BYGONES: The grand old Duke of the ocean waves
CHRIS Walker, of Simons Place, Cleethorpes, got in touch after reading an article by Jeff Beedham.
Chris said: "Unfortunately, Jeff was incorrect when he said that the War Duke (GY 1037) was the last coal burner fishing out of Grimsby (Bygones, March 8). That honour actually goes to the Sardinian (GY 251). Formerly the War Wing, the Sardinian was built by Cook Welton and Gemmel of Beverley, yard no 326, and was registered in February 1916 for the Pelham Steam Fishing Co of Grimsby.
"Before being sold to Thos. Robinsons in 1953, the vessel spent some time as the Cramond Island (LH 26), owned by the Cramond Fishing Co. of Leith.
"Other owners of this vessel included Thomas Baskcomb, Dobson Ship Repair Co, Wembley Steam Fishing and Wharfedale Trawlers (many of these owners were regarded as 'on paper owners' only. Fishermen usually referred to the trawler owners as the 'forty thieves'. It shows).
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"In 1964, the vessel was sold for scrap, having been the last coal burning trawler to land a catch. It was then dispatched to the breakers yard during November 1964, in the company of the Athenian (GY 357), the last aft sider whose final fire went out some considerable time before the Sardinian's.
"The breakers yard was at Antwerp, Belgium. The War Duke however (Beverley yard no 340E), was laid up in 1963 and broken up at Gateshead in the same year, but not until it had surrendered the remainder of its bunkers into the Sardinian's bunkers, as did one or two of the remaining near water coal burners languishing on the North Wall awaiting the call.
"I have no doubt that the Sardinian was the last coal burner to fish out of the port of Grimsby because I was there to see the catch and also 'fetch up' some of the good quality fish it landed. It was a memorable occasion indeed.
"Now, as for the last coal burner to leave port (albeit cold), it was the Athenian, according to Steve Pulfrey (The Final years of Side Winder, Paul King and Steve Pulfrey 1991) and I have no doubt whatsoever of that fact, even though I missed the occasion, regretfully.
"The Sardinian went out of the lock pits first, followed by the Athenian. And that is history. I would consider Mr Pulfrey and Mr King's book essential reading for all Grimbarians who have an interest in the town's past, that the excellent articles recently submitted by Jeff Beedham have brought to the fore.
"Local history is important as it maintains the continuity that allows us to see the bigger picture and without people like Mr Beedham we would all be the poorer."
Bygones Note: It is our belief that The War Duke was the last coal burner to fish from Grimsby. She was scrapped in May 1963.
The Sardinian and Athenian were the last two to leave the port for scrap in November 1964. They had been laid up for two years.