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British Industrial History

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Trawler Elite

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1918. Augusto de Castilho formerly the Trawler 'Elite'

1909 April. 'TRAWLER FOR LISBON. There was launched from the shipyard of Messrs Cochrane and Sons, shipbuilders, Selby, on Thursday, a screw trawler, the principal dimensions being 160 ft. 27ft. by 15ft. moulded. She has been built to the order of Mr. T. C. Laws, of Liverpool, for Messrs Beneaude and Co., Lisbon. As the vessel left the ways she was gracefully christened the Elite by Miss Dorothy Allison.'[1]


History of Trawler Elite [2]

The Elite, a cod trawler built by Cohrane & Sons shipyards in Selby, according to the YN 453 in 1909.

It was the first trawler to catch cod, built by French shipowners to fish cod in Newfoundland and Iceland. In fact it was the result of previous experiments that defined the type. Cochrane built several ships of the same type for the French and in the same shipyard, in particular the sisters ships YN 447 Notre Dame des Dunes and YN 451 Canada

Elite has been fishing in 1909 and 1910, but without commercial success, as Portuguese fishermen did not like the method and to work in teams.

Immobilized, the ship was militarized in 1916 as a patrol ship and proceeded to escort transports and ocean liners, and was renamed Augusto de Castilho.

In Oct 14th 1918 while escorting liner San Miguel with 206 people on board, the German submarine U139 intercepted the convoy between Azores and Madeira. But the patrol vessel faced the submarine allowing the liner to escape. The submarine was a new cruiser, heavily armed and commanded by Lothar Arnauld de la Periere, the crack of the submarine commanders. The submarine needed two hours to force the patrol boat to lower the flag when his ammunition run out and hit several times. The Portuguese captain died with 5 sailors. Meanwhile the liner had increased his speed and disappears over the horizon. The survivors, many wounded rowed 200 miles to reach the Azores. The fight was filmed by German submarine because the captain was a star and the movie still exists today.

This battle is like many others, but for the Portuguese is very revered.

I seek, Elite photographs of the original version, because we did not find any ship as cod trawler and the general plan of the Elite that does not exist, so I beg you to do search the archives of Cochrane & Sons plans and pictures if any. Or at least those of a sister ship. In Portugal there are the drawings of the changes to the ship artillery and other details about its militarization, as well as a half dozen different photos on its military version. And the film of the fight.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Hull Daily Mail - Friday 23 April 1909
  2. Contributed by Ricardo Graça Matias, Lisbon Portugal. 2016/01/11