Additional information courtesy of Andy Hall
Admiralty Number: 3782
Official Number: 143256
Yard Number: 403
As built: As built 360disp 125.6 x 23.5 x 12.8 feet
Gross Tonnage: 290 (later 280.59)
Net Tonnage: 127 (later 107.82)
Length: 125.5 ft
Breadth: 23.5 ft
Depth: 12.7 ft
Built: Cook, Welton & Gemmell Ltd, Beverley
Engine: 550ihp T.3-cyl and boiler by Amos & Smith Ltd, Hull
24.9.1918: Launched by Cook, Welton & Gemmell Ltd, Beverley (Yd.No.403) (“Castle” class) for The Admiralty as JOHN GULIPSTER. (Ad.No.3782).
5.2.1919: Forms for tender to purchase received by the Admiralty.
3.1919: Sold to James Johnson, Scarborough.
17.4.1919: Completed as a fishing vessel
6.5.1919: Registered at Scarborough Part I & IV as BETTY JOHNSON, Official No.143256 (SH50).
5.1919: Sailed Scarborough for Iceland.
22.5.1919: Fishing Icelandic grounds. At 8.00am. net came fast when hauling. Frederick Trever (25), Hull was working near winch when gilson wire parted causing bobbins to fall on him; dragged clear but found to be dead.
12.4.1920: Sold to Prince Fletcher Trawlers Ltd, Fleetwood. Harry Melling & P. Fletcher appointed managers.
7.3.1922: In Wyre Dock. At about 4.00pm Messrs J. Preston & Sons delivered two one cwt drums of carbide and placed them under cover in the engine room alley-way. At about 5.10pm vessel left Wyre Dock and proceeded down river. Meanwhile. one of the two firemen, named Henry C. Corns, who had only reported himself on board a few minutes before the vessel left the quay, and who had gone forward to change his clothes, came on deck. On reaching the alley-way he saw the drums of carbide, and not wishing to go down below empty-handed carried one of them down the ladder and handed it to the Second Engineer in the engine-room and went back for the other. His method of carrying the drum down the ladder was to hold on to the rails with both hands and support the drum on his left knee, and this was the method commonly adopted on this vessel. When carrying the second drum and when nearing the foot of the ladder, described by another witness as a very steep one, both his feet for some unaccountable reason slipped off the ladder and the drum of carbide fell into the engine crankcase and was crushed with the next revolution of the engine. With water in the bilge and a lamp burning in the room the acetylene generated by the contact of the carbide with the bilge water was immediately ignited and an explosion followed. The Chief Engineer, Harry Jackson, was blown by the force of the explosion into such a position under the boiler that he could not extricate himself, and when after some time had elapsed it was found possible to reach and remove him, life was found to be practically extinct. His cries for help show, however, that he was not even rendered unconscious by the initial explosion. Corns, the unwitting cause of the accident, was blown towards the door of the stoke-hold and eventually escaped with difficulty up the ladder, and Joseph Wiley, the Second Engineer, had his leg so badly fractured that amputation was necessary, and he was badly burned as well. John Bateman, the cook, who for some reason was standing at the top of the ladder, was so injured by the burst of flame as to lose his eyesight and sense of smell. Material damage to the vessel was small.
26.6.1922: At an Inquiry held at Fleetwood by Major A. Cooperkey CB, HM Chief Inspector of Explosives concluded that “ The explosion was not an unavoidable accident, and would not have occurred (a) if the carbide had been removed below before the engines were started, or (b) if proper means had been adopted to remove it below.”
7.9.1925: Trawling in Firth of Clyde off Pladda Light (Sk. James Scott). Sighted by Scottish Fishery Board’s cruiser VIGILANT and signalled to heave to, but steamed away and chased for 24 miles. Escaped but name and port of registry noted.
