Fishing News

Diamond Lives: Wreck And Rescue

110 years in the past this month, a Hull trawler perished when she ran aground after crewmen mistook lethal white cliffs for snow. Brian W Lavery tells of the Diamond, the skipper who saved each soul aboard – and what turned of them

Daybreak had but to interrupt because the Diamond solid her method via a gale off Flamborough, heading dwelling with a maintain stuffed with fish.

On deck, an engineer taking a breath of air amid the storm referred to as all the way down to the cabin: “Come and see the attractive snow bathe!”

It was seconds later that the ship’s cook dinner beneath was shouting: “It’s not snow! It’s land!”

The ‘stunning snow bathe’ was Speeton Cliffs, which solely weeks earlier had claimed the Hull trawler Lark when she was run aground.

Diamond’s bosun George Wooden, who was on watch, had additionally thought he had seen snow, however quickly observed the breakers, and ordered the deckhand on the helm to show exhausting to starboard.

The skipper was quickly on deck too and ordered exhausting astern – nevertheless it was too late. It took simply 10 minutes for the laden trawler to crash into the rocks.

Under deck, the engines crunched to a halt. Chief engineer John Ethell noticed a large rush of water extinguish his ship’s boiler fires straight away.

The trawler was bumping closely off the rocks, trapped beneath the cliffs. What had been an ideal and probably very worthwhile journey had ended with the vessel smashed on the rocky shore.

The Diamond had sailed from Hull on 19 December, 1911, and after fishing close to the East Fladden grounds about 300 miles NNE of Spurn Level into the primary week of the brand new 12 months, determined to move dwelling.

At round 2am on 8 January, 1912, 41-year-old skipper Thomas Davies, comfortable along with his full maintain, was conscious he was racing raging winter climate, and set a SSW course for the homeward voyage.

All through the return journey, the trawler ran the SSE gales, till the crew made the catastrophic misjudgement of mistaking cliffs for snow.

When bosun George Wooden got here on watch at six within the morning that 9 January, the Diamond had nonetheless been going full velocity on her authentic course.

With the vessel aground, the crew tried to launch their small boat, however a boiling sea was working because the trawler bumped closely in opposition to the rocks.

By the point the Flamborough lifeboat crew and the native rocket lifesaving firm arrived on the scene, the trawler crew had been rescued and introduced ashore by two Flamborough cobles, skippered by native males Sam Chadwick and John William Pockley (identified domestically as Jack Hart).

A picture of the wreck from the Hull News in January 1912.

An image of the wreck from the Hull Information in January 1912.

Each males had nice reputations, however Chadwick’s rescue abilities had been famend all alongside the fisheries of the east coast.

North Sea inshore fishermen alongside that coast had lengthy performed an vital function in serving to service provider vessels that obtained into bother.

Flamborough coble skipper Sam Chadwick had uncanny abilities in serving to stranded vessels.

The distinguished Hull-based maritime historian Dr Robb Robinson, who’s researching tales of the North Sea for a brand new ebook, together with the story of the Diamond, recounts how Chadwick reached legendary standing amongst his friends.

Dr Robinson mentioned: “When Sam ‘Bonny’ Chadwick died in 1919, it was mentioned that he had negotiated and assisted the refloating of extra vessels beached at Flamborough than every other fisherman, and was as soon as introduced with a gold watch in recognition of his providers in serving to refloat one notably massive steamer.”

Chadwick saved all palms from the Diamond, and organized for the catch to be moved to Hull, however even he couldn’t save the ship or launch her from the rocks.

Dr Robinson added: “The Diamond had come ashore a few mile from the place the steam trawler Lark had been stranded a month beforehand.

“A portion of the fish catch was eliminated the next day and forwarded to Hull on the market. There have been some preliminary hopes that the vessel could possibly be refloated, however regardless of the abilities of Bonny and his colleagues, these proved illusory due to the extent of the injury.”

