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Northern Crown GY 284

Northern Crown built 1953 by Cochrane & Sons of Selby
The Vessel was stranded 8 miles SW of Reykjanes Point Iceland 11/10/1956

Her details are 

  • Yard No 1386
  • GT 730
  • Dimensions 183′ x 32.1′ x 15.6′

Below is an article written by Steve Farrow for the Grimsby Evening Telegraph

‘On October 11th 1956, the steam trawler NORTHERN CROWN was wrecked after stranding on the rocky islet of Eldey, eight miles South West of Reykjanes Point off Iceland’s West coast.
Her lifeboats were washed away and the twenty man crew had only inflatable life-rafts to carry them to safety under the watchful eyes of Skipper Colin Newton.
These new rubber dinghies proved to be very reliable and aided by the Icelandic gunboat THOR, all of the men survived the ordeal.
57 men had been saved by these rubber dinghies over a period of one year with four Humber trawlers being lost; the OSAKO, JANE JORGENSEN, and St. CELESTIN.
The NORTHERN CROWN’S SOS was picked up in Iceland at 6.45 am that morning, and the gun-boat THOR sailed immediately reaching the stricken trawler at 9.20 am. Her engine-room was completely flooded by 8 am, for during the night the weather had been really atrocious with a howling South West gale.
Skipper Colin Newton was acting as relief skipper so her regular skipper August Ebernezersson could take two trips off for a holiday.
As the THOR left the scene with the rescued fishermen the NORTHERN CROWN disappeared beneath the waves.
The following day news reached Grimsby that the trawler had sunk in 60 fathoms of water, but all the men had survived thanks to the gun-boat THOR.
The men were taken to Reykjavik and were soon on their way home.
The story of one mans heroism soon became clear, the Chief Engineer Mr. A. E. Horsley of Daunbney St. Cleethorpes, had been on watch when the ship struck the rocks. Immediately he switched off the three oil- burners as the engine-room began to fill with sea water and oil.
He said “The skipper rang down to go astern and my second engineer Mr. A. Letch managed to pull the lever over. The skipper then rang to go ahead and with a little trouble I had managed to manipulate the stop valve.”
That action almost certainly saved the trawler from hitting the rocks again.
Fireman Mr. Frank Mitchell went so far as to declare of the Chief “If it had not been for him I don’t think we would have been here now.”
He claimed that with the engine-room flooded to a depth of four feet, Mr. Horsley turned the trawler ahead after she had struck the reef. “To do that he had to lie down almost on top of the oil with one hand holding a rail and the other trying to turn the wheel. This by some miracle he managed to do. I think only one man in 1,000 would have attempted to do what our Chief Engineer did.” He told a Grimsby Evening Telegraph reporter.
Even when the men were in the life-rafts their problems weren’t over. Once over the side, the rafts began to drift alongside and very close to the crippled trawler. With a lot of wooden planking hanging down from the damaged trawler, there was a danger of it splitting and puncturing the rubber boats. The crew frantically pushed themselves away from the ship and eventually broke free of her. One of the life-rafts capsized and deckhands Douglas Stoneman and John Andrews of Grimsby, were trapped inside the upturned inflatable. Other men who had been thrown into the water, quickly righted the dinghy.
All of the survivors gave glowing praise for these inflatables and stated that without these they would have probably perished.
A reception in Iceland was attended by Captain Kristofersson of the THOR and her other crew members. He was presented with an inscribed silver cigarette box and the Icelandic Life Saving Association received a cheque for £300.
Also there were representatives of the Reykjavikian Skymaster aircraft which led the search, the crew of the MUNINN, which also helped in the search and other officials.

Photo supplied by Photomarine Coection

11/10/1956 Stranded 8 miles SW of Reykjanes Point Iceland