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Girl Pat (1935 trawler)

Girl Pat was a small shing trawler based at the 1

Lincolnshire port of Grimsby, whose unauthorised
transatlantic voyage in 1936 caused a media sensation.
The escapade ended in Georgetown, British Guiana, with
the arrest of the trawlers captain, George Dod Orsborne, and his brother. The pair were later imprisoned
for the theft of the vessel.
Built in 1935, Girl Pat was the property of the Marstrand
Fishing Company of Grimsby. On 1 April 1936, Orsborne, with a crew of four and his brother James as a
supernumerary, took the vessel out on what the owners
authorised as a routine North Sea shing trip of two to
three weeks duration. However, after leaving port Orsborne informed the crew that they would be going on an
extended cruise in more southerly waters. Nothing more
was heard of them until mid-May, when the owners, who
had by then assumed the vessel lost, received invoices
relating to its repair and reprovisioning in the northern
Spanish port of Corcubin. Subsequent sightings placed
her in the Savage Islands, at Dakar in Senegal, and les du
Salut o the coast of French Guiana in South America.
Her main means of navigation during a voyage of more
than 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) was a sixpenny
school atlas. At one point Girl Pat was reported wrecked
in the Bahamas, with all hands lost. After the vessels
capture and detention following a chase outside Georgetown on 19 June, Orsborne and his crew were hailed as
heroes by much of the worlds press.


Grimsby shing vessels, early 20th century

George Black Orsborne was born George Black on 4

July 1902,[n 1] in the small north Scottish coastal town
of Buckie. He assumed the Orsborne name when his
widowed mother remarried and moved the family to
Aberdeen, where George, nicknamed Dod, spent his
formative years.[5] When he was 14, Orsborne lied about
his age and enlisted as a Boy Seaman in the Royal
Navy; in his memoirs he wrote: I never did have an
adolescence.[6] He served in the Dover Patrol, and was
wounded during the 1918 Zeebrugge Raid.[7] After leaving the Navy in December 1919 and working ashore for
a brief period, he was persuaded by a former captain of
the Cutty Sark, Captain Wilkins, to go back to sea.[8] He
joined the merchant navy,[9] sailing mainly in small ships
based in Liverpool. At 21 he passed his masters ticket examinations and took over his rst command, a Grimsby
trawler.[10] During the following ten years, his career, he
said, included a bit of everythingrum-running, whaling, deep-sea trawling in the Arctic.[11] In November
1935, back in Grimsby, he became skipper of the former seine shing boat Gipsy Love, which its owners,
the Marstrand Fishing Company, had converted into a
trawler.[12][n 2]

In court in October 1936, charged with the theft of the

vessel, George Orsborne based his defence on a claim that
the owners had instructed him to get rid of the ship as part
of a scheme to obtain its insurance value. This was dismissed by the court. Years later, in his memoirs, George
Orsborne told a dierent, uncorroborated story: in absconding with Girl Pat he had been carrying out a mission
on behalf of British Naval Intelligence, connected with
the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936. After his release Orsborne participated in further maritime
adventures, including naval service in the Second World
War. He died in 1957.

In Georgetown Girl Pat was acquired by new owners who

returned her to Britain, where she was displayed as a
tourist attraction in several resorts. She was then sold to
the Port of London Authority for use as a wreck-marking
vessel, and after being requisitioned by the Royal Navy 1.2 Crew and vessel
during the war, was returned to the authority in 1945.
There is no public record of her subsequent career.
In March 1936, for his second voyage in Gipsy Love,
Orsborne attempted to engage the services of an experienced seaman, Alexander MacLean, to whom Orsborne

