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Interviews with William Hawkins of Rushen and Fred Palmer of Peel about fishing and seafaring

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Date(s): 1971

Creator(s): Manx Museum

Scope & Content: Track 1: William Hawkins (born 8 September 1887) of Rushen talks to Margaret Killip about how he was born in Fistard and how his father was lost at sea. He talks about how, aged 14, he started work as a cook on fishing boats; joined royal naval reserve at Peel battery aged 17; signed onto ships in Liverpool and describes crew accommodation; joined the crew of the 'Ben My Chree' in 1927 and how it was at Dunkirk during the Second World War. He mentions how his first wife died suddenly and how he went to Belfast as watchman; describes which boats he spent his summers working on; being on a boat in bad weather; low wages and number of crew. He ends by explaining how his family came to the Isle of Man; schooner trips of his father; mother working in net factory; and lack of jobs for fisherman in the winter.

Track 2: Fred Palmer of Peel talks about the boat the 'Fear Not’ and the crew. He talks about a fishing expedition; describes the nets; explains how herring is caught and sent to Douglas for curing; story of a boat en route to Dublin on 11 December 1883 which was driven onto the rocks; fierce gale in Peel when boats tried to come in to harbour and the lifeboat search; ownership and crew of boats; opinion piece in 'Guardian' 1886; fleet cargo schooners and smacks in Peel; sailors and where they trained; 1840s flood; navigation school of early 1800s; Peel shipyards. He reads a poem about a boat sinking. He talks about the launching of boats; tunnel and chambers facing Peel Castle, purported to be centre of smuggling; the ruins of St Peter’s church; story of a stormy day in Peel and a funeral party on a ferry that overturned with coffin going out to sea; dates and description of church, its upkeep and services.

Administration / Biographical History: Margaret Killip, Manx Folk Life Survey recorder.

William Hawkins was born in Port St Mary on 8 September 1887.

Language: English

Extent: 1 hr. 8 min. 53 sec.

Item name: magnetic tape

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: ITEM

ID number: SA 0110

Access conditions: All reasonable attempt has been made by Manx National Heritage to trace and request permission (where needed) from the copyright holder(s) in this sound recording. If however you think you are a rights holder then please contact Manx National Heritage.

Subject tags : #UOSH, #UOSHManxFolkLifeSurvey


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