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ROSS CLEVELAND H61
Built
1949
John Lewis & Sons Ltd Aberdeen
Off Number
183398
Length Ft
178.1
Tons Gross
659
Yard Number
215
Breadth Ft
30.1
Tons Net
237
Launched
17 May 1949.
Draught
15.1
Hp
900 HP
Registered
1949
Engine Builder
J Lewis
Knots
K
Registered CAPE CLEVELAND H61 Owners 1949 Hudson Brothers Trawlers Ltd
  ROSS CLEVELAND H61 Owners 1965 Ross Group - Hudson Brothers Trawlers Ltd
Fate : Lost 05 02 68 Lost while sheltering from bad weather in Isafjordur


Surname
Christian
Age
Vessel
Birth Pl
Occupation
Date/ Scource
Detail
CREWMEN
. . . . . . . .
BARNES MICHAEL 15 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Cook Assistant 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 216 Greenwood Ave . . . .
BRANDTMAN KENNETH . ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Second Engineer 05 02 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . .318 Boulevard . . . . .
GAY PHILIP 41 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Skipper 05 / 02 / 68 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 117 Coleville Ave Anlaby . . . .
HAIRSINE DOUGLAS 45 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 62 Wymersley Road . . . .
HARPER ALAN JOSEPH 24 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 Hull Third Hand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 11 Gildane Orchard Pk . . . . .
HEWITT WALTER  (Wallace) 30 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Bosun 05 02 68 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 187 Anlaby Park Rd. . . . .
HOOKEM KEITH 17 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 26 Eastbourne St. . . . .
KEAL GEORGE 63 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Fireman 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 40 Taunton St Hull . . . .
KETLEY GEORGE . ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . Rossington Doncaster . . . .
MAYES DENNIS 42 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Chief Engineer 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 17 Fraisthorpe Orchard Pk . . . .
Mc CRACKEN JAMES 17 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . College Gr, Preston Rd . . . .
MORRIS MICHAEL 21 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 90 Edinburgh St . . . MALCOLM ?
PETTMAN MAURICE 30 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . Temperance Ave Wheeler St . . . .
ROGERS BARRY 18 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 2 Esther Ave . . . .
SAWDON FREDERICK 50 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Trimmer 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . Hessle Rd . . . .
SWAIN MAURICE 22 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Sparehand 05 02 68 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . .14 Chestnut Ave . . . .
THOMSON TREVOR 18 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Deckhand 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . 12 Park Ave - Cave St . . . . .
THOMSON ROWLAND . ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . W/T Operator 05 Feb 1968 Lost with Vessel - Missing supposed capsized due to heavy icing
. . . Aberdeenshire . . .  
. . . . . . . .
EDDOM HARRY . ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Mate 05 02 1958 Harry Eddom was the sole survivor of the loss of the Ross Cleveland - 11 weeks after the sinking of the Ross Cleveland Harry Eddom left the lockhead at St Andrews dock aboard the Ross Antares. He later became a Skipper and in 1972 took out the Benella
HOWBRIGG WILLIAM LEON 59 ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Cook 1958 William sailed with the Ross Cleveland on her fatal voyage, but after becomming unwell, his breathing became laboured and the skipper was concerned that it was pneumonia. So he was taken into Reyjkjavik hospital. Howbrigg had been a trawlerman for 40 years first sailing in the Bunsen in 1926 he had also sailed on the Ross Cleveland when she was the Cape Cleveland.
WALKER JAMES ARTHUR . ROSS CLEVELAND H61 . Skipper 1958 Spent two and a half years on the Ross Cleveland
PADLEY ALBERT . ROSS CLEVELAND H61   . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
BARNES
HAIRSINE
HARPER
KEAL
MAYES
MORRIS
MICHAEL BARNES
DOUGLAS HAIRSINE
ALAN J HARPER
GEORGE KEAL
DENNIS MAYES
MICHAEL MORRIS
           
PETTMAN
ROGERS
SAWDON
SWAIN
THOMSON  
MAURICE PETTMAN BARRY ROGERS FREDERICK SAWDON MAURICE SWAIN TREVOR THOMSON  

 

After leaving Hull on Saturday Jan 20th under the command of Skipper Philip Gay the Ross Cleveland headed for the North East Coast of Iceland where in heavy weather conditions she commenced fishing on Kiolsen Bank on the 25 Jan. After suspending fishing due to the weather the Ross Cleveland headed west along the coast, the temperature was below freezing and fishing was often suspended while parties off men chopped the accumulating ice from the vessel. It was at this time her cook William Howbrigg had become ill and his condition was worsening, as he was having difficulty in breathing and pneumonia was suspected skipper Gay put into Isafjord to land the sick crewman who was then flown home.

