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Ships named "Polperro"

Several ships have been named after Polperro. The earliest reference, to the schooner Polperro, appears in 1805 then owned by Zephaniah Job and commanded by John Clements of Polperro.

In 1898, the S.S. Polperro was built in Newcastle but was torpedoed in the Mediterranean in July 1918. She managed to reach port safely but with three of her crew dead. It is assumed she was salvaged, repaired and returned to service but there is no subsequent record of her.

During World War 1, the name HMS Polperro was allocated to one of the Aberdare class of minesweepers but the names were changed to those of inland towns to avoid confusion and HMS Polperro was changed to HMS Pontypool.

M.V.Polperro 1937 photo: Mr J. Samuel
M.V.Polperro running sea trials in 1937
photo courtesy of Mr J.Samuels
The first M.V. Polperro was built in 1937 in Holland for a Cornish shipping company and was registered in Fowey in 1938. Until the outbreak of war, the Polperro was trading around the coast of Britain, taking china clay to Merseyside and Scotland, bringing back coal to Cornwall. Requisitioned in 1940, she was employed carrying ammunition and stores to Scapa Flow but was released in 1943 after suffering heavy weather damage.

In January 1944, the Polperro sailed from Manchester with a cargo of coal, joining a convoy bound for Cornwall. On the night of 5/6th January the convoy was attacked by a flotilla of six German E boats some ten miles west of Lizard Point and the Polperro and three other vessels were sunk, including the trawler escort. The Polperro went down with the loss of all hands: eight merchant seamen and three naval gunners.

A second M.V.Polperro was completed in 1949 in Bristol for the Polpen Shipping Co. of Falmouth but was sold in 1950 and renamed first Benveg and later Sound Fisher. In January 1957 she sank in the North Sea after capsizing when her cargo shifted. Her crew abandoned ship and were all safely rescued. [A full display of the M.V.Polperro can be seen in the Heritage Museum at Polperro]

M.V.Polperro 1949

Tony White & Jeremy Johns, Polperro Heritage Museum © 2000

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