Holyhead Towing

ddraigmor
16th September 2006, 21:20
Hi all,

I did time with Holyhead Towing back when they were a deep sea operator. I see that they have diversified nowadays and end up all over the place - good on 'em!

I sailed on the 'Afon Goch' - ex 'Schelde' (photo on my member info), on the 'Afon Wen' Ex 'Tasman Zee' and on the venerable 'Afon Las' ex Plateau which has just gone for scrap as the TH Dev (though massively re built).

I also did the odd job on their barge 'Llandwyn Island' and on the small shiphandling tugs 'Carmel head and 'North Stack'.

I'd like to get back in touch with William 'Billy' Davidson, who was a Master there. I have been in touch with him before but jlost his e-mail address - anyone help? If so, send me a PM!

Some good blokes on those tugs and they were perhaps the best and worst of times - but they were good ships and I learned a lot.

Jonty

rushie
17th September 2006, 12:30
Hi Jonty,

We had Afon Cadnant (dredger) in Teignmouth for a weeks this year to assist with the docks redevelopment. From there I think she went over to either France or Belgium to do some work.

It was nice to see a North Wales shipping firm's ship in the deep South of Devon.!

Rushie

Bob S
18th September 2006, 17:04
Holyhead Towing have just taken delivery of the AFON CARADOG, the only tug built in the UK this year.Well done Holyhead Towing. (Applause) (Applause) (Applause)

rushie
18th September 2006, 22:04
Where was she built.?

It's a great shame when you think of all the previous tugs built at Hessle and along the Humber.

Rushie

pingu
18th September 2006, 22:20
Hello gentlemen, any information you would like about any of the Holyhead towing vesssels just ask me, as I'am a skipper with the company, im a local Holyhead man and i have been with Holyhead towing for nearly 8 years. IO have so many photo aswell.

pingu
18th September 2006, 22:34
Hi Jonty, nice to here you used to work for the towing company, im working for em at the present im on the Afon Lligwy as skipper and she is base in Kuwait.

rushie
18th September 2006, 22:34
Hi Pingu,

Where abouts do you operate from.?

Seems like the company is in all places these days...apart from Holyhead.!

Do you know where the Afon Cadnant is these days.?

Cheers,

Rushie

ddraigmor
19th September 2006, 00:31
Ah, HTC!

In the old days, when you were laid alongside, you had to work as and where they wanted you. Most times it was doing something like taking the 'Norsemaid' (an ex THV cutter) out as pilot boat (some hairy moments there for a young AB!) or work on the 'Llandwyn Island' doing all sorts of stuff. If there was no deep sea work you got to go coastal on the 'Afon Las' - and she had a crew that defied description but each of them characters.....!

Or you ended up in the boatyard, doing things like shotblasting - old JM could never stand an idle man! I do recall one of the engineers shotblasting the hull of a boat and as the Marine Super walked by the other side, he let the nozzle go down.....which had the MS doing a meerry dance and using a lot of strange language! Could tell so many stories!

One thing they did do though - every Christmas, you'd get a turkey and a small hamper from the owner himself, as a way of saying thank you. When you de-stored after a deep sea trip, the contents of the freezer were shared out to the crew too. Personally, I enjoyed working for them.

The old 'Afon Goch' and 'Afon Wen' were ex Smit Salvage tugs. Beautiful sea boats and we did some great long votages on them and some pretty good salavges too.

I see the outfit has diversified now and has quite a fleet, all over the place. Good to seee they are still keeping the name and colours going.

Only person I knew who is possibly still there is Roger Price Jones? He made skipper - and deserved it too - but I had other fish to fry and after they left 'Afon Goch' in Jeddah and flagged her out, I went to the Northsea.

Jonty

pingu
19th September 2006, 18:41
Hey there Jonty, the towing company has rapidly expanded its fleet in the past 3 years, theres no deep sea tugs anymore just shallow drafted twin screw workboats/tugs. The biggest of our tug fleet are the three sister ships, Afon Alaw, Afon Braint and Afon Caradog. They are 26.5m loa and with a beam of 9.0m, Total bhp, 2,600 bow thrusters are 150 - 200 bhp. Mark Meade has done very well for the company. The vessels are all over northern europe, west coast of Africa and the middle east, where im at on the Lligwy. But im on leave at the mo.

pingu
19th September 2006, 18:43
Oh yeah forgot to mention Roger price jones is working for Klynes towage, he's been there for some yeasrs now.

pingu
19th September 2006, 18:45
Good day rushie, im operating from Kuwait on the Afon Lligwy, but the company is still based in Holyhead.

Bob S
19th September 2006, 19:41
Where was she built.?

It's a great shame when you think of all the previous tugs built at Hessle and along the Humber.

Rushie

Hi Rushie,

According to Jack Gaston's report in the Oct '06 Ship Monthly, she was built by Hepworth Shipyard at Paull on Humberside.

