We would like to announce the setting up of United Towing and Salvage Society in May this year. For some years now several lads from United have been meeting up at the Kingston pub, Trinity House Lane in Hull on alternate Wednesday lunchtimes. As you can imagine the lamp is well and truly swung and the yarns were as full of memories as they are of the history of a largely bygone age.
United Towing supplied ships and crews during WWII and were imperative to the success of the D Day landings with their handling of the Mulberry Harbour components and the PLUTO pipeline. Even less well known maybe is the fact that they provided tugs to accompany convoys as rescue vessels. Lives were lost and medals won by men of United.
Much is known, especially in Hull, of the Cod Wars. However less prominent is the contributions United Towing’s tugs made that were sent to defend them from Icelandic gun boats. Again, later in the Falklands Conflict, once again United’s ships were some of the first taken up to assist. And assist they did being involved in retaking South Georgia and Southern Thule and even managing to the get the burning wreck of the ‘Atlantic Conveyor’ undertow before she sank along with contributions continuing for several years at the conflicts conclusion. Fortunately only medals were won this time. United Towing were at the forefront of opening up the southern gas fields in the North Sea and then the oil exploration further north around 1965 when each job was the first of its kind and the manuals were rewritten weekly. The development of the massively powerful and manoeuvrable vessels in use today can be traced back to the United vessels of that time.
As you can see there are many stories to be told, and as we are all getting older, there is a danger that they will be lost for ever. The Society was set up to ensure that the stories of these times and endeavours will be recorded, along with photos and artefacts. We would love to hear form anybody that worked for United Towing or subsidiaries afloat or ashore, or family members, or anybody interested in tugs and towing or even the History of Hull.
Membership is mere £10 a year for which a unique enamel badge, a membership card and two copies of the Society’s magazine ‘Bollard Pull’ will be sent. Please contact us if you have any photos or artefacts of the Company’s vessels so we can build up our data base. Please also pass this information on to anybody else you think maybe interested.
The Society is still young and still growing but we have big plans and ideas and would love to have as many as possible along for the ride with us. To obtain a membership form or get further details please email [email protected]
We also have a fledgling Facebook page, just type in United Towing and Salvage Society. And please don’t forget that there is always a warm welcome in the back bar of the Kingston pub that has the bulkheads covered with photos of tugs and their crews. The next one will be lunchtime Wednesday 16th September and then alternate weeks. You are all cordially invited to our next Reunion ‘do’ which is to be on Thursday 24th September, 1930 start. We take over the pub for the night so the more the merrier and we would love to see you down there and feel sure there will be warm welcome.