Tag Archives: James Billington

s.v. Comet FD160

Additional information courtesy of Christine Simm


Official Number: 17226
Completed: 1882
Gross Tonnage: 28
Net Tonnage: 22
Length: 57.7 ft
Breadth: 14.4 ft
Depth: 7.1 ft
Rig: Yawl – Trawling
Built: ??, Fish House, Kircudbright


1843: Completed by ??, Fish House, Kirkcudbright as COMET.
1853: Owned by Mr Drummond, Fleetwood.
29.1.1853: Registered at Fleetwood O.N.17226.
1.1.1867: Owned by Hugh Ashcroft, Fleetwood.
1872: Owned by Thomas Smith, Fleetwood.
1872: Crew – Richard Rimmer (40), Master; John Collinson( 30), Mate; Jacob Collinson (16), AB; Thomas Rimmer (15), Boy.
1872: Registered at Fleetwood (FD160).
14.10.1872: Lying in the harbour at Fleetwood, discovered that someone had committed wilful damage to the smack, namely that six of the shroud lanyards had been cut. If the smack had sailed for the fishing grounds with this damage undiscovered it is probable that the mast would have been lost, endangering both the boat and her crew.
1.1.1880: Owned by James Billington, Preston.
1882: Sold to Richard Leadbetter, Fleetwood.
1882: Re-registered after lengthening at Fleetwood and converted to yawl rig at a cost of £600. Remeasured 28.36g 21.67n 57.7 x 14.4 x 7.1 feet.
28.7.1882: Reported that a Trawl Boat Race had taken place – Prizes 1st £15, 2nd £7, 3rd £5. Course. Down channel , round Sandside Buoy on the starboard hand, back round Danger Patch Buoy on the starboard hand, round Helpsforth Buoy, leaving it on the port hand, pass round the Flag Ship to SSW leaving it on the port hand, back round Kingscar Buoy on the port hand, to the Fairway Buoy, into the harbour and through the line. Distance about fifty miles. Entries – Spray (W. Hudson); WONDER (W. Leadbetter): GRATITUDE ( Peter Ball); HARRIET (Maskell); KING DAVID (John Moss); OYSTER GIRL (W. Poole); COMET (W. Leadbetter); PETREL (aka BIG PETREL) (Thomas Tomlinson). Towed out to the start at the Screw Pile Lighthouse by the paddle tug WYRE (165grt/1862). All completed the course with the exception of SPRAY which with a new suit of sails broke both her boom and gaff and returned to harbour. Results – GRATITUDE, BIG PETREL, OYSTER GIRL, etc.
16.9.1885: At the Whitehaven Regatta, came third behind GRATITUDE (F56), both owned by Richard Leadbetter. However, the first boat, SEAFLOWER, was not a registered fishing boat and the subject of an inquiry.
20.10.1888: Sold to John Wright, Fleetwood.
1891: Owned by Richard Leadbetter & others, Fleetwood.
22.10.1889: At sea with the PETREL (FD59) acting as a carrier. Closing PRINCE CHARLIE (FD157) to transfer fish, ran foul of the PRINCE CHARLIE smashing her jigger boom.
29.7.1890: At about 8.00 am, came into Fleetwood with the dead body of James Foster onboard. Foster had jumped overboard from the smack GEORGE & MARIA on 25 July 1890. The corpse was discovered in the trawl early in the morning when fishing some four miles NNW of the Morecambe Bay Lightship. The body was in a good state of preservation and in the pockets was a purse containing five pawn tickets, a knife, two clay pipes and a piece of tobacco. The body was conveyed to the mortuary.
30.7.1890: At Fleetwood Police Court the inquest into the death of James Foster was held. Having heard evidence from crew members of both the GEORGE & MARIA and the COMET and from Phoebe Foster, his wife, the Coroner said there was no doubt that it was a case of suicide and that the deceased was of unsound mind. The jury returned a verdict to that effect.
14.10.1892: In a gale, lost her rudder. Towed safely into Fleetwood in the evening.
21/22.12.1894: A whole fleet of trawlers and cargoes were lost during the great storm over Europe.
22.12.1894: Returned to Fleetwood with “trifling” damage.
1898: Along with BEAVER (DO1) and LEADER (FD165) arrived Jubilee Quay from fishing grounds severely iced up.
5.2.1901: Sold to William Leadbetter, The Emporium, Fleetwood & others.
20.10.1902: Disabled on the fishing grounds having lost her rudder. Picked up by the smack IRISH LILY (FD50) and delivered safely to Fleetwood.
18.7.1903: Sold to Francis McCallig Snr, Ballysaggart, Dunkineely, Co. Donegal. Francis McCallig Jnr skipper.
21.12.1908: Fleetwood registry closed.
12.1908: Registered at Sligo (SO1276).
1912: Francis McCallig Snr, managing owner.
1919: Sligo registry closed.

05/01/2009: Page published. 2 updates since then.
15/01/2023: Updated history.