The wrecked Diamond at Speeton Cliffs in January 1912.

Saving the catch not solely benefited the trawler bosses, the Kingston Steam Trawling Firm Ltd, but in addition the boys, who would have been relying on their share.

Quickly after the Diamond’s males had been taken off, the Filey lifeboat crew, which had additionally been alerted, arrived on the scene, however on boarding they found that the stricken trawler was by then abandoned.

The crewmen of the Diamond had been billeted on the native Foord’s Lodge in Filey, earlier than being returned to Hull.

On a lighter notice, an engineer from the Diamond who was on go away on the time catastrophe struck obtained a go to from some drunken crewmates later, who shouted as much as his window: “Hey Billy, she’s come for you, lad!”

In February 1912, a Board of Commerce inquiry opened into the lack of the Diamond.

At first, it targeting the function of bosun George Wooden, who had been on watch when the disastrous mistaking of cliffs for snow had occurred. It appeared that his profession was in jeopardy. However the mate, George Kelk, got here to Wooden’s rescue.

Kelk was lacking when the inquiry opened, having been arrested for debt. However he was tracked down a couple of days later, and gave some devastating testimony in opposition to Skipper Davies.

Kelk advised the courtroom that at no time had he seen Thomas Davies on deck throughout any of the watches. It quickly turned clear that the principle blame for the catastrophe was to be hooked up to the skipper.

The decide heading the inquiry was reported within the Hull Information of 17 February, 1912 as saying: “That could be a scandalous state of affairs.”

It’s not identified why the skipper was not current throughout any of the three watches earlier than catastrophe struck. However the inquiry determined that his negligence had price his employers a ship – and will, extra importantly, have price the boys their lives.

However by at this time’s requirements, Skipper Davies’ punishment appears ludicrous. He had his skipper’s certificates suspended for simply three months – and the courtroom additionally determined that he may keep on working as a mate within the meantime if he may discover employment.

In concept, he ought to have been effectively cushioned, for a couple of weeks later he acquired greater than £80 – about £1,800 in at this time’s cash – in settlement of his share of an earlier salvage of a big ship referred to as the Sair Port the earlier 12 months.

However Dr Robinson’s analysis on the Blaydes Maritime Centre College of Hull web site reveals that there was at the very least some poetic justice meted out to the errant skipper.

In June 1912, Davies was jailed by magistrates at Brixham Petty Classes for arrears of upkeep attributable to his estranged spouse.

Out of the salvage monies he had acquired, he had solely despatched her £5 10s, round £100 in at this time’s cash – a fraction of what he obtained.

Davies claimed to the courtroom that he had had unhealthy luck, and mentioned he was additionally having to pay an extra 2s 6d every week to his mom, in addition to maintaining one other girl and youngster.

The bench was unimpressed by the skipper’s complicated non-public life and listing of excuses, and he was jailed for a month.

Dr Robinson has been joined in his maritime historical past web site mission by household analysis professional Peter Chapman, who helped to unearth the human tales behind the historical past of the Diamond.

He writes: “It seems that Davies was residing with Mary Louise Trickett (née Blackman), a 22-year-old widow by whom he appears to have had a son in 1911.

“Mary’s late husband, Chandos Jepson Trickett, who normally glided by the title of James, had been mate on the Hull trawler Terrier when he was dragged overboard by the trawl warp and drowned while the vessel was fishing some 270 miles NE of Spurn in January 1908.

“One of many trawler’s deckhands, George William Brown of Westbourne Crescent, Edinburgh Avenue, was later introduced with a bronze award for gallantry from the King for his makes an attempt that day to save lots of the stricken mate.

“What is especially attention-grabbing from our perspective is that the skipper of the Terrier on the time was Thomas Davies. It was presumably a while afterwards that he had moved in with Mary.”

