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In August 1958 I was on a ship in drydock at Kowloon Docks Hong Kong and in the next dock was a newly built schooner the Ian Crouch she was to my mind beautifull and if the opportunity to sail on her had been available I would have been there like a shot. Fortunately I didn't get the chance and instead sailed on the ship I had just joined the MV Ninella. We went to Australia and after a spell around the coast were heading back to Singapore when we received a radio message to all ships to keep a lookout for auxilliary schooner Ian Crouch overdue on passage Hong Kong to Port Adelaide. I seem to remember subsequent messages concerning a search by an RAF Shackleton out of Singapore which also disappeared somewhere in the South China Sea. What became of her I do not know and wonder if any members have any information, was her wreck ever found and what was the result of any inquiry? She must have been one of the last sailing vessels built purely for the carriage of dry cargo and it is such a shame she did not survive even her maiden voyage also does a photo of her exist
 

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IAN CROUCH was approx 500 tons, 160.0 x 30.9 x 10.7, built 1958 by Cheoy Lee Shipyard at Hong Kong for Reginald M Crouch for the South Australian coastal trade. Crouch operated several vessels over the years including Jillian Crouch and Milford Crouch, both of which may still be in existence as Lady Jillian and FD Tologi. A Marine Court of Enquiry in Hong Kong found that she was presumed lost between September 27 and 29, 1958 between 100 and 150 miles SE of Hong Kong on her delivery voyage with 11 crew and one passenger (the owners rep).
 

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ian Crouch photos

Hi Frank
Somewhere in my archives I HAVE 2 PHOTOS OF Ian Crouch
Also have photos of Jillian Crouch and Claire crouch, the last two sailing tankers in the world. Both were laid up for sale in 1967.Alan maggs
 

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My Uncle was the skipper of the Ian Crouch when she left HK. His name was Norman Berry. At the time of her building there was a dispute about putting cranes on deck. The builders didn't want to put them on so the owners took her to another yard to have them fitted.
She left HK in ballast and as she was an auxilary ketch he had intended sailing her as much as possible. Norman was a qualified master in motor and sail.
Over the years I have come to the belief that they may have been caught aback and healed over causing the ballast to shift.
The Blyth Star that sank on the SW coast of Tassie rolled over and sank in minutes leaving no wreckage, she was a similar size to the Ian Crouch.
If anybody has a photo of her in HK I would greatly appreciate a copy.
 

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Hi Frank, Your Story Of The Ian Crouch Brought Back Memories Of The Crouch Ketches In South Australian Waters, and Yes wondered Why In Modern Times Would They Build Vessels In sail, Used To see Them In Port adelaide, Cheers VMR.
 

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My father Mervyn Davies had ships built by Cheoy Lee in Hong Kong including the Wongala. She had sails because they allowed non union seaman to be employed to sail her and to save diesel fuel when under sail. Reg Crouch had the same motives. Lo To was the owner of Cheoyl Lee and he refused to install heavy and high cranes on the deck of the Ian Crouch for fear of making th eship top heavey and vulnerable to capsizing. So on near completion she was removed to the dock yard next door where the cranes were installed. She was insured for several times the cost of building.
 

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Search for the Ian Crouch takes deadly toll

RAF Carrier Pilot Hilly Rostowsky is helicoptered onto Itu Aba and meets with armed Chinese who have recovered the body of one of the downed Shackleton's crew. That aircraft had been searching for the Ian Crouch. Here is the amazing story:
https://youtu.be/PQdeSY33z6g
 

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Hi Frank, thank you for your kind words about the Ian Crouch. My Uncle was skipper of her when she disappeared.
When you saw her can you remember if she had had the deck cranes fitted? There was a dispute between the owners and the builders. The builders refused to fit them and she was taken to another yard to have them fitted, I not sure what the dispute was about.
My Uncle had arranged with somebody in HK to keep in radio contact each day but unfortunately after 2 day out there were no more calls.
My Uncle was a certified sailing master and it was his intention to have her under sail as much as possible.
I sailed with Captain Bob Houffe on the Aussie coast and he knew my Uncle and a couple of the other crew members and it was his opinion that she may have been "caught aback" and turned turtle. We do know that she was in ballast and there was some suggestion that it may have shifted. I don't know if you know the story of the Blyth Star, she rolled over and sank on the Tasmanian SW coast, apart from the life raft containing the crew there was never any wreckage found.
There was a suggestion that the Ian Crouch may have been taken by pirates but nothing was ever proven.
There was a ship on the Aussie coast that had the same hull as the Ian she was the Wongalla but she did not have cranes on deck.
I hope this helps, unfortunately I don't have a decent photo only a poor quality newspaper cutting.
Cheers.
sorry guys I didn't realize I had answerd to this thread earlier. but it's same same except the story about the cranes.
 

