Maritime History

Shipping news on this day (4th January) in and out of Youghal, 1938-1941

Shipping news on this day (4th January)

in and out of Youghal, 1938-1941

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

On 4th January 2015 my Facebook site called Sailing Merchant Vessels of Ireland and Britain reached over 500 followers. This short article is by way of thanks to all those people who by making that first step of pressing the like button made it all possible.

On 4th January 1938 the Margaret Hobley (82 tons) under Captain William Slade sailed windbound into Youghal Harbour for which pleasure she was charged 3s 5d. The vessel stayed at Youghal for a number of weeks and didn’t leave port until 26th January 1938.[1]

The Margaret Hobley was a schooner built by J.D. Warlow of Pembroke in 1868. Her measurements were 86.6ft X 22.2 X 11.3ft. Her first owner was Thomas Hobley of Carnarvon with H. Thomas as master. The vessels original served on the Liverpool to South America trade route.[2] In 1893 the Margaret Hobley was owned by William Posthlethwaite of Millom and registered at London.[3] In 1921 an 80 horse power engine was installed. In 1922 she was purchased by William Quance of Appledore from the Hook Shipping Company. This William Quance was related to George Quance who was uncle-in-law of William J. Slade of Appledore. William Slade came from a long line of mariners and ship captains. His mother, Rosina Harding, was the daughter of a ship captain and an experienced sailor in her own right. The Margaret Hobley shortly after came into the ownership of the Slade family and remained so until 1948[4]

During the Second World War the Margaret Hobley was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and placed at barrage balloon work at Falmouth. This kind of job did not serve her well. When the Margaret Hobley returned to Appledore in 1946 she was deemed beyond repair and was broken up in 1948.[5]

On 4th January 1939 the Happy Harry under Captain James Hagan sailed out of Youghal Harbour with a cargo of timber. The Happy Harry had arrived at Youghal in ballast on 28th December 1938. She then proceeded up river to load and was charged £1 for passage right across Youghal Harbour.[6] The timber was loaded somewhere on the River Blackwater as the log book for the Bride Bridge at Camphire, near where the River Bride joins the Blackwater, does not record any passage by the Happy Harry.

The Youghal Bridge log book records that the Happy Harry passed up river on the 29th December 1938 and sailed down river on 5th January 1939.[7] This later date is at variance with the date in the Youghal Harbour record book but that is quiet common in such shipping records where the entry was not always made on the day the event happened. It could also be the case that the Happy Harry dropped anchor just upriver from Youghal Bridge on the 4th when the Harbour officer made his entry and went home. But because of tide was needed to pass through the Bridge it was on the 5th that the actual passage was made. The record of trade and sailings from up the Rivers Blackwater and Bride was of little interest to the Harbour officers as the only money to be got from such vessels was the one fee for sailing passage across Youghal Harbour between the open sea and Youghal Bridge which was paid only once. Thus for decades little attention was paid to accuracy in the Harbour books for upriver sailings.

Happy harry by Jean Gidman

The Happy Harry by Jean Gidman

The Happy Harry was a schooner of 142 tons (80 tons net) built at Duddon, Cumberland in 1894 for the Hodbarrow Mining Company. She measured 101ft X 23 X 10. In 1921 she was purchased by Arklow owners including Job Tyrrell and Captain James Hagan (her master). In 1922 he had a new keel fitted and in 1929 was refitting with an engine. On 16th September 1950 the Happy Harry was stranded at Southport, Lancashire and later destroyed by fire. Her managing owner at the time was Roy Kearon of Arklow.[8]

On 4th January 1941 the Kathleen & May, under Captain Tommy Jewell, sailed windbound into Youghal Harbour. For this action Tommy Jewell should have paid 4s to the Harbour Commissioners but the entry book records no such fee paid. Instance Tommy Jewell decided to take the opportunity of his stay at Youghal to seek business. The Kathleen & May had arrived light and so it was possible to pick up a cargo if such were available and it was. On 16th January 1941 the Kathleen & May got the job of collecting a load of timber from up the River Blackwater and for this she was charged £1 4s by the Harbour Commissioners. But it was not until 24th January at 5pm that the Kathleen & May sailed up through the open swing section of Youghal Bridge.

