From Dad's Diary

4th August 2007, 19:47
This is a record of one voyage to Iceland in January 1953 written in my late father's pocket diary.
He was chief engineer on the oil-fired steam trawler Coventry City from Grimsby.
It may be of more interest to the engineers in the forum than others.
Anything in brackets is my editing.The rest is as written.

Jan.12 Sailed 0300 Iceland
Propellor suspected fouled. revs.116-118
Press. (p.s.i.) 225 (HP)62 (MP) 6 (LP) 24vac (inches of vacuum)
Jan.13 0230 Rattray Hd. (Head) Speed good 11.4
Steam Trap choked oil.Dismantled and cleaned.
Jan.14 0730 Faroe E. revs.115
Jan.15 Shot East Iceland 2 hauls 92 (revs.) Satisfactory Hd wind Steaming to Cape revs 108
Jan.16 Shot 2000 towing normal Steaming press.
Jan.17 Towing 92
Heater 175(Degrees) Pres 140-150 7 Tons (Oil consumed that day)
Jan.18 Good Fishing 2 Bags Dux (Haddock) Element joint blowing must wait
8 tons Mixer just off face (Wet steam addmission to Superheated
steam supply to engine is just open) Pyro 550
Jan.19 Element jointed up. 1 1/2 hrs laid Freezing hard.Mixer valve shut
Guiding gear jammed (Winch) Bad weather until evening 8 tons
Jan.20 Moderate weather Fishing good Freezing hard 8 tons
Jan.21 Fine weather Fishing moderate
Jan.22 Fine weather Steam to Cape 7 1/2 tons
Jan.23 Fine weather Steam to Skagen 8 tons
Jan.24 Steaming Easterly 1630 Langanes Trap inspected OK 119 revs 8 1/2 tons
Jan.25 Shot 0400 Kidney Bank Good fishing 2 Bags Gale at night
Steamed to Faroes 8 tons 119 revs
Jan.26 Saddleback Light 1900 9 tons
Jan.27 Gale in North Sea
Jan.28 Arrive river midnight (Humber)
Jan.29 Docked 0430 Landed 0530 7900 On slip (Propellor change)
Boiler cleaned. Went to Ritz at night.
Jan.30 Terrific gale Railway embankment breached Suggits lane flooded.
Feb.2 0830 Sailed

Hope some of you will find this of interest.
Best Regards
Dave Todd

Harry Nicholson
4th August 2007, 22:24
Well, even though I used a Morse key and only went into the engine room to get a commutator skimmed, I thought it wonderful reading. Goodness, but it must have been a hard life in winter. Thanks for that post.

5th August 2007, 18:58
Great thread Dave, thanks for submitting it.

6th August 2007, 00:53
What a trip 7900 Pound for 17 days is 464 pound a day so the crew must have
been very happy on settling day.
Understand that your old man went to the Ritz after such a succesfull trip!!!!
Must have been a top skipper that trip ore a very lucky one.
Fished many areas in Iceland as well as Faroes and got fish at all places
No chance that you do remember who was skipper on that trip??????

6th August 2007, 11:26
Hello Nicolina
Not sure who the skipper was but could well have been Jack Searby.
Sidewinder might know but his website is down at the moment.
I remember making a small model of Coventry City when I was about 14 yrs. and Jack Searby bought it from me for £5.
Shortly after he gave it to Sir John Marsden and it sat in the Boardroom at Consols for some time until the Grimsby Town was built and the builders model took its place.(Fame for a day or two)
I think Jack Searby took the Hull City on her maiden voyage.Sailed 1000 on 29 August 1953.
Landed16 September and made £8127.
Best Regards

8th August 2007, 17:01
Hello Dave:
I think you are rigth about Jack Searby beeing skipper on the Coventry City
he took Hull City on her maiden trip.
William Ball senior took the Grimsby Town on her maiden trip.

9th August 2007, 11:36
A Trip on Coventry City March 1953
March 21 Sailed 1030 Fine 120 revs Flash Pt.230 6 tons used
" 22 Fine 120 revs 8 tons used
LEICESTER CITY wrecked in Hoy Sound Sat. night 8 lives lost
" 23 Abreast Svino lt 1230 Fair wind 1800 Diversion to Flugga
Hake? Head wind full speed 113 revs 9 tons used
" 24 Head wind gale Proceed to Faroe
Coke filter in oil tank washing through to filter
9 tons used
" 25 Queen Mary died aged 85
Lincoln Handicap Sailing Lt. Fastnet Rock Magic Circle
Shot Faroe 1130 8 tons used
" 26 Anchored at Islands 11 hrs Fuglo
Oil tank cleaned packed with fire bricks & cloth
6 tons used
" 27 Shot 0300 Fuglo B. 2 hauls steamed to Mangnes
Filter OK 7 tons used
" 28 Laid 7 hrs Fishing better
Grand National Early Mist Mont Tremblant Irish Lizard
7 tons used
" 29 Strong wind Still Mangnes Fishing mod. 8 tons used
" 30 Mangnes Fine Fishing better 7 tons used
" 31 Mangnes Strong wind N.E. Fishing mod. 8 tons used
April 1 Ness Strong wind Fishing poor 7 tons used
" 2 Gale N.E. Went in Triangle Fjord 1000 took water
Got butter and sugar 5 tons used
" 3 Left Triangle F. 0500 Steamed to rising ground
Shot 0600 poor fishing 7 tons used
" 4 Fine Fishing poor 7 tons used
" 5 Fine left for home 1020 Duncansby Hd 2150 9 tons used
" 6 Fine 1300 Boat Drill 2 boats out 1 hour 8 tons used
" 7 Arr. river 0245 Dock 0900 Oil consumed 136
Oil remaining 108
Daily cons. 7.8
Hrs Steaming 171
Hrs Fishing 182.5
Hrs Laid 53
" 8 Landed £ 5547 Palace Theatre at night.

(Plenty of wind,not much fish,plenty of news,some sad and some horse
racing, but got some groceries to take home.)

Best Regards

9th August 2007, 16:39
Hello Dave:

Seems to be an allrigth trip from the Faroes making 5547= around 300/day

The fjord they went into must have been Trangisvag

What you call Magnes=Myggenes the most Westerly isle in the Faroes

Suppose your old man bougth groceries for domestic use as ration where still
in force in Britain in 1953!!!!!

