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News Archive 2013

December 2013

Well said Fishing News

Well said, Fishing News!

Dear Editor,

I couldn’t agree more with your “Comment” in Fishing News, 29 November. In your 28th June issue I made a similar point to John Periam in an article you printed. What the fishermen need is an intelligent and sympathetic voice in the national press that can explain to an ignorant public – and who can blame them, the issues are so complex – in simple terms just how difficult it is to earn a living fishing and the impact this has on their communities. Without it the green lobby will by default continue to have the first and last say.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Williams,
Chief Executive, Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

To read Malcolm Williams’ letter in the 28th June issue please click here

 

October 2013

Chichester Mayor launches Christmas card appeal

Mayor of Chichester, Councillor Alan Chaplin has helped leading seafaring charity the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society launch its annual Christmas Card Appeal in support of seafarers in need across the UK.

The Councillor met local volunteers of the charity who will be running the Society’s Christmas card shop at its premises at 1 North Pallant, Chichester. He was also given an insight into the Society’s work on behalf of the seafaring community throughout the UK and Ireland.

This year’s collection of Christmas cards feature many attractive maritime scenes along with more traditional and contemporary festive images and are exclusively available from the Society. The profit generated through the sale of cards will go directly to help those who have spent their lives at sea or who have been involved in a shipwreck, to ensure they, and their families, enjoy the standard of living they deserve.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Mayor of Chichester to launch our annual Christmas Card Appeal. The support of people locally, and across the country, will help us to continue to help those from the seafaring community who are desperately in need. All cards purchased and donations made make a vital contribution towards our often life-changing work.”

Founded in 1839 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2014. Its aim is to provide financial help to ex-merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependants who are suffering hardship or distress. In the last year grants totalling £1.46 million were given in 2,313 cases of need.

The charity often provides specific items which are needed in a crisis, such as replacement cookers or washing machines and covers the cost of equipment required due to a medical condition, such as mobility scooters, stair lifts or adjustable beds and chairs. The Society can also help with priority debts and essential household repairs – things which can make a huge difference to an individual’s quality of life but which they just cannot afford because they are on a low fixed income and have no savings.

To purchase cards, either visit the Society’s shop at 1 North Pallant Chichester (open 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 1pm Saturday (from 16th November), visit the charity’s website, or call 01243 789 329 for a catalogue.

 

Maritime heroes honoured for extraordinary bravery

Outstanding feats of skill and gallantry during air and sea rescues have been recognised at a national awards ceremony.

Individuals from across the country were presented with the prestigious awards by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band at the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s annual Skill and Gallantry Awards which for 162 years has recognised the bravery of those who risk their lives in dangerous sea and air/sea rescues.

The recipients of this year’s awards were: – The crew of ‘Rescue Bond 1’ who battled storm force winds and high seas to rescue11 crew after their ship had been severely damaged and lost all power. Winchman Andy Cowx also received an individual commendation for his bravery in this rescue; Helmsman Damien Bolton who battled rough seas to rescue two anglers swept in to the water; Helmsman Barry Gourlay who displayed decisive command and superb seamanship during a sea rescue; and Sergeant Rachael Robinson whose heroic actions as winchman undoubtedly saved a life.
A caseworker who has supported the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society for 25 years was also honoured for her vital work in the community on behalf of the Charity.

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams said: “Every year I am amazed by the bravery shown by men and women across the UK who risk their lives to save others. The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Skill and Gallantry Awards ceremony is an important event which helps to spread the word about these rescuers’ achievements and gives public recognition to their selfless commitment to saving lives at sea.”

A helicopter crew from Bond Offshore helicopters in Aberdeen comprising of Captain Graham Stein, Aircraft Commander; First Officer Nick Smalley, Co-Pilot; Senior Aircrewman Paul Walters, Winch Operator and Aircrewman Andy Cowx, Winchman, have been presented with the Edward and Maisie Lewis Award.

Winchman Andy Cowx also received an Individual Commendation at the ceremony for his courage and bravery during the rescue.On 15th December 2012, Super Puma ‘Rescue Bond 1’ was scrambled to assist the 43 metre long, 516 ton standby safety vessel Vos Sailor, with a crew of 12. The ship had been struck and damaged by a large wave 122 miles east north east of Aberdeen -two miles north of the Balmoral oil platform. Vos Sailor was lying across the sea, dead in the water and without power.

Despite pitch darkness, no visible horizon and considerable heave, winchman Andy Cowx was successfully lowered to the vessel, but injured his foot on the descent. Undeterred by his injury he took charge of the shocked and frightened survivors and co-ordinated their rescue.

While preparing to recover the ninth survivor, a particularly large wave caused the winch cable to break. The decision was taken for another helicopter ‘CG Rescue 102’ to complete the operation while RB1 took eight survivors to Aberdeen. Andy stayed behind, remaining calm working with an unfamiliar aircraft and crew to rescue the remaining survivors. His courage and bravery resulted in the saving of 11 lives.

The Emile Robin Award was presented to Helmsman Damien Bolton. On the 8 April 2012, RNLB Copeland Bell (D-707) was launched to assist two anglers who had been swept into the water at Tregardock, three nautical miles north east by east from Port Isaac.

Damien Bolton and his crew – Nicola Bradbury and Matt Main – used their local knowledge and training to get to within three metres of the cliff face despite the confused and dangerous sea conditions. Unperturbed by the proximity of submerged rocks, the risk from a rope in the water and the danger of being broached when the engine briefly cut out they managed to get the two men on-board, one of whom was then transferred to an RAF SAR helicopter and taken to hospital. The outstanding leadership, skill and judgement shown by Helmsman Bolton and the crew’s superb team work undoubtedly saved a life.