Bob

pingu
19th September 2006, 19:53
Yes that is correct she and her two sister ships were built at Hepworths shipyaed paull, Humberside.

ddraigmor
19th September 2006, 21:25
Roger's with Klynes? Hmm.....a few of the 'old stalwarts' went to Klynes - some have happy memries of them, some have pretty awful ones. A Holyhead man who was C/Eng with HTC lost his arm on one of their tugs, I believe.

Good to see that Mark Meade has opened the business out - good for him. Is Frank Maudsley still there?

I know about the new fleet as I am also a member of www.tugspotters.com - but the goold old days of deep sea voyaging is far gone, which is a pity for you young bucks! I did my first trip on 'Afon Goch' Holyhead - belfast (pick up ship for scrap. MV 'Climax Opal' - sail for Santander. From there to Lisbon and then to Setubal (Portugal) to pick up a three set tow of barges. Sail Setubal for Las Palmas for bunkers and water and then to La Guira, Venezuala to drop them off for a project. Back to Holyhead direct. (five and a half months away, towing bonus 4.5p per mile......good pay off!)

Other trips Holyhead to Hamburg, pick up barge with floating plant on. Sail via Gibraltar for bunkers and to land a man ashore. Via Suez Canal to Djeddah, Saudi Areaboa to work on wreck clearance at the port expansion.
(4.5 pence per mile, five months away)

She also went to Canada, most of Europe, the Bosphoros.....while the 'Afon Wen' did the States including an epic tow, in hurricane conditons, with the 'Carl Gothorn' from New York to Sweden - I believe that JM had a painting of that hanging in his office

God memories and I could write a book on the 'Afon Las'! I was once asked to join her (when I did a foreigner for bextra cash whilst on leave from OIL) to bring her back to Holyhead from Gravesend. Met with Dewi Roberts (Mate, Caergeiliog man - now, sadly, dead) Brian 'Molly' Jones (Holyhead man, also now dead) and a few others on the 6.25am out of Holyhead - and as the train pulled out of the station it was to the voice of Dewi saying 'You know she's sunk, don't you?'

She had sunk at her berth after a tow job up the Thames and we were to bring her back home. When we got there, the mud and tide marks were still in her.......but the engineers did a grand job and she was soon on her way back - while we all chipped in to clean her up!

Good days. Best of them, maybe.

BTW, I'm a Morawelon boy originally.........

Jonty

plasma
19th September 2006, 21:45
I was on the Plateau when she was owned by the Port of London Authority.
I have happy memories of her.

ddraigmor
19th September 2006, 23:18
Plasma,

I found her a damned good little sea boat. She went hrough a couple of Force 9's in her time. She also had ordinary glass in the wheelhouse windows but never seemed to ship much over her stem. no matter the weather.

One thing I do recall was that when you engaged the auto pilot, as she was hydraulic steering, if you were anywhere near the wheel when the auto pilot was correcting and you got a bit of your coat (no wheelhouse heating...) caught - she'd have you on your knees in a trice!

She was a good old girl. Scrapped earlier this year as the TH Dev - went up to Newcastle and had been stripped down to the main deck, new accom put on - but she's now razor blades.

A damned good old girl, for all her faults.

Jonty

plasma
20th September 2006, 21:51
When I was on her some electric heaters were fitted in the wheelhouse with out permission. Capt. Morrison[senior dockmaster P.L.A] ordered them to be taken out as the heat would make the skippers drowsey. There were four of these tugs originally, Plateau went to Hollyhead Towing, Platina went to Greece. Plagal & Plangent were reengined and stayed with the PLA.

ddraigmor
20th September 2006, 22:31
I think the Platina was with HTC for a very short while as spares for the Afon Las - i could be wrong?

Heaters? The wheelhouse was always unheated until HTC fitted a fierce radiator at the back of the wheelhouse. It was so hot, you'd burn on it just by looking at the dammed thing!

She was a very basic old boat. The messroom on the maiondeck retained the large table and circular seat - a bit off putting when she was nudging a head sea......the shower didn't work (you had to run around until you got wet....) and the oilskin locker used to be a toilet.....

Down below they made a veg store and three cabins. One housed the skipper and mate, one the two engineers and there were bunks for four deckies! Only problem was, the top bunks were so close to the deckhead that if you got up in a hurry, you got scalped.......

As for towing....she was hand balled in and ouit (streaming) the tow. One capstan that used to take two turns of the tow rope - the rest of the power supplied by the dckies! You would flake the lengths out up the port alleyway, making sure you put one eye on the hook as they came up in measured lengths. Then, when you had the bridle and spring close in, you lashed it down to the hook. Reverse that for lengthening tow....

We had some good times though. Funny thing was, I was on her in Amsterdam when - as we came in and me and the Mate on watch - Tony Prince of Radio Luxembourg announced that Elvis was dead......and me and the mate, Amsterdam again, announcing John Lennon was dead a few years later! Maybe it was just us two? :-)

Overall though, she was a good wee boat and I did take some weather in her......imagine changing watches in a full gale......out the maindeck accom door, hand hold to the ladder, up it to the bridge for the watch - and having to do the same when the OOW wanted a hot drink!

Swing that lamp!

