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About a month ago I came across a wooden model of a Side Trawler by the name of ‘Maartje’ dating from what I assume was the Sixties. It is 84 cm long (33 inches) with a beam of 19cm (7.75 inches).
The then owner had found it in a poor state and had reconstructed and painted to a large degree, but then turned to model trains.
It was not known whether it was a ‘kit’ or ‘scratch’ built but he had however found it was a model of a boat, UK 223, lost with all hands in the North Sea off Texel (NL) in 1967 thought to be registered in Diss UK..
I am aware that such a tragedy is not uncommon with sea fishermen but I had never come across a model of such a boat.
I had some time on my hands so I started to make enquiries and I was surprised how helpful people were. I had contacted the Dutch Embassy in UK, the Press Association in Netherlands and the Texel Tourist Information Centre.
Within a very short time I had responses not just from those sources but also from others they had contacted. A major response was from the Embassy with the names of the crew of five, some were never recovered and important, was information from the Harbour Master of the Port of Urk, Netherlands confirming the boat was registered there and who then contacted the son of the captain of the ‘Maartje’ and gave him my contact details.
I am pleased to say the captain’s son Jauwk contacted me and we are now in frequent communication.
So we now know the date of the loss, the sea area, weather conditions names of the crew and results of the enquiry.
Also very personal and emotional information including the fact that two of the crew were father and son and that the captain’s wife was carrying his son, Jauwk at the time of the loss.
Yes my wife thought the same about the hair styles.............. Probably images chosen from photographs when they were younger and looking their best.
The boat was only only four years old when it went down in a North Westerly gale on 23rd February.
Urk only had some 6000 inhabitants then and such a loss of local men must have been a very emotional time.
When my current project is finished, say after Christmas, I hope to bring the model back to nearer the original full size appearance and put all the pictures and history with it at some of the local 'Boat Days' next year.
A nice project, Neville. It must be terrible when a small community loses so many. The St. Abbs and Wells-next-the -Sea lifeboats were both lost and St. Abbs has fewer than a hundred inhabitants even today. I would love to be one of them. One of my favourite places. But a frightening reminder of what the sea can do.
Winter of 1967 / 1968 was a bad time for trawler losses. St Romanus, Kingston Peridot and Ross Cleveland went down. The St Romanus and Kingston Peridot were side haul boats and this made them unstable when taking in nets that were full. I don't know what type Ross Cleveland was but soon after we had lessons in school about the tragedies and our teacher explained how the later stern haul boats were much safer.