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St HUBERT H142
Built
1950
Howaldtswerke Kiel
Off Number
186740
Length Ft
178.1
Tons Gross
568
Yard Number
934
Breadth Ft
28.7
Tons Net
199
Launched
29 06 1950
Hp
HP
Registered
Aug 1950
Engine Builder
Knots
K
Registered St HUBERT H142 Owners St Andrews Steam Fishing Co Ltd Hull - Boston DSF
    Owners  
Fate : 29 Aug 1960 Sank off Norway after explosion of a mine ( trawled )
 

h142

 

St Hubert H142

29 Aug 1960 Makkaur off the Baatsfjord ( Varanger Peninsular ) North Norway Coast : Clegg Chapman was a spare hand aboard the St Hubert on her fateful trip, although the weather was scruffy and a gale blowing it was nothing the vessel hadn`t fished in before and fishing was continued. Clegg told me that they had been sneaking in during darkness ( Illegal fishing ) they had picked up blocks of what they knew was explosive in the nets but it was dumped back overboard, on one of the last trawls the vessel brought up a long cylindrical object partly covered in concrete, the crew knew almost immediately that it was some kind of mine or shell and having to leave the area before they where caught they moved the object to the forward part of the vessel , they would dump it again in deep water away from the fishing grounds when they had chance to do so.

Although the mine / shell had been identified as such the crew were unaware that the disturbance of the object had started the timer. The mine exploded on the deck above the bow of the vessel.Wrecking the foredeck and ripping away the port side, the mate, Walter James Powdrell (25) deckhand Denis Bodham (26) and spare hand Clifford Cane (22) were killed instantly, Clegg had just been having a pot of tea with Clifford Cane after they had finished gutting and stowing the fish shortly after leaving clifford the the explosion occured. Hatches had been blown open and the bridge windows were also blown in, Skipper George Ness and the dead mate Walter James Powdrell took the full force of the blast in the wheelhouse the skipper received tremendous injuries to his face, but insisted in staying in control of his vessel as long as he could. The Bosun James Mullett taking temporary command of the vessel and headed into the gale, a distress signal was imediately sent, and the Hull Trawler Prince Charles Skippered by Bernard Wharam immediately got her gear aboard and set off for the St Hubert. Almost six hours after the explosion the crew had battled to plug the damaged port side but in weather that was against them and the extent of the damage , the crew had to abandon the vessel into the liferafts.

Fishing nearby was the Prince Charles, who had been alerted to what had happened by radio within seconds of the explosion. Eddie calvert, who was aboard the Prince Charles at the time said "There was scurrying about in the wireless room. The skipper told us to get the gear up and double quick because the St. Hubert has blown up after a mine she had trawled up earlier had exploded".

The Prince Charles arrived on the scene around 45 minutes after the explosion. "When we got to her the wind was about force eight. The Prince Charles found that all the St Huberts port side had been blown away. There was nothing left standing on deck, all the bridge windows had gone. The skipper was very badly injured, but we were able to talk to him on the radio," said Mr Calvert. "They tried to plug a hole in the hull but it was not very successful and water was going in, even washing fish out of the fishroom and back into the sea. We radioed a doctor but he would not come out - he wanted us to go into Norway."

Despite their efforts to save her the St Hubert was doomed. Battered by waves the St. Hubert started to go under and the crew were forced to abandon her. Throughout the operation, Skipper Ness repeatedly asked about the safety of his crew. William Adam, the cook, told of moments of great heroism. "The skipper was very weak and seemed to have no blood left in him. They lowered him into a liferaft and he was still asking if the crew were all right." In the liferafts the men pulled their way along the side of their stricken vessel as she lay over, fighting to clear her in fear of being sucked down by her.

Then, in another moment of high courage, Skipper Bernard Wharam of the Prince Charles, took a calculated risk. He edged his vessel towards the dying trawler getting in close enough to allow a line to be thrown to the men in the rafts. It was later said that 17 survivors lived to tell the tale and returned to Hull because of his courageousness and impressive seamanship. Amongst the first to be hauled to safety was Skipper George Ness (33) of Greenacre Park, Hornsea Bridge, Hornsea. Despite the valiant efforts of the crew of the the Prince Charles, he was to die within 15 minutes of going on board. The surviving crewmembers from the St. Hubert were all later transferred to the St Chad as Skipper Bernard Wharam could not enter port.

Upon reaching Kirkenes, the two boys were detained in hospital, not injured, but shocked. Four crewmen also were detained in hospital, three suffering from shock and one with a slight cut on the head. The two boys mentioned earlier were 14-year olds Alan Powdrell of Coulson Drive, Hessle, and William Wing of Subway Street, Hull. Alan’s brother and William’s brother-in-law, Walter James Powdrell, was killed instantly in the explosion. Another member of the family, Sparehand Dennis Westwood, the Powdrells brother-in-law, escaped injury.