23.9.1925: At Rothesay Sheriff Court, James Scott pleaded guilty to illegal fishing by means of otter trawl; concealing name, number and port of registry; refusing to stop when ordered by Fishery Cruiser. The defence was that Scott had come into the Firth to seek medical attention for the mate who had injured a finger. Found guilty on all counts and fined a total of £100 or alternatively 120 days imprisonment.
24.11.1927: Scarborough registry closed.
1927: Sold to Melling Trawlers Ltd, Fleetwood.
29.12.1927: Registered at Fleetwood as ANNIE MELLING (FD168). Henry Melling appointed manager.
25.04.1929: Sailed Fleetwood for St. Kilda, onboard was Mrs. Jack Carter, 25 years-old wife of Skipper Jack Carter, who is probably the only member of her sex who goes regularly to sea on a steam trawler. Skipper Carter is also 25 years of age, and they been married about two years. Mrs. Carter says the reason she goes to sea is because she becomes lonely on shore when her husband is away. While the crew are engaged in fishing operations Mrs. Carter either sits on deck watching the crew or reads in her husband’s cabin. Among the deep-sea fishermen at Fleetwood Mrs. Carter has been dubbed “The Bride of the Sea”. She is said to be the only Manx woman who has spent a night on the island of St. Kilda.
13.10.1930: Fishing off Morecambe Bay (Sk. Jack Carter). Whilst preparing to shoot the trawl, one of the otter boards dropped crushing the fingers on the right hand of Sk. Carter. First aid rendered and on docking taken to hospital where end of middle finger was amputated.
1930: Henry Melling ceased to be manager.
12.1931: Sold to William C. Farrow, Hull.
17.12.1931: Fleetwood registry closed.
21.12.1931: Registered at Hull (H399).
12.1.1932: Registered at Hull as ANDREW MARVEL (H399).
23.3.1933: Sold to Hudson Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Hull. (Hudson Brothers Trawlers Ltd, managers.
8.7.1935: Sailed Hull for Faroe grounds.
9.7.1935: Arrived Hull to report the loss of trimmer Leonard J Beavers (28) on his first trip. When loss discovered, searched vessel and then retraced course but despite every effort and hampered by darkness failed to find any trace of man.
12.1935: Sold to Thomas L. Devlin & Sons, Granton.
18.12.1935: Hull registry closed.
1.1936: Registered at Granton as COMITATUS (GN39). Thomas L. Devlin Jnr appointed manager.
28.8.1939: Requisitioned for war service as a minesweeper (P.No. FY.633) (Hire rate £90.12.6d/month).
1942: Sold to Mrs Elizabeth D. Breen, Edinburgh
9.10.1945: Returned to owner after restoration and survey at Glasson Dock. Sold to Dinas Steam Trawler Co Ltd (64/64), Fleetwood.
12.1949: Fishing in The Minch (Sk. Horace Blyth). Sighted and apprehended by HMS WELCOME (P.No.J386), Fishery Protection Squadron, fishing 11/2 miles offshore near Stornoway Harbour.
16.12.1949: Pleaded guilty by letter claiming visibility was only half-a-mile at the time, but the Sheriff accepted the evidence of HMS WELCOME that visibility was five miles and fined Blyth £50; gear was not ordered to be confiscated Blyth lost his job on account of this incident.
2.1952: Sold to Queen Steam Fishing Co Ltd (64/64), Grimsby. Charles Alford Osborne appointed manager.
2.1952: Granton registry closed.
8.2.1952: Registered at Grimsby (GY228).
12.6.1956: Grimsby registry closed “… on sale of vessel to foreigners (Belgian subjects).
19.6.1956: Sold to Van Heyghen Freres S.A., Ghent for breaking up.
Click to enlarge images
S.T. Annie Melling FD168
Picture courtesy of The James Cullen Collection
S.T. Commitatus GY228
Picture from the Internet
S.T. Andrew Marvel H399
Picture from the Internet
17/05/2012: Page published. 5 updates since then.
06/06/2015: Picture added.
29/09/2016: Significant information update.
29/12/2017: Removed FMHT watermark from image.
21/08/2019: Information updated.