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Page Last updated 16-10-2013
Gamecock Steam Towing Company.
(A. J. Couves, manager)
The company was originally founded in 1880, by a consortium of around twelve London River Pilots. Vessels were registered to groups of individuals including Henry Rae, Richard Holland, George Doust, George J. Spicer, Daniel Barker, William Giles, and  Arthur J. Couves, although all traded under the banner of the Gamecock Steam Towing Company.
In 1928, The Ocean Towage & Salvage Company Ltd., a company with Turkish roots, acquired the Gamecock Steam Towing Company business. The new owners incorporated a new limited liability concern to take the business forward.  At this time vessels were sold by their previous groups of registered owners to the new organisation.
Gamecock Steam Towing Company Ltd.
Company Registered Number:  231121
1928 G. P. Walford manager.
1935 Capt W. Davies appointed as manager.
1936 T. H. Mordey appointed as manager.
1939 L.H.G.Walford appointed as manager.
1947 Placed in voluntary liquidation by L.H.G. Walford.
A new company was incorporated as Gamecock Tugs Ltd. (John R. Watkins and Alfred D. Page) in preparation for entering a new co-operative operation, whilst the existing company was wound up by the appointed liquidator Philip C.C. Vail. 
 In 1950 they became part of the Ship Towage [London] Ltd combine with the latter taking over management.  From the first entries under this company title in the Mercantile Navy List, it would appear that control had passed to John R. Watkins and Alfred D. Page, they being controllers of William Watkins and Elliott Steam Tugs respectively.
 Vessels sold to William Watkins Ltd. (William Watkins and Alfred J. Page)
14th November 1968
Company struck off and dissolved .



See Ship Towage Ltd. fleet list.
Photog unknown
Built 1882 by A D Lewis, East Greenwich. Iron Screw Tug. L75.8'. B16'. D9.5'. 70grt. 7nrt. 40nhp 2cyl 16"x28"x20"s Compound steam engine by either Hodges, Millwall or Mitchell, Poplar. ON86998

1882 Delivered to Henry Rae, George Tansley,  George Doust & 12 other Poplar pilots, London. 1889 Owners George Doust & 13 others, Gravesend. 2-1890 owners Gamecock S. T. Co., Gravesend. 1891 Sold to Thomas Heywood, & John Guthrie, Cardiff,  1901 Owners The Cardiff Steam Towing Co Ltd., Cardiff. 1908 Owners Cornish Salvage Co Ltd., Cardiff. 1916 Owner Michael Dunn, Cardiff. 1917 Owner Edmund Handcock Jr Ltd, Cardiff. 1929 Transferred to Edmund Handcock (1929) Ltd, Cardiff. 1938 Scrapped.

Photog unknown
Built  1902 Hepple & Co, S Shields. YN 532 Iron Screw Tug. L90.7'. B19.6'. D10.9'. 115grt.  585ihp 2cyl 18"x38"x25"s compound steam engine by Hepple. Acquired 19??. Disposed 1935. ON115916. Callsign TRNL.
6-8-1902 Launched. 10-1902 Delivered to Mason, Liley & Hunt [Empire Towing] Gravesend. 1907 Acquired by George Doust et al,   Gamecock Steam Towing Co. Gravesend. 15-08-1914 to 12-09-1914 Req for  UK War Office service. 30-10-1914 to 10-11-1914: Req UK Admiralty service. 2-12-1914 Req  UK Admiralty,  Downs Boarding Flotilla, renamed Commonweal. 29-2/2-3-1916 Involved in salvage of SS Den of Ogil. 31-10-1916 Involved in salvage of SS Westmeath. 3-3-1918 Involved in salvage of barge Britannic. 20/21-6-1918 Involved in salvage of SS City of Manila. 7-6-1919 Returned to owners, renamed Commonwealth. 1921 Operated by  Gravesend United Steam Tug Co. 1931 Sold  to Sidney Charles Roberts & L. Vandeventer, Commonwealth Steam Tug Co.,  Bristol. 1934 Sold to W J Reynolds, Plymouth  renamed Antony. 1960 scrapped at Plymouth by owners.

Photo Gould colln/ K Haydon

Built 1896 by J. T. Eltringham Ltd., South Shields. YN187. L88'. B19.1'. D10.4'. 112grt. 1nrt. 750ihp 66nhp 2cyl compound 17.5"x36" 24" stroke coal fired steam engine by Hepple and Co., South Shields. Acquired 1896. Disposed 1899. Scrapped 1946. ON105894.

