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 Message received 4th December 2006.
hello tug just to thank you for your great effort with the information and introducing me again to the old tug hands its been wonderful to have emails from them ?? so would like to just wish you a wonderful Christmas and happy new year please continue with this wonderful web site and happy Christmas to all those old tug hands and the relatives who have sent in to your web page ....peter carter

Message received 30th November 2006.
Hi there tuggies
My dad - Ted Stevens - worked on the Sun Tugs from apprx 1957 - 1995,when he took early retirement at the rank of Skipper.
He and some of his tuggie chums have had a good look at the picture of the crew members of the Sun XII and think they have come up with some names.
They are from left to right : Cook - Mick ?
Mate - Fred Jaques
Fireman - John Young (Jack)
L/Hand - Fred Tapling
Chief - Dick Demayo
Skipper - Dick Collins
Hope this is of help to all of you who are trying to put names to faces.
Catherine Stevens
Hi Catherine, welcome and thanks for the info. Regarding the latter part of your message (unpublished) I have replied to you by E-mail. Tug.

Message received 29th October 2006.

hi again ...peter carter here have just had a look at some of the stories with particular notice of some of the names mentioned Freddy fothergill his son sent a message to you web site I did have the privilege of working in those old tugs with his dad we worked in one relief crew I was the fireman with Freddy also did a short stint with old frank Boyd when he was engineer in the racia working out of woolwhich classified then as the London tugs ??? one particular question asked was did the tugs cock-a-doodle-doo at the new year when I was watchman on the tugs actually went to the bridge and played that cock-a-doodle-doo hope that will answer that little question all the best peter carter W/A.


Message received 25th October 2006.

Hi Tug,
I came accross these photos recently.Taken with a box camera on the Vincia when she was based at Ramsgate in the war.My father was deckhand in her at that time.The tanker being towed after hitting a mine was, I believe, the Phobos
The German airmen with a punctured dingy were from a Heinkel bomber that had ditched and were picked up by the crew of Vincia.
Colin Gardner.


Message received 25th October 2006.

i am the son of john young and i am trying to find out what sun tug he worked on he was employed as fireman & leading hand
from 15/2/54 to 5/7/63 i do have have some photo of the tug and all the crew but have not got the number i was tould it was the sun xiii. i will send the photo`s may be some one could put a names to the rest of the crew.

 Message received 15th October 2006
I'm sending some photo's of the Cervia and Sun XVIII. I served on the tugs in the early seventies, starting as a cook on the Cervia and ended up on the Sun XVII among others. Hope these photo's are of use, brings back alot of memories looking at your site.
Paul Hopper


Message received 12th October 2006.
Enclose copies of Photgraghs taken as Ionia
Do you know that the Ionia was in attendance with the Sun Swale when HMS Jupiter had the collision with London Bridge in the mid 80's.
Will endeavour to obtain owners full details and revert
Norman Hardaker

Message received 11th October 2006.
With regards to Bob Long's email, I do remember 'cockadoodledoo' being sounded when some of Gaselee's tugs were towed away for scrap.
Terry Thomas

Message received 10th October 2006.

It is reported amongst our volunteers that the Thames tugs sounded “cockadoodledoo” on their whistles. Do you know if this is true and if it was Thames tugs in general or just Elliot Steam Company tugs? Thanks,
Bob Long

Message received 4th October 2006
Hi Tug & Site Viewers,
I am looking for photos or information regarding Gaselee's Fossa which was left at the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940. I do know that the German Army found the tug and used it but i know nothing after this or its fate.
Could anyone shed some light on this ? Any photos also welcome. Ben


Message received 29th September 2006.

