British Fernmoor

On page 23 of the June 2016 edition of Sea Breezes, is a picture of the Norwegian motor ship Fernmoor (1928 - 1960) which was once owned by the Fearnley and Egar organisation.

A fine looking tramp vessel which served the allied cause well throughout the Second World War. Probably, as far as British shipping enthusiasts are concerned, a better remembered Fernmoor would be the one built in 1937 for the Runciman shipping enterprise. She had a shorter life than her Norwegian name-sake, being wrecked during her 17th year.

As far as I am able to determine, the British Fernmoor made news headlines twice in her life. Twice two many as far as an ordinary tramp type vessel is concerned! Her initial appearance in the headlines occurred in 1948 when she broke down in the vicinity of the French Polynesian island of Rapa and was towed to Auckland by the P&O motor vessel Palana. Approximately 2,500 miles were covered during the 21 days under tow. Captain F R Spurr, Palana’s Master, was duly recognised for his seamanship with an award from the Royal Society of Arts.

During February 1954, the Fernmoor ran ashore off Palawan Island in the Philippines and so, for the second time in her life, she made the news. The Master of the ship, when she was towed by the Palana, was Captain Frederick Lamb, a fine Tyneside shipmaster with whom I have had the pleasure of serving. My deceased friend and fellow Welshman, Captain Roy Jenkins, was 2nd Mate on her when she was lost and I am still in touch with another Sea Breezes subscriber, Mr Gareth Llewelyn of Anglesey who was her Radio Officer when she went ashore.

The Fernmoor’s sister ship was the Kirriemoor which lasted under various flags until 1965.

CLIVE SPENCER
16 Stableford Drive
Pye’s Pa, Tauranga
Bay of Plenty
New Zealand 3112
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