Helmsman Barry Gourlay from RNLI Anstruther, Fife was presented with the Lady Swaythling Trophy. Anstruther Relief Inshore Lifeboat, Norma and Bill Burleigh (D-720R) launched with Helmsman Gourlay in command and crew members Rebecca Jewell and Euan Hoggan. In pitch black and with two hours until high tide, the crew made their way to the casualty. With background lights, a beach bonfire and the swell making it difficult to see the shore line, the coastguard deployed parachute flares to help guide the rescue boat.

Despite seas breaking over the casualty, which was being pounded on the rocks, Helmsman Gourlay assessed the situation, briefed his team and skilfully brought his lifeboat alongside the MV Princess’ bows and the two casualties were recovered on-board. Helmsman Gourlay’s decisive command undoubtedly saved a life.

Sergeant Rachael Robinson was presented with an Individual Commendation. On 21 March 2013, Rescue 169 from A Flight 22 Squadron RAF was scrambled to undertake a medical evacuation. A fisherman had been seriously injured on board the French vessel, Alf, 50 nautical miles from Milford Haven. The helicopter crew faced the challenges of a force eight south-easterly gale with a five to six metre swell. During the numerous attempts to place winchman Rachael Robinson on deck, ‘Alf’ was moving so violently and rapidly, with the bows rising and falling some 30-40 ft, that she was frequently battered against the boat. Each time she made contact with the deck she was dragged off due to the severity of the boat’s movement.

Successfully on deck at last after nine attempts, she quickly attended the casualty and then elected for a single strop recovery. This placed extra strain and risk on her as she was trying to keep the casualty safe while battling the waves that were crashing over the deck. Rachael Robinson’s courage and determination throughout the rescue undoubtedly saved a life.

Founded in 1839 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society aims to provide financial help to merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependents who are in need. Support is provided to ex-seafarers or their widows/partners, either as regular grants or as one-off payments to meet particular needs.

 

September 2013

Britain’s reliance on sea captured in winning image

The winner of a national photography competition to find the image that best encapsulates Britain’s enduring connection with the sea has been announced by one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

The Charity, which provides financial support and information to retired seafarers in need, received nearly 200 entries in its first photography competition judged by Matt Havercroft, editor of Discover Britain Magazine, Kate Westaway, TV producer and maritime photographer, and Malcolm Williams, chief executive of the Charity.

Entries came from across the UK with the winning image taken by Neil Edbrooke of Bristol. Neil’s image of Royal Portbury Dock, Bristol, was chosen by the judges for encapsulating Britain’s commercial reliance on the sea which judges felt Neil showcased perfectly.

The importance of the UK maritime industry is often overlooked, but it is as critical today as 50 years ago. Around 95 percent of all imports and 75 percent of exports are still transported by sea, with the £56 billion UK maritime sector – more than aerospace and agriculture combined – directly employing over 410,000 people.

The runner up images came from Darran Dineen from County Cork, whose monochrome image of a Crosshaven ship was described by judges as showing “great depth” and being “very atmospheric”, and Simon Devetta from Penzance whose image of Newlyn at Dusk shows “all the different ways we use Britain’s seas”.

The competition, which ran across social media platforms and via the charity’s website, saw participants enter pictures of the UK’s coastline, seafarers and the sea, whether in relation to work, wildlife, seascapes, fun, or favourite seaside memories. The ultimate aim was to celebrate the nation’s intimate connection to and enduring reliance on the sea, seafarers and the maritime industry.

Commenting on his win, Neil Edbrooke from Bristol said: “It is an honour to win the competition. My work with the Bristol Port Company has given me a close up view of the variety and challenge of the UK’s shipping industry.

“The stated aim of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society to ‘relieve distress among the seafaring and ex-seafaring community’ made an immediate connection with me. I know firsthand how much the UK depends on the heritage and industry of her ports and as such, the seafaring community.”
Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “We have had an impressive response to our first photography competition, the support is very much appreciated as it helps us to spread the word about our work and continue to provide a lifeline to seafarers and their families in need.”

“The scope of entries received has been remarkable covering everything from fishing vessels and container ships to cliff top views, beach scenes and rainbows. Geographically they covered all points of the compass.”

The winning image will be published in Discover Britain magazine as well as the winner receiving an engraved barometer from the Charity.

Between 2012 and 2013 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in 2,300 cases of need to retired seafarers and their families amounting to over £1.46 million.

 

August 2013

Details of the 174th Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society AGM Announced (27/8/2013)

The One Hundred and Seventy Fourth Annual General Meeting of the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society will be held at Fishmongers’ Hall, London EC4 on Tuesday, 1st October 2013 at 1200.

Members and friends of the Society wishing to attend should notify The Chief Executive at Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, 1 North Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TL

 

Photograph of the week

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Photography Competition – Photo of the Week.

This week’s photograph comes from Amanda Kinghorn from Edinburgh. The photo was taken at sunset on Fistral Beach, Cornwall. The surfer decided to call it a day.

For more information or to find out how to enter visit our photography competition page.

 

July 2013

New judge joins hunt to discover ultimate sea view

Matt Havercroft, editor of Discover Britain magazine, has joined the search to find the UK’s ultimate sea view as part of a national photography competition being run by one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities to celebrate our country’s enduring connection with the sea.

