Ross Revenge Home
Transmitter Room
Engine Room
Trawler Days
Generator Room
Up on The Bridge
Feedback Form
Potted History 1999-2004
Sitemap and Page History
You are currently viewing the Trawling pages

The Ross Revenge (Freyr) as a Trawler

When her keel was laid in 1959, the Freyr was the largest side-trawler to be built up until that time. She was consructed in Bremerhaven in Germany, one of three similar designs, but somewhat larger than her two sister ships. The picture below, whch appears on various websites, but to which I have not been able to trace photocredit shows her in pristine condition, appearing to fly a German flag. This was most likley during her sea trials, before she was commissioned and handed to her new owners in Iceland.

My grateful thanks to Andre Wassenaar of Holland for the copy of this beautiful photograph.
Remarkably, the Freyer only spent three years fishing from Iceland before she was sold to Ross Fisheries in Grimsby and renamed "Ross Revenge".

Pictures of her trawling days are few and far between, however, we are indebted to Bill Grummel, now resident in California for contributing the beautiful colour slides featured on the remainder of this page. Her last fishing trip out of Reykjavik was in August 1963, prior to her being bought by her new owners in September that year. Bill was a member of the part Icelandic, part Britsh crew on that last voyage from Iceland, and her subsequent delivery from Reykjavik to Grimsby. He worked on her for a further 12 months.

Here she is, in her original green colours on her last stay in Reykjavik harbour, September 1963. At only just over three years old, the fishing trawls and wire ropes have already taken their toll on her paintwork.

As originally built, she was fitted for side trawling on both port and starboard sides and two jibs to support the nets can be seen. Here we see the trawl net on the starboard side depositing its contents onto the deck. The fish will be gutted, and sorted into different sizes, then stacked down below in the fish rooms. The hatches to the fish rooms are still in place 40 years later, though now they are used as extract fans and vents for the transmitters and AC generator plant. One hatch was converted into the steps into the transmitter room, whilst the for'ard hatch seen here now forms the exhasut stack for the generators.
And here we see trawl nets over the portside taken from the back deck. Note the seagulls hovering in search of free food as the trawl is brought to the surface. In the background you can clearly see the ice covered mnuntains of South-East Greenland as they were in August 1963. When she was acquired by Ross Fisheries she was converted to trawl from the starboard side only, and the portside gear was cut away.

When thsi picture was taken there was no porthole onto the back deck in what was to become the Dutch Studio during the 1980's and is now the "new" Caaroline studio.

Throughout her life the Freyr aka. Ross Revenge has led a hard but exciting life. Although her broadcast career saw many scrapes and bruises, drifting, and close encounters with sandbanks and authority, this is one item which was never encountered in the southern North Sea. Here we see a close encounter with a large iceberg off the eastern coast of Greenland.
It was not only during her broadcast career that supplies ran low whilst waiting for the next illicit tender. During her last voyage from Reykjavik she ran out of potatoes. A nearby fellow Icelandic trawler came to her aid, and using a makeshift breeches buoy, a sack of wet potatoes was transferred across! This pictures also clearly shows the portside trawl nets and a close view of the the trawl gear which has long since been removed from the back deck area. Again, note the lack of porthole from the Dutch studio, but in its place a line of hanging fish. I always wondered what the strange smell was in there!
The "Potato Ship". RE282, Hvalfell. She looks much older than the Freyr, possibly as old as 1930's or 40's.
See the Bosun's Watch pages for more pictures.

Update: Hvalfell was built in 1947 by Cook, Welton & Gemmel of Beverley and Hull for an Icelandic owner. An amazing coincidence that she was built just a few miles up-river from where the Ross Revenge was later to be based, and here they meet off the coast of Greenland.

There are not very many glaciers in the southern North Sea either. Here we see two glaciers making their way around the town of Horn on the northwestern tip of Iceland.
A classic view from the forepeak looking back across the main deck, showing much of the trawling equipment in place. It's interesting to comare this with "modern" views shgowing how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same, four decades on.
Her last trawling trip from Reykjavik ended in the German town of Cuxhaven, where the fish were landed. Here we see the Elbe lightship on the approach to the harbour. Note there appears to be an rigid-hull inflatable alongside her - possibly a tender was taking place at this time. Rumour has it that once the fish had been landed, 150 cases of tax-free top quality Russian Vodka was stowed away in one of the empty water tanks. Once in Reykjavik and cleared through customs, said vodka was enjoyed by one and all for some considerable time thereafter. In order to disguise the fact the hatches had recently been removed form the water tanks, Bill was given the task of re-painting all the tank covers!
Back in Reykjavik, her Icelandic third Engineer and his son stand on the rear boat deck for the last time. The lifeboat, along with the crane, Icelandic flag and many of the ventilator mushrooms are long since gone.
Fellow crewman, Nick Flanigan (of Liverpool) on the bow in Reykjavik harbour.

Bill Grummel, photographer of these fine pictures beisde the anchor windlass, Reykjavik harbour. Stripey zig-zag jumpers were obviously all the rage in Iceland in 1963!

On the last night in Reykjavik, Bill, Nick and few others held a going away party in his cabin and made short work of a bottle or two of Russian Vodka. Staging poses for photographs was as popular then as it was many years later when she was crewed by DJ's and engineers. Note the calendar on the wall clearly shows 4th September 1963. From what we can tell, 42 years later, these pictures were taken in cabin 8, the third on the left side of the passageway.

Her first English Chief Engineer on the sterndeck of the newly renamed Ross Revenge in Grimsby docks.

Our grateful and indebted thanks to Bill for sharing these fantastic slides with us.
All pictures remain the personal copyright of Bill and may not be reproduced without his permission.
If you would like to share your memories of her trawling days please feel free to use our Feedback Form. Thanks.