Harry Duffin was born 10 August 1889, at 31 Regents St Hull. Shortly after his birth Harry`s father died and he was brought up untill been 12 yrs old by his mother with seven other siblings. Harry`s mother also died when he was only 12 and after going to live with his uncle for a while he Joined the Royal Navy Trawler Section.

Harry after going to sea spent over 30 yrs with the Hull Fishing Fleet, mainly with Hellyer Brothers and was Skipper of many vessels. After joining the Royal Navy ( Trawler Reserve ) in WW1, he served aboard a Minesweeper of which the above photograph could show some of the crew ?. There is a picture of Harry aboard the Steam Trawler Mercury H518, The Mercury was Skippered in Dec 1912 by W Rilatt, it was then sunk by German submarine in 1915.

Between 1934 - 1940 Harry Skippered the following vessels, Pict, Mohican, Goth, Imperialist, Andaman, Syrian, Dromio & Kings Grey. Been one of Hellyers top Skippers Harry went to collect the Imperialist H2 in 1938 ( which was christened by his daughter Ethel ); from Smiths Dock Middlesborough. He then commanded the Imperialist on it`s maiden voyage January 30th 1939.

In Dec 1939 while skipper of the Dromio, it was in collision with the Italian registered vessel Valdarno, the Dromio subsequently sank, all crew been rescued.

During the Second World War Harry was Temp Skipper R.N.R and whilst the Skipper of the Yorick H410 was awarded the MBE for the rescue of a trawler crew that had been sunk. I believe the trawler who`s crew were rescued was the Whinnyfold another Hull trawler but as yet have no documentary evidence, just sheer elimination.

Address / Vessel
Birth Pl
Occupation / Relationship
Date/ Scource
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DUFFIN HARRY . MERCURY H518 . Third Hand 1911 .
DUFFIN HARRY . MOHICAN . . Feb - Dec 1934 .
DUFFIN HARRY . PICT H250 . Skipper 1934. Harry did 2 trips as Skipper of the Pict H250 both In January
DUFFIN HARRY . GOTH H211 . . June 1935 - July 1936 .
DUFFIN HARRY . PICT H298. . Skipper 1936 did many trips on the Pict over a three year period
DUFFIN HARRY . ANDAMAN . Skipper Aug 1939 .
DUFFIN HARRY . SYRIAN H122 . . Oct - Nov 1939 .
DUFFIN HARRY . DROMIO H94 . Skipper Dec 1939 .
DUFFIN HARRY . IMPERIALIST H2 . Skipper 1939 1939 Harrys daughter christened the vessel and Harry was the first skipper doing 2 trips in Jan and Feb before she was requisistioned by Admiralty
DUFFIN HARRY . HMT KINGS GREY . Skipper Jan - Feb 1940 .
DUFFIN HARRY . YORICK . Skipper Apr 1943 while in a convoy to Icelandic fishing grounds the Yorick picked up the survivors of a trawler which had been sunk Skipper Duffin was awarded the M B E for his actions.
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HARRY DUFFIN First left standing possibly with fellow crewmen Coutesy © http://www.stevejgarton.co.uk

HARRY DUFFIN FRONT, SECOND FROM THE RIGHT Coutesy © http://www.stevejgarton.co.uk


London Gazette Issue 35975 published on the 9 April 1943

To be An Additional Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:

Harry Duffin, Esq., Skipper of a Steam Trawler. The steam trawler, when in company with two other trawlers, was attacked by enemy aircraft on two occasions and a spirited defence was put up.On the second occasion, one of the other trawlers was hit and sunk. Skipper Duffin immediately went to the rescue, picked up all the crew and later landed them safely.He displayed great courage in these and five other attacks which have been made on his ship. He has always succeeded in beating off the enemy and this is due in no small measure to his courage, example and determination.

An article was written about Harry receiving the MBE in the Hull Daily Mail dated Wed April 14th 1943

An Extract of part of the Article.

Seven times Skipper Duffin's trawler has been attacked, and every time the trawler's gun has blazed defiance. On one occasion an enemy plane dived in to bomb the trawler and to rake her decks with machine-gun bullets. Each time the raider was met with fire from the trawler, Skipper Duffin taking up his position on the bridge to direct operations. In the end the raider abandoned the fight.


Whenever his trawler was attacked the skipper directed the machine-gun crew to hold their fire until the planes were near, a ruse which was successful. One duel lasted a whole afternoon, and on another occasion the encounter with the enemy rivalled in thrills the best thriller the skipper had ever read.

Enemy aircraft dived again and again in a deadly combat with the fishermen. Once an accompanying trawler was hit and the crew thrown into the sea, but despite a fusilade of machine-gun bullets, the skipper went to the rescue of the men in the water, every one of whom was saved.


Less than a year later after receiving his MBE Harry Duffin died in the Duke of York Nursing Home Bradford, on the 24th of February 1944.

I Thank his Grandson Steve Garton for allowing me to use this info and supplying the Picture.http://www.stevejgarton.co.uk