Welcome to our Summer Newsletter

This edition contains Peter Wexham's in depth reminiscences about his time as Endeavour's owner, news about the Summer Reception, Endeavour's return to the water, her appearance in a Dunkirk memorial mural and, a new one for us, this; a prize wordsearch!

We hope you enjoy this newsletter. For those of you that received a print version, we hope you enjoyed the revamped design. Do let us know what you think! For those of you not getting the print or electronic newsletter, here's the new title design, which reflects Endeavour's livery:

Please drop us a line if you have any comments, or visit us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourTrustLeigh/

Fowl Deeds, Foul Weather - Peter Wexham

Peter Wexham took over Endeavour from Joe Deal, his father in law and they went shrimping around 1960.  He recalls Joe's singing constantly in all kinds of weather!

In good weather they were happy songs, but in a gale it was more likely For those in peril on the sea!

"I can remember standing in the cabin with the slider pulled over my head, looking aft on a bleak and sodden night and I can still see Joe standing down in the engine room with oilskin and sou'wester on; with a fish box on its side to shield his face and him singing his heart out."

While fishing off the north side of the channel by the Chapman Lighthouse he and Joe caught a bomb!

"It was about six feet long," Peter says. "We were always catching shells and lumps of aeroplanes and other things we didn't know because they were too heavy for us to lift.  We did get this bomb to the surface and made it fast to the side of the boat.

"This thing was hissing. I expect there was a hole in it where it had corroded. Air was going in and out as we went through the water and Joe was fending it away from Endeavour, the bomb was hanging in a net from two blocks that we used to hoist things aboard with."

Peter Wexham mans the tiller
With their deadly cargo swinging alongside Peter put the boat in gear and steered for the West Leigh Middle buoy, a part of the river where no one normally towed.

"When we got there Joe started to cut the net and told me: "When I say now, put the boat in gear and give her as much engine as you can... then duck!"

The bomb dropped without going bang when it hit the bottom.  Joe had remembered one of the Cotgrove family being killed when his beam trawler hit a mine and blew the transom off the boat killing him and sinking the boat.

Later, while working with Dave Spurgeon white weeding and beam trawling, Endeavour's nets caught a cache of rifles, shotguns and air rifles which the Metropolitan Police had dumped following a firearms amnesty.  These days the Met destroy guns they have recovered but times were different then.

"They were all in working order when they came up," Peter recalls.  "A lot of fishermen were wildfowlers who were grateful for the shotguns."  The rest were dumped near the Nore buoy.

During her working life Endeavour sailed in foul and freezing weather.  Peter had added a wheelhouse which gave some comfort but returning from white weeding one winter evening it began to snow.  Dave Spurgeon was on the wheel while Peter sorted the weed aft.
"It started to blow from the southwest and was snowing heavily. Dave was standing in the wheelhouse door looking over the top to see where we were going.  I came in for a warm and he didn't move a muscle.

Peter Wexham framed by the Thames Estuary
"The spray and snow covered his face and balaclava.  His beard and eyebrows were so thick he looked like he had been caught up Everest.  If he shut his eyes his eyelashes froze together.  It was a very strange sight, but a cup of hot soup did him the world of good."

On another occasion, working off the Outer Tongue lightship northeast of Margate the weather was foul again and Endeavour headed for home. The boat shipped a lot of water and Dave went below to prime the pump.

Peter says: "As he did so there was a shriek as his hand went round the power take-off with the belt giving him, in wrestling terms, an 'Irish whip' which broke his wrist."

A call for the lifeboat went out and when it arrived a large bearded man jumped aboard and said: "Hello, I'm Davy Jones!"

"So Dave is probably the only fisherman to be greeted by Davy Jones and survive.  Dave didn't think it was funny at the time but I'll never forget it."

Peter’s last trip as owner was not to the fishing grounds.  It was 1972 and Britain was about to join the Common Market.  The Government claimed all the resources under the sea, oil sand and aggregate but gave away fishing rights to European control.

Outraged fishermen vowed to protest at Parliament and a flotilla of boats from around the country made its way to the Thames for the journey upriver to Westminster. Among them, Endeavour carrying a handmade banner with SOS on it for Save Our Soles.  The 'o' was in the form of a lifebelt.  "It was a long trip up river and we had some local press with us.  As we went through Docklands all the cranes lowered their jibs to us as we went past.  It was a tremendous sight," says Peter. "I don't think it had ever happened before." 
Dave Spurgeon with Endeavour in the background

