It’s all in the language!

By TASC Member Tom Purvis (River Tyne Pilot Retired)

Talking with Tom Purvis the other day, he remarked on how seeing his father’s photograph on our website, reminded him of the following story…

He was piloting a small naval vessel up to Newcastle quay, and, as is the ‘Navy Way’ they always berth head-out, ready for a quick get-away. A Tug was ordered to help swing the sweeper and tow up stern-first from the swinging area at Tyne Main. It was common practice (and still is) for the commander to have ‘His Pilot’ (usually a junior officer) control the vessel. However, normally when a tug is involved-and especially when towing stern first, for the river pilot to take over.

But in this case the Captain asked my father if his pilot could carry on. As they approached the berth the officer shouted to the tug ‘Varst tow tug’ the accent not being native to the North East Coast! The Captain was none too pleased when the tug appeared to ignore his command. Father stepped in and shouted ‘Eeasy Ower Jimmy’ To which the tug quickly responded. You can imagine the look of disbelief on the officer’s face! …He had assumed that the crew on the tug spoke English!….wrong!!

Tyne Pilot Boat Memories

We thank  T.A.S.C. Member Tom Purvis (River Tyne Pilot Retired) for the following pictures and information.

Pilot Boat 'Caer Urfa'
 Pilot Boat ‘Caer Urfa’

Built 1957 by Millers of St. Monance. On Station from May 1957 and sold June 1986

Model made by Tom Purvis

Pilot Boat 'Protector'
                      Pilot Boat ‘Protector’

Built in 1907 by JP Rennoldson of South Shields. Destroyed by enemy mine on the 31st December 1916 with the loss of all hands – 19 Pilots and Crew.

Model made by Tom Purvis

Pilot Boat 'Queen of the May'
            Pilot Boat ‘Queen of the May’

Ex. Private Yacht of the Coates family (of cotton thread fame) Acquired in 1917 as replacement for ‘Protector’ Sent to Forth in 1940 and requisitioned by the Admiralty August 1943

Model made by Tom Purvis

Pilot Boat 'Britannia'
                   Pilot Boat ‘Britannia’

Stand-by Cutter from 1920 – 1938. Steam Drifter built 1907

Model made by Tom Purvis

Pilot Boat Rebecca
                           Pilot Boat Rebecca

(Tom Purvis’ Grandfather’s coble)  This model was whittled from a single piece of wood by J Purvis (Pilot) and dated 1910