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Grovehill Shipyard, Beverley: Military Trawlers

Where trawlers were militarised

Today it’s a quiet shipyard in Beverley but on the eve of World War One it was a thriving centre for trawler production in an unexpected location. Nine miles up the River Hull, Grove Hill Shipyard was home to Cook, Welton and Gemmell Ltd from 1901. It was here where the firm played its part in the war at sea militarising trawlers, building mine sweepers, anti-submarine patrol boats and tugs.

One trawler that started life here was the Viola, a small trawler built for fishing in the North Sea that went on to become an unsung heroine of the Great War. Ahead of a life at sea, the Viola, like most trawlers that that started life at Grove Hill, were floated down the river, assisted by tugs, to be fitted with their engines in Hull.

Built in 1906 by the Hellyer Steam Fishing Company, the Viola was requisitioned by the Admiralty to become one of the first vessels to use depth charges.

Location: Grove Hill Shipyard, Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire HU17 0LD
Image shows Grove Hill Shipyard then and now. Historic photograph courtesy of Dr Robb Robinson

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