"Once we got up the river the police and the Port of London Authority stopped us and we were all told to moor up.  They said one small boat can go through Tower Bridge to make the protest and it was down to Endeavour to do this with the world's cameras watching.  They raised Tower Bridge for us to go up to London Bridge and then back to join the rest of the fleet.  "We were put on a pleasure boat to go up to Westminster Pier.  It had TV cameras on the bow and everyone got in front of them.  Then the skipper gave out over the loudhailer that everyone must move back because he had lost control as the propeller was half out of the water!  "We did our march along Whitehall and the Embankment to Big Ben where we had a coffin with signs on it saying 'British Fish for British Fishermen' and we launched it from the bridge into the water and watched it float down river until the PLA got it out saying it was a hazard to shipping."
"It was a sad day and I had a bad headache, which for some reason I always did when I went to London.  I asked Dave to drop me off at Tilbury where I got the train home. The next day I talked to my family and Dave and sold him my share in the business and never went aboard Endeavour again until we found her years later in Rochester."

We're Back in the Water!

Endeavour is finally back in the water after a long winter where bad weather slowed work down or delayed repairs. Shipwright, Brian Kennell has fixed the rot in the hold while marine engineer Neil Rawlston of Tenenden Marine Engineers from Maidstone has fixed the rudder.

Andy Wood has spent cold hours in Leigh Marina organising repairs and new member Alan Bartram ante-fouled the hull. Neil Goldie from Ipswich donated 90 feet of mooring chain which we shall use to improve the mooring.

New chairman, David Norman was in the chair for his first committee meeting in April and commented: "We are so lucky to have volunteers and trades to help us keep the boat operational. Our committee is so grateful for their help and skills."

One innovation this year will be improved seating for occasions when we have passengers aboard. Until now they have had to sit on the hatches without any support. Temporary seat-backs have been made up which we can install when old soldiers are aboard enabling us to keep them much safer and comfortable.

Our new radio equipment has also arrived and will be installed in time for the Ostend trip.

Summer's Coming (We Hope!)

The Hoy Shanty Crew onboard Endeavour
Once again we shall be holding the summer reception at Osborne Bros in the Old Town on Thursday June 21. Endeavour will be moored nearby while we enjoy the food, the drinks from the Crooked Billet and the songs from the Hoy Shanty Crew.

As usual we shall hold be holding a raffle. Any members who would like to donate a prize should contact Chris Bailey or Finlay Marshall.  The crew will regale you or bore you with their latest trip across the Channel and to Ipswich and to sell you tickets.

We have been lucky in the past with the weather to enjoy Leigh looking its best while we enjoy a pleasant evening.

Tickets are £15 each and an application form is downloadable here.  The Committee look forward to seeing you there.

Have a Walk in the Park

The Trust will be moving inshore in June to be part of Community Day along with other groups from the town.

Our posh new gazebo will be at Bonchurch Park on Sunday June 10.

The free event runs from noon until 3pm. Various exhibitions, demonstrations, performances and entertainment will go on throughout the day.

Apart from Endeavour's stall others taking part include, Leigh Lions Club, Southend RNLI, Leigh Round Table, Samaritans of Southend-on-Sea, Broadway Belles, The Co-op, Essex Hundred Publications and more.

Crew members of the boat will be on hand to talk about the Trust and Endeavour's latest voyage to Ostend or whether they enjoy Belgium’s favourite - eating chips with salad cream. They also hope to be able to tell how enjoyable the trip across the Channel was which will make a change from moaning about “Endeavour Weather”, in other words, stormy.

To entertain children there will be performances from local amateur dramatic and dance groups and Bonchurch Park has a lovely play area.

Artful Surprise

The Endeavour section of John Bulley's Dunkirk mural in Victoria Plaza, Southend
Members of the Trust Committee frequently get asked about the Dunkirk mural in Victoria Plaza. The large artwork by John Bulley has been in place for some time now. His work has appeared on various sites around the town over the years as John follows Banksy by placing pictures on run down sites. A founder of the alternative Estuary Arts Festival John has worked on film sets from Harry Potter to Memphis Belle.

His most famous work is the railway bridge at Camden Lock as well as at London Zoo. The Dunkirk mural was done with help from Shoebury High School, South Essex Homes and Victoria Plaza.

We didn't have room for this in the newsletter, but due to the cramped space where the mural appears, it's difficult to get a decent photograph of the whole piece, however, John Bulley kindly send us three photographs of his draft sketch which we've crudely superimposed upon each other to give an impression of how the full piece looks:

A photograph of the left hand side of the mural with some of the artists from Shoeburyness High School can be found here.


Endeavour, second from the quay, bottom left, at Ostend

Endeavour Wordsearch

Find the following words in the grid:


One correct entry from a member will be picked at random during the summer reception to receive an Endeavour mug and tea-towel. Email solutions to jmarshall678@btinternet.com with your membership number by 15th June.