Jonty

pingu
20th September 2006, 22:38
Hi there Jonty, Frank Mowesley has been retired for the last 6 years or so, the general manager is now James Burns, who was once a deck trainee, and became tea boy in the office and fairplay, eventually took over Franks job. The painting that you mentioned of the Afon Wen in that hurricaine is in James's office, cracking one too. Theres not so many of us Holyhead men or even welsh men in the company anymore, with the company and fleet expanding so rapidly, we have all sorts of nationalities with us.

pingu
20th September 2006, 22:40
Hey there Rushie, i forgot to mention to you when you asking where the Afon Cadnant was, well she is no longer in the fleet. She has been sold, to who and where, i don't know just yet.

ddraigmor
21st September 2006, 18:07
Pingu.

I think James Burns did a little summer time with us in the port at Holyhead. He was realted to JM, I believe?

There were Holyhead men in the fleet for years but some individuals were 'furrin devils'. Lots of Holyhead men, at one time. Some became living legends.

The nature of the game being that there are less seamen around - many will have swallowed the anchor - and recruiting takes in when and where they can.

I am glad to hear that Muddles is retired - not in a nasty sense - but he was arouund ages. He always meant well and made a reputation for himself - like when he destroyed three wooden dolphins that used to hang alngside No3 berth in Holyhead, taking the 'Afon Wen' (Ex Tasman Zee) out in a gale for trials as Master......he just didn't expect diesel electric to act as fast as it did.......left a couple of good springs behind as well!

I also recall him joing the tugs on salvage jobs on the coast in an emergency with a bucket in his left hand.......the buckt never left his side as he was chronically sea sick!

I could tell you so many tales! Probably all changed now but back then, they were roaring men!

Jonty

Richie2012
26th June 2007, 23:06
I have never seen an Holyhead tug but i have seen pictures and theres one thing i like about them is that they have quite a few British Built tugs at Hepworths and one in the building and i think it is great them building them there, as they could probley(sorry for spelling) get them built chepper elsewhere around the world like the rest of the tug companys do so well done to them
Richie

Mr-Tomcat
26th June 2007, 23:56
I'm rather surprised that HT don't build their own boats, they have built work boats for their own use, as I'm sure Jonty has said he's worked on.

ddraigmor
27th June 2007, 00:11
Mr Tomcat,

They built the work barge 'Llandwyn Island' (the first one) and I think the 'Jeanie Watts' - but their old workboats were ex Trinity House launches - the 'Norse' and 'Norsemaid', which were fine wee seaboats and used for everything from towing the SBM pipeline into the yard for maintenance to being used as pilot boats. A bit wet in a blow but solidly built launches.

The first 'Llandwyn Island' had Aquamasters for engine power, a large winch on the main deck for handling anything and also a derrick. She blew up one morning when some ejit left the calor gas stove on and when Tom hesketh and Sammy Hanna went below to start work one morning they switched the battery light on and bang! She blew up! No-one hurt.......

They were a hard working outfit back then. Long trips, vbery basic comforts but for all that, a good company to be with.

Jonty

ddraigmor
27th June 2007, 01:01
Richie 2012,

HTC are building their latest ship in Holland., She is named the 'Afon Cadnant' (will post photo in gallery) and she is, by all accounts, a bit of a beast!

BUILT 2006/7 Metaaldraaierij Sepers BV, Netherlands
CLASSIFICATION Lloyds + 100 A1 Tug LMC UMS, Ice Class 1B, Fi-Fi 1
DIMENSIONS Length OA 35m (excl fenders)
Beam 11.5m (excl fenders)
Depth 4.0m
Minimum working draft 2.4m
Maximum mean draft 3.15m
Deadweight capacity 315 tonnes
MAIN ENGINES 3 x Cummins KTA 50 - M2 main engines, total 5,100 BHP
at 1800 rpm, each driving 1,800 mm dia fixed pitch
propellers in Kort Nozzles through reduction gearboxes.
Fitted with box coolers.
BOLLARD PULL 54 Tonnes
FREE RUNNING SPEED 12 knots

By all accounts they turned to the Dutch for this specialised vessel, which is described as a shallow draft, anchor handling, tug/supply vessel built for 'worldwide' operations but more than likely destined for the Caspian Sea.

Jonty

Richie2012
27th June 2007, 19:23
theyve got another one being built at the moment at hepworths. and it looks quite big
http://riversea.tugtalk.co.uk/dockofthebay/afonxxxx.htm

docdiesel
26th August 2007, 13:12
I too worked for HTC 1989 /90 all i can that they paid me at the end of the month on time!!
I was Cheif engineer on the Afon Alaw (Ex bouy work Amlwch) Then the later Afon goch (Ex Caret)
I ended up going from Holyhead to La spezia. Then to Norway in her, towing a partialy fitted out Fishing boat hull. 1 toilet and wash basin between 6 men no thank you, never again!
But in the 9 months i was there, i have never laughed so much during working Hours!
Names like
Brian Ross, Charlie Murphy, Dewi Williams, Fred Burrows,Jim Burns, Phil Roberts, Jim Green, Alun Willams, Ivor Edwards Smugger ...... All good charachters
I belive Phil Roberts Died last year, Also Jim Green has been dead some time.
Ivor is the engineer who was seriously injured with Klynes

ddraigmor
26th August 2007, 18:18
A few names from there I recall. Dewi also crossed the bar and I remember Fred, Ivor, Charlie Murphy, Phil......

