15 June 2011: This is the tug Triton in 1944, registered at Falmouth, she’s 120ft stem to stern post, about 130ft overall. She had triple expansion steam engine, with the unusual method of going from forward to astern which is normally done by a piston or ram mechanism. On the Triton a small steam engine controlled by a 30inch diameter wheel was spun clockwise to move the valve linkage to the position required. To stop the wheel the engineer pressed his thigh against the the wheel to act as a break.
The deck was teak yacht planking, not the normal steel or iron. She was operated by the Fairplay Towing Co at Avonmouth right through the war years. They were originally from Hamburg, the Borchards escaping sometime in 1939 I believe.
I worked on her as a stoker for 3 or 4 years, 24 on and 24 off, quite arduous at times as we spent up to 18 hrs moving ships around so that they could be discharged of deck cargoe from opposite sides of the ship. Cranes being unable to reach right across many of the ships. American oil tankers carried huge deck loads of planes and we were able to move them from the oil dock to the eastern arm to effect oil discharge and deck cargoe removal within a 24 hour period, and then tow them out on the next tide. Exciting times!!
The tug astern of the Triton is King’s Bristolian. The wartime livery of grey paint had just been abandoned and we were back in our original colors as can be seen by the Bristolians funnel,black red and white.
With thanks to Edwin (Ted) Howell, once of Sea Mills now in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.