The steel steam trawler William Jackson was launched from the Selby yard of Cochrane and Sons Ltd (Yard No 838) on 15th January 1918. She measured 138.5′ x 23.8′ x 12.8′ and her tonnage was 327 gross tons, 130 net tons. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by C D Holmes and Co Ltd., Hull delivering 80 net horse power.
Ordered by the Admiralty for war service she survived the reaming months of World War One and was sold to Pickering and Haldane Steam Trawling Co Ltd of Hull in June 1921 who renamed her Lord Byng and registered her in that port H288. Further ownership changes followed before she was requisitioned by the Admiralty for war service as a minesweeper and patrol vessel. She again survived the war and was sold to the Cevic Steam Fishing Co Ltd, Grimsby who changed her name to Evelyn Rose and registered her there GY 7.
In December 1948 she sprang a leak off Iceland but managed to limp safely home. A year later, she tore a huge hole in her bows when she ran aground in the Sound of Islay north of Port Askaig in November 1949. Only a few months prior to her loss she was ashore again, this time on the west coast of Kerrera.
The night of the 30th December 1954 was calm and clear as skipper Dawson steered his ship into the Sound of Mull past the sweeping beam of Lismore Lighthouse. Most of his 13 crew were below decks asleep as they steamed north west towards Tobermory, leaving only the skipper and two deckhands on watch. Just after midnight the trawler ran hard aground on Ardtornish Point within 50 yards of the light there. The crew scrambled from their bunks and rushed on deck to see their ship ashore, with her bows aiming skywards at a crazy angle. They quickly started to get the ship’s boat ready but, disastrously, before they could get it into the water, the ship slipped off the rocks and sank beneath their feet. Only two of the crew, who happened to be at the bow at the time, managed to struggle free and reach the shore. The rest of the crew were either pulled down with the ship or were swept away in the strong tidal streams that run past Ardtornish Point. The two surviving crew members could hear their shouts as they disappeared into the darkness. The survivors walked almost five miles to the nearest habitation to raise the alarm but, by then, it was too late. The rest of the crew were lost and the Evelyn Rose sank in deep water near the shore.
The wreck of the Evelyn Rose lies is 120 metres of water south of Ardtornish Point and, despite the huge depth, has been dived by a few intrepid advanced divers. They report her to be sitting almost upright and intact oriented 051/231 degrees in position 56° 30.910’N, 005° 45.328’W (WGS84). The wreck rises some 5 metres from the muddy seabed.
We would like to thank Lloyd’s Register Foundation – Heritage & Education Centre for allowing us to reproduce documents from their archive in this article.