Home : The Happy Return : Her History : Loss of Good Intent : Archive Press Cuttings : Old Photos of Happy Return
The "Happy Return" and what is known of her history:
Quick links to her history on this page:-
Folkestone 1900's - Folkestone 1920's - Folkestone 1940's - Folkestone 1960's -
Kings Lynn 1969 - Swanage 1971 - Working at Swanage - Penzance - Restore - Launch - Afloat - Dedication
1904: On the 5th October a Cornish Lugger ow ned by John Warman Saunders Snr. (1851 - 1928) called the "Good Intent" (FE21) was was lost in a gale at Folkestone and the 3 crew, John Warman Saunders Snr. 53,and his two sons, John Warman Saunders Jnr. 32 (1873 - 1951), and his brother Edward Saunders, 26 (1878 - ?), were saved. Both John Snr. and Jnr. were known as "Jack". This story is told in detail on the link "Loss of Good Intent".
On the 8th October the Mayor of Folkestone made an appeal for £200 towards a new boat for John Saunders. This was ordered and the new boat was laid down at Kitto's yard in Porthleven.
1905: Captain Saunders' new boat arrived at Folkestone from Porthleven on March 7th 1905 as the Mayor's appeal had raised £121.9s. The boat was called the Happy Return - reflecting the safe return of the three crew. The cost of the boat was £180 and on April 4th it was registered with a gross tonnage of 18.19 and 37'3" length x 13' breadth x 7' depth. Saunders had five or six other boats which were all distinguished by a fish weather vane.
1916: February 18th - Kelvin 8 hp auxiliary engine fitted.
A newspaper cutting dating from around 1912 showing the Folkestone Fishermen's fife and drum band with John (Jack) Warman Saunders fifth from left in the back row.
(This is taken from a press cutting from the South Kent Gazetteer Wednesday 10th March 1982. It shows a picture of a Folkestone Fishermen's fife and drum band believed to be taken around 1912 just before a trip to Crystal Palace for a band contest. It is thought that the last performance was just before the outbreak of the First World War at the Royal Albert Hall. John Warman Saunders Jnr. an original owner of the Happy Return is clearly marked fifth from the left in the back row)
1929: February 22nd - John Thomas Warman Saunders Jnr. took over ownership from his father. All Folkestone fishermen had nicknames and his was 'Spratter' Saunders.
The first photo below was taken around 1920 and then there is a photo taken in Folkestone harbour between 1930 and 1933 showing the Happy Return FE5 and FE 55 (Florence Nightingale-owned by Richard Brice, broken up in 1933), FE145 (Masterpiece-owned by Bob Baker) FE69 (Ellen), FE126 (Pegden Bros.-owner Sprat Punt). The photo is by courtesy of Alan F Taylor.
1941: July 18th - John Fagg also of Folkestone became the new owner and amongst the crew were believed to be Bob and Harry Featherbe according to Mrs Audrey Johnson of Capel whose father was John Fagg. He owned FE 89, and the second FE 21- the Dorothy Margaret, built in Ostend. Note that in a press cutting from about 1912 there is also reference to fisherman William Henry (Blacken) Fagg, George (Darky) Fagg and Stephen (Red'un) Fagg
1948: August 25th - W M Grayling of Folkestone became the new owner. It is believed that Fred Featherbe who died in 1953 was a crew member around this time and perhaps earlier as his grandson John Howkins remembers sailing with him as a boy in the early 50's.
1963: September 5th - William Gale of Folkestone became the new owner and did an extensive refit. A 46 hp Ailsa Craig 4 cylinder diesel was fitted with the prop shaft through the deadwood. The sheerline was raised with new top strakes and covering boards, masts were raised onto a tabernacle on the deck (instead of a scottle) and the masts shortened and the mizzen moved aft. A wheelhouse was also added and the tiller shortened.
1969: Alan Rake of Kings Lynn became the new owner on February 17th 1969 and she was renamed Britannia and registered LN 224. The registry was cancelled at Folkestone on this date and FE5 was allocated to another vessel in 1982.
1971: Peter Barrett of North Cheam, Surrey (later of Swanage) purchased the vessel for £1250 on January 16th 1971 and became the new owner. A new Oak keel and Oak transom was fitted, some deck beams and planks were renewed. The Ailsa Craig was reconditioned in June 1971.