Steaming to Rising Grounds seems only to take 1 houer!!
Do you know what other name the Rising Ground does have????

9th August 2007, 17:39
Hello Dave:

Seems to be an allrigth trip from the Faroes making 5547= around 300/day

The fjord they went into must have been Trangisvag

What you call Magnes=Myggenes the most Westerly isle in the Faroes

Suppose your old man bougth groceries for domestic use as ration where still
in force in Britain in 1953!!!!!

Steaming to Rising Grounds seems only to take 1 houer!!
Do you know what other name the Rising Ground does have????
Hello Nicolina
Yes, the groceries were for home consumption since as you rightly say rationing meant shortages of all sorts of things.
I have written what I see from the diary so Myggnes was probably pronounced Mangnes by Grimsby fishermen.
Don't know of the correct name for "Rising Ground" but it is mentioned more than once.Here are two more extracts.
May 21 0400 shot N.Cape (Iceland) then fishing in that area until May 24.Steaming for home.
May 26 1500 Shot Rising Ground Coleys 3 bags. 3 hauls
May 27 0400 Left for home.
May 28 1400 Arrive River (Humber)

Following Trip J.Souter Skipper
After good fishing at N.Cape
June 14 0530 Left for home
June 16 Shot Rising Ground 1 haul Nil (No time given)
June 18 Arrive River 0800

So it seems to be a fishing area 36 hrs or so from the Humber where Coleys (Coalfish) are caught. Could this be Faroe Bank or Bill Baileys Bank?
Certainly a place to have a final tow if time permits before heading for home.
Best regards

14th October 2007, 21:39
Hallo Dave Todd

Have found out about the term Rising Grounds.
It is a name used for the Westerlies i.e. the fishing grounds West of Orkneys and Shetland.
What the name has come from i do not know.

By the way missing the extracts from your old mans diary!!!!!!!!

14th October 2007, 22:50
Thanks Nicolina, I have one more for the Coventry City and another for the maiden voyage of the Hull City in 1953.
Will post later.

14th October 2007, 23:16
A friend of mine used to work for ICI supplying Nalfloc boiler-water treatment chemicals and once, when I was on leave from Brock's, he asked if I fancied going over to Hull as he had to go on a trawler which was having a boiler-clean and which had been using Nalfloc for the first time.
I readily agreed and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the quite squalid conditions the crew had to live under being four to a cabin the size of a large cupboard!
However my biggest shock was going down the engine-room and seeing the boiler opened-up and heavily contaminated with salt! Apparently it was not unknown for them to have to go onto salt-water feed, because of limited fresh-water storage, with the boiler on constant blow-down to try keep it from priming!
Bill (my friend) then took me on the latest stern-trawler (either Kirkella or Junella I can't remember which) which was a lot more luxurious, with the crew only being two to a cabin and considerably larger cabins at that!!!
I took my metaphorical hat off to those trawler-men, after my visit, as it must have been a terribly hard life.
Fascinating diary entries Dave and thankyou for allowing us to see them. Salaams Phil(Hippy)

14th October 2007, 23:42
Hello Phill
Freshwater on steam and diesel trawlers was always limited.Especially when it froze in the doublebottoms.
Galley supply would be mainly salt water pumped by hand from the "oggin"
Bathing was not an option.So,yes,salt water would have been injected into the boiler at times.The salinometer pot was in regular use.
However,Saltwater evaporators (which I'm sure you are familiar with from your own seatime) were installed on later steam trawlers but their use was frowned upon because of their greed for steam and consequent consumption of fuel.
The voyage fuel cost was deducted together with all the other expenses
(sometimes imaginary) before any "poundage" or settlement was made to the crew.
Occasionally vessels would land in debt. Gloom settled over the neighbourhood.
Strange how we tend to remember the good times more than the bad!

15th October 2007, 17:11
Here is another trip on the Coventry City from Dad's Diary 1953

1 June Sailed 0900 Skipper Jack Souter, gale Hd (head) 114rpm 5ton used
2 " Coronation Day, gale. Trouble with fishroom bilges,rose box left off 8
ton used
3 " Strong Hd wind Ronaldshoy (?) 0300 9 ton used
4 " Fuglo corner 0730 Fine 120 rpm Ambiguity wins Oaks 9 Ton used
5 " Shot East side 1 haul Steamed to North Cape Fine 9 ton used
6 " Fine Fishing mod(moderate) 4 hrs steam Pinza wins Derby,Gordon up
8 ton used
7 " Fine Fishing moderate Ice in sight
8 " Fine Fishing poor L4 (not sure what this means) 7 tons used
9 " Fine Fishing good Observation tank cleaned Fibre filter changed W1
8 ton used
10 " Fine Fog Fishing moderate L1/2 7 ton used
11 " Fog Fishing good Bouy down W1/2 8 ton used
12 " Fishing moderate L4 7 ton used
13 " Fishing good W31.3 7 ton used
14 " 0530 Left for home Fresh Hd wind 118rpm
15 " Fine L4 9 ton used
16 " Shot Rising ground 1 haul nil L4 9 ton used
17 " Fine Fog W4.3 total W 1-0-6 9 ton used
18 " 0800 Arrive river (Humber)
19 " Landed 3300 Fuel oil consumed 142 Daily average 8 tons

(Next voyage begins Monday22 June 1953)

15th October 2007, 17:37
Voyage begins 22 June 1953
22 June Ordered down 0130 sailed 0300 to Iceland Sk.Souter 118rpm 6ton
23 " Fine 118rpm 9 ton
24 " Fine 118rpm Top feedheater leaking,valve taken out 9 ton
25 " 0930 Shot Langanes Nil 8 ton
26 " 2300 Shot Cape moderate fishing 8 ton
27 " Cape moderate fishing 9 ton
28 " Starboard storm clutch adrift 7 ton
29 " Cape moderate fishing Fine weather 7 ton
30 " Radar US (useless) Gears stripped in synchro-motor 7.5 ton
1 July 7.5 ton
2 " 8 ton
3 " 8 ton
4 " Steamed to Skager 7.5 ton
5 " Gale at Skager laid for 6 hrs 7.5 ton
6 " Steaming South Strong E wind 1400 kits 8 ton
7 " 2100 Magnes light Fine 119rpm
8 " 1900 Pentland Firth
9 "
10 " 0200 Arr river (Humber) Daily aver. 8 ton
11 " Landed 3162

Next voyage begins 14 July 1953 with J.Evans as skipper.

