Off Number
Length Ft
Tons Gross
Yard Number
Breadth Ft
Tons Net
08 04 1913
04 06 1913
Engine Builder

Amos & Smith Hull

10. 5 K
Registered SARGON GY 858 Owners Standard Steam Fishing Co Gy
  HMT SARGON Owners 1914 - 1919 Admiralty
  HMT SARGON Owners 1939 - 1945 Admiralty
    Owners 20 01 1942 St Andrews Steam Fishing Co Ltd Hull ( B A Parkes Manager )
    Owners 06 12 1945 Adam Steam Fishing Co Ltd ( B A Parkes Manager )
Fate : Sargon Gy 858 was a Grimsby registered vessel fishing out of Hull for St Andrews Steam Fishing Co Ltd, on 1st Dec 1948 the Sargon was wrecked at Patrecksfjordhur, Iceland most of the crew were Hull men
Admiralty Requisition
Pennant No
Aug 1939
03 07 1945


Date of Death
. . . . . . . .
MOORE FRANK 24 SARGON GY858 . Trimmer 01 Dec 1948 .
FOREMAN GEORGE 49 SARGON GY858 . Bosun 01 Dec 1948 .
PORTZ FRANCIS 21 SARGON GY858 . Sparehand 01 Dec 1948 .FRANK
THOMSON ALEX . SARGON GY858 . Trimmer 01 Dec 1948 .Thompson?
COLLINSON JOHN 36 SARGON GY858 . Sparehand 01 Dec 1948 .
COWEN HAROLD 60 SARGON GY858 . Second Engineer 01 Dec 1948 .
HUSSEY THOMAS . SARGON GY858 . Sparehand 01 Dec 1948 .
JENNER ARTHUR 38 SARGON GY858 . Skipper 01 Dec 1948 .
RICHARDSON EDWARD 17 SARGON GY858 . Sparehand 01 Dec 1948 .
SILVESTER EVERETT 35 SARGON GY858 . Chief Engineer 01 Dec 1948 .
TELFER DAVID 32 SARGON GY858 . Decky Learner 01 Dec 1948 .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
BEVAN ARTHUR . HMT SARGON . Engineer . 48 Castle St Grimsby
FORDHAM WILLIAM . HMT SARGON . Second Engineer . 6 Railway St Grimsby
. . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .


Birth Pl
Date/ Scource
. . . . . Skipper . .
. . . . . . . .
SEDGWICK WALTER . SARGON GY858 . Skipper 19/3/48-4/8/48 .
COLLINS FREDERICK JOHN 18 SARGON GY858 . . 01 Dec 1948 Survivor of grounding
BRETTELL ARTHUR . SARGON GY858 . . . Arthur was part of the scratch crew who sometime around 1945 travelled by coach from St Andrews S T offices in Hull to Fleetwood to collect the Sargon.Arthur was about 15 at the time
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .





(No. S.411)

s.t. "Sargon" O.N. 134776

In the matter of a Formal Investigation held at The Guildhall, Hull, on the 9th and 10th days of May, 1949, before K. S. Carpmael, Esq., K.C., assisted by Captain J. W. Grimston and J. Darkins, Esq., into the circumstances attending the loss of the British steam trawler "Sargon," of Grimsby, Official Number 134776, in Patrix Fjord, Iceland, on the 1st December, 1948.

The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons stated in the Annex hereto, that the loss was due to very bad weather conditions in which the visibility became nil.

Dated this tenth day of May, 1949.

Kenneth Carpmael, Judge.

We concur in the above Report.



The Court's answers to the questions submitted by the Ministry of Transport are as follows:—