1972: April 19th - Decca Navigator Mark V installed. May to June - a Parsons "Barracuda" Mk11 105 hp marine diesel engine based on a Ford "Sabre" 2704E with Borg Warner reverse gear was fitted together with new electrics, controls, propeller shaft and 27" propeller by Reeves marine Services, Poole, Dorset. On June 20th it was registered to Peter Barrett.
1974: 8 planks with an average length of 8' were replaced on the port side forward after a speed boat caused accident damage whilst on her mooring. This first picture was taken at Swanage during the late nineteen seventies to early eighties and the others are taken during Peter Barret's ownership.
1987: She went ashore in a storm and was an insurance "write-off". Peter Barrett bought her back and reinstated her
1988: Engine overhaul by James & Harmer
1997: James & Harmer worked on the engine & took the cylinder head off
1998: January 15th - last day of fishing and the registration was closed.
1998: February 27th - Britannia decommissioned and ownership handed over by MAFF to the North East Lincolnshire Borough Council for the National Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby. It was identified as a vessel of heritage and historic importance to be matched by the Centre with an organisation interested in it's preservation. The National Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby subsequently hand the responsibility for Britannia over to the MBLA.
1998: Britannia was delivered to Penzance harbour on May 4th 1998 by the previous skipper Peter Barrett. She was returned to Mounts Bay after 93 years in the fishing industry for restoration by the Mounts Bay Lugger Association to her original condition. Some of the original members are seen here aboard lying alongside the Albert Pier in Penzance.
2000: November - Restoration starts and boat transfered to KAB Metal Work at Rospeath Industrial Estate, Crowlas
2002: March 25th - Formal transfer of ownership of Britannia to MBLA!
2002: September 11th - Receipt of the sails and unveiling of the new rudder by the Mayor of Penzance
2003: March 10th - Transfer from her site after 27 months at Crowlas by police escorted low-loader and re-launch by heavy crane into Penzance harbour alongside the Albert Pier at 3.30 pm. Peter Barrett, the previous owner, was delighted to witness this emotional event and was thrilled to see the boat he spent 27 years with, refurbished and back afloat.
2003: March 11th - Inspected for leaks and found to be dry, taken out through the harbour gaps under her own power for first brief sea trial before being moored in the Penzance wet dock to be fitted out.
2003: May 21st - 4.5 tons of lead ballast cast into 28 lb ingots have now been taken on board and 9 spars have been made by the association members. The wood for the two masts has arrived and is Douglas Fir "clear and better" timber and the lamination will start straight away under the direction of Keith Billington who had experience of wood lamination with work carried out for the National Trust. 80 odd metal clamps have been fabricated for the job.
2003: June - July - All the cordage kindly donated by Martin Heard, main and mizzen masts completed and metalwork and blocks now under construction.
2003: August 4th masts stepped early Monday morning on the Albert Pier.
2003: Saturday 16th August first sea trials after bending on the sails.
2003: On Sunday 24th August Happy Return was standing off to support the Newlyn Harbour Christmas Lights Raft Race.
2003: On Monday 25th August 2003 Happy Return was moored up in Newlyn harbour for the Fish Festival then back to the wet dock in Penzance.
2003: On 14th October a full survey was carried out and during the autumn-winter lay-up the interior fit-out was started.
2004: 18th April H.R. slipped for scrubbing, anti-fouling and painting of the hull.
2004: May 16th: Re-dedication Albert Pier Penzance 3.30 p.m.
2004: June26th-27th: Quay Fair Day at the Golowan Festival
2004: July 2nd - 4th: Attended the Mousehole Sea Salts & Sail
2004: July 10th-16th: Attended the Brest Festival after sailing from Penzance
2004: July 16th-20th: Took part in the Parade of Sail to attend the Douarnenez Festival
2004: August 8th - 14th: Falmouth Regatta Sailed in the Classics Race and came second in class. Moored alongside the National Maritime Museum as guest exhibit.
Events after this date and more details on the restoration are documented elsewhere on this site.
Read about the loss of the "Good Intent", the fore-runner of the "Happy Return"