I look back on those times with the best of memories. The ships were not always amongst the most palatial and the working conditions could be primitive but the one thing that kept the whole lot together was the laughs..... look on the towing thread on the messdeck and in my gallery for more - and contribute!

BTW, also working on an idea of a book about HTC (seriously!), mainly as the company has been ignored in Holyhead's history for what I think is far too long!

Regards,

Jonty

docdiesel
27th August 2007, 07:41
Hi Ddraig
We will have to have a chat sometime. I too am writing my life story more for my family to read, for them to know exactly what i did at sea.
I'm home in about 3 weeks I live in Bangor drop us a email via the site. I have plenty of tails to tell about The characters in HTC

RayJordandpo
27th August 2007, 10:38
Jonty,
You should go ahead and write that book about Holyhead Towing, even more so if no previous books have been written about the company. I know they are thriving at the moment but too many of our long established firms seem to die without trace and just get forgotten. I worked for United Towing for many years as did my father and brothers but to my knowledge not much if anything has ever been written about them and it is as though they never existed.
Talking of Hepworths Shipyard at Paull on Humberside. I once rented a house in that village just a stones throw from Hepworths. It amazes me how it has kept going all these years when most of the bigger yards in the area have folded. I believe it dates back many years and actually built ships of the line. I remember when it was owned by the Rix Company (the family of Brian Rix the actor) but now I see it has a sign outside saying 'Applegates' whoever they are. It is a relatively tiny shipbuilders and most of the newbuilds are workboats, tugs and small coasters. The pleasure cruisers from Bridlington and Scarborough (Yorkshire Belle, Coronia etc.) usually go there for their annual refits.
Write the book!
Ray Jordan

ddraigmor
27th August 2007, 12:13
It's in the planning stages and I am slowly gathering info on it so you could say it's under construction!

I know what you mean as characters are an integral part of any book and I know United had its share - Terry Gay to name one! - and HTC certainly did. It's how do you do it without getting libelled....!

I'l drop you an e-mail via the site Doc - no worries.

Ray, you're right. I can remember seeing HTC's steam tugs - ex Rea Boats - on the town quay and I wanted to be on them then! They just sem to survive as an outfit and I suspect it has a lot to do with it still being family owned. I also know many blokes wouldn't give them a second glance but to me they were always 'different'.

I'll keep you posted!

Jonty

K urgess
27th August 2007, 14:27
Strike while the iron is hot, Jonty.
At successful times access to archives is achievable.
If hard times come then archives have a habit of disappearing forever. Even more so if the company disappears or merges.

As far as I know, Ray, there's only one about UTC and that's Alan Ford and Arthur Credlands "United Towing, 1920 to 1990; A History". Still around but costs anywhere from ten to 40 quid in this country and a lot more abroad.

Kris

RayJordandpo
27th August 2007, 15:20
Strike while the iron is hot, Jonty.
At successful times access to archives is achievable.
If hard times come then archives have a habit of disappearing forever. Even more so if the company disappears or merges.

As far as I know, Ray, there's only one about UTC and that's Alan Ford and Arthur Credlands "United Towing, 1920 to 1990; A History". Still around but costs anywhere from ten to 40 quid in this country and a lot more abroad.

Kris

I didn't know about those books, I will have to look on ebay, might get them a bit cheaper.
Ray

K urgess
27th August 2007, 15:28
There's one for sale on Abebooks here (http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?bi=0&bx=off&ds=30&sortby=3&sts=t&tn=United+Towing&x=0&y=0), Ray.
It's for a tenner and it's in Hull.
I got mine off eBay for 7.50 last June but I haven't seen one since.

Kris

RayJordandpo
27th August 2007, 15:55
Nice one Kris, I will certainly take a look on that.
Ray

RayJordandpo
27th August 2007, 16:05
Kris
Just bought the book!
Cheers for the info
Ray Jordan

K urgess
27th August 2007, 16:20
Pity I didn't have one, Ray.
the Memsahib deals in books on a small scale.
Could've broken the rules and done a bit of business.[=P]

Cheers
Kris

ddraigmor
27th August 2007, 17:10
MarconiS,

Amazon is a great place for books. I've just bought a load (No Mehmsahib to worry about!). I managed to get:

'Tugs Around Britian' - Bernard McCall - 26 but have seen it at close to 100 as it is now out of print.

'Steam tugs - a colour portfolio' - DL Williams. 10.

'Diesel Tugs - a colour portfolio' - DL Williams and R. de Kerbrech 8

'Tugs in Colour - UK' - B. McCall 8

'Tugs and Towage' - MK Stammers 4

And the usual suspect: 'Tugs and Offshore Supply Vessels 2006-7' - by J. Dodd at 12

Ordered another today: 'British Steam Tugs (Merchant Steam Series) [Hardcover] by Thomas, P.N aty 22.

