Ordered by the Admiralty in 1917 the Castle Class steamtrawler Phineas Beard was launched on 24th November 1917 from the yard of Cook, Welton & Gemmell Ltd., Beverley (Yard No.383). She measured 125.5′ x 23.6′ x 11.2′ and weighed 290 gross tons, 119 net tons and was powered by a triple expansion steam engine by Amos and Smith Ltd., Hull delivering 61 registered horse power. She continued to operate on Royal Navy (LO283) duties after the end of World War One before being sold to Brand and Curzon of Milford Haven (M271) and converted to a fishing vessel in 1920.
In 1938 she was purchased by Milford Fisheries and registered in Milford Haven with fishing number M271. Her fishing career was cut short by the outbreak of World War Two when she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and converted to a minesweeper in 1939. She was fitted with a four inch gun near her bow.
On 8th December 1941 a group of minesweeping trawlers was operating off the Scottish North Sea coast between Arbroath and Montrose. Among this group Phineas Beard was under the command of William McRuvie RNR who had a crew of twenty one men aboard. When steaming east of Red Head the group of trawlers were attacked by German bombers. The Phineas Beard suffered a direct hit and sank quickly. The bombers also hit the Milford Earl in the same attack. The Phineas Beard was severely damaged and sank quickly. Ten of the crew managed to escape form the sinking ship and were picked up by a number of other trawlers operating nearby. The Milford Earl also sank nearby with the loss of four of her crew.
The wreck of the Phineas Beard lies in position 56° 38.392’N 002° 26.444’W in 26 metres of water rising 8 metres from the seabed. The wreck is described as in tact and upright with a thirty degree list to port. The centre section is badly damaged due to the bomb blast. The gun is clearly visible at the bow.