15th October 2007, 17:43
Hello Dave
Thanks very much for posting these diary entries. They really give a glimpse of what life was like on board a trawler in 1953. I found them very interesting, although I am not an engineer and, in fact, have never been on board a trawler, except the Lydia Eva in Lowestoft ones and it wasn't at sea!! Did your dad always keep a diary?

I wonder if your dad was still on board the Coventry City in 1959 when this little incident occurred, according to the Times of 31 March that year.

* * * * * *
Boy has operation in German ship

Peter Lyng, galley boy of the Grimsby trawler Coventry City, is making good progress after undergoing an operation for appendicitis on board a German hospital ship at sea, the Admiralty said yesterday.

The boy was transferred on Saturday night to the frigate Malcolm, engaged in fishery protection duties in Icelandic waters, and taken to the German fishery protection hospital ship Poseiden.

* * * * * *

Thanks again for sharing your dad's diary. It is fascinating.


15th October 2007, 17:57
I also found a nice story about the Hull City from 1954

Rescue by British trawler

Reykjavik, April 13

The skipper of the Grimsby trawler Hull City, whose keen eyesight enabled him to spot a red handkerchief above the waves, saved eight shipwrecked Icelandic fishermen yesterday off the south coast of Iceland. The men had drifted for 22 hours without food or water in a small rubber dinghy after their 20-ton fishing boat, Gladur, sank in a storm.


15th October 2007, 20:17
as an engineer and coming from a family of fishing engineers (none higher than 2nd engineer tho' ) the diary is brilliant reading thanks for sharing it

Cheers(Thumb) (Thumb)

16th October 2007, 07:10
Hello Phill
Freshwater on steam and diesel trawlers was always limited.Especially when it froze in the doublebottoms.
Galley supply would be mainly salt water pumped by hand from the "oggin"
Bathing was not an option.So,yes,salt water would have been injected into the boiler at times.The salinometer pot was in regular use.
However,Saltwater evaporators (which I'm sure you are familiar with from your own seatime) were installed on later steam trawlers but their use was frowned upon because of their greed for steam and consequent consumption of fuel.
The voyage fuel cost was deducted together with all the other expenses
(sometimes imaginary) before any "poundage" or settlement was made to the crew.
Occasionally vessels would land in debt. Gloom settled over the neighbourhood.
Strange how we tend to remember the good times more than the bad!
Dave So the crew had to pay for the fuel used on a trip before they got paid-out? Can you imagine what sort of a ruckus THAT practise would be greeted with to-day if some owner decided to re-introduce it!!!
Just imagine if they'd tried to use that form of usury on deep-sea cargo ships!!! Methinks the ship-owners would have been told to "Go forth and multiply" if a pay-off slip featured, under "Tax and Deductions", "For fuel used on trip, x-number of tons @ 1.00 per ton" and some figure which would be deducted from your pay-off!
Thanks again Dave for the glimpses you're providing, via your Dad's old diaries, into a long-ago facet of what "Going to sea" was REALLY about!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

16th October 2007, 10:19
Thank you for your interest Hilary,Trevor and Phil.
Hilary,my father left the Coventry City in 1953 to join the Hull City,so he would have been on board in April 1954 but don't remember him talking about that incident.
Trevor,you may find the entry for the maiden trip for the Hull City interesting.
Will post it soon.
Phil,I am reluctant to open what could be a deluge of replies regarding fishermans pay and conditions.Probably this is not the place for that.
I feel that this warrants a new thread,since many listers will have memories
of "short tallies,high shop bills etc."
My own memories are many and varied.
Perhaps a moderator could advise on this proposal.
Best Regards

Gavin Gait
16th October 2007, 11:04
So the crew had to pay for the fuel used on a trip before they got paid-out? Can you imagine what sort of a ruckus THAT practise would be greeted with to-day if some owner decided to re-introduce it!!!
Just imagine if they'd tried to use that form of usury on deep-sea cargo ships!!! Methinks the ship-owners would have been told to "Go forth and multiply" if a pay-off slip featured, under "Tax and Deductions", "For fuel used on trip, x-number of tons @ 1.00 per ton" and some figure which would be deducted from your pay-off!
Thanks again Dave for the glimpses you're providing, via your Dad's old diaries, into a long-ago facet of what "Going to sea" was REALLY about!! Salaams, Phil(Hippy)

Still happens Phil its called being a Share fisherman. What happens ( and apart from the company trawlers 20+ years ago ) on the Whitefish and Prawn trawlers is that once they have landed at the end of the trip all of the expenses come off first. so all the fuel , lube , food , landing dues ( so much per box ) , office selling commission ( a percentage of the gross ) , any spare netting needed , etc all comes off then whats left is divided in half. half goes to the boat and half is split between the crew , supposedly all equally.

The problem always has been that some skippers put on "additional" expenses which really meant they got more money and some skippers used to pay their crew a set amount when they grossed over a set figure so no matter how much the gross the pay was the same.

On the big pelagic trawlers it is a whole different ball game tho. They get a weekly wage and the boats settle up after each season ( January-February Mackerel , Spring Atlanto-Scandian Herring and Blue Whiting , Summer Herring and October-November Mackerel ) and they get paid so much per 1m grossed. Most of the boats , and i'm sure i'll be corrected as this is just a guess based on info a few years old , pay the crew around 14,000 to 18,000 per 1m gross which means the crew usually have close to 100,000 per year.

The Prawn men get good pay compared to 20 years ago when I was at it , can't see many of the crews on the newer boats getting less than 30,000 a year ( but that is only around the national minimum wage when you work out the hours worked !! ) with the top Whitefish boats getting similar or more.