25-8-1896 Launched. 10-1896 Delivered to Gamecock Steam Towing Co., Gravesend. 5-1899 Sold to Herbert Collings, London.  1899 Sold to Azores Coaling Company, Azores.1899 Owners Da Costa Herdeiros, Portugal. 1915 Sold to  R. E. James Ltd., Southampton, renamed Ridgway. 8-1-1915 Req for Admiralty service. 11-10-1915 Returned to Owner. 4-1916 Sold to Tilbury Contracting and Dredging Co. Ltd., London. 12-1919 Sold to John Cooper Ltd., Belfast. 12-1927 Sold to  Fowey Tug & Salvage Co. Ltd., Fowey. 1928 Renamed Penleath. 10-1941 Sold to Radcliffe Towing & Salvage Co., Ilfracombe. 3-1942 Sold to Cargo Fleet Iron Co. Ltd., Middlesbrough. 1-1946 Scrapped at Dunston by Clayton and Davey Ltd.

Built 1901 by Thomas Scott & Co., Goole. YN31. L80'. B18.1'. D10'. 90grt. 325ihp 2cyl 15"x32"x22"s compound steam engine by builder. Acquired 1901. Disposed 1908. Scrapped 1953. ON112800.
1-1901 Delivered to George Doust et al, Gamecock Steam Towing Co., Gravesend. 3-1908 Sold to  James Turner, Grimsby. 2-8-1914 Req for Admiralty service. 16-1-1920 Returned to owners. 5-1929 Sold to John Brant, Grimsby. 11-1936 Sold to W. H. & B. C Lamey , Liverpool. 7-1939 Sold to J. H. Lamey Ltd., Liverpool.1953 Scrapped by T. W. Ward Ltd., at either Barrow or Preston.
Photo K Haydon colln

Built 1930 by Alexander Hall & Co. Ltd., Aberdeen. YN623. L100'. B26.1'. D12.3'. 214grt 2nrt. 1150ihp 3cylTE 16"x25"x42" 30" stroke 200psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1930. Disposed 1934. Scrapped 1959.  ON161393. Callsign MPTD.

1-3-1930 Launched. 4-1930 Delivered to Gamecock Steam Towing Co. Ltd., London. 1-1934 Sold to Sovtorgflot, Murmansk, renamed Shuga. 11-1936 Class withdrawn. 1940[by] Owners Russian Government. 1959 Scrapped.
 See Ship Towage Ltd fleet list
Photo Gould colln/TT
Built 1884 by NV Maatschappij de Maas,  Delftshaven. Iron screw tug. L82.4'. B17.5'. D9.7'. 6nrt. 95grt. 70nhp 2cyl 19"x35"x22"  compound steam engine by  builder. ON89540
Built for James Watkins, London. 28-3-1884 Regd London. 1884 Sold to J Todd, Rochester. 1889 Sold to J Constant, London. 1890 Sold to Gamecock Steam Towing Co., Gravesend.[Harry P Chapman, George Doust, George F Payne et al  10-11-1891 Assisted in towing SS Dictator, which had lost propeller,  from off Hythe to Tilbury Dock in hurricane force winds.  Captain William Simmonds was lashed to the bridgerail and the helmsman to the wheel. The tugs lifeboat was stove in by the seas. 3-1897 Sold to John Guthrie, Penarth and Thomas McMurdo Heywood, Cardiff.  Retained London registry.  1-1901:Transferred to The Cardiff Steam Towing Co Ltd (Thomas McMurdo Heywood, manager), Cardiff. Retained London registry.
1-1920 Owners Bristol Channel Towage, Salvage and Lighterage Co., Cardiff. 9-1938 Sold to Bristol Channel Towage Co Ltd, Cardiff.   11-1938: Delivered to J. Cashmore Ltd for demolition at Newport Mon. 1-1939 Work commenced.


Photo Gould colln/TT
Built 1892 by G. Rennie & Co., Greenwich. L91.5'. B19.1'. D10.9'. 124grt. 5nrt. 420ihp 98nhp 2cyl 18"x38" x24" stroke compound steam engine by J. Stewart, Blackwall. Acquired 1892. Disposed 1933. Scrapped 1949. ON99090. Callsign MPWN.