conded that the trip might go further aeldperhaps

to Bermuda or South Americabut MacLean declined
the opportunity.[13] The mates berth was then oered
to Harry Stone, a local seaman who did not possess a
mates ticket but was told by Orsborne that he could use
MacLeans number.[14] The other crew members were a
Yorkshireman, Hector Harris, and a 17-year-old Scottish cook, Howard Stephens.[15] The formal crew was
joined by Orsbornes younger brother James, a grocer,
who had no formal status on board and was later classied
as a stowaway.[16] Gipsy Love left Grimsby late in March
1936, supposedly to sh in the Dogger Bank area of the
North Sea, but within hours had returned to port with engine trouble. With the consent of the owners, Orsborne
transferred stores and crew to another Marstrand vessel,
the small trawler Girl Pat; James Orsborne again joined
Built in 1935 in Oulton Broad, Suolk, Girl Pat was a
vessel of 55 gross registered tons, 66 feet (20 m) long
with a beam of 18.7 feet (5.7 m), and accommodation
for six.[1][18] Some sources refer to her as a seine netter,
suggesting that like the Gypsy Love she had been converted to trawling.[19] She was insured with underwriters
for 3,000.[20] Her regular engineer, George Jeerson,
was added to the crew for the voyage.[21]


First phase: Grimsby to Corcubin

Girl Pat left Grimsby on 1 April 1936. When they entered

the open sea, according to Stones later account, Orsborne
assembled the crewexcept for Jeersonin the wheelhouse and told them that this would not be a normal shing trip.[22] Instead, he proposed to take the boat south,
rst calling at Dover where he would get rid of Jeerson,
who was not included in his further plans. At this stage
Orsborne was apparently undecided as to his longer-term
intentions, but indicated that they would be sailing into
southern waters and might go shing for pearls.[14]


On 3 April the craft reached Dover, where Jeerson was

taken ashore and given food and drink. When he returned to the harbour, Girl Pat had departed; the engineer returned in some confusion to Grimsby.[21] As Girl
Pat sailed into the English Channel, Orsborne revealed
to his crew that the vessel contained no charts, and that
future navigation would be dependent on a cheap school
atlas that he produced.[7] He changed details in the boats
log book, entering himself as G. Black, Stone as H.
Clark and James Orsborne as A. Black.[14] After anchoring o Jersey in the Channel Islands to await calmer
weather, Girl Pat proceeded southwards through the Bay
of Biscay. Orsborne ordered changes to the boats appearance: the bowsprit was altered, and the shing registration number on the side of the hull was blacked out.
According to Stone, Orsborne indicated an itinerary that
included Madeira, the Canary Islands, the African coast
and, eventually, Cape Town.[23][24] They might then sell
the boat and share the proceeds.[25] Severe weather in
the Bay of Biscay hampered progress and battered the
small vessel, and on 12 April they took shelter in the
small northern Spanish port of Corcubin, where they
stayed for around 14 days.[26] Necessary repairs were
carried out, and the boat was reprovisionedOrsborne
instructed that the accounts for these services, totalling
235, be sent to Marstrands in Grimsby, as their punishment, he later said, for letting the boat be taken out with
inadequate stores and equipment.[9]
Following Jeersons return to Grimsby, Marstrands
were puzzled by Orsbornes actions, but initially thought
that he had taken on another engineer in Dover and had
gone shing, perhaps in new grounds.[27] There were unconrmed sightings of Girl Pat in the Baltic Sea and
elsewhere. As weeks passed with no denite news, the
Marstrand directors assumed that the vessel was lost, either through foundering or barratry, and claimed insurance. They had received sums totalling 2,400 from the
underwriters,[20] but were then surprised by the arrival
of bills from Corcubin, together with the news that Girl
Pat had sailed from the port on 24 April, her destination

2.2 Second Phase: Corcubin to Dakar

The northern Spanish town of Corcubin (photographed in

2011), where Girl Pat rested in April 1936

After Girl Pat left Corcubin there was speculation in the

port that Orsborne intended to sh in the waters around
Gibraltar, but there was no sighting of the vessel in that
vicinity.[29] Stone later recalled that after sailing for some
time, they arrived at some uninhabited islandsthis is
consistent with a probable sighting by the British liner
SS Avoceta, which on 17 May reported seeing a vessel
closely matching the trawlers description, anchored in
the Savage Islands. This small uninhabited archipelago,
roughly 170 nautical miles (310 km) south of Madeira
and roughly the same distance north of the Canary Islands, had long been associated with stories of pirates
buried treasure, and news that Girl Pat had been seen


Third Phase: Dakar to Georgetown

stated that no requests had been made for the detention of
the vessel in foreign ports;[39] however, two weeks later,
Walter Runciman, the President of the Board of Trade,
conrmed that, on behalf of the underwriters, the Foreign Oce had asked that Girl Pat be refused credit and
detained on entering any port.[40]