All above with P&P and all in pristine condition. I also saw UT's history on there today but cannot recall the price.

Cheers!

Jonty

K urgess
27th August 2007, 18:39
You'll be keeping someone happy, Jonty. Quite a haul. Sounds like you'll be doing a bit of reading then!(Thumb)

The first UTC one on the Amazon list has just been bought (listed elsewhere[=P]) and the next cheapest is from Amazon with a delivery of 4 - 6 weeks. That usually means they ain't got it and will cancel your order after a couple of weeks of not trying.

The Memsahib lists on there but is thinking of ditching it because of the expense and lack of orders. Not too many people read hard copy any more now that you can find just about anything via Google. Their postage rates are fixed and cheaper than Abebooks but that means a lot of the books are either over-priced to compensate or just not listed.

Cheers
Kris

Mr-Tomcat
27th August 2007, 19:51
Now you've had more than me telling you to do it, will you start writing that book, you can write your foreword tonight.

Andy.

ddraigmor
28th August 2007, 00:56
Ha!

I'm an artist!!!! :-)

Seriously, I am thinking along those lines but have just sent a message to HTC for their views. That should give me something to go on.

Cheers all - may well be calling on some of your services as we progress....

MarconiS - I know what you mean but I have had rare CD's via Amazon - Bill Morrissey - that I could not get in the UK. They took 4 weeks to come - but they come!

Jonty

B.Nicholson
16th May 2009, 01:26
"Afon Goch" Ex Scheldte. The biggest pile of crap to be called a "deep sea tug." I sailed on her as Ch/Mate in Dec 78 when we lost the tow in the Malta Channel on account of weather, Plus the towline was totally inadequate for the the job. Captain was Dave Chatterton from Hull.The officers were all from Angelsey and started speaking Welsh when me or the Captain entered the messroom. The old Bosun was from the Ilse of Man. he was the only who would converse in English. Not a trip to go into my favourite memorie's book. The Captain and I got off in Gibraltar,I believe the barge was lost and sank off coast of Spain.

hughesy
16th May 2009, 01:32
Hey B,Nicholson
Was that Dave Chatterton a blond hair kid, went to Trinity House.
If it is, I went to school with him. I think he come off Hessle Road.

all the best
Hughesy

B.Nicholson
16th May 2009, 01:50
Hi Hughesy
Dave was a big bloke , yep and fair haired. been in the police force for a while then came back to sea. I think was his first trip back when I sailed with him. a smashing bloke. I believe he died about 7/8 years later??? He and I worked well together. Hell we had too on that piece of ****. LOL

hughesy
16th May 2009, 04:02
Hey B Nicholson

Maybe it was his brother who was at our school, its not a common name, thinking back I think this kids name was Harry, he went to Trinity house and would be 55 or 56 years of age now.

all the best
hughesy

B.Nicholson
19th May 2009, 02:34
Hey B Nicholson

Maybe it was his brother who was at our school, its not a common name, thinking back I think this kids name was Harry, he went to Trinity house and would be 55 or 56 years of age now.

all the best
hughesy

hello Hughesy
Could be the younger brother
Dave served his time at sea then joined the police force then came back. would have been about 64/65 ish now. I do remember Dave had links with trinity house. I was just going through my tickets at the time and struggling on one subject. He helped me a lot for which i will beforever grateful.
Bob

hughesy
19th May 2009, 02:44
hey Bob

thanks for all the info

All the best
Hughesy

RayJordandpo
21st May 2009, 18:00
Hey B,Nicholson
Was that Dave Chatterton a blond hair kid, went to Trinity House.
If it is, I went to school with him. I think he come off Hessle Road.

all the best
Hughesy

I knew a Dave Chatterton from Hull. He worked for Mansal in the Persian Gulf around 1980. If I remember correctly he had a mates FG cert. and was ex Trinity House.

japottinger
26th May 2010, 11:31
When I was on her some electric heaters were fitted in the wheelhouse with out permission. Capt. Morrison[senior dockmaster P.L.A] ordered them to be taken out as the heat would make the skippers drowsey. There were four of these tugs originally, Plateau went to Hollyhead Towing, Platina went to Greece. Plagal & Plangent were reengined and stayed with the PLA.

Hello , what was the colour of the deckhouses on Plangent etc, was it red or dark brown please?
thanks, Jim

ronniemc
8th June 2010, 00:12
the new afon las goes into the water on the 14th june about 18 45 pm from the hepworth shipyard at paull nr hull

ronniemc
8th June 2010, 00:17
the new afon las goes into the water on the 14th june about 18 45 pm from the hepworth shipyard at paull nr hull

stmichaels
24th September 2010, 23:44
Hello all, I have just joined this forum for my husband who isn't that keen on forums (slow typer) and found this thread. He also worked on the tugs at HTC, and whilst there, met me, as I worked in the office :) The Dewi referred to earlier was Dewi Williams, my uncle.

