Golden memories of the original Yorkshire Belle

Frank Crawford.
Frank Crawford.

MEMORY Lane is one of the most popular features in the Free Press.

Almost every week readers get in touch with their memories of people, places and events sparked by many of the old photographs we have had brought or sent in or have come from the Local Studies archive at Bridlington Library.

The original Yorkshire Belle leaving Bridlington harbour.

The original Yorkshire Belle leaving Bridlington harbour.

Few have evoked such happy memories of summer holidays ‘as they used to be’, as a letter and photographs we were sent from Jim Mears.

Now aged 93 and living in Chillaston in Derbyshire, he remembers with the help of old photographs he found at home, the happy times he spent in his early 20s on summer holidays in Bridlington more than 70 years ago in August 1938.

He recalls the characters, and the fun, of the entertaining crew of the original Yorkshire Belle.

Built by A & W Crawford, and launched at Welton & Gemmell’s Beverley shipyard, the brand new pleasure cruiser arrived in Bridlington in May 1938 ready for its first holiday season.

It was the first time at sea as her trials had been carried out on the River Humber and most of the pictures Jim sent are from August of the same year.

Writes Jim: “We knew all the crew, a great bunch of blokes. Alec did his monologues, Tommy Fisher provided the music and Jack Pockley kept us all in order.

“I can still hear the music and singing coming over the water on a summers evening and the Yorkshire Belle lit up overall off shore.”

But just a year later, Britain was to declare war on Germany and everything would change.

Tragically the Yorkshire Belle was destroyed during the Second World War when she hit a magnetic mine in the Humber and was lost with all hands.

The replacement Yorkshire Belle was built in 1947 also by Cook, Welton & Gemmell of Beverley.

“Sadly Alec went down with HMS Glorious (aircraft carrier sunk off Norway by the German navy in June 1940) I spent three years as a Prisoner of War but with a great little bloke, Baggy Emmerson - anyone know him?

“I am aged 93 now, but I’ll always remember our summer holidays in Brid. I hope these photos will be of interest,” writes Jim.

Here are some of Jim’s Bridlington memories, with his own captions.