Reefs on the deserted coastline of the Savage Islands

there gave rise to press speculation that she was engaged The les du Salut, where Girl Pat is believed to have watered after
on a hunt for treasure.[30][31] Lloyds of London sent a rep- crossing the Atlantic
resentative to Las Palmas, to investigate the sighting;[32]
meanwhile Girl Pat made an unobserved call at Tenerife
in the Canary Islands, where she was repainted.[33]
On 2 June the French liner Jamaique reported a small
Leaving Tenerife, Girl Pat continued her journey south- boat, ying the British ag and steaming southwards, near
ward, following the African coast. According to Stones the Bissagos Islands 250 nautical miles (460 km) south of
account the crew went ashore at Port Etienne in French Dakar.[41] Although this was at rst assumed to be Girl
West Africa (now Nouadhibou, in Mauritania), leaving Pat, the next sighting, on 9 June, was more than 2,000
the boat unguarded. While they were away, marauders nautical miles (3,700 km) to the west, on the other side
stole gear and provisions, leaving the crew almost desti- of the Atlantic. Captain Jones of the Lorraine Cross,
tute: All we had left to eat and drink were four bottles an American ship, cabled Lloyds agents in Georgetown,
of water, a tin of corned beef, a bottle of lime juice and a British Guiana (now Guyana) with a report of a small
tin of condensed milk.[26] Leaving Port Etienne, they ran ship ying a distress signal o the South American coast,
aground on a sandbank and were stranded for three days. 47 nautical miles (87 km) north-east of Cayenne. There
Eventually they managed to reoat the vessel, and on 23 were four men on board. The boats name and markings
May were picked up by a pilot boat which brought them had been painted out, but she claimed to be the Margaret
into the harbour at Dakar, starving and exhausted.[26][34] Harold bound for Trinidad from London. Jones thought
the crews behaviour suspicious, and when he asked to
Stone had fallen ill with appendicitis during the previous
see the ships papers the ship lowered the distress signal
leg of the voyage; he was hospitalised in Dakar and took
and sped away. Jones said the vessel was undoubtedly
no further part in the adventure.[35] Orsborne was able to
a British sherman, and thought it was Girl Pat.[42] In
obtain further fuel and water, but Girl Pat's arrival atGrimsby, a Marstrand spokesman expressed little surprise
tracted the attention of the local Lloyds agent, who had
at this new location, and conrmed that she had subeen on the lookout for the vessel. On 26 May he saw
cient speed to have crossed the ocean in the time since
Orsborne and inspected the log book, where he discovher last conrmed sighting.[43] A check with Lloyds inered the false names and other inconsistencies. Orsborne
dicated that there was no registered ship named Margaret
was asked to present the ships papers at the British conHarold.[42]
sulate, but on the pretext that he needed to test the engines, he rapidly put to sea.[25] The appearance of Girl Pat A report from the les du Salut, a few miles o the coast of
in Dakarthe rst conrmation since Corcubin that the French Guiana, indicated that a vessel similar in appearvessel was still aoatwas widely reported. Relatives of ance to Girl Pat had watered there on 10 June.[44] An air
the crew members were relieved that those aboard were search, by a Pan-American aircraft, covered over 1,000
safe but were apprehensive about what might lie ahead.[37] miles (1,600 km) of coastline around Georgetown, without sighting the craft.[45] On 17 June several newspapers
carried reports of the discovery of the wreck of a small
2.3 Third Phase: Dakar to Georgetown
boat, and three bodies, at Atwood Cay, a small island in
the Bahamas.[46] Much of the press assumed this to be
The level of public interest in the Girl Pat aair was Girl Pat;[47] one headline read Did School Atlas Course
enough for Gaumont British to consider making it the sub- Lead Crew to Death?".[48] The reports proved false when,
ject of a feature lm.[38] In the House of Commons on 29 early in the morning of 19 June, a police launch towed
May, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade Girl Pat into Georgetown harbour.[49] [n 3]