If space is important then try these two to begin with.
1 the Empire Wold.
2 The crew. Unfortunately I can't tell you what job each man did as the only information that I have is written on the back of one or two of the photgraphs.Names and position or each man is given on the crew photo. All I do know is that my dad fred was born on 30/1/24 making him 18 ish around the time of the sinking. My uncle Eddy would have been around the same age. Unfortunately my dad has past on and I am trying to peice together his life as best I can. My mother can no longer remember anything clearly so I'm trying to contact aunts on my fathers side for more information.
I know that my dad had a part in Dunkirk and all he ever said is that it scared the **** out of him. If I find out anything else for sure I will let you know. but for now the crew photo going from top left is Jackie Morris; Top centre is Ted Bert top right is Harry Draper: Middle left is Fred Fothergill: middle centre is Eddy Onyett: Bottom Left is Eddy Fryer: Bottom right is Billy Jewiss.
There are 2 D.E.M.S. gunners listed as part of the crew as well
I don't know what the initials stand for any Ideas? Anyway they are Bert Winter and Jock Thallon jock probably was'nt his real name but thats what's on the photo. My dad thought that all of these pics were taken off Iceland.I also know that my dad was fireman on that crew.
Also I am trying to build my own website at present where I will put in all the photos I have of this. I would like to have permission to put a link to your site in this section of my site. Wouls that be ok? If you wish when its ready ( It may be some months ) I can send you a link to page concerned to veto it first.
All the best.
Ray Fothergill

Message received 25 September 2006
 My Father was Frank Charles Boyd. he started with Watkins as a boy in about 1928 and continued throughout his life with Engineer During the war he served on the Empire Susan/Rumania .and Assiduous and after coming back to the Thames he was in the Racia,Crested cock. and Ionia.
Attached is a photo of the Rumania coming out of Sydney harbour with Dad standing Forward they towed the inter island liner Canberra from Sydney to Genoa it took four months.
yours aye George Boyd.

Message received 25 September 2006.
I would first like to congratulate you on such a wonderful and informative web site. I just wanted to let you know that George Buchan (Captain, Oceana) was my Great Grandfather. If you or anybody else has more information on him would you be kind enough to email me (you may publish my email address) I have been told by family members that he went on to be a captain of a 'Bovril Boat' for the London County Council.
  Kind Regards

Terry Thomas

Message received 11 September 2006
Dear Tug,
Got your reply about Tanga at Ramsgate. Glad it was of some use.
I se that one of your correspondants is enquiring about photos of the London Mammoth.I have a photo of her being towed up river and also a couple taken from up the crane itself looking down on the tugs alongside of her while under tow.I do not have your correspondents e-mail address so if I e-mail the photos to you will you foreward them to him
Bye the way, I think I have a photo of the Vincia somewhere If it would be of interest to you.My father was deckhand in her at the time and was also aboard her at Dunkirk.where he and Bill Arnold rowed the tugs lifeboat to and fro to the beach picking up many troops.Before he died in 2001 aged 87 he wrote down his memoirs of being on the Vincia during her period on the Dover Patrol
Yours Sincerely
Colin Gardner


Message received 6th September 2006
Hi tug It's Michael Robinson again. I am searching for photos of the old PLA floating Crane LONDON MAMMOTH for some time, now but no luck so far. Now that you have a few new members would you please ask them if they have any, or if it is possible to contact Mr Colin or Stanford who have a few photos on your site. Thank you Michael.


Message received 6th September 2006

Dear Sir
As an ex- tugman of over 48 years service, I do remember that the Tanga was bound for a refit at Ramsgate .If i recall correctly, she was at anchor off Ramsgate and visibility was poor owing to snow and she dragged her anchor and grounded on the Brake sands? Ramsgate lifeboat definately went out and assisted her.
yours sincerely
Message received 2nd September 2006
Hi, my name is Dave Maxwell the grandson of Harry Aldrich captain of the Persia in 1940.In his memory I have just completed the build of a radio controlled model of the Persia, I would show you but I have only just got my computer and have not worked out how to send pictures yet.In addition to this I notice from your web site the name Peter Whitehead he was a good friend of mine in the fifties but we completely lost touch. If you are out there Peter contact me. If any one has any photos or details concerning the Persia I would like to know about them.
Hi Dave, welcome to the Mess Room. I have passed your E-mail address on to Peter Whitehead.