Gavin Gait
16th October 2007, 11:05
We'll leave it at that for your thread Dave as that should explain the way it works today and leave the rest of the thread for yourself to post in from your Fathers diary(Thumb)

16th October 2007, 13:03
We'll leave it at that for your thread Dave as that should explain the way it works today and leave the rest of the thread for yourself to post in from your Fathers diary(Thumb)
Many thanks Davie
Dave Todd

16th October 2007, 13:39
Dad's last trip on the Coventry City

14 July 1000 Sailed Skipper J.Evans 118rpm 5 ton
15 " Wifes Birthday Sent wire 1915 Dennis Hd 8 ton
16 " Radar US 1730 Thorshavn for repairs Took water Left 2000
8 ton
17 " 1930 Shot Whaleback 9 ton
18 " Element joint blew out 1 1/2 hrs repair 7 1/2 ton
19 " Brake bands fitted wrong sides(Winch) changed over no delay
laid mending(trawl net etc.) 8 ton
20 " Fishing poor Fog 7 1/2 ton
21 " Steamed to "Glatlenes"???? no fish 8 ton
22 " Poor fishing 7 ton
23 " Steaming North 8 ton
24 " Langanes turned back to "Valner"???Bank Nil 7 ton
25 " Steaming South,Winch autodrain adrift "Hari Kari Bank" ????
8 ton
26 " 1700 Shot Magnes 9 ton
27 " South End left for home
28 " 1015 Duncansby Hd.
29 " 1530 Arr. river
30 " Landed 1900 fitting out
31 " Paid off Appointed to Hull City

(Clearly not a very profitable voyage for anyone concerned. My apologies for the ??????? but over the years the ink from his "Biro" has begun to become part of the paper it is written on.Someone will know of the fishing areas I have queried, I'm sure)

Next voyage will be for the new trawler Hull City commencing with Dock trials on 20 August 1953

Best Regards
Dave Todd

16th October 2007, 16:12
Sorry but can't wait

get typing dave....


20th October 2007, 18:17
More from Dad's Diary
( It is now August 1953 and things are going well for Dad. His only daughter, my sister, gets married on the 19th, his only surviving son,me,has started work as an apprentice fitter at Consolidated Fisheries and he and his wife, my Mother, are looking forward to their Silver Wedding Anniversary in December.
On top of that, he has a brand new steam trawler to get to know before the maiden voyage. So lets go.)

6th Aug. to 18th Aug standing by Hull City in Hull.
20 Aug At Hull Dock trials Satisfactory
21 " At Hull Skipper onboard
24 " At Hull
25 " At Hull
26 " At Hull
27 " River trials MP and LP bottom ends hot Anchored 1500
1700 Docked
28 " Day off Fishermans at night
29 " 1000 sailed maiden voyage 112 rpm
Pressures Boiler 225 HP 200 MP 56 LP 10 Vac 25 Fuel 210
30 " 10 Kw Govenor erratic. Stop valve sticking.
( After this date the ink is now spreading into the diary paper,so if I have guessed at the words I may have got some wrong but the words will be in inverted commas )
31 Aug All filters changed Fan wiper gland slack, losing oil.
Air pump 40 double strokes pm
1 Sep Shot 0720 80 rpm Winch 500 fathoms 9 mins. Aft gallows top
roller binding on side. Mercury gauge For.Cent. false
2 " Steering gear airlocked, short of oil.6 gallons in tank
Main Engines satisfactory, liner out LP bottom end
3 " "Rolling about" 12 hrs fishing. Arctic oil under cabin floor (Arctic oil
is used in the steering gear telemotor)
No leaking pipes found.No loss apparent in Bridge tank.
Gear working satisfactorily.
4 " Feed pump barrel cover joint blown out.Changed to aft feed pump.
Blown out in 5 mins.Laid 1 1/2 hrs repairs. Split Pilot joint used.
5 " Towing 84,86 gale Press. Blr 220 HP 195 MP 47 LP 7 Vac 26
Feed 220-120
6 " "Swinging " oil pres. gauges "acurrate" reading. All filters changed
7 " Steering gear losing oil.Recovered from under cabin floor,
strained and put back. ST British caught poaching "Glettingnes"
8 " Steamed to Hoof 112 rpm Pres.Blr 225 HP 200 MP 56 LP 8 Vac 26
Feed 122-218
9 " "Steamed south Stainer?" Brake eye bolt bent Towing 80-82
Good fishing DUX
10 " All filters changed Towing 82-84 6 Gall Arctic oil received from
Coventry City off Bouy. No.e BT empty
11 " Steering gear losing oil slightly Good fishing Towing 84-86
Press Blr 225 HP 178 MP 46 LP 6 Vac 25 Feed 104-215
12 " 1635 Left for home. 112 rpm
Press Blr 225 HP 200 MP 56 LP 8 vac 26 Feed 126-222
13 " Fan clattering on casing as she rolls. Foundation bolts packed up
1/8" fore side OK since Hd wind 110 rpm
Press Blr 225 HP 205 MP 60 LP 10 Vac 25 Feed 122-220
14 " 1000 Duncansby Hd 112 rpm All filters changed. Winch cylinders
opened up,Slight scour in centre cylinder (3 cyl.winch engine was housed beneath the wheelhouse) Steering gear oil level OK

15 " 1400 Arr.River 2120 docked
16 " Landed 8127 Steering gear examined by Donkins.

Next voyage starts 18 Sept 1953

Best regards
Dave Todd

21st October 2007, 17:55
Hallo Dave Todd:
Regarding your Dads last trip in the Coventry City it seems that they only fished on the East Coast of Iceland and had a try at Myggenes Faroe on their way back home.
When they left the Whaleback they steamed up to Glettinganes about half way between Whaleback and Langanes where they also had a go.
Will try to find out where the Valner Bank is.
They also had a go at Hari Kari Bank as a last resort but without any luck.
That Banks name does give it self because just the same to commit suicide than coming home with a bad trip and get sacked by the gaffer!!!!

Seen they have been in Torshavn for radar repairs many GY trawlers did have their radars repaired here than back in GY as the Decca electronic engineer here in Torshavn was regarded as the best you could get if he could not fix a problem it was not solvable.

21st October 2007, 18:23
Hallo Dave Todd:
The Hull City seems going like a clockwork catching a lot of fish and a daily average of 428 Pound/Day and with the odd small teething problems and away for only 19 days so the owner must have been very happy with the ship as well as with the crew.

Regarding crews shares. Here in the Faroes most crews are paid/contracted on a gross contract where i.e.crews on a fresh fish trawler gets 27% of the grossing and only deductions is for ice.
Everybody seems to be happy with it as it has been in force for more than 25 years now.

21st October 2007, 21:21
Thank you Nicolina for your comments
Did DECCA have a base in Torshavn and did the DECCA navigator system extend to the Faroes?
Have heard some skippers refer to grounds by their colour/number coordinates.
The Hull City had a SAL log fitted in the engineroom with a repeater on the bridge, so accurate towing speed could be monitored.
I remember when the Grimsby Town took a short cut across the "Binks" at the Humber mouth while the SAL log Pitot tube was out, it bent, as well as bending all four blade tips.
Turned round and went to Immingham drydock.
Think "Bomber" Harris was skipper that trip.