Matt joins the independent judging panel already consisting of marine photographer and TV producer Kate Westaway and the Society’s Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams, who are searching out the best sea views in the country.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support and information to seafarers in need, is encouraging adults and young people to enter the competition to find photos which encapsulate the UK’s love for and reliance on its coast and seas. The overall winning image will appear in a future issue of Discover Britain magazine and winners will receive an engraved barometer from the charity.

Running across social media platforms and via the charity’s website, the competition encourages participants to send in their pictures of the coast, seafarers and the sea, whether in relation to work, wildlife, seascapes or fun, to celebrate our intimate connection to and reliance on the sea, seafarers and the maritime industry. In addition to images taken specially the charity is also welcoming entries which celebrate favourite seaside memories. For the competition, everything from holiday snaps to photographs of ships are welcome if they have been taken in the UK.

On joining the judging panel, Matthew commented: “Discover Britain magazine is the modern traveller’s guide to Britain’s heritage, with features and beautiful images celebrating the best of Britain’s coastline and our maritime history. I’m looking forward to reviewing all the entries and am proud to be supporting such a worthwhile cause.”

Britain’s continuing reliance on the sea is often overlooked, but 95 percent of all imports and 75 percent of exports are still transported by sea, with the £56 billion UK maritime sector – more than aerospace and agriculture combined – directly employing over 410,000 people.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams said:”It’s great to have Matt on board for our competition. We are hoping this initiative will help raise awareness of our work on behalf of the seafaring community and encourage ex-fishermen and merchant mariners across the country to come forward and claim the help and support they need.”

To enter the competition and find out full terms and conditions and more information about the work of the Society, visit the charity’s website or the society’s Facebook page

The deadline for entry is 5pm on Friday 16th August 2013.

  • Competition Terms and Conditions:
  • The closing date for entries is Friday 16th August 2013.
  • By entering the competition you give permission for your images to be recreated by the charity and any media partner free of charge.
  • This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 16 years or over.
  • It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules.
  • The decision of the judges is final. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  • Entries should be submitted via email to laurac@acceleris-mc.com or via the Shipwrecked Mariners Society Facebook page. Entrants should include their own name, address and telephone number. Postal entries may be sent to Acceleris, Town Centre House, Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate, HG1 1DQ.
  • All entries must be received by the advertised closing time and date.
  • All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them. It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that any images they submit have been taken with the permission of the subject and do not infringe the copyright of any third party or any laws. By submitting images, entrants confirm that the photograph they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright to it.
  • Copyright in all images submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants. However, in consideration of their providing them for the Competition, each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society to feature any or all of the submitted images in any of their publications, their websites and/or in any promotional material connected to this competition.
  • Late entries will not be accepted. No responsibility can be accepted for lost entries and proof of transmission will not be accepted as proof of receipt.
  • The winning entry will be that which is judged to be the most visually appealing, original and self-explanatory. The winner will be notified within two weeks of the closing date of the competition.
  • The winners will be asked to take part in publicity.
  • The winner’s name and home town may be used for the charity’s publicity purposes.
  • All prizes are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives.

 

Chief Executive Malcolm Williams comment

Chief Executive Malcolm Williams talks about the complexities of being a fisherman in this week’s Fishing News: “Einstein’s theory of relativity easier to grasp than the complexities of trying to earn a living as a fisherman in today’s highly regulated industry. It’s an arduous and dangerous occupation in itself but rules and regulations make it even more difficult. It’s time the story was told from the Fisherman’s perspective.

“Seldom does an item about fishing appear in the national press and when it does it is often ill-informed and from a green perspective. All right if you’re a celeb talking about discards but it’s not quite as simple as it is made out to be. Who do you think are vehemently opposed to discards – the harvesters of the sea, the fishermen themselves.

“Rarely do we hear things from the perspective of a working fisherman trying to earn a living.

“What would be good to see are articles in the national media that explain in layman’s terms just what the issues are; they range from paying and insuring the boat, the cost of fuel and the impact of quotas – which might force small boat owners to operate on their own and further off shore and in rougher weather than is wise – to having to discard fish because they don’t have the quota for them, restrictions created by marine conservation zones, windfarms and so on.”

 

June 2013

Charity searches for ultimate sea view

National Competition Launched by Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society To Mark Seafarers Awareness Week.

The search is on to find the best visual portrayal of our nation’s enduring connection to the sea. It’s part of a new national photography competition launched today by one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities to celebrate Seafarers Awareness Week (24 – 30 June).

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support and information to retired seafarers in need, is encouraging adults and young people to enter the competition which is on the lookout for photos which encapsulate the UK’s love and reliance on its coast and seas.

The competition will be judged by an independent panel including marine photographer and TV producer Kate Westaway and the charity’s chief executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams.

Running across social media platforms and via the charity’s website www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk, participants are being encouraged to send in their pictures of the coast, seafarers and the sea, whether in relation to work, wildlife, seascapes or fun, to celebrate our intimate connection to and reliance on the sea, seafarers and the maritime industry. In addition to images taken specially the charity is also welcoming entries which celebrate favourite seaside memories. For the competition, everything from holiday snaps to photographs of ships are welcome if they have been taken in the UK.

Britain’s continuing reliance on the sea is often overlooked, but 95 percent of all imports and 75 percent of exports are still transported by sea, with the £56 billion UK maritime sector – more than aerospace and agriculture combined – directly employing over 410,000 people. Between 2012 and 2013 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in 2,300 cases of need to retired seafarers and their families amounting to over £1.6 million.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “As an island nation, the UK is still heavily reliant on our seas for work, food and fun. We are looking forward to seeing the different interpretations of the brief which we hope will show the full scope of our continuing connection with the sea and our coasts. Through this campaign marking Seafarers Awareness Week, we aim to raise awareness of all those who dedicate their lives to the seafaring professions and who may need our help in difficult times in their retirement.”

