George “Judder” Harrison

Information courtesy of Louise Harrison, Chris Harrison & Jennifer Harrison

Three poems written by Judder Harrison.

The Devil’s Revenge

Remember, remember the fifth of November
It’s quite an old fashioned rhyme
But I’ll never forget the first of September
That’s when Iceland claimed a new “line”.

There’s also another reason
Why it’s an outstanding date for me
I was fishing that night in Redsand Bay
Just a fraction inside of the “three”

It was blowing quite hard from the NNE
I’d only gone there for a lee
It was calm and peaceful under the land
Away from that stormy sea

As evening fell and the sky grew dark
Someone said “Shoot your gear”
And I listened once more to that Demon voice
Twas the devil, whispering in my ear

“Get away from me you rogue” I cried
As his influence I tried to retard
“Get thee behind me Satan”
“But please don’t push too hard”

“Pay away, pay away”, he insisted
And I felt myself weaken and fall
“Please Satan, you’re pushing too hard”
As I ordered the mate, “Down trawl”

My heart fluttered like a sparrows
In my mouth a taste like gall
But I quickly forgot my conscience
When I saw what we’d caught that haul

There was 60 or 70 baskets
Big haddocks, plaice and sprags
“Put the halving becket on mate” said I
“Next haul we’ll have 2 bags

So pleased was I with the fishing
That I quickly forgot my fear
And, much to my sorrow, the Devil
He was whispering in another bloke’s ear

Not far away under ‘Snowy’
Was the Iceland patrol ship Thor
Taking shelter from this stormy night
As he’d done quite often before

Capt. Christopherson took a last look round
As he ‘yarned’ with his number one
“We’ll dodge to the corner tomorrow”, said he
But by that time I’d be gone

But I’d reckoned without the Devil
He’d got me to shoot my gear
And right at that very moment
Was whispering in ‘Old Chris’ ear

“Get across there tonight”, he said
“Don’t wait until break of day
Get across there as quick as you can
You’ll catch a ship in Redsand Bay”

“Not only is he inside of the ‘twelve’
But he’s inside ‘four'”, said he
“And if you nip across there smartly tonight
you’ll catch him inside of the ‘three'”

Well, the rest of this sordid story
is history from the past
The Thor came across that fatal night
And he came across mighty fast

He caught me with my gear down
And also my pants, you might say
But I’d have been far away from the scene of the crime
If he’d waited till break of day

Old captain ‘Chris’ got a pat on the back
And the Devil he got his wish
I got the ‘chop’ from the gaffer
for pinching a bit of fish

So take my tip you fishermen bold
Don’t be tempted by ‘Old Nick’
Just remember that he works for both sides
And he’ll serve you a dirty trick

The Fisherman’s Lament

I remember the days, in the far distant past
When I served as a deckie before the mast
Aye, and even long before my time
When fish were caught with hook and line

Fishermen were known throughout the land
As honest men with open hand
Each man at sea was like a brother
Twas unforgivable not to help one another

Skippers those days were simple chaps
They’d no posh radar, nor Decca maps
The whole wide sea was his to roam
When his hold was full, he’d head for home

Our fathers taught the Iceland Scrobs
How to man their ships and do their jobs
They taught them about their treacherous coast
Where the cod and haddocks bred the most

From Stokkanes up to Dyrohlaey
Round Staljberg into Raudisand Bay
From Ingolse Hoofde up to Stranda Flak
Round the cape down to Whaleyback

But that was in the days of yore
When we fished just three miles from the shore
You could catch a trip in seven or eight days
In Faxe, Breidie or other bays

Then some Scrob took it into his head
To push out the limits, we all saw red
And instead of three miles from the shore
They put the limit line out to four

And they cut off all the fjords and bays
Where you could catch a trip in seven or eight days
And to make this limit a permanent fix
They increased their gunboat fleet to six

But the fishermen of Grimsby, Fleetwood and Hull
Said “To hell with his limits, and also his bull”
And they searched around as they’d done in the past
To find fresh grounds that were bound to last

For a trip or two the going was rough
As they explored new ground and found new rough
And many a back was broken and bent
Mending trawls that were badly rent

But with determination and lots of skill
They were able to swallow that bitter pill
And soon they returned to Britain’s shore
With fishrooms full as they’d done before

Then they laughed at Iceland’s limit
He can stick his four miles and all that’s in it
He can stuff his fjords and bays as well
For all we care he can roast in hell

But some Scrob sitting in comfort and ease
Didn’t like our mastering of his seas
So into his head he had a delve
And decided to push us out to twelve

By the shades of Nelson, Raleigh and Drake
This is a pill that’s hard to take
But you be inside twelve if you darest
When it comes into force on September the first

But the Gaffer sat in his cosy room
Is expecting me to bring back the moon
For my trials and troubles he cares not a jot
He just wants to know how much fish I’ve got

No use telling how we braved the storm
He’ll just look down his nose with scorn
Then politely ask me to wait outside
While my humble future he decides

As I stand there trembling almost in fits
He’ll tear my reputation to bits
And I wonder what will be my fate
Will it be deckie? Will it be mate?

But it’s not only from him that you have to take stick
The ‘Old Woman’ thinks you’re a little bit thick
She doesn’t think much of your hard endeavour
Back goes the fur coat that she bought on the ‘never’

So when you hear of the money we earn
Of the fabulous sums that we have to burn
Just give a thought for the lads forlorn
Away off the cape in a north east storm.

The Loss of the S.T. Barle

T’was a peaceful sea and a moonlit sky
A sleeping world and there was I
Keeping my lonely watch by night
On a trawler’s bridge thinking all was right

Quite unaware that my course was wrong
I was humming a tune as I steered along
But if I’d only known what fate had in store
That in a short while we’d be running ashore

But fate never tells what is happening next
Or we’d never been on those rocks just a wreck
T’was three in the morn of April the first
We ran into fog, ’tis a seaman’s curse

The all of a sudden, I heard dead ahead
The breaking of surf, it filled me with dread
I signalled the second for ‘full speed astern’
But I was too late, I was soon to learn

For she ran on the rocks with a deafening crash
And in a short while our decks were awash
There was nought to be seen but rocks all around
As those treacherous waves on our deck they did pound

So we launched our small boat and we hoped for the best
And every man’s nerves were put to the test
Bur British sailors are men every inch
And not for a second did anyone flinch

From that tragic wreck we pulled away
and waited, impatient, for the breaking of day
At half past five the dawn broke through
The fog cleared up and the sun broke through

So we landed our boat on a small strip of beach
And we climbed ashore out of danger’s reach
But our troubles were not over, as time did tell
For climbing that cliff was a living hell

And by the time we got to the top
Every man there was ready to drop
Twas only the fact that a farm was so near
That prevented us from dropping, exhausted I fear

And oh! What a welcome from such kindly folk
They dried our clothes, we were all asoak
And as we could hear the lash of that foam
We thought of our loved ones and longed for our home

But now we are safe, from our hearts let us send
A prayer of thanks, to our ‘Unseen Friend’