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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the loss of the Gaul, one of the too many trawlers Hull had lost in its golden fishing age.

The Gaul was registered in Hull in 1973 under the British United Trawlers Ltd, with the Arctic Ocean as her main fishing ground. On the morning of 22 January 1974, she sailed from Hull as per usual and headed to the north coast of Norway to fish.

Sadly, the weather steadily got worse as the voyage went on, and the Gaul was not seen or heard again after reporting at 1030 on 8 February. An alert message was broadcasted to all vessels fishing in North Bank, Norway to report any contact with the Gaul on 10 February.

The aircraft carrier HMS Hermes had also joined the search for the Gaul, eventually the search ended on 15 February, there was no sign of the Gaul.

A formal investigation conducted in 1974 made the conclusion that the mostly likely reason for the loss of the Gaul was that she was overwhelmed by a series of large waves and capsized. Thirty-six crew members were lost in the sea, making it the worst single peacetime fishing disaster in the UK.

In 1997 the wreck of the Gaul was found with some help from Norwegian experts, she was discovered to be located some 70 nautical miles (130km; 81 mi) off the northern coast of Norway and lying in 919 feet (280) under water.

An extensive survey of the wreck was carried out in 2002, the Seisranger sailed out to the wreck with members of the Gaul Families Association as well as other experts.

The Gaul H243. Image by Malcolm Fussey
The Bell. Image from STAND

Thanks to STAND for kindly giving permission to use the images.