Message Received 26th August 2006
Dear Tug
I have just found your site and it is fascinating. I am a volunteer on the steam tug Challenge and I have produced a web site for her. It is only in its infancy and not very professional looking as yet. I wondered if you would put a link to it on your site, and if I may I would like to put a link to your site on mine. I have attached a photo of her at the Spithead Review and also one in dock at Dunkirk last year when she took part in the 65th anniversary Little Ship cruise there. I am interested to know if there is anyone that served on her or who has a tale to tell about her still around particularly in the war years. Many thanks for a great site, I will return from time to time to keep up to date,
Bob Long.
Message received 25th August 2006
hi, i joined ship towage in april 1959 as cook of the kenia,bill simmons skipper, moving on to the tug simla at woolwich jim miller as skipper, in 1961, finally ending up at shell haven in the avenger, i do remember peter carter, he was with dogee cole is that correct, i transferred to the engine room in 1987, and ended my career as chief engineer on sun sussex in 2003, a good 44.5 years of doing a job i enjoyed,
nolly harvey
Message received 20th August 2006.
Ahoy 'Tug',
As an addition to the crew list of the Paddle Tug, 'Anglia', your readers can add the name of Frederick McBride. My great Grandfather, born in Glasgow, was one of those aboard the vessel at the time when they picked up the 'Cleopatra's Needle' from Spain to bring it to London.
He started his sailing life as a cabin boy aboard the Clipper Ship, 'Thermopylae', sister ship of the 'Cutty Sark', which I have read, they beat home on a number occasions, and by the time he was nine years old he had sailed twice between China and London, bringing tea to Britain.
Later on in his career he was employed by Trinity House and was for a time Master of the Light Vessel 16, which was stationed at Inner Dowser off the Banks. It is now 'serving' as a restaurant on the Medway in Kent.
Tug, you have a very interesting site and it has provided me with a bit more valuable family information, and a picture that I can pass on to my son. Many thanks.
Kind reagards to you and your readers,
Malcolm McBride
Thanks for the info Malcolm. (Malcolm is trying to relate some dates to the above info after which it will be included in Roll Call.)
Message Received 7 August 2006
hello tug
just thought would send little snippet on Michael and My self having a very good chin wag on the olden days of our life in those coal burners we met after such a long time sending e-mails to one and the other we are to meet again to continue the old stories bye for now
peter carter
Great news guys really glad you have met up after all this time. (This message regarding Mike Robinson and Peter Carter meeting up in Western Australia. See previous messages).
Message received 19 July 2006
I have just found your site. I am researching part of my husband's
family, the Hunnables who came from the Mistley, Essex area. He was always told that his great grandfather's brother James Hunnable was part of the crew that brought back Cleopatra's needle. We think he served on the Anglia.
Is there a crew list for this voyage or at any time between 1870 and 1880, and/or is there any record for anyone with the Hunnable name serving with Watkins? There are various spellings for the name Hunnable.
James' brother Thomas was also a mariner between at least 1871 and 1891. although I believe he served on the barges around the coast between Mistley, on the Stour, and London.
James and Thomas' grandfather was also a mariner from the Mistley area, another Thomas Hunnable, born in 1786 and still listed as a mariner on the 1861 census when he was 73. Any one of the three men could have served with Watkins.
If anyone has any information on any of these men, or crew lists for any of the boats/ships associated with the Cleopatra's needle voyage
(Cleopatra commanded by Captain Henry Carter, Steamship Olga commanded by Captain Booth - original boat towing Cleopatra, Fitzmaurice - towed Cleopatra into Ferrol harbour, and Anglia - completed the tow back to London) I should be glad to receive it.
Thank you,
Anne Hewes
Message received 8th July 2006.