Seafarers Awareness Week is an annual campaign coordinated by Seafarers UK – the leading charity for seafarers in need – to raise awareness of Britain’s dependence on seafarers and the sea. In 2012 Seafarers UK gave grants of £2.5 million to 67 charities including the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society that help seafarers, their families and dependants, across the Merchant Navy, Fishing Fleets, Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

The deadline for entry is 5pm on Friday 16th August.

To enter the competition, full terms and conditions can be found below. For more information about the work of the Society visit the Society’s Facebook page.

  • Competition T&C’s:
  • The closing date for entries is Friday 16th August 2013.
  • By entering the competition you give permission for your images to be recreated by the charity and any media partner free of charge.
  • This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 16 years or over.
  • It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules.
  • The decision of the judges is final. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  • Entries should be submitted via email to laurac@acceleris-mc.com or via the Shipwrecked Mariners Society Facebook page. Entrants should include their own name, address and telephone number. Postal entries may be sent to Acceleris, Town Centre House, Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate, HG1 1DQ.
  • All entries must be received by the advertised closing time and date.
  • All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them. It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that any images they submit have been taken with the permission of the subject and do not infringe the copyright of any third party or any laws. By submitting images, entrants confirm that the photograph they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright to it.
  • Copyright in all images submitted for this competition remains with the respective entrants. However, in consideration of their providing them for the Competition, each entrant grants a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society to feature any or all of the submitted images in any of their publications, their websites and/or in any promotional material connected to this competition.
  • Late entries will not be accepted. No responsibility can be accepted for lost entries and proof of transmission will not be accepted as proof of receipt.
  • The winning entry will be that which is judged to be the most visually appealing, original and self-explanatory. The winner will be notified within two weeks of the closing date of the competition.
  • The winners will be asked to take part in publicity.
  • The winner’s name and home town may be used for the charity’s publicity purposes.
  • All prizes are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives.

 

May 2013

Southampton Battle of Atlantic heroes remembered

A maritime charity, which provided help to 721 Battle of Atlantic survivors who were landed at Southampton, is drawing attention to the sacrifice that merchant seamen and fishermen made during the Battle, in this, its 70th anniversary year.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which still provides support to seafarers in need living in the area, supplied relief payments, clothing and travel warrants to shipwrecked sailors who survived enemy attacks during the Battle of the Atlantic and to the dependants of those who lost their lives.
Chief Executive of the Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said that in the Battle’s 70th anniversary year the city will no doubt be remembering the work of the survivors and those who lost their lives during the Battle from ships transporting vital equipment, fuel and foodstuffs across the Atlantic.

He said: “The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the second world war which resulted in one of the highest levels of human sacrifice during the entire conflict. From 1939 to 1945 between 30,000 and 40,000 Merchant Navy personnel were lost and over 5,000 ships and their cargoes sunk. The outstanding efforts of those from Southampton should not be forgotten.”

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society supported 35,263 survivors across the country during the Battle of the Atlantic and awarded payments worth £105,222, which in today’s money would be worth over £4.2M.

John Dempsey, a beneficiary of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society from Southampton, worked on the Queen Mary which stopped operating when the war broke out. He then travelled to New Zealand and Australia helping to pick up troops and transport them across the world. John saw the consequences of the Battle first hand when on the way to Sydney, his ship was attacked off the coast of Cape Town by a submarine which had been following them for several days.

Today the charity’s primary role is providing financial support to retired or incapacitated mariners, fishermen and their dependents. Although one of the UK’s smaller charities, last year’s annual grant expenditure of £1.47 million allowed it to provide financial assistance in over 2,500 cases of need, securing many former seafarers an improved quality of life. These cases ranged from replacing broken household items and settling utility bill arrears to providing mobility aids such as stairlifts, clothing, beds and bedding as well as rent deposits for homeless seafarers.

The Society honoured a number of seafarers who were involved in the Battle of the Atlantic at the time through its annual Skill and Gallantry Awards. The awards have been running since 1851 and recognise heroism at sea.

Please see the video below to watch John Dempsey talk about his experiences:

 

Limerick competition winnners announced

The winners of a national poetry competition to find the best limericks in celebration of life at sea have been announced by one of the UKs oldest maritime charities, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support and advice to retired seafarers in need, received over 100 entries to its second annual Seafaring Limerick Competition judged by celebrity poet and Radio 4 regular Matt Harvey.

The competition, which ran across the charity’s social media platforms and website www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk, saw participants encouraged to pen a five-line poem about the ocean and the men and women who dedicate their lives to working at sea, as well as the challenges this entails. Entries came from across the UK as well as Europe and America with the winning limerick written by Michael Green from New Holland in North Lincolnshire, who gave his limerick an avian theme, penning this offering:

There was an old seadog from Hull
Whose features resembled a gull
His voice was a squawk
His waddle a walk
And his outlook was invariably dull

Michael entered the competition due to his love of limericks and family connection with the sea – his late Great Uncle served on the Queen Mary and his sister on the QE2.

On his success, Michael commented: “I was delighted to win. I have fed the Society’s iconic red collection mines along the coast since I was a young boy and now, with the benefit of access to the organisation’s website, have a much better understanding of the value of the work they undertake.”
In the under 18 category, the winner was seven year old Eben Cohen-King from Devon, who entered the competition after his father taught him about limericks during his Easter holidays. His winning entry was:

A thoughtful life boatman called Dave
is very kind and brave;
He once saved the life
of a man and his wife
when they had got stuck in a cave.

