It was the picture below in The News of the stricken cargo ship Hoegh Osaka which prompted Eileen Purnell to contact Remember When in praise of tugs and the crews who work in them.
The sight of one of these hard-working vessels ‘crouched’ beneath the hull of the listing car transporter in the Solent inspired 85-year-old Eileen to pay tribute to the tug service.
She has a special reason: her father, Jack Callaghan Hoar, was chief engineer for the Admiralty tugs in Portsmouth Harbour from the 1920s until the 1960s.
Eileen, of Pembroke Park, Old Portsmouth, says: ‘God bless the tugs, whether they be Admiralty, harbour, ocean-going or fire-fighting, and all who sail in them.
‘They rarely receive praise or even a mention. The big ships, who get all the publicity, could not manage without them.
‘To watch these strong and courageous little ships at work, tugging, pushing, persuading and nestling the huge ships which loom over them is a work of art in itself.’
Eileen says their names alone describe their personalities: Sprite, Stalwart, Dexterous, Bustler, Capable, Samson, Grappler, Volatile, Forceful and Fortitude, to name but a few.
She adds: ‘During the Second World War tugs towed the massive caissons over to Normandy to form the Mulberry Harbour and helped rescue our men from Dunkirk and other beaches.’
She concludes: ‘We should all remember the tug service which performs such difficult, dangerous and sterling work.’