The Ross Cleveland then headed back to the fishing grounds and commenced fishing when conditions allowed, for several days the crew between fishing where having to constantly clear the vessel of ice build up. There where many vessels struggling to survive these freezing hurricane conditions and as a further severe weather report was received on 03 Feb the vessels which had not already sought shelter headed for safe havens. The Ross Cleveland was no exception and headed for Isafjord where on arrival she would be able to get under the lee side of the mountains and gain some protections from the weather. After battling the heavy seas high winds and icing conditions the Ross Cleveland entered Isafjord and headed for the safety of Ritterhuk, only to find the place was a swamp of vessels of all nations which had also headed for the safety of the fjord, as vessels jostled for position some dragged their anchors, others manouvered blind as their radar equipment was iced up and the danger of a collision or been forced onto rocks was ever present. In the driving snow blizzards and hurricane winds the Ross Cleveland remained in the main fjord where she again battled the icing conditions and constantly had men chopping away the ice for the next 24 hours, she was not alone and other vessels surrounded her but there was no visibility she was blinded by the driving snow blizzards, the only recognition that others where present was the radar, which became the eyes of the vessel. As vessels tried in vain to keep head to wind and dodge the weather they were been forced closer to each other, closer to rocks, each skipper was glued to his radar, which would now be their only warning of other unforseen dangers. It was the job of the mate of the Ross Cleveland Harry Eddom to keep the radar clear of ice and to survive a moment in the extreme conditions on deck he must be dressed accordingly, a factor which would later possible contribute to his survival. Icelanders and veteran skippers that had fished and lived in these conditions all their lives had never seen conditions of this magnitude, each vessel and each man fighting the elements for his own survival the constant battle against the driving snow and wind, men tirlessly worked none stop day and night to clear the ice.

Sunday 04 Feb: There was no respite for the mass of vessels as they fought to keep their vessels clear of the rocks and head to wind in the open fjord and matters worsened as a further weather report predicteded even severer conditions later in the day. With winds in excess of 120 mph, driving snow blizzards and the freezing conditions the vessels where helpless to each other, several vessels had already heeled over and taken on a list of upto 30 degrees or more. Vessels remained suspended motionless engulfed by the huge waves and held helpless by the wind, skippers unable to bring their unresponsive vessel back, there would be several anxious moments as the vessel clung to life, skippers at times believing their vessels would turn right over but slowly they started to right themselves. The Ross Cleveland was close to the Kingston Andalusite and both skipper Len Whurr and Phil Gay were in contact with each other during the day, and at around 11.30pm skipper Gay asked the Kingston Andalusite to monitor and report any radar activety as his own radar had gone down, within ten minutes or so Harry Eddom and Alan Harper had been outside to clear the ice build up on the radar and the Ross Clevelands Radar was working again. Both the Ross Cleveland and Kingston Andalusite where been buffeted heavily by the winds on the eastern side of the ford, there was the imminent danger that both vessel would be forced onto rocks as which would be the case later of the Grimsby Trawler Notts County. Both skippers deciding they could possibly be afforded better protection on the western side they agreed to dodge across the fjord.

As the Ross Cleveland came about she had five men on the bridge Harry Eddom the mate, and Allan Harper - third hand, who had cleared the radar and still wearing their deck gear, the skipper Phil Gay, Walter Hewitt the bosun and the radio operator Ronnie Thomson. With engines at half speed the vessel turned but as she did so she was hit by a huge wave which made her lay on her port side, she was then quickly engulfed by the mountanous seas and the oncomming waves which were as high as 40ft, as the wind held her and pushed her deeper into the waves, she quickly started to fill with water. The Ross Cleveland lay helpless her engines where put at full speed ahead but the vessel still did not respond. With the realisation that the vessel was not comming back Harry Eddom managed to get out the starboard side bridge door and made his way to a liferaft which he released, at some time Harry was knocked into a semi-unconscious state as a wave knocked him overboard, he only came too in the liferaft after been dragged aboard by Hewitt and Rogers the only other men from a crew of twenty to escape from the stricken vessel, and in those brief moments the vessel had vanished. As the vessel layed over Phil Gay broadcast the following message.

" I am going over. We are laying over. Help me. Iam going over. Give my love and the crew`s love to the wives and families".

As the radio went silent the mark on the radar screen which was the Ross Cleveland vanished, the Kingston Andalusite tried to go to her assistance but she too was hit by the huge seas and was left fighting for her own survival. Even if a vessel had managed to reach the spot, the Ross Cleveland had gone taking with her 16 men, only Eddom, Hewitt, and Rogers managed to make the 20 man liferaft and due to the conditions there would be no immediate search for them. Whilst been launched a panel had been ripped from the liferaft which left it exposed to the elements, also vital equipment such as the bailer and stores had been washed away. As the three men drifted in the mountanous seas they bailed the raft by using their sea boots and as each wave entered the raft the freezing water engulfed the men. Harry Eddom was still wearing his wind and waterproof deck gear after clearing the ice from the radar and was protected by the outer waterproof duck suit which covered his other layers of clothing, Bosun Hewitt although wearing thick clothing, it was neither wind or water resilient, Barry Rogers attire was a tee shirt and his underpants, there was no other clothing in the raft and with the freezing conditions as low as minus 38 degrees and the constant influx of water entering the raft Barry Rogers would soon succumb to the effects of hyperthermia. The men in the raft talked of home and their families as they willed each other to live, continually bailling the raft, Barry Rogers in his pants and tee shirt ignoring the cold for as long as possible untill he became too weak and he eventually passed away. Wally Hewitt was also becomming weaker and succumbing to hyperthermia he also passed away. Harry Eddom was alone in the raft drifting with his two dead crewmates, as he clung to life he thought of his wife and child at home, after 12 hours in the raft and unaware of his location he suddenly felt the raft bottom hit ground, and the instant realisation that he would be saved came across him. But alone and lost he made his way to find help after several miles he came across a farmhouse, but it was desserted and nailed shut, unable to get inside he spent a second night in a outhouse sheltering from the wind and snow blizzards outside. The following morning suffering from frostbite and a certain death Harry was found by a 14 year old Icelander who was out tending the families sheep. Harry was taken by the boy to their farmhouse and given food and warm clothing before resting, eventually been transfered to Isafjord Hospital by rescue boat.