ONE of last week's photos was of Milford's Skippers and Mates and David Howlett has kindly been in touch with a few more names.

Harry Thompson, Chris Masters Jr, Bobby Kettle, George Knight, Arthur Howie, Jimmy Thomas, Charlie Hyatt, Bernard Davies, Ted Day, Lenny Brown and Jimmy Davies. Thanks David.

I also included a snap of an old Portfield Fair, and mentioned that it would be of some interest to Mike Stevens, from whom I have received, recently, a variety of emails.

Here's what I meant.

"Dear Jeff...Amateur Boxing. I am told my father, Ernest William Stevens, born at 109 Robert Street in 1899, was an amateur boxer, probably circa the 1920's, although the date is a guess on my part.

“There is a story that I have heard within the family that, for a time, he was also a fairground booth boxer.

“I can only guess it was the 1920's again.

“I imagine these fairs were travelling fairs, so they covered a large area. Do you know of anyone who might know anything about the history of fairs, booth boxing, and those who took part in it?"

If anyone has any gen that might help Mike, please get in touch.

A few years ago, in TRM, I touched on the subject of Q-ships, and was helped out by the McClelland family, as Milford Skipper, ‘Jack’ McClelland had, when an able seaman, sailed on them.

It's a subject close to the heart of Mike Stevens, who has carried out an in-depth study of their history, and here are just some of his conclusions.

"2018. A momentous year in which we celebrate two major military anniversaries.

“The end of WW1, and the creation of the RAF.

“As we remember and honour all those who took part in what we call The Great War, there remains an area of naval activity that is rarely spoken of, and is little known.

“I am referring to what were called... Q-ships.

“Firstly, I need to declare a family interest. Bias perhaps! My father served on two Q-ships during WW1.

“The Cormorant and Helgoland.

“What then, were Q-ships? First and foremost they were the Admiralty's response to the menace that threatened to dominate the seas during WW1, specifically, German U-boats.

“Numerous trawlers, colliers and general cargo vessels were adapted and turned into naval vessels.

“Effectively, this meant arming them, usually with 1 or 2 guns, although some may have been more heavily armed.

“The guns were hidden either by false panels in dummy deck housing, or in dummy cargo.

“As far as I can establish, crews were either made up of naval personnel, often comprising members of the RNR, particularly the officers, or they were civilians.

“For reasons of necessary deception, they wore no uniforms and the vessels flew no White Ensign (other than when actively engaging an enemy craft).

“As a result it is likely that any Q-ship crew members taken prisoner ran a high risk of execution as spies.

“To all intents and purposes they were a lure, a target for the U-boats, drawing them to the surface where they were more vulnerable.

“Unsurprisingly, many Q-ships were torpedoed, but, after an attack, a U-boat would often surface to investigate what damage it had inflicted.

“On other occasions the U-boats would simply surface in order to survey the Q-ship more closely.

“Once surfaced, the U-boats were exposed to attack and at such moments the Q-ship crews would deploy their guns and open fire on the German vessel.

“Here's an example.

“In 1917, the sailing vessel Helgoland (before my father's time on board) engaged three German U-boats whilst she, the Helgoland, was becalmed and without wireless.

“Somehow she still managed to avoid two torpedo attacks.

“One of the officers that day, Lt W E Saunders, went on to command the HMS Prize, previously known as First Prize, a converted schooner sailing out of Milford Haven.

“By Q-ship standards HMS Prize was heavily armed with two 12lb guns, two Lewis guns and a Maxim gun.

“Lt Saunders went on to win the VC when the HMS Prize attacked the U-93.

“The German vessel appeared to sink and a British victory was claimed.

“However, the U-boat eventually managed to make it back to port, where it delivered a description that betrayed her attacker.

“HMS Prize was sunk in the Atlantic, in August 1917, flying the Swedish flag at the time, and accompanied by a British submarine.

“As her sinking appears to have occurred during the night, I wonder whether HMS Prize was really sunk as a result of her identity having been revealed, or whether she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was lost with all hands.

“Opinions seem to be divided as far as the effectiveness of Q-ships is concerned.

“Some say they diverted experienced sailors from other, possibly more effective posts.

“Others contend that the losses were too high and the number of U-boats sunk too small and that conventional minefields would have been more effective.

“About 10% of U-boat losses were attributable to Q-ships.

“Whatever their effectiveness or not of Q-ships, I feel there can be no doubt that they operated in unusual, and extremely hazardous conditions.

“The courage of the crews cannot be questioned and deserves to be more widely recognised and acknowledged."

Many thanks Mike, a fine and fitting tribute, particularly as we draw ever closer to Remembrance Day.

Here are photos of the Helgoland, and also HM Prize (complete with snap of Jack McClelland).

Now time for our teasers.

The answer to last week's poser was... clock! …or watch, and ticking over nicely were: Joan Earles, Mr and Mrs Les Haynes, Elinor Jones, John Glover, Tricia Hawthorn, Helen Hawthorn, Margaret and Phil Jones.

Thanks to everyone who got in touch.

Try this one: I am a seed with three letters in my name.

Take away the last two and I still sound the same. What am I?

That's it from me.

Next week there'll be a TRM trawler corner to enjoy, but I'll leave you with another photo... I think it's Lower Hill Street, from early 1900s...but I've no other details.

If you know – please get in touch.