Gulpers
25th September 2010, 00:17
stmichaels,

On behalf of the Moderating Team, a warm welcome to SN from the Isle of Anglesey.
Join in our discussions and I am sure you will get many hours of pleasure from your membership. (Thumb)

stmichaels
25th September 2010, 22:32
stmichaels,

On behalf of the Moderating Team, a warm welcome to SN from the Isle of Anglesey.
Join in our discussions and I am sure you will get many hours of pleasure from your membership. (Thumb)

Thank you. I'm finding this forum interesting. My father was with Blue Funnel straight from school till he married, and hubby was with several companies, HTC, Fishers, and more :)

tugman22
16th January 2011, 20:43
ddraigmor, just logged on to see who you are! my first trip on the Afon Wen was to Belfast to pick up Climax Opal after she had been on fire. Think we took her to Spain.

tugman22
16th January 2011, 20:59
Hello all, I have just joined this forum for my husband who isn't that keen on forums (slow typer) and found this thread. He also worked on the tugs at HTC, and whilst there, met me, as I worked in the office :) The Dewi referred to earlier was Dewi Williams, my uncle.

I've only just joined this forum as I found someone who had done their first trip with me with HTC. I would think that the Dewi Williams you talked about shared many hours on watch with me as we almost always did the 12 - 6 watches. Hope he's well. Give him best wishes from John Latchem.

R724465
19th January 2011, 12:20
I've only just joined this forum as I found someone who had done their first trip with me with HTC. I would think that the Dewi Williams you talked about shared many hours on watch with me as we almost always did the 12 - 6 watches. Hope he's well. Give him best wishes from John Latchem.

Hello John
Greetings from your ex next-door neighbour! Sad to tell you that Dewi passed away a few years ago. I look in at this forum now and again and was pleased to see your name. Hope that you are keeping well.
Ron.

eifion jones
4th August 2011, 18:49
I was an engineer with Meads Marines back inthe 70s. Was in Rotterdam when the Afon Goch was being changed to the UK flag and later did a tow to Bilbao on her and then the epic to Canada and salvage station in Stockholm, As i recal she was a great little ship. I was also on the Las , towed the RB Brunel from east Germany to Amlwch in the middle of winter, bloody cold but a great crew. Then I was involved in the building of the Rhos On Sea breakwater. Remember so many names in this post , sadly many no longer with us but then we were little more than kids on a big adventure

tugman22
4th August 2011, 19:11
Hi Eifion,

I don't think we sailed together. I think you must have left as I was starting with HTC. I think my first tripwas to take the Afon Wen(ex-Tasman Zee) to dry dock in Barry in '77. I sailed on the Las (a good atmosphere but basic) and the Goch which was a good ship. My favourite was the Wen as she was well fitted out and had good lines to her hull. Most trips turned into "epics" as something always cropped up out of the ordinary. Close calls a few times , including landing on top of a "Giant" barge trying to recover it after losing the tow in heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay!! Happy days!! They were good times and we were like kids as you say. It's a shame that many shipmates are no longer with us. Nice to hear from you.

Ahoy shipmate

John

ddraigmor
4th August 2011, 19:26
Still keeping an eye on this thread! Eifion, I can't remember you - you joined the 'Wen' with me in Rotterdam, it seems. Dewi was a fine man, a great tugman - one of the best. I was sad to hear he had crossed the bar.

They were great times - good to see the outfit is doing well but I wonder if they ever get the variety we got? How many of you can recall sthe job the outfit got salvaging a barge in a fresh water lake in Snowdonia in the middle of a freezing winter? We were driven there by Captain Maudsley in his Volvo and the 'Norsemaid' was brought in ona low loader - and despite the odds, the barge was raised and floated again! Brian Jones was with me on that one - now sadly crossed the bar. I also think Dewi was there and I know Billy D was.

They were great times. As has been said, almost everything turned into an epic but they were both the worst of days and yet the very best too.

Jonty

eifion jones
5th August 2011, 13:22
I remenber Billy , dewi, Robin as skipper of the goch, griff , frank m, john scones, charlie murphy, Eugene, Tom Jones, Fender belly et all . Was never on the Afon Wen, joined the Afon goch at Rotterdam Jan 76 as Ch/eng according to my disch. book. Typical of J mead i guess but I was signed on the Afon Las at the same time ! and remember freezing in the Kiel Canal on her. Charlie and I putting a hose on a calor bottle and using it to thaw out the fresh water tk behind the wheelhouse for an early morning cuppa, the German pilot thought we were mad, and he was right. Probably thought the Yanks were back with flame throwers fighting the wermacht.
I was back in Holyhead boat yard this last Spring with the two masted topsail schooner " Pickle" that my son and I own, fitting a 57 ft steel shoe on her keel . There is still a good bunch there, some the sons of the old crowd

ddraigmor
6th August 2011, 12:29
Eifion,

Ah we were a ship apart then! I remember all those men - in fact, if you look for tugman's tales on here (somewhere) you will most definitely remember that Meade's Marines were an outfit that was....erm...unique!