Between 2011 and 2012 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in 2,542 cases to merchant seafarers, fishermen and their families amounting to £1.47 million nationally. The number of requests it receives for support is anticipated to increase further during 2013.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “We have once again had an impressive response to our limerick competition with entries coming from across the seas in Europe and America.

“Britain’s continuing reliance on the sea is often overlooked, but 95 percent of all imports and 75 percent of exports are still transported by sea, with the 26.5 billion UK maritime sector directly or indirectly employing over 531,000 people as such our work is as important today as it was when we were established 174 years ago and we hope initiatives like this will help raise awareness and encourage more people to come forward for support.”

Matt Harvey commented: “It has been an absolute pleasure to judge this year’s limerick competition. The sea has a connection with everyone in some way, whether as a source of food or to provide a career, and we definitely saw this range of maritime experiences expressed in the poems. I know each year the Society sees cases of people who have dedicated so much of their lives to our seas and I was proud to help the Society encourage more people to get access to help in times of difficulty.”

The winners received a recording of their poems being read by Matt Harvey as well as an engraved barometer from the society for the adult competition and a portable sundial for the under 18s category.

For more information about the work of the Society visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk or you can watch the video of Matt reading the winning limerick below:

 

Notes to editors

The winner of the adult category was Michael Green from New Holland in North Lincolnshire:

There was an old seadog from Hull
Whose features resembled a gull
His voice was a squawk
His waddle a walk
And his outlook was invariably dull

The winner in the under 18s category was Eben Cohen-King (7) from Totnes in Devon:

A thoughtful lifeboatman called Dave
is very kind and brave;
He once saved the life
of a man and his wife
when they had got stuck in a cave.

Finalist and an honorary mention went to Mike Brookes from Beverley in Yorkshire:

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society – Our Pledge
If you find that your life is a wreck
We can help get your feet back on deck.
We’ll throw you a line
And you will be fine-
If needs be, we’ll send you a cheque!

The second finalist place went to Ailsa McKillop:

Great Britons! When next in libation
Toast our Navy, with due veneration!
From the chef in the galley
To the Captain, they rally
To safeguard our seas and our nation.

 

Cardiff Battle of Atlantic heroes remembered

A maritime charity, which provided help to 101 Battle of Atlantic survivors who were landed at Cardiff, is drawing attention to the sacrifice that merchant seamen and fishermen made during the Battle, in this, its 70th anniversary year.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which still provides support to seafarers in need living in the area, supplied relief payments, clothing and travel warrants to shipwrecked sailors who survived enemy attacks during the Battle of the Atlantic and to the dependants of those who lost their lives.
Chief Executive of the Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said that in the Battle’s 70th anniversary year the city will no doubt be remembering the work of the survivors and those who lost their lives during the Battle from ships transporting vital equipment, fuel and foodstuffs across the Atlantic.

He said: “The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the second world war which resulted in one of the highest levels of human sacrifice during the entire conflict. From 1939 to 1945 between 30,000 and 40,000 Merchant Navy personnel were lost and over 5,000 ships and their cargoes sunk. The outstanding efforts of those from Cardiff should not be forgotten.”

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society supported 35,263 survivors across the country during the Battle of the Atlantic and awarded payments worth £105,222, which in today’s money would be worth over £4.2M.

Joe Deacon, from Cardiff, who joined the Navy aged 14 just four days after leaving school, was on deck as part of a convoy in the Battle of Atlantic. He saw the consequences of the Battle first hand vividly remembering the night when his ship, part of a 146 strong convoy, was sunk. Joe, a beneficiary of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, was in the hospital for three weeks after being hit with shrapnel during the Battle in 1943.

Today the charity’s primary role is providing financial support to retired or incapacitated mariners, fishermen and their dependents. Although one of the UK’s smaller charities, last year’s annual grant expenditure of £1.47 million allowed it to provide financial assistance in over 2,500 cases of need, securing many former seafarers an improved quality of life. These cases ranged from replacing broken household items and settling utility bill arrears to providing mobility aids such as stairlifts, clothing, beds and bedding as well as rent deposits for homeless seafarers.

The Society honoured a number of seafarers who were involved in the Battle of the Atlantic at the time through its annual Skill and Gallantry Awards. The awards have been running since 1851 and recognise heroism at sea.

Please see the video below to watch Joe Deacon talk about his experiences:

 

 

April 2013

Is that your mine or mine?

National maritime charity, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society has been reunited with one of its infamous collecting mines. The Charity contacted the Council to alert them of its existence and the work it carries out within the maritime community.

The WW2 mine, which acts as a collection box for the Charity, was recently refurbished by Carrickfergus Borough Council and has been repainted and returned to its original spot.

The Society’s Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “We were delighted to hear about the collecting mine being re-established in its original position in Carrickfergus and are very grateful to the Council for supporting the Charity. Through the article featured in the Advertiser we were able to establish contact with the Council to let them know that after 174 years we still exist. Our collecting mines can be found across coastal regions of the UK and Ireland, so we are very pleased that this one has been brought back into service.”

Today the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s primary role continues to be providing financial support to retired or incapacitated seafarers, fishermen and their dependents. Last year’s annual grant expenditure of £1.47 million allowed the charity to provide financial assistance in over 2,500 cases to improve the quality of life of many former seafarers. These cases ranged from replacing broken household items and settling outstanding utility bills to providing items including mobility aids such as stairlifts, clothing, beds and bedding.

