); eleven crew. Caught in storm conditions and in heavy snow driven onto rocks in Bulgham Bay, north of Laxey, Isle of Man. Ramsey lifeboat could not be launched due to weather, Port St Mary boat was launched but could not approach wreck. Holed and filling crew took to rigging, Ramsey Rocket Brigade attempted to establish contact but lines could not be secured; all twelve crew washed away and lost. 6.5.1940 Fleetwood registry closed “Stranded 26/1/40 & became a Total loss”.
(Sk. Edgar Neave; George Neave, Mate; Thomas Harrison, Bosun; B. Hearty, Ch Eng; J. Millett, 2nd Eng; H. Neave, E. Crellin, C. Mansell & R. Bennett, Deckhands; J. Montford & W. Hannon, Firemen; J. Fryer, Cook)
1.9.1914: Arrived Devonport from Fleetwood. Fitted with WT (Call sign XLF) and Hotchkiss 6pdr gun (No.1134) and fitted out for minesweeping duties (Ad.No.127). Fitted as Leader. Based Devonport
By 10.1916: Based Devonport – Unit No.121 ‘Trawler Sweepers’ (Lieut. P.N. Taylor RNR).
1919: Port for Landing Stores, Armament and Moveable Fittings – Devonport. Port for Demobilising Personnel – Fleetwood.
1919: Returned to owner at Fleetwood.
Note: Merisia left Fleetwood at 2.15 to fish the home water grounds, her skipper was Edgar Neave. During the night a snow storm came from the south east and drove her onto rocks in Bulgham Bay. Wind and sea conditions made it impossible to launch the Ramsey lifeboat LADY HARRISON and the Douglas boat was out of service. It was left to the Port St. Mary boat to launch soon after 8:30, taking two hours to reach the scene of the stranding.
Because of the conditions George Kelly, coxswain of the boat, was unable to locate the wreck or approach too close to the rocks where she was reported ashore. This left the Ramsey Rocket Brigade as the only option to rescue the crew and they would have to be lowered down the cliff face to a position from where they could work.
In the meantime Merisia was filling with water and her decks were awash. Huge seas from the rising tide washed over her and she was badly holed. The crew of twelve climbed the rigging in desperation, washed by the waves. Mr. Crummey of the Ramsey Coastguard took his team down the cliff face with the salvage gear but was unfortunate enough to lose the rocket pistol that would be needed to get a line across to the stricken vessel.
By 10:00 a replacement had been lowered and an attempt made to fire a rocket across but the strong winds prevented it from reaching Merisia. At 2:45 after several further abortive attempts Mr. Crummey reported that all the men had gone from the rigging and the rescue was called off. The following day the bodies of Edgar Neave, Hector Neave, Edward Crellin, Charles Mansell, James Mountford and William Hannon were washed up on the beach.
Update 04/05/2011 courtesy of Ramsey RNLI: Local divers hope that tragic fishing vessel’s bell will find resting place at Ramsey RNLI lifeboat house.
Two amateur divers who have recovered the ship’s bell from the steam-trawler Merisia, are hoping that it will be housed at Ramsey RNLI Lifeboat Station as a lasting memorial and tribute to the vessel’s heroic fishing crew who lost their lives in the tragedy and also to all involved in the saving of lives at sea. The two divers, who are also volunteer lifeboat crew with Ramsey’s RNLI lifeboat, the Ann and James Ritchie, are Michelle Stewardson, a qualified diving instructor, and Andy Walton.
Michelle takes up the story: “It was Andy’s first open water dive after gaining his open water qualification and we were diving on the wreck of the Merisia, which sank in January 1940. We came across the bell, encrusted but very definitely a bell. When diving it is extremely rare to find a ships bell and to say that Andy was amazed, excited and totally overwhelmed at the discovery is probably an understatement.”
Ramsey lifeboat station was established in 1829 five years after the institution itself was founded. To learn more about the lifeboat station go to www.rnli.org.uk/ramsey
Click to enlarge images
16/01/2009: Page published. 3 revisions since then.
12/10/2014: Picture added.
12/10/2014: Information amended.