RSP Home River Severn Tales Chris Witts Seat dedicated to Severn men

Seat is blessed by clergy

10th May 2008

A seat was placed on North Quay at Gloucester Docks in dedication of the life of two well known river men. Albert Charles Tonks (1909 - 1989) and his son Albert George Tonks (1929 - 2006) were both naval men. Albert Tonks snr was best known as a skipper with the tanker barge company of John Harker Ltd., whilst Albert jnr served in the RN before making a career running various pubs in Gloucester.

Albert snr at the age of 29 was skipper of the SEVERN TRAVELLER when in the February of 1939 as his tanker barge towed 2 other barges up the Severn estuary to Sharpness a dreadful accident occurred. The tow rope parted and the 3 barges became entangled and turned over before hitting the Severn Railway Bridge. Albert scrambled ashore at Purton, but tragically 6 crewmen lost their lives that night.

During the 1960's Albert snr became skipper of the large WEASDALE H, the only tanker barge in the Harker fleet with an air cooled engine. Apparently this led to many engine breakdowns!

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