Malcolm Williams added: “The work the Charity does in Northern Ireland is as important now as it ever was and we would welcome anyone who would like to donate to the mine.”

According to Alderman Billy Ashe, Mayor of Carrickfergus Borough: “Carrickfergus Borough Council is delighted to be able to continue supporting the valuable work of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society with the recent refurbishment of the charity’s collecting mine, one of many located at coastal locations around the British Isles. The mine has been repositioned on Castle Green, very close to where it was historically located. The refurbishment included the repainting of the mine and we hope that it will continue to act as a point of interest for locals and visitors alike. All monies collected will be forwarded onto the charity to enable it to continue supporting ex-mariners and their families.”

For more information about the charity’s work visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

 

Limerick of the day

Today’s ‘Limerick of the Day’ comes from Peter Brandt:

Some men, on a raft, in the Atlantic,
Their hopes, of a rescue, quite frantic
Then hove into sight
A ship’s starboard light
One yelled, “mates we’re saved, here’s Titanic”.
For more information or to find out how to enter, visit our limerick competition page

 

Charity urges UK to remember Battle Of Atlantic heroism

A maritime charity, which provided help to 35,263 Battle of Atlantic survivors from across the UK during the war, is urging the country to remember the sacrifice they and those who were lost during this the Battle’s 70th anniversary year.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which still provides support to seafarers in need, supplied relief payments totalling £105,222, worth over £4.2M in today’s money, to shipwrecked sailors who survived enemy attacks during the Battle of the Atlantic and the dependants of those who did not.

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said in the year of the Battle’s 70th anniversary it is important that the country remembers the sacrifice of those who lost their lives and the survivors, some of who are still fortunately with us.

He said: “The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the second world war which resulted in one of the highest levels of human sacrifice during the entire conflict. From 1939 to 1945 between 30,000 and 40,000 Merchant Navy personnel were lost and over 5,000 ships and their cargoes sunk. The outstanding efforts of those from across the UK should not be forgotten.”

Richard Chilton, 87, from Liverpool was one of the Battle of the Atlantic survivors who receives support from the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society. His first voyage in July 1942 was as a Deck Boy aged 16 on the ss Bridgepool bound from Liverpool to New York. He then sailed on MS Sobo, Elder Dempster Line, on two convoys supporting the allied landings in North Africa and then joined the ss Royal Star which sailed from Liverpool to West Africa and then to Argentina and back. Still a Deck Boy he joined a Dutch cargo ship the ss Winsum for the Sicily Landings in 1943. In 1944 he joined the Liberty Ship SAM Speed which went out to Ceylon and was promoted to Ordinary Seaman. Finally he joined the ss Bactria, Cunard Line, convoying between Liverpool, Spain and Gibraltar.

He has the Atlantic Star, Italy Star, Burma Star, War Medal and North Africa Medal.

He said of his experiences that “I was just doing my job”.

Today the Shipwrecked Mariners primary role continues to be the enduring one of providing financial support to retired or incapacitated mariners, fishermen and their dependents. Although one of the UK’s smaller charities, last year’s annual grant expenditure of £1.47 million allowed it to provide financial assistance in over 2,500 cases of need, securing many former seafarers an improved quality of life. These cases ranged from replacing broken household items and settling utility bill arrears to providing mobility aids such as stairlifts, clothing, beds and bedding as well as rent deposits for homeless seafarers.

The Society honoured a number seafarers who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic at the time through its annual Skill and Gallantry Awards. The awards have been running since 1851 and recognise heroism at sea.

 

March 2013

Arctic Star Medal

If you served in the Merchant Navy on Arctic Convoys during WWII or know of someone who did then they may be entitled to the recently instituted Arctic Star. The medal is issued by the Veterans Agency. The qualifying period is “service of any length”. A short application form has to be completed which can be found on the Veterans UK website at: www.veterans-uk.info.

 

Seafaring Charity Launches National Poetry Competition

With seafarers well known for their tall tales, one of the UK’s oldest seafaring charities is launching a national limerick competition designed to celebrate life at sea to mark World Poetry Day on 21st March.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provides financial support and assistance to retired and incapacitated seafarers in need, is encouraging adults and school pupils to enter its Seafaring Limerick Competition for a second year following overwhelming support for the 2012 contest which was judged by Bard of Barnsley and renowned English poet Ian McMillan.

This year it’s the turn of comic poet and voice of Radio 4 Matt Harvey to sit in the judge’s seat. Matt’s way with words has taken him from Totnes to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships via Saturday Live, the Edinburgh Festival and the Work section of the Guardian. He is also host of Wondermentalist – Radio 4’s comedy-infused, musically enhanced interactive poetry cabaret which is due to return for a second series in April.

Being run in limerick form across social media platforms, participants are being encouraged to pen a five line poem about the ocean and the men and women who dedicate their lives to working at sea, and all the challenges this entails. Throughout the duration of the campaign the charity will be tweeting their ‘Limerick of the day’ from the showcase entries. Following last year’s success, the Society has added a second category for under 18s and is encouraging pupils in schools across the country to enter the competition.

Britain’s continuing reliance on the sea is often overlooked, but 95 percent of total UK trade is transported by ship, with the £26.5 billion UK maritime sector directly or indirectly employing over 531,000 people.

In 2011/2012 the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society made regular and one-off grants in over 2,500 cases of need to retired and working age mariners and their families amounting to over £1.47 million.

