WW1 Steam Trawler 091218 SWNS

Campaign To Return WWI Steam Trawler

A group of trustees are hoping to return the steam trawler to Hull with the help of a local distillery...

WW1 Steam Trawler 091218 SWNS

The Viola was built in 1906 and was used in the Great War (Picture: SWNS)

A group of trustees are seeking to return one of the only surviving steam trawlers used in the First World War.

The Viola was built in East Yorkshire in 1906 and operated from Humber Dock as part of a fleet of boxing trawlers.

However, after a career which included being used to defend the UK in the Great War and as a fishing vessel around the world, campaigners are now hoping to return the boat from a South Georgian beach to Hull, East Yorks.

The trustees have since teamed up with a distillery, who have named their special brand of gin after the Viola.

WW1 Steam Trawler 091218 SWNS
(Picture: SWNS)

Emma Kinton, a co-owner of Hotham's Distillery in Hull said they got behind the campaign because it's an "important part of Hull's history".

“We spoke to some of the people from the Viola Trust and between us came up with the idea of producing a gin dedicated to the ship and to the campaign.”

“The Viola is an important part of Hull’s history and we hope this will help to raise its profile and support the fund-raising campaign."

Paul Escreet, Chairman of SMS Towage and of the Viola Trust, said:

“We’re confident this will be a very successful partnership, promoting the expertise and innovation behind Hotham’s Distillery and raising awareness and money for the campaign to bring the Viola back to Hull.”

When the First World War broke out, Viola and her Hull crew were on the front line of the maritime conflict, steaming thousands of miles on patrol across seas infested with mines and U-boats.

Viola had numerous encounters with the enemy, being involved in the sinking of two submarines.

More than 3,000 fishing vessels and their crews saw active service during WWI and today Viola is almost the only survivor.