1892 Delivered to A. Couves and other pilots, Gravesend .[Gamecock Steam Towing Company]. 1913 New boiler.  29-8-1918 Hired by Admiralty. 31-12-1918 Returned to owners. 1928 Owners Gamecock Steam Towing Co. Ltd., London. 3-1933 Sold to Sidney C. Roberts, Avonmouth. 4-1939 Sold to Fairplay Towage and Salvage Ltd., London [Based Avonmouth]. `941-1945 Req for Admiralty service] pennant W129. 3-1949 Scrapped by Marine Metals Ltd., Penarth.

Built 1880 by John Softley and Sons, South Shields. Iron screw tug. L70.6'. B14.6'. D8.4'. 51grt. 2nrt. 45nhp 2cyl 15"x28"x18" compound steam engine by J F Pattison and Co., Newcastle. ON81635.
1880 Delivered to Richard Holland & 12 other pilots at Gravesend. (Gamecock Steam Towing Co). 1-1882  Sold to Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interoceanique [Panama Canal Co Ltd.,] Paris, for construction of Panama Canal, doing the run from London to Panama in 31 days. 2-1884 Seized at Colon by General Benjamin Ruiz in revolution in Columbia. Taken to River Magdalena and renamed General Gaitan. No further trace.
Photo Gould colln/TT
Built 1883 by Forrest & Co., Millwall. L85'. B19'. D9'6". 88grt. 350ihp 2cyl 20"x35"x24"s compound steam engine by builder. Acquired 1883. Disposed 1926. Scrapped 1947.  ON87063.

1883 Delivered to G. F. Payne and 12 other pilots, Gravesend. 1914 Req by RN for examination service, based in Lower Hope. 5-1926 Laid up in West India Dock.  1926 Sold to W. S. Masters, Poole for £800. 1930  Sold to Fowey Tug & Salvage Company Ltd., Fowey [ H. Paul, Fowey]. renamed Pendennick.  30-9-1946 Owners Fowey Tug & Salvage Co Ltd., Fowey. 3-10-1947 Scrapped at Stonehouse, Plymouth.

Photo R Stanford colln
Built 1930 by Alexander Hall & Co. Ltd., Aberdeen. YN622. L100'. B26.1'. D12.3'. 214grt 2nrt, 1000ihp 3cylTE 16"x25"x42" 30" stroke 200psi steam engine by builder. Acquired 1930. Disposed 1933. Scrapped 1995. ON 161394.
1-3-1930 Launched. 4-1930 Delivered to Gamecock Steam Towing Co Ltd., Gravesend. 8-1933 Sold to Crown Agents for the Colonies, renamed Steady. 1935 Owners Palestinian Government, Haifa. 12-1935 Converted to oil fired boiler. 1948 Owners Israeli Government, Haifa, renamed Eytanah. 1966 Sold to Tsavliris Salvage and Towage Co., Piraeus, renamed Nisos Hydra. 1975 Sold to Maritime Commercial Enterprises Ltd., Piraeus, renamed Achilleus. 1994 Owner Alexander G. Tsavliris and Sons, Piraeus. 1995 Scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey.


Photog unknown

Built 1921 by Danziger Werft., Danzig. YN28. L104.2'. B21'. D10.1'. 197grt. 14nrt. 600ihp 3cylTE 12"x20.5"x32"x22"s steam engine by builder. Acquired 1921 Disposed 1949. Scrapped 1957.  ON146556.

4-6-1921 Launched. 1921 Delivered to George Edgley et al, Gamecock Steam Towing Company, Gravesend. 1928 Transferred to  Gamecock Steam Towing Co. Ltd. 28-8-1939 Req for Admiralty service based Naval Control Southend, managers London Midland and Scottish Railway Co. 1940 Transferred to River Clyde, under management of Steel and Bennie Ltd. 1-10-1945 Returned to owners. 1947 Transferred to Ocean Salvage & Towage Company Ltd. (managed Gamecock Steam Towing Company Ltd.), London. 10-11-1948 Sold to Tees Towing Co. Ltd., Middlesboro, renamed Kings Cross. 3-1957 Scrapped by C. W. Dorking, Gateshead.