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Malcolm Williams, said: “ With the exception of mine, the standard of entries we received last year was outstanding and we are hoping for a repeat performance this year. The competition is a fun way to celebrate life at sea and those who work day in day out with the ocean, whether, fishing its depths, protecting our shores or transporting the products we take for granted in our daily lives.

“Having someone with the talent and reputation of Matt Harvey to judge our winner is a great honour for the Society. Every year we see many cases of people who having dedicated so much of their lives to the sea now find themselves in difficult financial circumstances and with the support of a generous public we are able to help them.. The sailor’s life should provide inspiration to budding poets and help to get the creative juices flowing.”

Matt has penned a limerick of his own to inspire budding poets to enter the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s competition:

A short-sighted sailor called Shearer
Was sure Scotland’s shoreline grew nearer
He was no navigator
For one hour later
He ran aground off South Utsire

World Poetry Day was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1999 to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.

To enter the competition and for more information visit the limerick competition page or the Society’s Facebook page.

The competition is to write an original poem on a maritime subject in limerick form consisting of no more than five lines and with the first, second and fifth usually rhyming. The deadline for entry is 5pm on Thursday 11th April and the charity is offering an engraved barometer and video recording of the winning poem read by Matt Harvey as a prize.

For more information about the work of the Charity visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk. The Society also has its own book of poetry ‘Sunset and Evening Star vol 2’ which is available at; www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk/Home/SupportUs/CharityCardsAndGifts.

 

Maritime Heroes To Be Honored

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is calling on members of the maritime community and air/sea rescue organisations across the UK to nominate their colleagues for their heroic acts of bravery at sea for its annual Skill and Gallantry Awards.

Presented by the Society every year since 1851, the awards recognise the UK’s unsung sea rescue heroes as well as those who have given outstanding service to the charity, which supports ex-merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependents in times of financial hardship.

Last year’s ceremony saw the crews and individuals from four dramatic sea rescues honoured. Helmsman Roger Jackson and his crew battled rough seas to save four lives after a boat capsized in the River Exe estuary; the crew of ‘Rescue 193’ from 771 Naval Air Squadron in Cornwall rescued a yachtsman in dangerous conditions; and Helmsman Darren Crowe from Berwickshire saved the life of a man trapped in a narrow tunnel on a rising tide. Master Aircrewman Richard Taylor from Holyhead in Wales was presented with an Individual Commendation for showing courage and determination whilst saving the lives of two merchant seamen.

Nominations for this year’s awards ceremony are now open and the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society is calling on the maritime community to forward examples of outstanding acts of bravery and heroism.

The Society has awarded grants worth £1.47 million in the past year, allowing it to provide financial assistance in 2,542 cases of need.
Malcolm Williams, Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, said: “The Society’s annual October Skill and Gallantry Awards are an important event in the maritime calendar and a chance to honour all those unsung heroes who risk their lives to keep seafarers’ and members of the public safe. Every year I am struck by the qualities shown by the men and women who are nominated and the courage they display in helping those in distress at sea.”

For more information about the awards, or to submit a nomination, contact: Malcolm Williams, Chief Executive, Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, 1 North Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1TL Tel: 01243 78932, email general@shipwreckedmariners.org.uk; or visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk.

Note to Editor:
Founded in 1839, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s main aim is to provide financial help to merchant seafarers, fishermen and their dependants who are in need. Support is given to ex-seafarers, or their widows, as either regular grants or as one-off grants to meet particular needs.

 

Housing Benefit Changes

Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society Chief Executive, Commodore Malcolm Williams, writes an open letter to the National Press outlining his concern about the imminent changes to the Housing Benefit.

Sir,

The Housing Benefit changes that come into force on 1 April are ill thought out. The exemptions granted by the Government on Tuesday for disabled children and military personnel confirm this but they are only one aspect of the problem. The changes will be a nightmare for some. Picture a family with two children living in a modest three bedroomed ‘council’ house: it’s been home for 20 years. First your son leaves home and your housing benefit is cut by 14% because you now only need two bedrooms. Do you move to a smaller house? But your daughter will probably leave home next year when she finishes her education and then your Housing Benefit will be cut by 25% because you will only need one bedroom.

One aim of the housing benefit changes is to get people to downsize but this assumes that there is sufficient single bedroom housing stock. In many parts of the country there isn’t, well certainly not in the private sector at an affordable price for those on Housing Benefit (many private landlords will not take people on Housing Benefit). And even if there is you might be reluctant to move from a neighbourhood where you have built up an informal network of support; you might find it hard to give up your garden for a flat and forego the pleasure of having your grown up children come to stay overnight with your grandchildren. No scope for a live-in carer either when one of you dies and the other falls ill. There are, of course, some other options; stay where you are and take the financial hit by cutting down on your food and heating bills or find a friendly loan company to pay off your recurring rent arrears while getting ever deeper into debt. Hard to believe this has been rigorously thought through.

Malcolm Williams
Chief Executive
Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society

 

January 2013

Battle of Atlantic – Information Request Update

Our thanks goes to Mark McShane, author of the book Neutral Shores – Ireland and the Battle of the Atlantic, for responding to our request for information about the names of the torpedoed American steamer and the rescue ship which led to the Society bestowing Captain Arthur Wellington Greenham RM and Chief Officer Edward Dalgliesh the Emile Robin Award in 1943 for their acts of heroism.