Fifteen days later in Hull Coroner's Court tribute was paid to Skipper Ness whose actions were said to be "in the best tradition of trawler fishing."

The coroner told the hearing: "I should like to put on record his bravery. Although nearly half his face was blown away he continued to command the sinking trawler with his thoughts always for his ship and crew."

Bosun James Mullet of Boothferry Road, Hull, had taken command of the St Hubert after the explosion had killed the mate and injured the skipper.

He said that the previous Friday, the St Hubert, which was nearing the end of her trip, fished up a mysterious 5ft long metal canister. The object was “like a cylinder, but with one flat side” and was partly covered in concrete. There were fittings which seemed to indicated it had been attached to an anchor and there was a detonator in the nose.

“We were in a hurry to get home, with a good catch in the hold, and stowed the object on deck. We thought it would be better to dump it in the sea when we were clear of the fishing grounds.”
He said that on the Monday there was a Force 8 gale blowing when he went down below after the morning watch.
“I had been down below about an hour and it was about a quarter to 12 (midday) when I heard the explosion.
“I ran up on deck and it was a shambles. The whole portside rail was down, the hatches were blown open, and the whole foredeck was wrecked.
“The mate was killed, but his assistant Kenneth Peacham, only a couple of feet away was all right.
“There was a terrific squall, upto Force 10, and I decided to run before the gale, with Prince Charles keeping near.
“We kept going for about six hours, and then about a quarter to six I stopped her and gave the order to abandon ship.
"The crew were transferred to the Prince Charles. There was absolutely no panic.

And a quote from Mr Eddie Calvert, who was with Skipper Ness when he died, "He just kept asking me 'are the lads all right?", came his last words.

Skipper Ness was the son of Mr and Mrs H Ness of Dairycoates Inn, Hessle Road, Hull. He started going to sea when he was 21 after completing his National Service in the Army. Before that he worked in Humber Street. He had been with the St Andrew Steam Fishing Co for about three of four years and previously was with the Lord Line,Hull. It was his seventh trip in the St Hubert since he had received his skippers ticket the previous Christmas.

Surname
Christian
Age
Vessel
Birth Pl
Occupation
Date/ Scource
Detail
CREWMEN
. . . . . . . .
NESS GEORGE 33 ST HUBERT H142 . Skipper 29 Aug 1960 Died from Injurys received from the blast of the mine, after boarding the Prince Charles
. . . . . . . .
POWDRELL WALTER JAMES 25 ST HUBERT H142 . Mate 29 Aug 1960 .
. . . . . . . .
BODHAM DENNIS 26 ST HUBERT H142 . Deckhand 29 Aug 1960 Died after explosion
. . . .24 Gordon St . . . .
CANE CLIFFORD 22 ST HUBERT H142 . Sparehand 29 Aug 1960 Died after explosion
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
WHITLEY JOHN FREDERICK . ST HUBERT H142 . Skipper Jan 1959 Last Trip Before retirement
CALVERT EDWARD . ST HUBERT H142 . Bosun 1960 Eddie was the Mate aboard the Prince Charles which came to the St Huberts assistance when she exploded..
. . . . . . . .
MULLET JAMES . ST HUBERT H142 . Bosun 29 Aug 1960 Boothferry Rd, Hull
WESTWOOD DENIS . ST HUBERT H142 . Sparehand 29 Aug 1960 Denis Westwood was the brother in law of Walter Powdrell ( Mate ) who was killed by the explosion.
CHAPMAN CLEGG F . ST HUBERT H142 . Sparehand 29 Aug 1960 1958 / 1960
RUST A . ST HUBERT H142 . Sparehand 29 Aug 1960 .
BRAID STAN E . ST HUBERT H142 . Sparehand 29 Aug 1960 .
BARTLETT G . ST HUBERT H142 . Sparehand 29 Aug 1960 .
DEWHURST KENNETH . ST HUBERT H142 . Chief Engineer 29 Aug 1960 .
PINNOCK F R . ST HUBERT H142 . Second Engineer 29 Aug 1960 .
CONNAUGHTON J . ST HUBERT H142 . W/T Operator 29 Aug 1960 .
PEACHAM KENNETH . ST HUBERT H142 . Deckhand 29 Aug 1960 .
LEES H . ST HUBERT H142 . Deckhand 29 Aug 1960 .
HARRISON NORMAN . ST HUBERT H142 . Deckhand 29 Aug 1960 .
HARRISON CLIFF . ST HUBERT H142 . Deckhand 29 Aug 1960 .
BARNES D . ST HUBERT H142 . Deckhand 29 Aug 1960 .
SYKES F . ST HUBERT H142 . Trimmer 29 Aug 1960 .
HOLLYWOOD D . ST HUBERT H142 . Trimmer 29 Aug 1960 .
ADAM WILLIAM . ST HUBERT H142 . Cook 29 Aug 1960 .
MILLER H J . ST HUBERT H142 . Cook Assistant 29 Aug 1960 .
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