Rocked in the cradle of the deep

Many years ago, my stepfather Harry Eastick told me a true tale of an amusing incident that happened to one of his skippers sailing for the Eastick fleet. Known by all as Billy Blackeye.  It appears Billy was trawling for the company off Fleetwood in Lancashire.

It seems that a few days prior to the start of the fishing Season a retired Royal Navy officer of high rank. Had left this mortal coil, and received the Honour of a burial at sea. Unfortunalty the burial took place smack in the middle of the fishing grounds!

Two days into the fishing, Billy Blackeye and his crew on hauling the net and releasing the cod end. Found they had more than they bargained for! So after a few quick, well-chosen words by Billy, the distinguished officer was returned to the deep. Harry then went on to tell me that during the course of the following two weeks, the said gentleman turned up on the deck of at least ten others trawlers and was quickly returned to what was to be his final resting place. (Eventually that is!).

I guess they would have had to get rid of him quickly. Because if my memory serves me correctly. Officially if a dead body is taken on board a fishing vessel the catch is Declared contaminated. Therefore, if a body is observed floating in the sea, the procedure is to radio ashore so that it can be picked up by the local authorities.  

Arthur. E. Bensley



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