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In light of the postings earlier this month with regards to the Trawler Gaul an interesting story came to light a few weeks ago in our local paper, the Fleetwood Weekly News, and seems to be rolling along very nicely.

It's regarding a small fishing boat that was stolen by a crerwman called George "Dod" Orsborne who then sailed the boat to the USA. The little craft was called the Girl Pat.

The story can be found in this weeks paper on web site www.fleetwoodtoday.co.uk

Does anyone know anything about this incident, as the story now is that the crewman was actually on a government spying mission.?

Seems unlikely but who knows? It would be interesting to hear from anyone who could substantiate this tale!(Cloud)
 

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cheers, kris. the weekly news is crying out for information on this incident, and if the relative does view this could he please email the paper on [email protected] I'm sure that they would be very interested in any more that can be brought to light. cheers,neil.
 

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Girl Pat

My Grandfather was a crew member on the Girl Pat,their is a boobeen published on their escapades interesting reading.
 

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The Tiddyogg website has the following from 2002........this was from a BBC story which I remember at the time.

"The Girl Pat was a 70ft seiner, a small fishing boat. She was built in Lowestoft in 1936 and was owned by Marstrand, a Grimsby fishing company. Her skipper was George ‘Dod’ Orsborne.

On 1 April 1936, the Girl Pat left Grimsby on what should have been a 12 to 14-day trip to the North Sea fishing grounds off the west coast of Scotland. However, instead of going north she turned south, putting into Dover two days later. She set off again two days after that but then vanished. Nine days later, she was reported to have landed at the small Spanish port, Corcubion. Having refuelled and refitted, she set off again, this time heading towards Africa. She was seen in mid-May at Dakar in French West Africa where the mate was admitted to hospital and an engineer taken on. By now the Girl Pat had been painted white and her name changed to Kia Ora, a popular brand of squash at the time.

She then set off across the Atlantic, calling at Devil’s Island before going on to Georgetown, Guyana. On her way she stopped an American ship to ask for provisions but was turned away by a suspicious captain, even though the seiner had insufficient provisions for an Atlantic crossing. Nevertheless, she was spotted by a plane at Georgetown. A government ship was sent out and the crew eventually surrendered. They were arrested and later released, but the skipper, George Orsborne, and his brother, James, were re-arrested on 29 June. They and Hector Harris and Howard Stephens (who was 17 years old) were taken back to Southampton, and from there to Gravesend.

George and James Orsborne appeared at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and were later tried at the Old Bailey. George was given 18 months’ hard labour and James 12. While in prison, Orsborne wrote an account of his journey. It was the first of five books that he wrote. He had become quite a celebrity – in Grimsby, he was regarded as a hero rather than a rogue. His defence at the trial, which was strongly denied, was that he had been encouraged to ‘lose’ the ship at sea for insurance purposes. There were other rumours of gun-running and of providing support for the Spanish Civil War. Quite possibly the whole episode was just a jaunt, a gesture to protest against the dullness and hardship of their everyday lives. In later life, George Orsborne had a colourful war career, some of which tests credibility to the extreme. After the war he was convicted of gun-running and died in the 1950s.

Howard Stephens is now 83 and living in Cornwall. He says that the engineer, who presumably objected to the affair, was got drunk and abandoned in a fish and chip shop in Dover. He admits that the whole thing was done at the instigation of the owners. The ship was not paying its way and the plan was to scuttle her and claim on the insurance. Dod Orsborne had other ideas! Howard had no experience as a cook, but asked for a job, and Osborne gave him that post, telling him he would look after him. (If the original plan had been followed - to take her out and dump her - presumably the lack of culinary skills wouldn't have mattered.)

It is said that the only navigational aids available were an atlas bought for sixpence, (a tanner -4 US cents,) and a small compass.

Source: www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history

Thursday, October 31, 2002
 

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good day nhp651.sm.5th may 2007.05:02.re:girl patsy spy ship or fishing boat.the insurance job sounds feasible.apart from a few months in the can,they seem to have come out laughing.interesting post.regards ben27
 
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