This eight day extra stay at Youghal may be because of insufficient tides to get up river or to give the merchant up river time to gather and prepare the timber for collection. The timber was possibly collected at Killahala Quay on the River Blackwater which was often used for that purpose. The two rivers of the Blackwater and its tributary, the River Bride, were good for the merchant vessels as coal came over from Britain (usually South Wales) and pit props were sent back to extend the coal mines and extract more coal. On 6th February 1941 the Kathleen & May sailed down the River Blackwater with the cargo of timber before waiting another thirteen days at Youghal. On 19th February 1941 the Kathleen & May left Youghal Harbour for the open sea.[9]

The Kathleen & May needs little introduction to anyone with a remote interest in the sailing merchant vessels of Ireland and Britain. She was built in 1900 at Connah’s Quay by Ferguson &Baird as the Lizzie May to the order of Captain Tom Coppack. Her two names were for the two daughters of Tom Coppack. When launched she measured 98.4ft X 23.2 X 10.1ft with a gross tonnage of 136 and 99 net tons and a cargo capacity of 226 tons. Between 1900 and 1908 the Lizzie May carried 24, 786 tons of cargo on 119 passages or about 249 tons per month. Captain Thomas Hughes was her master in those years.[10]

In September 1908 the Lizzie May was sold to M.J. Fleming of Youghal, Co. Cork who renamed the vessel as the Kathleen & May after his two daughters. The Kathleen & May traded about one loaded passage per month up until 1924 when the depression of the twenties really started to bite. After 1924 she only had about one loaded passage every two months. Between 1908 and 1931 the Kathleen & May carried 45,973 tons or 170 tons per month on 265 loaded passages.


Kathleen & May

In April 1931 the Kathleen & May was sold to Tommy Jewell of Appledore for £700. Tommy Jewell spent another £800 refitting the vessel and installing an 80 horse power Beardmore engine. This refit changed the tonnage figures to 138 gross tons and 95 net tons. The 1930s were a depressed time for trade but the refitted Kathleen & May managed well, increasing her loaded passages per year to an average of 23 between 1931 and 1960.[11] The last trading passage of the Kathleen & May was made in September 1960 when she arrived at Bideford with 107 tons of coal. Tommy Jewell of Appledore owned the Kathleen & May until he sold her out of trade in 1961. After a number of changes in ownership she was acquired in 1998 by Steve Clarke of Bideford. Under his care she was restore as a fully serviceable sailing vessel.[12] The vessel is presently based at Liverpool as part of the national historic fleet.


End of post


[1] Youghal Harbour Import and Export Book, 1936-1941, folios 48v, 50r

[2] Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1870

[3] Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping, 1893

[4] W.J. Slade, Out of Appledore (Percival Marshall, London, 1959), pp. x, xi, 115

[5] Richard J. Scott, Irish Sea Schooner Twilight: The Last Years of the Western Seas Traders (Black Dwarf, Lydney, 2012), p. 148

[6] Youghal Harbour Import and Export Book, 1936-1941, folios 71v, 72r

[7] Youghal Bridge Log Book, 1936-1958, folio 4v

[8] Frank Forde, Maritime Arklow (Glendine Press, Dun Laoghaire, 1988), p. 75; Richard J. Scott, Irish Sea Schooner Twilight: The Last Years of the Western Seas Traders, p. 133

[9] Youghal Harbour Import and Export Book, 1936-1941, folios 115v, 117r; Youghal Bridge Log Book, 1936-1958, folio 7v

[10] Richard J. Scott, ‘Last of the Bideford Schooners’, in Ships Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 10 (October 1967), pp. 354, 355

[11] Richard J. Scott, ‘Last of the Bideford Schooners’, in Ships Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 10 (October 1967), pp. 356, 357

[12] Richard J. Scott, Irish Sea Schooner Twilight: The Last Years of the Western Seas Traders, pp. 41, 144


One thought on “Shipping news on this day (4th January) in and out of Youghal, 1938-1941

  1. William Gurney says:

    Hi there. I’m trying to get more information abut my Great Grandfather, David Donovan. I was always brought up thinking he’d took ownership of the Kathleen and May in around 1907? I didn’t know he was the Captain of the Nellie Fleming!

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