  See Ship Towage Ltd fleet list

Photo Gould colln/TT
Built 1885 by E Finch, Chepstow YN 55. Iron screw tug. L115.5'. B22'. D12'. 188grt. 99nhp 2cyl 23"x44"x30"s Compound steam engine by Pearson & Co, Glasgow.. Acquired 1886. Disposed 1892. ON89197. Callsign KGPQ. 
2-1885 Delivered to D Guy, Cardiff, named  Red Rose. 18-4-1886 Sold at auction at Cardiff to Arthur J Couves and others, Gamecock Steam Towing Co. Gravesend for £4800. 2-1892 Sold to Guthrie Heywood & Co, Cardiff. 1895 215grt. 3-1899 Sold to  Liverpool Screw Towing Co. Liverpool, renamed Storm Cock. 13-8- 1914 Req by Admiralty.  20-3-1916 Commissioned and renamed Stormbird. 9-10-1919 Returned to owners, renamed Storm Cock.  1934 scrapped W H Arnott Young & Co, Dalmuir.
Photo RGR colln
Built 1911 by A W Robertson & Co., London. YN711. L96'. B21.1'. D11'. 143grt. 500ihp 80nhp 2cyl 15"x22"x18"s compound engine by Aitchison Blair Ltd., Glasgow. Acquired 1911. Disposed 1937. Scrapped 1961.  ON129184. Callsign MGKX.

3-11-1911 Completed. 1911 Delivered to George Doust et al, Gamecock Steam Towing Co., Gravesend. 15-8-1914 Hired for war office service at Le Havre. 7-1919 Returned to Owners. 1928 Transferred to Gamecock Steam Towing Co Ltd. 1937 Sold to Newport Screw Towing Co. Ltd., Newport Mon., renamed Dunson. 4-1961 Scrapped by John Cashmore Ltd., Newport.

Photo Gould colln/TT
Built 1881 by R & H Green Ltd., Blackwall. YN444. Iron Tug. L80'. B16'. D9.4'. 72grt. 60nhp 2cyl 18"x33"x20"s compound steam engine by A. Wilson Ltd., Vauxhall. Acquired 1881. Disposed 1913. Scrapped 1934.  ON82892.

1881 Delivered to R. Holland and 12 other pilots, Gravesend. 1897 Owners G. Doust and 14 other pilots, Gravesend. 3-1913 Sold to Joseph Dunn, Newport Mon. 1928 Transferred to The Newport Screw Towing Co. Ltd. 1934 Scrapped at Newport.
Date and builder unknown. Iron screw tug. L93.1'. B14.4'. D6.2'. 78grt. 34nrt. 30nhp 1cyl 10"x24" [built 1874] steam engine by J S Goodfellow, Ringsend, Dublin. ON67789

  Rebuilt in 1875 by and for John S. Goodfellow, Ringsend, Dublin. 1882 Owner Owen Owens, Liverpool. 1.1883 Purchased by George Doust & Henry E. Rae, Gravesend (Gamecock Steam Towing Company).  12.1883 Sold to Francis Cheers, Liverpool.  1885 Owner Edward Simpson, Westminster, London. 1885 Scrapped.


Photo K Haydon colln

Built 1884 by Harvey and Co., Hayle, Cornwall. YN34. L85'. B17.1'. D9.2'. 76grt. 500ihp. 2cyl 16.75"x32"x21"s compound steam engine by builder. ON89542.
1884 Delivered to D. Barker, G G Spicer et al, Gravesend. 1886 Owners Gamecock Steam Towing Co., London. 4-5-1888 In Turners Drydock, Limehouse. 15-11-1888 Towed SS Rutland off Blythe Sands. 22-7-1889 In Horseferry Drydock. 31-8-1894 Dragged anchor off Gravesend and fouled and damaged yacht Dianthus. 1920 Sold to J Davies and Co., Cardiff. 1939 Transferred to J Davies Towage and Salvage Ltd., Cardiff. 1947 Scrapped.

For details see Ship Towage  Ltd. fleet list.