Q. 1. By whom was the steam trawler "Sargon" owned at the time of her loss?
A. The Adam Steam Fishing Company, Limited.
Q. 2. When, where, and by whom was the s.t. "Sargon" built?
A. In 1913, at Beverley, by Cook, Welton & Gemmell, Limited.
Q. 3. With what compasses was the s.t. "Sargon" equipped, and when were they last adjusted?
A. Three overhead magnetic compasses, one in skipper's accommodation, one in wheelhouse and one on pole in forepart of wheelhouse. The last two were adjusted in Hull on 24th June, 1948.
Q. 4. Was the s.t. "Sargon" fitted with an echometer?
A. Yes.
Q. 5. Was the s.t. "Sargon" supplied with deep sea and hand lead lines?
A. Yes. See Annex.
Q. 6. Was the s.t. "Sargon" fitted with radio telephone equipment?
A. Yes.
Q. 7. When were the echometer and radio telephone last serviced?
A. On 20th November, 1948.
Q. 8. Was the s.t. "Sargon" seaworthy when she left Hull on her last voyage, and were her life saving appliances such as complied with the regulations?
A. Yes.
Q. 9. Did the s.t. "Sargon" leave Hull for the Icelandic fishing grounds on the 24th November, 1948, with a crew of 17 hands all told, with skipper Alfred Jenner in command?
A. Yes.
Q. 10. Did the s.t. "Sargon" have her echometer repaired at Reykjavik and leave that port to continue fishing on the 30th November, 1948?
A. Yes.
Q. 11. Did the echometer fail again? When was this?
A. Yes. It was found not to be registering efficiently—probably owing to the bad weather—about 7 p.m. on 1st December, 1948.
Q. 12. Was the s.t. "Sargon" fishing off Staalbjerg Huk, Iceland, on the 1st December, 1948?
A. Yes.
Q. 13. Shortly after 10 a.m. on the 1st December, 1948, did the skipper, Alfred Jenner, decide to seek shelter owing to deterioration of weather and sea conditions?
A. Yes.
Q. 14. Where was the s.t. "Sargon" at 5.30 p.m. on the 1st December, 1948, and what were the conditions of wind, weather, sea and visibility at that time?
A. At about the entrance to Patrix Fjord, Iceland. The wind was of gale force from the eastward increasing with a rough sea. The visibility was normal.
Q. 15. Did the s.t. "Sargon" enter Patrix Fjord at about 6 p.m. on the 1st December, 1948, and what were the conditions of wind, weather, sea and visibility at that time.
A. Yes, and about half an hour after the position given in the answer to Q. 14, the wind was about ENE force 10 and the visibility was bad owing to snow storms.
Q. 16. What soundings were recorded on board the s.t. "Sargon," and how were they taken?
A. Soundings were taken by a 7 lb. hand lead at intervals of about half an hour, and until the vessel stranded depths of about 37 fathoms were obtained. After stranding a sounding of 4½ fathoms was obtained astern.
Q. 17. Did the s.t. "Sargon" drop anchor at about 7 p.m. on 1st December, 1948, and how much cable was paid out? Did the anchor hold?
A. Yes—4½ shackles. The anchor did not hold.
Q. 18. Where was s.t. "Sargon" between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on the 1st December, 1948, and were soundings taken?
A. In Patrix Fjord, and see answer to Q. 16.
Q. 19. Did the s.t. "Sargon" take the ground about 10 p.m. on 1st December, 1948?
A. Yes.
Q. 20. Did the stranding of the s.t. "Sargon" result in the loss of 11 lives of members of her crew, including the skipper, Alfred Jenner?
A. Yes.
Q. 21. How were 6 members of the crew rescued from the stranded trawler?
A. By breeches buoy passed by a rocket line from ashore.
Q. 22. Were two rescue lines got to the s.t. "Sargon" by an Icelandic rescue party, and, if so, why was the first one not used by the "Sargon" crew?
A. Yes. The first one was not seen and could not have been used if it had been seen.
Q. 23. What was the cause of the stranding of the s.t. "Sargon"?
A. Very bad weather conditions in which the visibility was nil.
Q. 24. Was the stranding and/or loss of life due to the wrongful act or default of the owners of the vessel, the skipper of the vessel or any other person?
A. No.


This was an Inquiry into the loss of the steam trawler "Sargon," of Grimsby, which stranded in Patrix Fjord, Iceland, with the loss of eleven lives, including that of the skipper.

Mr. Knox Cunningham (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the Minister of Transport.

Mr. Loncaster (Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the widow of the skipper who was made a party on his application.

Mr. Haworth (Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the owners and managers who had been made parties by the Minister.

The "Sargon" was a steel screw single deck vessel constructed with open floors.

She was built in 1913 by Cook, Welton and Gemmell, Limited, of Beverley, Yorks.

The owners were the Adam Steam Fishing Company, Limited, of 238 Dock Street, Fleetwood, Lancashire. The managers were the Saint Andrew Steam Fishing Company, Limited, of St. Andrew Dock, Hull, Yorkshire.

Her registered dimensions were 130.2ft. by 23ft. by 12.2ft.

Her tonnages were:—

Underdeck 264.94
Gross 296.35
Register 120.64

The vessel was constructed with four watertight steel bulkheads separating the following compartments:—

Fore Peak/Crew space
Fishroom/Machinery spaces
Bunkers/Shaft tunnel
Accommodation/After Peak.

The deck erections consisted of a forecastle, an amidship erection containing the skipper's accommodation, wheelhouse, machinery space casing and galley, and a small deckhouse on the stern.

Propelling Machinery:

The propelling machinery consisted of one reciprocating triple expansion steam engine and one single ended steel cylindrical multitubular boiler fired by coal.

The engine and boiler were made by Amos and Smith, Limited, of Hull, Yorkshire, in 1913.

Steering gear:

The steering gear was of the rod and chain type and operated by hand or by steam engine from the wheelhouse.


The vessel was fitted with the usual stockless anchor (trawler pattern) and 105 fathoms of one and one-16th of an inch stud link cable.

Radio Appliances:

The vessel was equipped with the following types of appliances:—

Marconi International Marine Comm. Co. Ltd. T.727 Radio Telephone Transmitter.

Marconi International Marine Comm. Co. Ltd. T.950 Radio Telephone Receiver.