I did the 'Las' on numerous occasions, the 'Llandwyn Island' as well but was always deps ea on the 'Goch'. I still see Pat Pritchard now and again. He was 2/E on the 'Goch'. Was Fender Belly Tony Maddocks? BTW, Gwybn Williams, who was later C/E of the 'Las' is related to me. He is still going strong.

They were, as I said, the best of days and if I recall anything in my time with them it is that they were the best days of my life!

Jonty

Cobbydale
6th August 2011, 17:40
How many remember the old REA tugs that became the AFON CEFNI and the AFON WEN, I was mate on the Cefni when we brought them from Birkenhead.

Cobbydale
6th August 2011, 18:26
How many remember the old REA tugs that became the AFON CEFNI and the AFON WEN, I was mate on the Cefni when we brought them from Birkenhead.

The old ROSEGARTH.

owendvdsn
6th August 2011, 18:43
Jonty
Been a member for a while now but only just seen this thread. Did you ever get in touch with Bill Davidson? (I haven't read through all the posts). If not, I can let you have his email address through a private message.

Owen (Bill's little bro.)

ddraigmor
7th August 2011, 01:12
Owen,

What's he up to nowadays? I was in toucvh with him quite a few years back but we lost touch (as you do). Yes, if it is OK with you I'd be happy for a PM.

Cobbydale - great photo! I will probably use that one in a drawing as it is a beautiful view of her. I remember them both in HTC colours but was not at sea when they were in service.

Jonty

R724465
12th August 2011, 15:56
I was an engineer with Meads Marines back inthe 70s. Was in Rotterdam when the Afon Goch was being changed to the UK flag and later did a tow to Bilbao on her and then the epic to Canada and salvage station in Stockholm, As i recal she was a great little ship. I was also on the Las , towed the RB Brunel from east Germany to Amlwch in the middle of winter, bloody cold but a great crew. Then I was involved in the building of the Rhos On Sea breakwater. Remember so many names in this post , sadly many no longer with us but then we were little more than kids on a big adventure

Hello Eifion
I've just clocked your post. Good to see that some of the original Meade's Marauders are still standing!
I joined you on the Afon Goch as 3rd Eng/Elec in the June of '76 just prior to the trip to Stockholm. We arrived to find that the Sieverts Cable factory was on holiday for a month and so couldn't load the barge for the tow. We had a fantastic time there. The bar which we frequented in Gamlastan charged us half-price for beer because the takings rocketed as soon as we walked in.
Then ,as you say, the epic trip to Halifax via the Azores.
Happy days (well most of the time).
Ron Williams

eifion jones
13th August 2011, 00:49
Hi Ron
Good to hear that you are still around too, remember the entertainment we put on for the Sweedes in that pub, happy days ( mostly) , i met the cook last year in Holyhead sailing club , had a good yarn." DDraigmor" thinks fender belly was tony Maddocks well could have been but actually he was our diver cant for the life of me remember his name.Oh and if my memory serves me right didnt we have a christmas party in the middle of summer !!!!!!!!!

eifion jones
13th August 2011, 00:57
How many remember the old REA tugs that became the AFON CEFNI and the AFON WEN, I was mate on the Cefni when we brought them from Birkenhead.

Hi Cobbydale , yes I remember going aboard one of them to visit my uncle Robert Jones who was skipper for John Meade then, I was not with Holyhead towing then but had been on one of the admiralty TID tugs so had an interest in steam up and down jobs and had done a deep sea trip on Harrisons Forester as a cadet engineer to get some steam time

Cobbydale
13th August 2011, 02:33
Hi Cobbydale , yes I remember going aboard one of them to visit my uncle Robert Jones who was skipper for John Meade then, I was not with Holyhead towing then but had been on one of the admiralty TID tugs so had an interest in steam up and down jobs and had done a deep sea trip on Harrisons Forester as a cadet engineer to get some steam time

When these two tugs arrived at Holyhead we found out that the crew of the AFON GOCH were being paid less than our crew, and they were told not to mix with us would you believe, I did not stay very long after that. But to be fair the company has done well over the years which must be down to the crews.

ddraigmor
15th August 2011, 11:30
Tony Maddocjs was possibly tghe guy - but maybe someone could correct me on that one?

The outfit was a decent one to work for in terms of the experience it gave. I know that what happened in HTC never happened anywhere else after I left them and that made them unique!

Good days!

BTW Cobbydale, Gw yn Williams was an engineer with HTC and an ex Rea man. Do you remember him? His daughter married my cousin sio he is 'family' in that respect!

Jonty

R724465
15th August 2011, 13:05
Hi Ron
Good to hear that you are still around too, remember the entertainment we put on for the Sweedes in that pub, happy days ( mostly) , i met the cook last year in Holyhead sailing club , had a good yarn." DDraigmor" thinks fender belly was tony Maddocks well could have been but actually he was our diver cant for the life of me remember his name.Oh and if my memory serves me right didnt we have a christmas party in the middle of summer !!!!!!!!!

Hello again Eifion

Yes that was quite a party. We had a request from a hospital about half a mile away to please turn the music down, the patients couldn't get to sleep.

