Saturday, 21 January 2017

BM137 - Terminist, my arse

There's a wreck on the Hamble River in Hampshire.  Everyone's favourite wreck.  It has been there forever, well, the early 1980s anyway.  I used to tell a story about it, then I found out my story was about a different boat altogether, so I tried to find the real story.

To be honest the work has all been done by the Maritime Archaeology Trust who went and asked a bloke called Pete.  Pete was a tugboat man who used to work with my dad and at one time lived next door to my wife.  So I'm gonna pretend I asked him.

Hey Pete, you know the wreck by Crableck, the Terminist?

Terminist my arse, old son.  That's the William Allen

Here's a google image of the vessel a few years ago.  It is obviously a timber vessel, and is about 30m long.  Back in the early/mid 80's there was a job creation scheme to tidy up the Hamble River.  It was a Youth Opportunities programme.  First of all a survey was carried out to identify the various wrecks and debris on the banks of the river.  Then the obvious rubbish was removed; then that which had no historic or local significance.  This hulk was left in situ.  Removal would have been quite a big job.  Besides, it became a mini eco system and it looked good.

If you look closely at the bow, below, you can make out the letters and numbers BM137.

And if you look at the picture below you will see the same letters and numbers.  And if you look closer you may be able to make out the name William Allen

Knowing that makes it easy to find that BM137, William Allen was a Motor Fishing Vessel built in 1944.  Prior to 1956 she had a Lowestoft registration LT393 and was named Ala.

1944    built at Wivenhoe, Essex, an MFV or Motor Fishing Vessel, built at a time when Britain's fishing fleet was depleted.

1948    sold on, registered as Ala, LT393 of Lowestoft

1956    sold on again, reregistered as William Allen, BM137 of Brixham

Dimensions:  length 92 ft, breadth 22.6 ft, draft 11.  Carvel construction, rounded cruiser stern
Tonnage:       gross 118, net 58 tons       

Call sign:      GFXS
Official nnumber 166716
Engine:         240 bhp by Crossley Bros 

1948-1954 – Ala, owner G. Claridge, Wheathampsted, Herts. Registered Lowestoft - LT393
1955-1957 – Ala, owner Hunley Fishing Company, Lowestoft, Suffolk. Reg Lowestoft - LT393
1957-1962 – renamed William Allen, owner Torbay Trawlers Ltd. Reg Brixham - BM 137
1963-1964 – William Allen, owner Fresher Fish Ltd, Brixham. Reg Brixham - BM137
1965          -  William Allen, owner Spincraft Ltd, London. Reg Brixham - BM137 
                      continued trawling until 1966
1966-1993 – William Allen, owner Philip M. Tree, Gosport. Reg Brixham - BM137
                      at some point became a houseboat, for the King family, may have been involved in a collision with the Floating Bridge at Itchen, Southampton, in 1960s
                     then Bill Smith who lived on board and ran a fibreglass boat repair business. Also poet and local radio broadcaster.  Abandoned in its current location in the 1980s

In Autumn 2016 the starboard bow gave way.  Perhaps her days are numbered now.  The river knows this:  There is no hurry, the sun still rises, the river keeps on flowing.

Finally, if you're going to have a look don't do it on a falling tide:

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