552/537A D/F Apparatus.

All last serviced in Hull on November 20th, 1948, by the makers and found in good working order.

Sounding Appliances:

The vessel was equipped with a Marconi echometer type 421A/B S. 4 TER. last serviced by the makers in Hull on November 20th, 1948, and found in good working order.

A 28 lbs. deep sea hand lead and about 100 fathoms line.

A 14 lbs. hand lead and line.

A 7 lbs. hand lead and line.


The vessel was equipped with three overhead magnetic compasses:—

1 in skipper's accommodation,

1 in wheelhouse,

1 on pole in the forepart of wheelhouse.

The latter two were adjusted in Hull on June 24th, 1948.

Life Saving Appliances

One Class I.A. wood lifeboat certified to accommodate 17 persons and stowed in chocks aft under the mizzen boom.

18 lifejackets distributed amongst the crew.

6 Lifebuoys stowed on the bridge and whaleback rails and on the mizzen rigging.

2 buoyant apparatus certified to support a total of 40 persons.

1 line throwing appliance size 3 type B.

This equipment was inspected and found satisfactory by the Ministry of Transport Surveyor at Hull on March 17th, 1948.

As stated in the Answer to Question 9, the "Sargon" left Hull for the Icelandic fishing grounds on 24th November, 1948, with a crew of 17 hands all told. She was seaworthy when she left and her life-saving appliances were sufficient and complied with the regulations.

She put into Reykjavik for the purpose of having the echometer repaired, but there is no evidence as to what was wrong. Repairs were effected at Reykjavik and the vessel sailed on the 30th November 1948, for the fishing grounds, and the echometer was reported as working properly during that time.

At about 10 a.m. when fishing to the southward of Rödsands Bay, the weather had deteriorated to such ??an extent that the skipper decided to seek shelter. The wind at that time was from the E.S.E. which rendered Rödsands Bay itself a poor shelter. The skipper accordingly decided to make for Patrix Fjord, which was about 30 miles to the northward and should have afforded the best shelter in that vicinity.

After hauling his trawl the skipper proceeded accordingly and was off Straumness, at the entrance to the fjord, about 5.30 p.m. At that time the wind was of gale force from the eastwards and increasing with a rough sea, but the visibility was normal.

About half an hour later snow began and became so thick as to reduce the visibility to nil, and at about 7 p.m. the anchor was let go with 4½ shackles of cable, but as it did not hold it was again hove up.

Thereafter, the skipper kept on various courses at slow speed in the hope of the snow ceasing. At about the same time, however, as the anchor was dropped the skipper informed the second hand that the echometer was not working properly, and accordingly the second hand began taking soundings with the hand lead at intervals of about half an hour.

The Court is of opinion that the skipper cannot be blamed for deciding to go into the fjord after the snow began with the object of seeking the shelter which the upper part of the fjord would have afforded. Nor can he be blamed for dodging about on various courses after he found his anchor would not hold.

The soundings by the hand lead gave continuous depths of about 37 fathoms until about 10 p.m., when the vessel was felt to strike the bottom. The visibility was still nil, and those on board could not know the place of stranding, but this was later ascertained to be Hafnarmuli, which is on the south side of the fjord, about eight miles from the entrance. "Muli" means a ness or point having steep cliffs.

After stranding two or three rockets were fired at intervals of about ten minutes, and mattresses were set on fire. The weather, however, was so bad that great difficulty was experienced, but one such fire and one at least of the rockets were in fact seen ashore.

In consequence, rescue attempts were set on foot and at about 2 a.m. on the 2nd December, 1948, a rocket line was fired over the ship between the bridge and the foremast. This was not however seen by the crew, who were sheltering, some forward and some in the wheelhouse, but the severity of the weather would have prevented any use being made of it even if it had been seen, and after an interval it parted.

Further rockets were sent up from the ship, the last at about 5 a.m. Between 10 a.m. and 12 noon, by which time the snow had ceased and the weather was a little better, another rocket line was fired from ashore, and this time a breeches buoy was successfully rigged, and six of the crew gained the shore by this means. Four of these men had been sheltering in the forecastle all night and they had been joined by the second hand and another man from the bridge at about 5.30 a.m.

The conditions on the bridge at that time were very bad indeed. All the eleven men there except one were dead from cold and exposure, and the eleventh was in such a condition that the second hand was unable to detach his hands from the post to which he had clung. This man must have been at the point of death.

The conditions on board after the stranding must have been appalling. Tribute was paid by the survivors to the skipper for his attitude and bearing, both before and after the stranding.

The Court endorses that tribute and extends it to the survivors and the remainder of those who perished, who it is considered behaved admirably in the terrible stress to which they were exposed.

The Court desires also to express its admiration of the untiring work done by the shore rescue party who had to come a long way over difficult country at night, in bitter weather, carrying the rescue apparatus. The Court was informed that this was not the only case in which such rescue work had been carried out by Icelandic people.

Kenneth Carpmael, Judge