S.T. Surprise GK4

Additional information courtesy of Birgir Þórisson, Andy Hall and Mike Thompson


Official Number: 144040
Yard Number: 898
Completed: 1919
Gross Tonnage: 323 (327)
Net Tonnage: 129 (130)
Length: 138.2 ft
Breadth: 23.7 ft
Depth: 12.7 ft
Built: Cochrane & Sons Ltd, Selby
Engine: T.3-cyl (600ihp) and boiler by Charles D. Holmes & Co Ltd, Hull


28.6.1919: Launched by Cochrane & Sons Ltd, Selby (Yd.No.898)(“Mersey“ class) for The Admiralty as SAMUEL MARTIN (Ad.No.4255).
1919: Sold to Hellyer Bros Ltd, Hull.
23.3.1920: Registered at Hull (Part I & IV) as FIELD MARSHAL PLUMER O.N.144040 (H174).
29.3.1919: Completed as a fishing vessel. Frank O. Hellyer & Owen S. Hellyer designated managers.
31.03.1923: Sailed Hull 5.30 a.m. for the Icelandic fishing grounds. In the river collided with the trawler LORD BIRKENHEAD (H 219) sustaining some damage.
Repair team comprising shipwright foreman William Jordan and eight men transferred to carry out the repairs. On completion about 3.00 pm, the motor boat KITTY, in the charge of Chas. Ayres, went alongside to take off the repair team. Frederick. Pullen, spare hand of the trawler, also attempted to get into the boat. Herbert Foster, boiler maker, put his hand on Pullen’s shoulder, and tried restrain him. Pullen took hold of Foster, and, unfortunately as the launch sheared off both men fell into the water. A lifebuoy was thrown, but neither man caught hold of it. The incoming tide was running strongly, Foster could not swim, and before the boat could reach him, he sank. Pullen managed to keep himself afloat, and a rope was thrown to him, and he was recovered. Pullen was taken ashore and conveyed to the Royal Infirmary. Later in the day left the Humber for the fishing grounds.
19.11.1924: Sold to Einar Þorgilsson & Co (Einar Þorgilsson, Þorgils Guðmundur Einarsson and Ólafur Tryggvi Einarsson), Hafnarfjordur, Iceland for £9,500.
22.11.1924: Hull registry closed.
11.1924: Registered at Hafnarfjordur as SURPRISE (GK4).
16.02.1931: Sailed Hull for Iceland.
18.11.1931: Sailed Blyth for Iceland.
15.02.1932: Sailed Blyth for Iceland.
15.7.1934: Einar Þorgilsson died.
11.02.1939: Arrived at Grimsby, just before midnight to a waiting ambulance. Icelandic fisherman Sigurdsson Gudmunden was rushed to the Grimsby & District Hospital suffering from severe pneumonia.
04.11.1939: Transferred to Einar Þorgilsson & Co Hf, Hafnarfjordurur.
16.10.1941: West of Iceland, guided by RAF aircraft, picked up 23 crew members, six gunners and two RAF personnel, survivors from the armed merchantman (CAM) EMPIRE WAVE (7463grt/1941) (Capt Clement P Maclay) which was on her maiden voyage and had been torpedoed and sunk by U-boat (U.562) 500 miles E of Cape Farewell on 2.10.1941. Survivors landed at Patreksfjordur, Iceland, treated for frostbite, six remained in hospital. Thirty men in the other boat missing.
26.4.1942: Attacked and bombed by German FW200 160 miles south of Vestmannaeyjar, but bombs missed target.
1943/44: Landing at Hull and Fleetwood, often own catch plus motor boats.
27.5.1943: At Fleetwood landed 2,827 kits – hake-27, cod/sprags/codling-500, ling/coley-2.300.
1944: Also landed at Fleetwood – 7.2, 5.5, 24.5.1944. No landing details.
13.6.1944: Landed at Hull – 2,900 kits.
1944: Other landings at Hull – 8.1-2,932 kits, 24.3-2864 kits, 11.10.1944-2684 kits.
17.11.1945: Sold to H/F Sæfell, Vestmannaeyjar. Hafnarfjordur registry closed. Registered at Vestmannaeyjar as HELGAFELL (VE32).
1951: Laid up.
23.6.1952: Sold to Oddur Helgason, Reykjavik.
1952: Sold to P. & W. MacLellan Ltd, Glasgow, for breaking up at Bo’ness.
2.8.1952: Sailed Reykjavik in tow of Dutch tug in tandem with JÓN STEINGRÍMSSON (RE231) also for breaking.
8.1952: Arrived Bo’ness.
8.12.1952: Breaking commenced.

Click to enlarge images

S.T. Surprise GK4

S.T. Surprise GK4
Picture courtesy of The Birgir Þórisson Collection

S.T.Helgafell VE32

S.T.Helgafell VE32
Picture From the Internet

S.T. Surprise GK4

S.T. Surprise GK4
Landing at FD in 1940.
Picture courtesy of The David Slinger Collection

15/10/2019: Page published.
15/10/2019: Updated information.
18/10/2019: Added an image.