Capture, detention and arrest


In London, ocials struggled to establish the exact legal

position, and issued confusing statements.[56][n 4] Meanwhile, Orsborne and his companions were widely hailed
as heroes. The German newspaper Hamburger Fremdenblatt asked: Is this not a bit of British tradition,
to do the unconventional out of love for adventure, if
great personal risks, audacity and romance are connected
therewith?".[59] A man from the town of Hull thought the
adventure demonstrated the spirit of Drake", and called
for a public subscription to meet the crews debts and
expenses.[60] An alternative view, expressed in the Hull
Daily Mail, was to question whether the men should be
regarded so favourably, or merely as men who have run
away with someone elses property.[61]
Once released by the police, Harris and Stephens returned immediately to England, where they arrived on 13
July.[62] The Orsborne brothers waited in Georgetown for
their position to be claried; George Orsborne told the
press he was anxious to return home where, he insisted,
many job oers were open to him.[63] On 27 June, following further discussions in London, the brothers were
arrested on a warrant issued under the Fugitive Oenders Act, and brought before the Georgetown magistrates
where they were charged with the theft of Girl Pat.[64]

The City Hall, Georgetown

On the evening of 18 June the British steamer Arakaka

had spotted a small ship a few miles outside Georgetown, and radioed this information to the shore.[49] An
unarmed police launch left Georgetown to investigate; as
they approached, the crew of the as yet unidentied vessel became hostile. They denied that she was Girl Pat,
and threatened violence should ocers attempt to board
her.[50] The launch retreated to Georgetown, where the
police were armed and authorised to seize the suspect
vessel. They returned early the following morning to nd
that their quarry was departing. A two-hour chase ensued, which The Hull Daily Mail chose to glamorise as
a sporting contest: Like some coursing greyhound the
faster Government ship stuck to the tail of the eeing suspect which, harelike, doubled back on her course to dodge
her pursuer.[51] According to the British Daily Worker,
the chase "[outdid] the most spectacular eorts of lm
directors.[52] Finally, while manoeuvring at close quarters, the vessels collided. The stern of the suspect boat
was severely damaged, whereupon she surrendered and
was taken in tow.[53] The name displayed on the vessels
hull was Kia-ora,[52] but Stephens quickly admitted to
their captors that the ship was Girl Pat.[54]
With Girl Pat secured and under guard in Georgetown
harbour, the Orsborne brothers, Harris and Stephens
were taken to police headquarters in the City Hall. The
police issued a statement that the four were there at their
own request. They are under no form of detention.[55]

3 Hearings, trial and sentence

3.1 In Georgetown
The brothers were held in custody, awaiting a deportation hearing. On 4 July they were remanded for a further
week, and bail was again refused.[65] Although the brothers declared their willingness to waive the deportation
process and accept immediate transfer to England, they
continued to be held in custody.[66] On 22 July the hearings in the Georgetown magistrates court nally began,
with the formal identication of Girl Pat.[67] On 24 July
the magistrates ordered that the brothers be sent to England to face trial, once the formal approval of the Governor, Sir Geory Northcote,[68] had been given.[69] The
Orsbornes nally left Georgetown on 13 August, when
they boarded the cargo liner Inanda.[70]
While the Orsbornes were in Georgetown, Harold Stone,
Girl Pat's erstwhile mate, made his way home from Dakar
and arrived in Liverpool on 20 July.[71] After interviews
with the police, Stone spoke to the press of the hardships
suered during the Girl Pat voyage, especially the shortages of food and water: I would not want to go through
the experience again.[72] He conrmed that they had navigated using a school atlas, but added that they had possessed a compass.[73]



Old Bailey

Bow Street, London

Early on 2 September Inanda docked at Gravesend,

Kent. The brothers were immediately driven to London for a formal appearance at Bow Street Magistrates
Court, where they were charged with theft and conspiracy. Against police oppositionbecause, they said, certain developments might arisethe magistrate bailed
each defendant in the sum of 500, and required them
to surrender their passports.[74][75]
When the hearing resumed on 10 September the court
heard from Marstrands managing director that George
Orsborne had not been given authority to operate Girl Pat
outside the North Sea. Stone testied that Orsborne had
made plain his intentions to take the boat south from the
outset,[76] and also gave evidence concerning the changes
to the ships log.[77] The court heard from Jeerson and
other Dover witnesses, from Alexander MacLean, and
from the Lloyds agent in Dakar.[76] The defence counsel did not answer the detailed aspects of the prosecutions case, but stated that at the forthcoming trial very
serious allegations would be made against certain of the
prosecution witnesses. The brothers pleaded not guilty,
and were remanded on continuing bail for trial at the Old
Bailey.[78] In the interval between the Bow Street hearings and the trial, which was set to begin in October, Girl
Pat was sold to an undisclosed purchaser.[79][80]