Gavin Gait
21st October 2007, 21:32
I think it was the Loran system that was first used up around Iceland and the Faroes Dave. I do not have any charts that show Decca up there altho its more than likely that the Decca system did extend to the Iceland/North Cape areas.

When my Grandfather fished the East of Iceland grounds in the Avondee A826 in the late 1940's to 1957 he used a towed log and Sextant to get himself up there then fished within 12 miles of the coast using landmarks for the tows ( line up 2 features and drop the marker dahn then fish around that dahn for the day I think but all my Grandfathers notebooks are up in my Uncles and its been 10 years since I had a look through them ).


21st October 2007, 22:42
Yes I remeber the Walkers Patent log being streamed and logged at watch change,obviously not while fishing.
Another system I came across was in about 1966/7 when serving on a vessel (ex BYMS ) engaged in "Bottom surveying" for the eventual pipe line from the BP gas field off the Humber to the landfall at Easington East Yorkshire.That system, again by DECCA, was called Hi-Fix and supposedly gave location to a few metres.
A character I sailed with was a Yarmouth man and when using DECCA Navigator in the North Sea would say something like, "Our position is 55 on the PARPLE and 30 on that OTHER colour, can't get the RED to settle."
Superstitious upbringing would not let him say GREEN!
On his head he would wear a woolen teapot cosy.In the warm weather his ears were allowed to stick out of the spout and handle holes.
In the cold weather the cosy was turned through 90deg.

21st October 2007, 22:44
Hallo Dave and Davie:
Regarding the Swedish SAL logs: I was on a stern trawler in the 70thies when we had problems with the Pivot pipe but you could pull it out as there was an sea valve at the bottom and you did close it when the pipe was above it and the pipe could be taken out and repaired/exchanged.
I suppose if the pipe was bent and you could not withdraw it you could push it downward and put an spare pipe in and replace the bent pipe with your spare pipe without getting any seawater in!!!!
Have not experienced it myself but seems a bit odd to dock the ship just for a bent Pivot pipe!!!

Regarding Decca Service:Yes there was an excellent service here for both radars and Navigators and the Decca people here did work on any kind of radars i.e.Marconi Kelvin Hughes as well as German Atlas. Serviced the lot.
But the most common radar was off course Decca on fishing vessels anyway.

Regarding Decca Navigator coverage on the fishing grounds around the Faroes
The coverage was OK especially on the South Side as well on the East Side but not 100% reliable on the West and North side but the British trawlers as well as the Scottish long liners all did carry Decca Navigators and used them all the time when fishing here that's why they had to come in and get theirs Navigators fixed when problems arouse as there was no point in fishing on without them as the fishing was based on Decca informations when towing ore shooting the long lines.
All the British fishing vessels fishing here did carry full sets of Blue Back fishing charts of the Faroese fishing grounds with the colored Decca lines on them in different colors i.e.Purple Red Blue e.t.c.

Regarding using Decca Navigator:
In 1964 the Grimsby trawler Hull City was steaming through the Faroe Islands and did mistake two of the islands and went through the most narrow and shallow passage on the Island and did damage her bottom quite seriously but the damage could have been much worse if local people had not tried to warn them and they had reduced the speed before the impact
So i wonder if this skipper had his Decca Navigator running ore he did not bother to look into his charts????
No equipment are better than the people who use them!!!!

21st October 2007, 22:58
Thanks Nicolina
Regarding the drydocking,this was for a propeller change after catching the shingle bank at the Humber mouth, so the SAL log pitot was changed at the same time.As the ship was on her way out to the fishing grounds, she was fully loaded so slipping was not the favoured option, hence the drydock.
And you are right in saying the tube could have been pushed out and lost
if a spare was available, but since the ship was drydocking anyway, this action wasn't necessary.

donald mckay
24th October 2007, 21:41
this is link to the locations of the Decca transmitters and when they closed I see they location for the Kirkwall (Dounby) station is wrong in the link My father used to use Consul before they got Decca
Regards Donald McKay

24th October 2007, 22:43
Thanks for that Donald
It would seem from the link you gave, that the first one to open was 5B in England 1946 and the last one to close was 6C North Scottish in April 2000.
Dave Todd

25th October 2007, 00:38
I was sure there was a Decca Chains at Southeast Iceland and another in the Northwest. Neither are mentioned on the site named by Donald. Is my memory playing tricks?

I remember the Skipper of Ross Kelvin using the Decca plotter to tow round all the wrecks in the North Sea and he was brilliant.

John T.

donald mckay
25th October 2007, 08:44
I was looking at this re Decca in Iceland last night and discovered there was survey chain ordered for Greenland in 1946 which was shipped in the following year but I cant seem to find where it was located Loran was fitted in Iceland at Hellissandur it was shut down on December 31, 1994 It had a 411.48 metre tall tower, now used for longwave broadcasting of RV on 189 kHz and Faroe at Eidi

25th October 2007, 10:21
Thanks Donald, maybe I was getting mixed up with Loran. Is it possible that the Greenland chain could have covered northwest Iceland?

John T.

donald mckay
25th October 2007, 17:02
John you need the experts to keep you right on that Ill try and find out where the Decca station was in Greenland !!! The Southern Faroes as Nicolina says would be ok for Decca although the lanes would be fairly wide due to the distance from the master and slave transmitters in Orkney Shetland the Butt of lewis and Peterhead At around 84KHz ground wave it would be a bit iffy at any further distance I would say

