Supported by NEWHAVEN HERITAGE CENTRE which is recognised as a Scottish registered charity No. SC044837

NEWHAVEN — A  UNIQUE FISHING VILLAGE ON THE COAST OF THE FORTH, PROUD OF ITS TRADITIONS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

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The Loss of the Trawler Margaret Paton


Over the years there have been a number of instances which resulted in injury and death amongst Newhaven trawlermen but the biggest single tragedy occurred in late December 1949 when the Margaret Paton (GW24) was lost with all hands.


The vessel was built at John Lewis, Aberdeen and served as a Minesweeper, HMS Sir Tristram from March 1942 until she was sold out of service to Aberdeen in 1947 and re-named Star of the West.  She was later sold to the Ardrossan Trawling Co. and renamed Margaret Paton.


The trawler left Granton on 18th December for the fishing grounds some 200 miles ENE of the May Island.  On board were the Skipper, Philip Stevenson, with his brother, Hugh, as Mate. There was another pair of brothers amongst the 13 crew, J Nisbet, the Second Engineer and George Nisbet, the Cook.  The full crew list was as follows:


Philip Stevenson(44)                               

Hugh Stevenson                                  

 Henry Wanless (34)               
 Peter Goodall (41)                       
 J. Nisbet                   
 George Nisbet                           
 Sinclair Coghill(39)     

William Robertson(21)                 

 James Watt (29)                   
 William Batten (25)                  
 John Martin (25)                     
 George Swift                               
 James O’Donnel (57)                    


The Skipper sent Christmas greeting to his family on the 22nd December but the last heard from him was on the 27th when he spoke to the Grace Paton (GW12), at which time he was fishing the Coral Bank although the weather was bad.  The last of the Granton fleet arrived on the 29th December and on the 3rd January an air search was launched for the missing trawler during which two lifebuoys bearing the trawler’s name and some teak wood wreckage was picked up off the South West coast of Norway but no other trace was found.


Inevitably there were a number of theories as to what might have happened to the vessel but whatever it was must have been sudden as no May Day was picked up nor was any other wreckage found which would suggest that the Margaret Paton was overwhelmed by the sea conditions prevailing at the time.


On the 8th January a memorial service for the crew was held at St Andrew’s Church Newhaven, which was attended by some 800 people with hundreds more filling the street outside.  The Skippers of the Granton Fleet which had delayed sailing back to the fishing grounds acted as Ushers and amongst the congregation were Lord Provost Sir Andrew Murray, James Hoy MP for Leith and a number of Councilors and Baillies. Relatives of the missing men, including a number of children, were allocated special seats in the church.


DETAILS OF THE MARGARET PATON


Built in1942 by John Lewis & Sons Ltd, Aberdeen  as "Sir Tristram"  (Steel) for the Admiralty.  

Statistics : 275 gross tons; Length 126.2 ft ; Breadth 23.6 ft ; Depth 12.8 ft.

Engine : 70 hp T.3-cyl by  John Lewis & Sons Ltd, Aberdeen

  

OWNERS   

1947  Sold to the Mercantile

1948  Owned by Walker Steam Trawler Fishing Co Ltd,  Aberdeen

1948  Renamed "STAR OF THE WEST", registered at Aberdeen A.592. (pictured)

Undated  Owned by Ardrossan Trawling Co Ltd,  Glasgow (Walter K. Paton Ltd, Glasgow, managers)

Undated  Aberdeen registry closed.

Undated  Renamed "MARGARET PATON"

Undated  Registered at Glasgow GW 24.

1949  Lost with all Hands on or about 27th December whilst fishing the Coral Bank.

9 Stanley Street, Portobello

118 Granton Road

6 Wilkie Place, Leith

16 Comely Bank Place

 8a Dundonald Street

11 Wardieburn Drive

28 Jamaica Street Leith

8 Crewe Road Gardens

33 Buccleuch Street

5 Crewe Road Gardens
6 Hamilton Street Leith

57 Portsborouth Square

2 West Cromwell Street

Skipper
Mate
Second Fisherman

Chief Engineer

Second Engineer
Cook
Deckhand

Deckhand

Deckhand

Fireman

Fireman

Trimmer

Trimmer