side motor trawler " Boston Comanche " ex " Saint Louis "

26th September 2005, 11:08
Have you photographs or informations about the " Boston Comanche ", british built motor side trawler, bought in France, yearv 1965, where she was called " Saint Louis ", owned by " Pécheries de la Morinie ", a french subsidiary company of the trawling british company of Sir Parkes.



26th September 2005, 18:49
'allo, 'allo, Pierre,

I remember 'Boston Commanche' in Grimsby in the late '60s.

The following information found on the Grimsby trawler website "Sidewinder" (

Trawler 'St Louis' built by Cook,Welton & Gemmell, Beverley, Yorkshire, 1959, 616 GRT, Length 179.8 feet, breadth 32.4 feet, engines Kloeckner Humboldt Deutz 1600 BHp, speed 1375 knots.

She was sold on 6/11/68 to Boston Deepsea Fisheries, renamed 'Boston Commanche' (GY144), Official No. 333954, and sailed from Grimsby, Lincolnshire. She would have fished at Iceland, Norwegian Coast and White Sea fishing grounds.

According to 'Sidewinder', there were two deaths on board including one man overboard.

On 17/3/79 (St Patrick's Day and, coincidentally, my birthday) she arrived at Medway Secondary Metals Ltd, Bloors Wharf, Rainham, Kent, to be broken up.

For interest, another 'Pecheries' trawler, 'St Luc', was sold to Boston Deepsea in 1970 and became 'Boston Boeing' (GY183). She was built in Poland in 1962 and scrapped in 1980.

Boston Deepsea Fisheries, founded by Sir Fred Parkes, operated from Grimsby, Hull, Fleetwood and Lowestoft. It is interesting to hear that the company had a French subsidiary - previously considered part of the competition! Which areas would the French ships have fished?

In Grimsby, Boston's were a highly regarded company. I did a trip on 'Broadwater' (later to become 'Boston Crusader') and got bacon and stuff for breakfast! In other firms, the bacon ran out after the first day. I recall reading something by a famous French wit stating that the English were peculiar because they eat fish for breakfast, well, in that respect we were well looked after. Mind you, there's nothing like starting off with a brace of kippers, the all day breakfast!

A couple of other sites you may be interested in: The Bosuns Watch (Fleetwood) and Arctic Corsair (Hull).

John T.

26th September 2005, 20:25
Hello friend,

Thanks for your answer and please apologize my low level in english language.

Sir Parkes was well known in Boulogne and he was known as liking the pretty women of Boulogne. I know he started in the life as a clerk in a trawling company and succeeded to the owner and built a great fishing company.

I knew the President of the " Pêcheries de la Morinie ", Mr Jacques Huret, in the 60's. He drove her white Jaguar MK with overdrive very fastly and became President of all the french trawler's owners.

Others trawlers of " Pêcheries de la Morinie " were bought or sold to Sir Parkes british company : " Saint Claude ", " Saint Just 2 ", and "Saint Luc", ships I well knew when I was young. They trawled in North Sea, in the same banks trawled by british trawlers.

In Boulogne we said " a bread and an herring for everybody ", in french " chacun sin pain et s'n herring". I know many people who ate kippers with coffee, milk, bread, butter and jam ( confiture ) for breakfast in Boulogne.

Best maritime regards


27th September 2005, 01:48
Thanks Pierre.

I have just looked up Sir Fred Parkes and apparantly he didn't start the Boston Deepsea Fisheries but worked his way up to become the Managing Director in 1919.

The company was originally based in Boston, Lincolnshire. Although not a salvage company, they were contracted to remove a stranded collier which was blocking the entrance to the harbour. There then ensued a lengthy row over payment for the task. Sir Fred got the hump and moved the whole operation to Fleetwood!

Did Sir Fred get a taste for the Boulogne ladies after starting the company there or did he start the company because he liked the girls? Either way, nice work if you can get it. I wonder if the British and French trawlers knew they were part of the same company when they encountered each other on the Dogger Bank.

Re the herrings, when my son was about 4 years old he loved to eat kippers. When one was placed before him he used to give a theatrical sniff and say: "New girl in town?" My wife could never understand where he got such sayings from. Neither could I!

By the way, your English is very good - you should hear my Australian!

John T.

mick Wright
27th September 2005, 23:44
Fish Meals
When I did my first trip to sea on Bacon!s Liberia,we had fish for breakfast,undersized flatfish,headed gutted and trimmed and possibly washed.We had the same for tea but with freshly baked bread,I do not miss the heartburn,and when the meat joints which were kept in the fishroom on ice ran out we had a brill or turbot for lunch.
Believe it or not I still eat fish.

Mick - Just arrived home from the dance.

31st May 2010, 22:18
i am interested by informations and photographs on Boulogne fishing motor vessels, from 1930 to 1970's. I can also give informations and photo's. Best regards

3rd May 2012, 05:53
Hi everyone,

Iwas a Deckie with Bostons and member of the small crew that collected the St Louis from Boulogne. During the passage back to Grimsby we had an engine problem somewhere off the Thames estuary, and I remember us hoisting a 'not under command' day signal.

There wasn't any black balls on board, so we used two baskets.
Best wishes to you all,

gil mayes
3rd May 2012, 09:13
The Parkes family connection(s) with the French trawling fleet is well documented in Sir Basil's excellent book 'Trawlings of a Lifetime'. Many BDSF&ICo trawlers, both steam & motor, transferred between the two countries and as the researcher for Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust I would ask boulogne-fishing-vessels to look at our website There are some gaps in our details particularly of Boulogne and other Port Letter Number (PLN) and I would very much welcome assistance to further advance our database.