28th October 2007, 14:01
Hull City Voyage No.2 18 Sept. 1953

18 Sept 1345 Sailed Loaded trials
1630 Left river 114 rpm
Blr 225 HP 200 MP 60 LP 10.5 Vac 26 feed 122-220
19 " Fine weather 114 rpm Steering gear satis. Main eng. satis.
20 " Steering gear in hand,Governor cleaned and set.
Normal running Strong wind abeam.
21 " 1000 Shot 3 hauls
1800 Steaming North Strong SE wind
112 rpm Starb. brake screeching
22 " 0630 Shot Kyc??dsen All filters changed very little oil
84 rpm Good fishing small
23 " Starb. brake no better waiting chance to strip down
24 " Starb. brake changed for spares Foundation pad for eyebolt
slack. Gale Steaming to Cape MP Piston cover leaking
25 " 0520 Shot Sealy's No.2 BT started at 0700 Brakes OK
Towing 86 rpm Rough ground
26 " 0815 Steamed 114 rpm
Blr 225 HP 200 MP 58 LP 10 Vac 26 feed 128-218
Steamed 12 hrs Horns Strong SE 84-86 rpm
Fish loop and Echosounder U.S.
27 " 86-88 rpm Mod fishing Water pumped from Aft peak to Fore
28 " Steamed to Skate Rock 8 hrs steaming No. 2 B.T. MT
29 " 8 hrs steaming Gale 6 hrs laid mending 84-86 rpm
Liner out of LP bottom end Filters changed
30 " Steaming 4 hrs Fishing poor Bad weather Feed pumps changed
1 Oct Gale 3 hrs laid
1800 Stowed up steaming Southerly 108 rpm
2 " 0530 112 rpm Blr 225 HP 196 MP 56 LP 8 vac 26 Fd 124-220
1600 114 rpm
2000 Faroes
3 " 114 rpm Blr 225 HP 180 MP 60 LP 10 Vac 25
1145 Duncansby Hd.
4 " 1600 Docked Blowdown for Boiler clean
5 " Landed 5435
8 " On slip
9 " On slip

Next voyage begins 10 October 1953

Steve Farrow
29th October 2007, 11:38
Hello Dave........These diary extracts are really great and fascinating. I was explaining these to an old friend of mine today and by sheer coincidence he sailed with your father for many years as an engineer! His name is Roly Dye who lost his father on the Leicester City when she went aground in the Pentland Firth.
Looking forward to more of your postings,

12th November 2007, 21:57
Hull City Voyage No.3 10 October 1953

10 Oct 0700 Sailed Compass adjust 114 rpm 1 turn mixer Pyro 560deg.
11 " 114 rpm 1 1/2 turns mixer Pyro 550deg.
Steering gear failed on power.In hand.
12 " 0830 Fuglo Strong beam wind All filters changed
13 " Gale head wind 106 rpm
14 " Moderating 112 rpm
1230 Shot Cape 82-84 rpm Pyro 530
15 " Good fishing 82-84 rpm
Blr.225 HP 175 MP 40 LP 4 Vac. 27" Pyro 570 deg
16 " Steaming 114 rpm Blr 225 HP 210 MP 60 LP 8.5 Vac 26.5"
Delvac 105 SV 200 HP.P. Feed 218-122 deg
Stokehold P.165 T.185
17 " 0500 Shot Langanes 82-84 Steering gear pipe unions leaking
Governor not working Fishing poor
18 " 0215 Steaming back to Cape 113 rpm
1000 Turned back to Valner Bank 86 rpm All filters changed
19 " Parted after warp Steamed back to ????? 1/2 mixer 600deg
20 " 84 rpm Steamed 4 1/2 hrs Glettinganes
21 " Steamed 6 hrs Whaleback 84-86
22 " Steamed 3 hrs Horns 86 rpm
Port brake vibrating Bracket tightened
23 " Steamed 3 hrs Whaleback Port brake screeching badly
24 " 86 rpm No.2 B.T. opened Winch stop v/v rod pin broken Gale
25 " Gale Laid 3 hrs Left for home 114 rpm
Blr 225 HP 210 MP 60 LP 8 Vac 25" Pyro 600 Feed 224-122
26 " Gale Boiler seam caulked behind collision plate
0930 Straight Fjord
27 " 1330 Duncansby Hd. Gale Head wind Forehold flooded Chain pipe
Strum box fouled
28 " Forehold cleared 116 rpm Filter changed
1830 Arrive river
2100 Docked Tubes leaking
29 " Landed 6437
30 " Winch drums out Gears skimmed Telemotor overhaul by
Donkins shock springs slack.

Next voyage begins Sat 31 October 1953

Derek Roger
12th November 2007, 22:34
Excellent Stuff Dave ; Most interesting to an Engineer Regards Derek

13th November 2007, 15:34
Excellent Stuff Dave ; Most interesting to an Engineer Regards Derek
Thank you Derek for your interest and comment.

13th November 2007, 16:14
Hull City Voyage No.4 31 October 1953

31 Oct 1300 Sailed 114 rpm
1800 Hand steering Changed course to White Sea
1 Nov 116 rpm Gale at night Aft Pk. BT opened reduced speed
2 " Filters changed Forehold cleared 116 rpm
3 " 114-116 rpm Fore Pk BT opened
4 " 0100 Arr. Lodingen 116 rpm Blr 225 HP ? MP 56 LP 6.5 Vac 27"
2400 Honsvag (Honningsvag) (Pilotage Lodingen-Honningsvag)
5 " 116 rpm
1200 Shot East Bank 84-86 rpm
2100 No.3 BT opened
6 " HP piston slapping
7 " 84-86 rpm 1 1/2 hrs steam at night
8 " Steaming
0400 Stopped for HP piston 1 link in bottom spring 3.5 hrs delay
9 " HP piston OK Steaming back to Vardoe
0930 Shot 86 rpm Good fishing
10 " 86 rpm No.4 BT opened
11 " 86 rpm poor fishing
12 " 86 rpm Star Aft Top roller hot, taken down.Greaseways
cleaned out. Bush damaged
13 " 0315 Steaming
0830 Shot 86 rpm
1515 Steaming 116 rpm
2200 Shot Vardoe
14 " 86 rpm Good fishing
15 " 86 rpm No.1 BT opened am
0500 Warps stranded Gale Dodging Laid 2hrs Warps repaired
3/4 speed
16 " 0500 Gale Full speed
0700 Sletnes light
1100 Shot 1 haul
1400 Left for home 2000 kit
17 " 116 rpm All filters changed
1720 arr Harstad Took water
2045 left Harstad
2350 Lodingen (Pilotage Harstad-Lodingen)
18 " Gale Hd. wind
0400 3/4 speed
0730 114 rpm
19 " Gale SW Full speed moderating at night 116 rpm
20 " Fine 114-116 rpm Strong at night
21 " Cascade filters changed
22 " 0030 Arr river
0440 Docked Blown out for clean.(Boiler blown down for internal
inspection and clean. Blow down takes about 3 hrs.)
23 " Landed 5992 Oil balls in boiler, used too much fuel
Winch oil deflected on gears.

