Rob Jarman, Editor for Offshore Gaffer's Association, had an amazing chat with Mr. Brian Turner in Poole - who at 92 still remembers sailing in Clover with her owner Eric Thompson. We will shortly post the video he recorded in the conversation... lots of good quality info about Clover and Eric and Hamble and the yards and wartime and post-war activities - he's 92 but has a memory full of fascinating facts!
a few nuggets:
- Eric offered Clover to the Admiralty even before the declaration of war in 1939, but on condition that his skipper Fred Matthews was retained as the sole full time skipper during her use by the Admiralty.
- she was assigned to Coastal Command and based in Falmouth, and used as an inspection vessel for the expert assessment of convoy ships coming across the Atlantic as soon as they entered 'safe' water in the Western Approaches. Many of those convoy ships were damaged and the assessor decided where they should be taken for first safest landing so the cargoes could be salvaged. They took off valuable documents and money. Clover was adapted for this work by:
In 1945, Eric took her back and had all the rigging and original mast and sails re-fitted - Brian did not know which yard did the job - could have been in Hamble or IoW or Poole. Clover was kept on the Hamble mostly and looked after by Moody's yard, even though Eric sailed her also from Poole.
Brian joined as crew to support Eric and Fred when they started cruising again, from 1945. He was recommended by Luke's yard, as he had been working on the Hamble all during the war servicing and fueling the motor patrol launches and landing craft operated by the Solent Patrol - incredibly, whilst still at school... he was contracted by the local RN people to work for them, to free up the Navy for other work.
Brian was aboard Clover when the above photo was taken - definitely in the Solent, in 1947. Brian had several more photos from that shoot.
Eric liked to cruise down the Atlantic seaboard of France and to N Spain - they were the first cruising yacht after 1945 to sail down there, even though the waters will still mined!! to Arcachon and Santander, etc. Frank was the man who knew how to sail and handle a large yacht, Eric liked to work the helm... the 3rd hand worked on the sail handling and equipment, all made very easy by the mechanical gear that Eric had had fitted. Clover was a very kindly yacht to sail.
from about 1947 or '48, Brian joined the Merchant Navy as AB and travelled to Africa, Australia, NZ, Med etc for the next 40 years... Eric used to correspond with Brian's mother and tell her of his cruising plans, so that Brian could join the cruises sometimes. I asked whether any of that correspondence might survive and Brian said no, sadly... Eric did not keep a ship's log, which is quite surprising...
Watch this space for the full video.
Terry founded WBFV in 2014 to build a community of veterans and their families around wooden boats.
Service, Sailing, & Community