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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Trawlers, The Roman, Ashlyn, Gallinule, Ben Urie, & Thistle - Ardrossan, Scotland


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Many years ago I appealed for inormation on these vessels and now, some 15 years later, would like to know if anyone has indeed undertaken research into these trawlers and able to provide a crew list for each.  Throughout 1917, each vessel was based at Ardrossan, Scotland (HMS Pactolus & the 9th Submarine Flotilla).

Roman (The Roman) FD151 - Commanded by Lt A G Sampson RNR.  Crew not known.

Ashlyn FD1 - Commanded by Lt N Cooper DSC, RNR (DSC awarded 1917).  Skipper, William Masson.  Crew not known.

Gallinule LL116 - Commanded by Lt HR Mackay DSC, RNR (DSC awarded 1917).  Skipper, Edgar Mutten RNR.  Crew not known.

Ben Urie SN113 (No details of RNR officer/s, nor crew).

Thistle (Registered No. not known nor details of RNR officer/s and crew).

Thanks in advance,


Edited by RFT
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“Crew Lists” for boats do not exist. Men were frequently being drafted in and out so a ‘crew list might only be valid for the day on which it was compiled. Officers/skippers may be identified from Navy Lists and then have to be cross-referred to individual records of service to determine movement dates. You may be able to identify officers and ratings in a boat’s deck log (if surviving). Sadly, the most complete ‘crew lists’ are those which detail the crews of boats that were sunk. 

There were several boats named THISTLE. The one you are  interested in is THISTLE IV. She was based on PACTOLUS at Ardrossan fron 7 February 1917. GALLINULE was transferred there on the same date, both boats moving from Cromarty/Peterhead (HMS THALIA). THISTLE IV was transferred to Liverpool (HMS EAGLE) on 13 May 1917.

THISTLE, hired trawler, Adty No 909. Built 1906, 228grt, Liverpool-reg LL.64. Armament: 1-3pdr. In service 2.15-1919 as minesweeper. Renamed THISTLE IV 4.16.     GALLINULE, hired trawler, Adty No 908. Built 1907, 238grt, Liverpool-reg LL.116. Armament: 1-6pdr AA. In service 1.15-1919 as minesweeper. 

 I have no trace of BEN VURIE being based at Ardrossan. I have her based at Lowestoft (HMS HALCYON) from 27 April 1915. 

BEN URIE, hired trawler, Adty No 3325. Built 1916, 234grt, Aberdeen-reg A.739. Armament: 1-6pdr AA. In service 1.17-1919 as minesweeper.

THE ROMAN and ASHLYN were both brought into service at Devonport (HMS VIVID II) and moved to Ardrossan together on 7 December 1914. 

THE ROMAN, hired trawler, Adty No 195. Built 1909, 224grt, Cardiff-reg CF.29. Armament: 1-6pdr. In service 11.14-1919.     ASHLYN, hired trawler, Adty No 191. Built 1914, 304grt, Fleetwood-reg FD.1. Armament: 1-6pdr. In service 11.14-1919 as minesweeper. 


Edited by horatio2
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Thank you for your input and to confirm my post has been modified from Ben Vurie to that of Ben Urie (consequence of A G Sampson's handwriting).  It was a long-shot on my part that someone was possessed of crew names from one, or the other, of these trawlers (perhaps from family records).  Thanks  also for the clarification of "Thistle IV."

Interesting to note The Roman and Ashlyn were brought into service at Devonport.  A G Sampson, from Penzance, was appointed to "The Roman" 13th Feb 1917, having previously served on trawler "Amroth Castle."  AGS spent a year with "The Roman" and in Feb 1918 was ordered to report to "Attentive III"  "for command of a Minesweeping trawler and  for minseweeping duties in Area 11."  Details thereafter are sketchy. 

Incidentally, "The Roman," "Gallinule" and "Ashlyn" were involved in the 1917 action which led to Lts Cooper and MacKay being awarded the DSC.  Quoting from the notebook of A G Sampson -

"The trawler. Ashlyn [Lt Cooper], steaming up behind me, about 200 yards astern, struck something (he thought it was sunken wreckage) but I saw the submarine because as soon as I dropped my depth charge I put my stern to helm, hard a starb'd, to come round and have another go.  I was broad side on to the Ashlyn and see the submarine disappear under his bows.  I am confident that it was my depth charge that damaged the sub and made him come to the surface.  The trawler Ashlyn being so close astern of me ran over him.  Lt Cooper was in charge of the Ashlyn and both he and my chum, Lt MacKay, are decorated  with the DSC a few weeks later.  Your humble servant was not even mentioned but I suppose that is the fortune of war - Better luck next time."


Edited by RFT
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  • RFT changed the title to Trawlers, The Roman, Ashlyn, Gallinule, Ben Urie, & Thistle - Ardrossan, Scotland

BEN URIE was transferred to Ardrossan (PACTOLUS) from Portsmouth (HMS VICTORY II) on 16 March 1917, two months after being hired and fitted for service.

BEN URIE, hired trawler, Adty No 3325. Built 1916, 234grt, Aberdeen-reg A.739. Armament: 1-6pdr AA. In service 1.17-1919 as minesweeper.

My previous reference to BEN VURIE deleted.

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