Next voyage begins 25 November 1953

Roger Griffiths
13th November 2007, 22:51
Hello Dave,
Thank you for sharing the contents of your dads diaries. They are a unique and extremely interesting record. Please keep them coming.
Have you considered making an archival copy so that they may be preserved for future generations.


14th November 2007, 22:24
Hello Roger
Thank you for your kind comments and interest.
There are two more voyages in the diary to post.
Then I intend to post a report regarding the maiden voyage of the ST Arsenal in 1958.
I'm not qite sure what you mean by "archival copy"

15th November 2007, 22:36
I've transcribed 3 notebooks of my Dad's trips 336 of them from 1948 to 1959 I typed them into a booklet (88 pages) and had them placed with the local library in their fishing section and I also placed the original notebooks with the N E Lincs Archives for save keeping. They also circulate there existence in some National Maritime Archive
Just type them out in the same format you are presenting them to us, print a cover with one of the featured trawlers on the front and a title, bind them with a spine binder and there you have it. It's not hard work if it's a labour of love and a nice little project for the winter.

17th November 2007, 09:35
Hull City voyage no 3:

The term,Straigth Fiord was used by UK trawler skippers when steaming through the Faroes on their homeward bound voyage from Iceland.

Roger Griffiths
18th November 2007, 12:27
Hello Roger
I'm not qite sure what you mean by "archival copy"

Hello Dave,
I am sure the NE Lincs. archives would welcome a copy of your dads diary. It is a unique record deserving of being preserved for future generations.


18th November 2007, 18:25
Hull City Voyage No.5 1953

24 Nov Went to Palace at night..
( The Palace was an entertainment Theatre near Central Market on
Victoria St. Grimsby. The players included Comedians,magicians,
Singers,jugglers etc. and of course Fan Dancers. It's not there
any more and the pub next door now belongs to Carphone
25 " 0900 Sailed for Iceland 116 rpm 1/2 turn mixer Pyro 620
26 " 114 rpm Strong wind
27 " 114-116 rpm All filters changed
28 " 114-116 rpm N.E.Wind
29 " 0030 Shot 1 Haul to stretch warps
1100 Shot Cape
2030 Steaming
30 " 0030 Shot 86 rpm Mixer shut pyro 610deg. Decks full of fish
Laid 4 1/2 hrs
1620 Shot Fore and Aft peak tanks MT No.1 BTk opened
1 Dec. 86 rpm Gale
2000 Anchored Adlavik All filters changed Diesel Genny run 4 hrs
2 " 1000 Anchor weighed
1315 Shot 86 rpm 5 hrs steam
3 " 86 rpm 5 1/2 hrs steam
4 " 84 rpm 2 back cascade filters changed No.2 BTk opened am
5 " 84-86 rpm 4 hrs steam 4 hrs laid
6 " 0500 Steam 1 1/4 hrs
0700 Shot 86 rpm
1400 Steam 112-114 rpm No.3 BTk opened at 1200 16 hrs steam
7 " 0700 Shot 86 rpm
1400 left for home 114-116 rpm
8 " 1400 Fuglo 112-114 rpm
9 " Head wind moderating 114-116 rpm
10 " 1600 Arr River Steering trials Donkins men on board in river
2000 Docked Fog Control valve noisy
11 " Landed 3842 on slip
12 " Went to Leeds.Home at 7pm.
13 " On slip
14 " On slip
15 " Winch house girder arch fitted,new control box,steering
gear fitted.

Next voyage begins 17 December 1953

9th December 2007, 16:36
Hull City Voyage No.6 1953

17 Dec. 0300 Left Dock Compass adjust. Steering trials satisfactory.
0900 Left River Humber
18 " Fair wind 114-116 rpm Strong to gale later
19 " 114-116 rpm Fair wind Strong
20 " 114-116 rpm
1930 shot 2 hauls
21 " Steaming to Cape 114-116 rpm
1000 shot 84-86 rpm
22 " 84-86 rpm Gale at night Steaming 5 hrs Anchored Adlavik 2200
23 " At anchor 6hrs Vap. (This would be the length of time the
evaporator was run to change sea water to boiler feed water)
2130 went out (from anchorage) weather moderating
24 " 0230 shot 84-86 rpm freezing hard Good fishing
25 " Good fishing 5 bags laid 5 hrs Steamed 3 hrs Turkey for dinner
26 " 0300 shot 3 hauls Steam back to Cape
27 " Good fishing Bad weather laid 9 hrs
28 " Steamed 6 hrs All filters changed
29 " 0015 Steamed Southerly 114 rpm
1100 shot No.3 BT opened Good fishing Gale in the pm Bouy down
30 " Gale Laid and dodging all day
31 " Laid and dodging Lost bouy
0900 shot
1900 Steaming South
1 Jan 1954
Gale Steaming to Faroe 112 rpm
2 " 1000 Faroe gale Steaming home 112 rpm No.4 BT opened a.m.
3 " 0630 Duncansby Head Gale 110 rpm



I sailed with my father on many "pleasure" trips from 1950 to 1956 and later on the Hull City as a crew member.
After 20 years at sea my recollection is that the Hull City was by far the best,most stable and reassuring ship that I served on.
Well done to British shipbuilders,designers and all those who looked after them.

Next voyage will be the maiden voyage of the S.T.Arsenal in February 1958

Best Regards

donald mckay
9th December 2007, 20:04
Dave Many thanks for sharing this with us A real piece of history
Again thank you

9th December 2007, 23:06
Your'e welcome Donald

ps added two thumbs of the Coventry City circa 1952

12th December 2007, 16:13
As a post script to voyage No.6 I thought that I would add the three thumbnails which are from the Grimsby Evening Telegraph of January 4th 1954.
These show the Hull City with a reported 1,600 kit from Iceland and the prices at dockside on that day.
Also shown are other vessels,both fishing and commercial.
Best Regards

11th February 2008, 17:52
January 1958
Unfortunately, a diary does not exist for this entry.
The story given is based on my memory mainly, with reference to documents etc. that I have.