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Greg Just A Longshot, Try The PORT ADELAIDE Maritime Museum As Crouch Ketches Were Often In Port Adelaide Cheers VMR.
 

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hi All
I sent two photos of vessel to Ian Berry at beginning of May 2018
One broadside shot of port side, the other 3/4 head shot of starboard side
Regards
Alan Maggs
 

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re BLYTH STAR loss of vessel according to Marine Court of Enquiry due to transfer of contents of tanks at sea. One would have no reason to believe that any such event might have occurred in relation to IAN CROUCH
Regards
Alan Maggs
 

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Any one got any info or pics of the Ian Crouch ? My Dads Brother was one of the crew that disappeared
Greg I have a photo of the Ian Crouch taken just before she sailed from HK
I don't seem to manage to do the upload, can anybody help me plz.
Bugger me its appeared
If you can magnify the photo it will surprise you how many people you can see on deck
The guy that was kind enough to give me this photo gave me another that was obviously taken a day or so earlier as she was down by the **** and there weren't any sails bent on so obviously they were getting her ready to sail.
To me she was a beautiful looking vessel and I would have been proud to have sailed with my Uncle.
 

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re BLYTH STAR loss of vessel according to Marine Court of Enquiry due to transfer of contents of tanks at sea. One would have no reason to believe that any such event might have occurred in relation to IAN CROUCH
Regards
Alan Maggs
Alan, I sailed with a guy who was Chief Engineer on the Blyth Star, he was on the other swing at the time and he told me about the time she flopped over on them while sheltering in Sea Elephant Bay on KI. It was only quick action on their part that averted he falling over.
 

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Hi Frank
Somewhere in my archives I HAVE 2 PHOTOS OF Ian Crouch
Also have photos of Jillian Crouch and Claire crouch, the last two sailing tankers in the world. Both were laid up for sale in 1967.Alan maggs
Hi Alan, I sailed on both the Nelcebee and the Falie, which were auxiliary ketches that used working sail right up until 1982. Both vessels had cargo fuel tanks below for the carriage of bulk petrol, diesel and heating oil from Port Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, so they were still working when both of the Crouch ships had stopped carrying bulk liquid. They were owned by R Fricker and Co, who were direct competitors to Crouch in the same trades. Nelcebee carried 40,800 litres and Falie 54,000 litres, as well as dry bulk and general cargo at the same time. The Crouch ships were fitted for the acid trade to Port Pirie. The Claire was sold off in the late 60’s to Darwin and was lost in cyclone Tracy as the Booya, the Jillian became the Lady Jillian and her bulk tanks removed in the 70’s. She is laid up in Launceston, Tasmania.

I am fascinated by the Ian Crouch and the fact that she was even built, a gaff rigged auxiliary schooner with a bowsprit, and she was the third schooner built by them in 10 years, the Milford Crouch being the other. She was lost the year before the Ian when she turned over in a gale off Cowell, with the loss of five men. It must have been a blow to lose so many ketch hands and skippers in the space of a year, with 12 being lost off the Ian, and I dont think Crouch and Co really recovered from that. The Milford Crouch was raised and became the Flinders Trader. She is off as a fishing mother ship somewhere now under a different name.

It would be interesting one day if they found her wreck, to see what actually happened to her. She was too distinctive to be taken by pirates and even if altered she would have stood out, as she was virtually unique. The photo of her in this thread shows her with sails bent, and down a bit in the water compared to an earlier photo of her. I suspect she had water ballast but with a capacity of 500 tons she must have had dry ballast or cargo aboard as well. She is similar to Cheoy Lees Wongala, but a lot better looking. Similar concept but the Wongala had a straight raked stem and an open cruiser stern. I had a mate that worked on her to New Zealand with explosives, and he said she was like a half tide rock when loaded. Anyway, cheers for now.
 

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Wiki:
9 December 1958: Shackleton MR.1 VP254 of No. 205 Squadron RAF crashed into the South China Sea. All 10 on board killed.
 

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ian Crouch photos

Hi Frank
Somewhere in my archives I HAVE 2 PHOTOS OF Ian Crouch
Also have photos of Jillian Crouch and Claire crouch, the last two sailing tankers in the world. Both were laid up for sale in 1967.Alan maggs
Hi Alan,
I know this is a bit late to reply but I am researching the Crouch schooners for a possible DVD story & came across your comments. I need photos of any of them to complete this project. I have that port side view of Ian at anchor in HK. Would it be possible to get some from you please? I have completed two stories based on Annie Watt,One & All, Nelcebee & Falie using movie film. In the case of the Crouch boats it will have to be mainly stills as there is very little movie film of them. I have two photos of Claire loading in Port Pirie but they are shockers. Also have a few of her in her earlier life as Argosy Lemal.
Regards,
Rod Clarke
 
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