Photo A Hughes colln
Built 1884 by R & H Green, Blackwall. YN471. Iron screw tug. L91'.  B20'.  D10.5'. 143grt. 75nhp 2cyl 20"x36"x24"s Compound steam engine by Alexander Wilson & Co, Vauxhall. Twin funnel and boilers. Single screw. ON89572. [This tug was fitted with a 'Patent Sea Subduer', a device which sprayed oil ahead to calm the sea.]
1884 Delivered to William Giles, George Doust and others, Gamecock Steam Towing Co., Gravesend. 17-11-1894 Foundered Near Girdler LV in Princes Channel following collision with SS Molina. Salvage attempted but vessel had sunk into sand.
Built 1915 by  Ardrossan Drydock & Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Ardrossan. YN264. Steel screw tug. L95.3'. B22.1'. D10.9'. 10nrt. 157grt. 850ihp 3cylTE steam engine by  Aitchison, Blair Ltd, Glasgow  ON135728
3-1915 Delivered to Lawson Steam Tug Co ltd., Newcastle. 11-1915 Hired by Admiralty. 8-1919 Returned to Owners.  6-1920 Transferred to Lawson-Batey Tugs Ltd. 1931 Chartered by Gamecock S T Co Ltd, Gravesend. 8-1939 Hired by Director of Sea Transport. 4-1941 Returned to Owner. 12-1958 Transferred to Blyth Tug Co Ltd., 1968 Scrapped by Hughes Bolckow Ltd, Blyth.
Built 1881 by W Walker, Deptford. iron screw tug. L77.4'. B14.6'. D8.6'. 3nrt. 50grt. 35nhp 2cyl Compound steam engine by James Watt and Co., London.. ON85059.
1881 Delivered to William Walker, London. 1881 Sold to  Mark Goodwin, Southwark. 188?? Owner ? Parsons, London and placed under management of Gamecock S T Co, Gravesend. 3-11-1887 Rescued crew of sinking barge Wheatsheaf off Grain Edge and landed them at Sheersness. 1888 Sold to Mordey and Carney, Newport, Mon. 10-1889 Sold for £1600 to Alexander Towing Company ltd., Liverpool. 1893 Traded in part exchange for new tug Canada. 1908 Scrapped at Tranmere.


Built 1885 by E Finch & Co Ltd, Chepstow. Iron screw tug. L89.6'. B18.0'. D9.8'. 99grt. 500ihp 2cyl compound steam engine by Tyneside Engineering Works Co Ltd, Cardiff. ON89198.

6-1885 Delivered to P Gibbs,G Lee & E Finch, Cardiff. 3-1902 Sold to  Lawson Steam Tug-boat Co Ltd., Newcastle. 5-1916 hired by Admiralty. 8-1916 Returned to owner. [At some time during WW1 hired by Gamecock S T Co, Gravesend to work on Thames during shortage of tugs].  06/1920: Sank at Boulogne after collision with barge. Raised. Repaired at Grimsby.  6-1920 Transferred to Lawson-Batey Tugs Ltd. 6-1934 Sold to Jarrow Dredging & Salvage Co Ltd; cost £500. 3-1942 Sold to  Edmund Handcock (1929) Ltd, Cardiff. 4-1949 Scrapped.Hit quay wall & sank in Cardiff Docks 
 Raised & beached outside docks. Broken up by local scrap merchants.





Photog unknown

Built 1906 by Earle's Co., Hull. YN505. Trawler. L148.4'. B23'. D11.2'. 309grt. 134nrt. 600ihp 96nhp 3cylTE 14"x23"x38"x27"s 185psi steam engine by Amos and Smith, Hull. Acquired 1920. Disposed 1949. Scrapped 1976. ON123234. Callsign HFTM later GDPR.
3-1906 Delivered to Hellyers Steam Fishing Co., Hull.  Hull-reg H.871. 11-1914  Hired by Admiralty as minesweeper . Admiralty No 78.  Armament: 1-12pdr. 1-7.5in BT. [Also Q-ship (aka DIANA, ENID, KIB) 5-1917-4.1918.]
1918 Sold to A Lazarus, Hull. 1920 Sold to Ocean Salvage Co., and converted to salvage vessel. 1923 Owners Ocean Salvage and Towage Co Ltd. 6-1-1938 Towing storm damaged Rumanian gunboat Regina Maria in Black Sea. 1939-1945 Req by Admiralty as salvage vessel. 16-6-1944 Off Dungeness pumping out stored Phoenix units. 1949 Sold to Loucas Matsas and Sons., Piraeus, renamed Marigo Matsas. 1958 Sold to K. Syrmalakis, Piraeus, renamed Manos S. and converted to cable layer. 1976 Scrapped.