With the outbreak of the First World Conflict, Davies turned a skipper within the Royal Naval Reserve (Trawler Part), and was assigned to the trawler Elite – however by early January 1915 he had been discharged for misconduct. However as Peter Chapman explains, Davies was not an uncommon case when it got here to self-discipline.

“In the beginning of the battle, massive numbers of skippers and fishermen from everywhere in the nation had been quickly drafted into naval service for minesweeping and anti-submarine duties.

“The cultural gulf between Dartmouth- and Osborne-trained naval officers and the working fishermen they abruptly needed to command was monumental. Imposing naval self-discipline amongst the fishing fraternity was fraught with issues and various fishermen, who seemingly proved notably tough to command, had been dismissed in early 1915, and it appears seemingly that Davies was certainly one of these.”

The stays of the Diamond, 110 years on.

Skipper Davies was not the one crewman from the Diamond’s final journey to seek out himself in Royal Navy service within the battle. At the very least six members of the nine-man crew served.

John William Ethell, the chief engineer who watched the boiler fires abruptly extinguish, was already a member of the Royal Naval Reserve when he signed up for ‘quick service’ in July 1914, about three weeks earlier than Britain entered the battle.

He was by then virtually 42 years previous. Regardless of his age and the ‘quick service’ deal, he ended up serving till 1920.

Based on naval data, Ethell joined the Mine Clearance Service after the battle. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal.

Edward Heron, the Diamond’s final cook dinner, was at the very least 51 when he joined the Auxiliary Patrol in November 1915. He was despatched to Queenstown, close to Cork, to function cook dinner on the requisitioned drifter Colleen, however he lasted not more than six months earlier than he was invalided out.

The Diamond’s bosun, George Geoffrey Wooden, who tried in useless to steer the ill-fated trawler from the rocks, joined the Auxiliary Patrol in February 1915 and served for the rest of the battle within the bitter coastal battle in opposition to mines and U-boats.

Edward Tucker, a deckhand on his first journey on the Diamond in 1912, was 23 when he signed up in July 1915.

Data present he was posted as lacking from 20 July, 1917 with the remainder of the crew of the Admiralty trawler Robert Smith, which was later reported to have been sunk with gunfire by the German submarine U-44 within the Atlantic.

Edward Bowles, previously third hand on the Diamond, additionally joined the Auxiliary Patrol in November 1916. He was nonetheless on trawlers through the early a part of the Second World Conflict, and misplaced his life aged 54 on the Grimsby trawler King Eric, which was torpedoed in September 1941. He’s remembered on the Memorial to Fishermen and Service provider Seamen at Tower Hill in London.

The opposite coble skipper concerned in rescuing the Diamond’s crew again in 1912 was additionally to be claimed by the ocean. John William Pockley, aka Jack Hart, was a crew member of the Arrow, certainly one of 10 Bridlington motor cobles caught out at sea in a sudden storm in November 1923.

Pockley’s physique was later washed up on the sands at Sewerby, close to Bridlington. He was 64 years previous.

The story of the Diamond is each a catastrophe and a triumph. The truth that all males aboard had been saved is outstanding of itself, on condition that the world was identified a ‘graveyard’ for North Sea trawlers heading again to Hull.

Fishermen are superstitious. And their luck was positively in that fateful day, when the outstanding skipper Sam ‘Bonny’ Chadwick got here to their support earlier than the lifeboat may.

Numerous lives had been touched throughout the a long time by this one incident, the historic and human curiosity components of which mix within the outstanding analysis being undertaken on the Hull-based Blaydes Maritime Centre – and which proves that historical past is just not solely what we learn, however what all of us stay via.

Dr Robb Robinson and Peter Chapman’s analysis and that of their colleagues on the Blaydes Maritime Centre, together with the story of the Diamond and its aftermath, could be discovered at: bit. ly/3GkPht2

Photographs and pictures courtesy of Dr Robb Robinson of the Blaydes Maritime Centre on the College of Hull, and the Filey Bay Maritime Heritage web site.


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