Fenderbelly definitely isn't Tony Maddocks, although I can see how the confusion arises, (only joking Tony, only joking)!

I was up in North Wales a couple of weeks ago. Was that your vessel I saw in the Conway estuary?

Ron.

ddraigmor
15th August 2011, 14:58
Ron - Ron the Electrician? I sailed with you on the 'Afon Goch'. We were involved in the 'Skyhope' incident.

I was living in Oxford until six months ago, and met up with Alan - the Mate at the time. He and I shared a coffee and a chat and he is on here although I dioubt he visits this thread.

Tom Griffiths was the Chief Engineer at that time. What happened to him?

Fenderbelly wasn't Tony? Hmm....wonder who he was then>?

Regards,

Jonty

capt-mac
18th January 2012, 13:58
My first skipper's job was on the Afon Cefni in 1972 - a bit of a handful sometimes doing the reliefs on the Morecambe Bay lightship, or taking off pilots off Holyhead - the Cefni always wanted to stick to the side of the ship you were alongside!

Next onto the Afon Goch (the original) which was still there when I left a couple of years later.

Brought the MSC Onset from the Ship Canal after some work raising the bulwarks at the bow (she had been a stern tug), then eventually to the PLA to bring back the Platina, towing the Plateau. When I left to work at Anglesey Aluminium, they were still sitting out on a buoy in the Outer Harbour, before they went to be re-engined.

During this period, Mark Meade was coxswain on the Norseman and occasional deckhand.

Some good memories, some bad - especially the pennies per mile 'Towing Bonus', which was always a subject for discussion with JM over the distance actually travelled!

capt-mac
1st February 2012, 15:24
How many remember the old REA tugs that became the AFON CEFNI and the AFON WEN, I was mate on the Cefni when we brought them from Birkenhead.

Yes, I remeber the Afon Cefni very well - my first command in 1972 when I joined Meades Maritime! Bit of a handful - single screw, telegraph, and a big wheel!

Tricky for doing reliefs on the Morecambe Bay lightship on a shitty day; not exactly bridge control!! Griff Roberts was the engineer.

Both went off to Greece from Holyhead - a bit of what must have been a mammoth trip with only magnetic compass, hand steering and no modern nav aids. They got there!

At least the accommodation on the Cefni was better than the Wen - having been sunk a couple of times, the fittings were formica instead of tongue and groove wood!

John Dryden
1st February 2012, 15:44
Yes, I remeber the Afon Cefni very well - my first command in 1972 when I joined Meades Maritime! Bit of a handful - single screw, telegraph, and a big wheel!



At least the accommodation on the Cefni was better than the Wen - having been sunk a couple of times, the fittings were formica instead of tongue and groove wood!

Only a tug man could say that.(Jester)

todd
1st February 2012, 17:51
Does anyone remember Peter Ellis ? He left Cock Tugs in Liverpool to go to work for John Meade in the days of the Cefni and Goch.
I did hear that he possibly went to work on the Mississippi River for a period but have heard nothing about him since.

Jim

tony Allard
5th February 2012, 08:45
i notice that most of the modern fleet of holyhead tugs use the names of former tugs.

beverlonian
8th February 2012, 18:21
Ron - Ron the Electrician? I sailed with you on the 'Afon Goch'. We were involved in the 'Skyhope' incident.

I was living in Oxford until six months ago, and met up with Alan - the Mate at the time. He and I shared a coffee and a chat and he is on here although I dioubt he visits this thread.

Tom Griffiths was the Chief Engineer at that time. What happened to him?

Fenderbelly wasn't Tony? Hmm....wonder who he was then>?

Regards,

Jonty

Would this be Tom Griffiths from Criccieth? If so he was with me in Denholm Maclay early/mid 80s.

pilot
9th February 2012, 12:55
Hey B,Nicholson
Was that Dave Chatterton a blond hair kid, went to Trinity House.
If it is, I went to school with him. I think he come off Hessle Road.

all the best
Hughesy

If it's the same Dave Chatterton ex. 2nd Mate with Mobil. 1st Mate FG and from Hull.

Believe he died in Singapore whilst working on a supply boat or tug. Good few years ago now.

Rgds.

R724465
9th February 2012, 18:11
Would this be Tom Griffiths from Criccieth? If so he was with me in Denholm Maclay early/mid 80s.

Yes, Tom was from Criccieth. When I sailed with him he lived just opposite the castle. I was with him on Afon Goch around '77 and beginning of '78. I left and went dredging in Abu Dhabi.

Regards.

R724465
9th February 2012, 18:35
i notice that most of the modern fleet of holyhead tugs use the names of former tugs.

Those starting with 'AFON' are named after rivers in Anglesey. There aren't all that many rivers in Anglesey so the names get recycled!

Others are named after geographical features such as Carmel Head, North Stack, Llanddwyn Island etc.

Mr-Tomcat
17th July 2012, 22:43
Just come across this thread purely by accident while looking at what the Rosegarth became in Holyhead. Anyone remember my dad Cliff Wright who was on the original Afon Goch. He was the first person to tell me about the Applegarth's fate on the Mersey.