Iago Steam Trawler Co Ltd, London & Fleetwood & MacLine Ltd, London

(Cdr. Edward D.W. Lawford, manager – later William J. Meazey, manager)

The company had its origins during WW1 when two vessels, Ariel (II) (H843) and Iago (H963), both requisitioned for war service, had been purchased from the Hellyer Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Hull, by Mrs E. M. Lawford and Charles Curzon, Milford Haven. After being invalided from the Royal Navy in 1919, Commander Edward D. W. Lawford, took over the management of these two trawlers on their return from service, and in 1920 established what was initially known as The “Iago” Steam Trawling Co Ltd, based at Milford Haven. After operating from both Milford Haven and Lowestoft, Commander Lawford opted to move to Fleetwood saying that the port offered low costs and excellent fishermen. He already had the Wellvale (FD140) operating from the port and transferred six well maintained ex Admiralty “Castle” class trawlers, Daniel Clowden (LO129), John Cattling (LO364), Peter Carey (LO126), Richard Crofts (LO365), William Cale (LO79), William Humphries (LO533), two ex Admiralty “Strath” class, Keyes (LT580) and Sturdee (LT988), and the newly built, white hulled, Admiral Sir John Lawford (LO129) and Red Gauntlet (LO33). Always concerned about matters of welfare, the Company cultivated a family atmosphere and the ‘Commander’ was always concerned when men left to work for other owners. Long an advocate of better living and working conditions onboard the trawlers, he pressed for accommodation aft for all the crew, a practise later to become standard in trawler design.

MacLine Ltd, London

(Cdr Edward D.W. Lawford, manager)

Another company that arrived in Fleetwood shortly before Brixham Trawlers was the MacLine Ltd a subsidiary of the Unilever Group. Unilever had bought the fish meal factory of Isaac Spencer & Co Ltd who also produced cod and fish liver oil and had a MacFisheries enterprise in the port. Influenced by Commander Lawford, the Unilever Group had fifteen ships built in Germany as restitution for credits which had been frozen in the industrial depression that had proportionally affected Germany more severely than other European countries. These fifteen ships, built in 1936, although coal burners, had very sophisticated propulsion, a triple expansion engine with an LP exhaust turbine, double reduction geared driving the propeller via a hydraulic coupling and with a distinctive hull form incorporating a Maerform bow, capable of 16 knots. All were given names with the Northern prefix and registered at London, but at 188ft they were really too big to be economic at Fleetwood, despite being managed by Commander Lawford. Some of the ships were moved to Hull, but in October 1937 a new company, Northern Trawlers Ltd, was formed with registered offices in London and all fifteen ships sold to them and transferred to Grimsby. As a class they proved to be excellent fishers and were destined to play a very important part in the War with Germany that was to follow shortly. Macline carried the same funnel markings as Iago Steam Trawler Co Ltd.

Funnel – Black with single Red band
Hull – Older trawlers Black early vessels White. Newest diesel trawlers, light Mauve

Funnel Colours

Iago Steam Trawling Company Limited

Iago Funnel Colours

Hull Colours

Iago Steam Trawling Company Limited

Hull colour Light Mauve, you can just make it out on the bow. Click for larger view

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