14 Jan 1958 Dad signs off Hull City and has a brief spell at home
3 Feb " He starts a daily commute to Hull (Princes Dock) where Arsenal
is nearing completion. This daily routine continues until:-
7 Feb " Sign on Arsenal in Consolidated's office, meet rest of the crew.
10 Feb " Last day to familiarise himself with his new ship
50 years ago today
11 Feb " River trials start today, with all the representatives of Builders,
Enginemakers, Owners etc. and best crockery,
cutlery,tablecloths and food is placed on board for the
"free lunch" (Temporary use only)
Also on board is a reporter from the Grimsby Evening Telegraph
His piece in the newspaper states:-
" The first trawler to be fitted with a plastic work-boat,
Accomodation for the crew now include bathrooms!
Surprisingly there are berths for up to 40 crew, probably
for wet-salting in the summer?"
Trials pass successfully
12 Feb " Loading gear,ice,fuel,stores etc.
13 feb " On board at 1130 for 1230 sailing, I was working on another
vessel on the North Wall so met him on the Arsenal to
say "Cheerio" which was something I tried to do each trip.
Arsenal sails on her maiden voyage
Skipper W.Balls Junior
Mate Jack Jones
2nd Eng. A.Gregory

Nothing further heard until:-

17 Feb 1958 About 1100 I am working on yet another of Consol's vessels
on the North Wall when from the top of the engineroom
ladder comes the shout,
"You down there Toddy?" It's Bert Perry, Outside foreman.
"Yes Mr. Perry, back of the airpump"
"Get your coat and come up"
He tells me to go home now as "Your Dad's been taken to
hospital in Iceland"
"Where, what happened?" "Isafjord, thats all I know"
Back I go to the workshop for my bike,get home quick where
Mam says,"Will you go and see Jack Mawer (the manager )
and tell him I want to fly to Iceland to be with your Dad?"
18 Feb " On my bike again. No success with mam's request to Jack
Mawer. His reply is"No point, you can't do anything, best to
leave it, here's the phone number for the hospital, best give
them a ring"

In 1958 we don't have a telephone, even if we had it was not a simple case of dialling a code to speak to Iceland. To arrange this call meant making a reservation at the Post Office Riby Square for a call the following day. Did that.

19 Feb 1958 Spoke to someone at the hospital who said "His condition is
stable but still unconscious after his cerebral haemorrhage"
21 Feb " Another phone call gives the same response
22 Feb " Noon. I arrive home to find the Port Missioner in our house.
Dad has died in hospital in Isafjord.
Sadness and tears, blackclouds settle over us.
23 Feb " People calling to express their condolences
24 Feb " I go back to work and am told that my pay was stopped last
Monday (17 Feb) when I went home.I'm growing up fast.
26 Feb " Dad's body put into an inner steel,sealed coffin and a wooden
outer coffin.
1 Mar " Death registered by the Vice-Consul in Reykjavik
3 Mar " Body flown to UK
4 Mar " Arsenal docks after completing her maiden voyage.

More to follow later

11th February 2008, 22:26
[QUOTE=davetodd;187301]January 1958
Unfortunately, a diary does not exist for this entry.

This is heart-rending, Dave. It must have been really hard for you and your family.


11th February 2008, 23:10
Yes Hilary, it was difficult, but obviously, we were not the only family to have our lives changed by this kind of loss.
As a boy I grew up in Cleethorpes in the the same street which had a Bethel Mission on the corner.
Many times we had seen the sad processions making their way to funeral or memorial services for men who died or were lost away from home.
So I suppose we knew what to expect in the future.
Thank you for your interest.

JT McRae
12th February 2008, 04:18
What a tragic end to a really interesting thread. Thanks very much Dave.

12th February 2008, 10:00
JT McRae
Thank you for your interest, but the account is not yet finished.
More later.
Best Regards

12th February 2008, 17:05
Arsenal maiden voyage part II

At home are me,mother, sister and a very helpful brother-in-law, who was home on leave from Ellerman Wilson Line.

4 Mar 1958 Arsenal docks at Grimsby after completing her maiden voyage
I go on board before all the crew have left to collect Dad's
effects. First man I see is Jack Jones, the mate.
Always found him to be an honest and tolerant man.
He tells me of when Dad was taken ill and the quick run into
Isafjord. Also how he went to the hospital to give details to the
staff there. They were very hopeful for the outcome of Dad's
Then saw Jim Goodacre, the relief chief engineer, who had been
flown to Iceland to take over.
He gave me Dad's watch,wedding ring and wallet as well as all
of his clothes etc.

5 Mar " Arsenal lands 2,076 kits of Icelandic fish, which sold
for 7,062.
After the crew had been paid and gone I went to the settling
office to collect any pay coming for my father.
As was and probaly still common practice, his pay was
stopped on 16 Feb. when he was put ashore.
A few pounds of his wages were due as well as a share of
the settling, pro rata of course.

When his body was flown home the company paid for this and transport from the airport back to Grimsby. We had agreed with an undertaker to make all the arrangements for Service, burial plot and a new coffin.
We would have to pay for this from an insurance policy which Dad had been paying for years. Commonly known as a "Penny Policy" but costing a few shilling each week, collected by an insurance agent. I can see him now,
Long grey raincoat, bicycle clips and a big leather bag on a shoulder strap into which went many peoples shillings. In return, he would make an entry into the notebook which every policy holder kept in a safe place.
He had told us that there would not be a problem with paying off of the policy. However, a problem did arise.
The documentaion which came back with Dad's body was:-
A death registration by the Vice-Consul in Reykjavk which did not show the cause of death.
Cause of death was given in a verified English translation six page document typed in Icelandic.
This, according to the insurance agent was not acceptable so the policy would not be honoured.
The air of depression over our home now turns to a rapidly rising barometric pressure.
"Can you supply us with a proper death certificate?" says the agent.
A visit to our family doctor proved the value of a FAMILY doctor.
His solution was to write a short, sharp letter to the insurance company which resulted in the policy being paid out.

I am sure some readers of this will recognise the practices which many companies employ to avoid paying out of monies which are due.

The funeral service took place at the Bethel Mission at the end of our street, followed by interment at Cleethorpes Cemetry.
Many came, including some of the crew of the Arsenal. She sailed the following day.

Gone but not forgotten.

I would like to take this oppotunity to send my belated thanks to the people of Iceland, in particular the Isafjord Hospital for taking care of my Dad.

Best Wishes

14th February 2008, 16:15
Thumbnail attached is a scan of the Translation issued by the town judge of Isafjord.