At 03.04 hours on 2 February 1943, the steamer Jeremiah Van Rensselaer (last ship in the extreme port column) of convoy HX-224 was torpedoed by U-456. Two torpedoes struck on the port side in No. 1 hold. The explosion created a hole of 8 feet by 30 feet, blew the hatch cover off, strewed cargo overboard and started a fire. A short time later a third torpedo struck on the port side at No. 4 hatch and blew a truck secured on deck into the water and also started a fire. The engines were secured and some of the eight officers, 34 crewmen, 28 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and one passenger abandoned ship. They tried to launch three lifeboats but two capsized in the rough seas. Eight men got away in a boat and others jumped overboard and swam to three life rafts, but the harsh weather and cold water caused most men to die of exposure.

Only one officer, six crewmen and 17 armed guards survived and were picked up by British rescue ship Accrington.

Accrington had been requisitioned for service as a Convoy Rescue Ship in March 1942. During the next 3 years she escorted 40 Convoys and rescued a total of 132 survivors from 3 sunken ships and 9 crashed aircrew.

Additional information reproduced courtesy of the websites uboat.net and historicalrfa.org

 

Battle Of Atlantic heroism remembered

A maritime charity is appealing to the public for information about an incident during the Battle of the Atlantic to plug a gap in its historical archives during the year that marks the Battle’s 70th anniversary.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which provided help to the victims of enemy attacks during the Battle of the Atlantic and supported almost 80,000 shipwrecked sailors, fishermen and their dependents throughout WW2, is seeking information about the rescue of 24 survivors from a torpedoed American steamer in February 1943 for which Captain Arthur Wellington Greenham RM and Chief Officer Robert Edward Dalgliesh were subsequently awarded the Society’s Emile Robin Award for their acts of heroism.

The Society’s historical archives record that the rescue was carried out in darkness with heavy seas and in gale force winds. It was necessary for the rescue ship to manoeuvre close to the rafts to which the survivors were clinging and 24 personnel were saved in these very difficult conditions. Despite the dangerous circumstances the rescue lifeboat also recovered a survivor who remained aboard the burning and sinking vessel.

Captain Greenham, by his courage, leadership and skill was responsible for saving many lives and in recognition of this he was officially commended. Chief Officer Dalgliesh was responsible for the hazardous operation of launching the lifeboat from his ship and he frequently took great risks himself during the rescue operations. He was also officially commended.

Due to wartime security restrictions further details of the incident were not recorded by the Society – in particular the names of the American steamer and the ship involved in the rescue operation.

Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said in the year of the battle’s 70th anniversary the Society would like to learn the names of the vessels involved.

He said: “The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the second world war which resulted in one of the highest levels of human sacrifice during the entire conflict. From 1939 to 1945 between 30,000 and 40,000 Merchant Navy personnel were lost and over 5,000 ships and their cargoes sunk.

“The outstanding efforts of Captain Greenham and Chief Officer Dalgliesh were recognised by the Society at the time through the Emile Robin Award. It would however be fantastic to be able to fill in the gaps, in particular to learn the names of the two ships involved. I would appeal to anyone with any connection to the Battle of the Atlantic to look back over old photographs or diaries and talk to relatives, to help us piece the details together.”

These days the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s primary role is providing financial support to retired or incapacitated mariners, fishermen and their dependents. Although one of the UK’s smaller charities its annual grant expenditure in the past year of £1.47 million allowed it to provide financial assistance in 2,542 cases of need ensuring that many former seafarers have an improved quality of life and peace of mind. These cases ranged from replacing broken household items, settling utility bill arrears to providing mobility aids such as stairlifts, clothing, beds and bedding and rent deposits for homeless seafarers.

The Society has been recognising heroism at sea through its annual Skill and Gallantry Awards since 1851. If you can help with any further information about this incident or would like further details about the Charity’s work, please contact the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society on 01243 789329 or visit www.shipwreckedmariners.org.uk.

 

Society Supporter eyes podium in epic yacht race

Mike Golding OBE, a steadfast supporter of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society and one of the world’s most successful offshore sailors, has successfully reached Cape Horn, entering the Atlantic in the Vendée Globe solo non-stop round the world yacht race.

The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society wishes Mike the best of luck as he embarks on one of the hardest stretches of the race, with hopes of a podium position.

Watch Mike talk about the society’s work and the difference we make in supporting ex merchant seafarers, fishermen and their families in this video, created for our 170th anniversary:

Mike also took part in our innovative underwater photography exhibition Celebrations of the Sea in 2011. Read his biography and more details on the exhibition on the Celebrations of the Sea page.

 

70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. It was a critical campaign won at enormous personal cost. For those whose vessels were sunk but who survived, the help of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society in providing clothing, accommodation and travel was very important and much appreciated as these two examples show:

From Mr Charles H Hogan, of the American Embassy:

“I want to express the gratitude of the United States War Shipping Administration and of the large number of survivors who were treated so very well by your organisation and its staff during their recent visit to Glasgow. A most remarkable job was done in handling such a large number of men with great kindness and understanding. I can assure you that your generosity was deeply appreciated by the men.”

From a Sister in Queen Alexander’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve:

“I enclose a cheque for five guineas as a small token of my gratitude for the help and kindness which I received on arrival at Milford Haven after being torpedoed.”

During WW11 the Society supported:

Seamen – 60,625
Widows – 6,657
Orphans – 8,159
Aged Parents – 4,168

We will be featuring other incidents relating to the war at sea and involving the Society throughout the year.

 

Happy New Year and Thank You

The Society wishes to thank all of you who bought cards and made donations this Christmas in support of our work: your generosity is much appreciated.

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Send ‘SMSY11 £10’* to 70070 *Donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10

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