I am most interested to see the photo and details of the tug boat  Australia on your web site. I am trying to put together a history of  Appleby Brothers, who provided the engine for this tug boat. Do you have any more details relating to this tug or to Appleby Brothers? Are there details of the engine, contract details etc? Did they supply engines for any other tugs which you know about? They may well have built some tugs and I am looking for details.
John Steeds
Message Received  25th June  2006
have enclosed the large three ( London ) (Sun Essex ) & (Sun Kent) hope they will be of some use to your readers who may have fond memories of working in theses tugs Michael Robinson and I have exchanged some e-mails and stories of our previous experience in the days gone by and hope to meet up very soon thanks for your great effort in bringing us together will endeavor to keep you informed of how it transpires look forward to meeting up with an old tug hand bye for now
peter Carter
Message received 14th June 2006
Have just discovered that my great grandfather was Master of the 'Napoleon' in April 1861. He was James Wade and was born1825 in Gravesend, Kent. I wonder if anyone can help me find out where I can obtain a record of his service and also if possible a photo of the 'Napoleon'.
Kind regards,
Jean Abbott
Message Received 10th June 2006
My name is Martin Luck and I have just aquired a computor to do some family research of their history on the
Thames. I have found your website and it is very informative indeed, but it does not give the parts I am looking for,
which is quite understandable, due to the amount of information there is to record.
I live in north Victoria Australia near the Murray river, where I have lived since migrating 1957.
My Grandmother {Maternal that is } was the daughter of Captain E Reader or Captain S R Reader who were
Masters of the Anglia and Victoria at one time, but I do not know which one, my Mother {The Daughter of
Edward Martin} told me when Iwas a young boy that it was her Grandfarther who brought Cleopatras Needle
back from Spain. But she never told me his name, always just Grandfarther Reader.If someone could be goodenough to inform me who was who I would be very grateful indeed, as it would fill in a very important gap.
I have just built a model of the Cervia, it is radio controlled and has created quite a bit of interest up here.
Yours faithfully
H.M.Luck. {Martin} (Australia)
Message received 5th June 2006
Hi, I worked on the tugs based at Gravesend and would like to know if anyone has a photo (beam on) of the Badia with the oval cutouts along the deck covers. I have a copy of the Java based at Woolwich which I also worked on at the time of the Suez crisis when some of the crews were called up as 'Z' reservists. Please help if you can.
Peter Whitehead.
Message received 4th June 2006
read this site with great interest I left the tugs in 1970 to live in western Australia where I still reside and have retired now but my interest was never far away from the tugs after spending half my life working in most of the named old coal burners cock tugs dick & page watkins ?? I still keep in touch with one old ex hand from my days in those tugs in gravesend kent have great and fond memories of the tug avenger which was like heaven after so many years in the old style of washing in a bucket and no coal dust to take home hope the two photos of the avenger one on the Thames and one in her new colours in Canada are of any use to your collection thank you for bringing back some great images
Peter Carter (Australia

Message received 26th March 2006
Hi, my name is Michael Robinson, now aged 62, living in Perth, Western Australia. I left school in 1960 and joined Ship Towage as a cook with relieve crew 7. This I did for 2 years. I was then sent to the tug 'Racia' as a 3rd hand based at Woolwich Pier. I left Ship Towage in 1965 and Emigrated to Australia. I often think about the tugs and whatever happened to them. Over the last few years I have spent time on the Internet searching for photos and info on the tugs which I have worked on. As a cook in a relieve crew I have worked on all 0f Ship Towage tugs usually a 24 hour shift. I still have some photos in my scrapbook and I now have the book Thames Ship Towage 1933 - 1992. I have also found photos of tugs towing ships in the Thames from shipping companies web sites. I have just been informed of your website and I think it is great. If I can help you in any way with photos or info just ask. Maybe there's a few tug hands out there that might remember me, if so I would like to hear from them. Thanks for starting up your web site.
Michael Robinson. (Australia)