Old Bailey

The entrance to the Central Criminal Courts at the Old Bailey

The Old Bailey trial began on 19 October 1936.[81] The

prosecution opened by stating that this should not be considered as a cheerful buccaneering adventure, but as a
breach of trust on the part of George Orsborne, to whom
the owners had entrusted their ship.[82] The objective of
the voyage had not been to benet the owners, but to
make money for the defendants.[81]

to him the possibility of engaging in protable activities
such as gun-running and smuggling.[83][n 5] John Moore,
the managing director of Marstrands, stated that he had
expected Orsborne to take Girl Pat shing in an area of
the North Sea where another Marstrand vessel was shing
successfully.[85] When Moore was cross-examined, the
defences serious allegations were revealed. It was put
to Moore that he had instructed George Orsborne not to
go shing, but to get rid of the vessel so that the company could claim its insurance value, of which Orsborne
would be rewarded with a share. The defence alleged that
the company was in poor nancial shape, and that its ships
were heavily mortgaged. Moore denied that he had made
any such suggestion to Orsborne. The company, he insisted, was nancially sound, the mortgages on its vessels were relatively low, and he had never discussed insured values with Orsborne. The defence further alleged
that when taken out Girl Pat had been in an unseaworthy
condition, inadequately provisioned and unt for a normal shing voyage. This suggestion was also rejected by
After Stone and Jeerson reprised the evidence they
had given in Bow Street,[8][82] George Orsborne took the
stand. He said he had not agreed to Moores proposal
to lose the vessel, and after departing with Girl Pat
had still been undecided about what he would do.[87] He
had left Jeerson in Dover because he was a poor mechanic and a drunk.[88] Moore, he asserted, was mistaken
in claiming that the boats provisions and equipment were
adequate. Orsborne said that while the boat was sheltering in Jersey he had suggested to the crew that they may
as well make a holiday of it, and then proposed that they
make a circle of the Atlantic Ocean before returning to
Grimsby. There was no intention to fall in with Moores
scheme or to steal the vessel, they would thank the owners for the loan of the ship and return it.[8] Orsborne
added that while they were in port at Corcubin he was offered money for Girl Pat, but turned it down.[8] Orsborne
denied that he had tried to conceal his or the boats true
identity in Dakar, or had left the port to avoid enquiries
the sudden departure was due, he said, to troubles with
the natives. Nor had he attempted to evade the authorities in Georgetown; his movements there had arisen from
concern for the safety of his vessel, which was being jeopardised by the manoeuvres of the government ship.[88]
James Orsborne, giving evidence, said that he had learned
from his brother about Moores proposal to get rid of the
boat, and had told George that he would be a darned
fool even to consider the suggestion. He had stayed with
his brother because I thought that if he was going to do
anything crazy I might manage to prevent him.[88] Recalled to the witness box, Moore said that he had refused
to employ James Orsborne because he considered him

MacLean testied that in his discussions with George In his closing speech, defence counsel said that the key to
Orsborne, he had formed the impression that the captain the case was whether the Orsborne brothers intended to
was part-owner of the vessel. Orsborne had mentioned deprive the owners permanently of their vessel. The ev-


idence, he said, was more suggestive of a joy-ride halfway round the world, than of theft or anything more
sinister. Prosecuting counsel argued that if the months
joy-ride was the innocent explanation, why had it been
necessary to introduce into the case the unfounded allegations of proposed insurance fraud against men whose
reputations were above suspicion?".[90] In his summing
up, the judge condemned the arrangements whereby the
Orsbornes were receiving money from the press for the
rights to their story. This was unwarranted and undesirable: Whether the two prisoners be guilty or innocent
[of theft], the property of someone else was being used
by them without permission ...George Orsborne clearly
knew that he was acting directly against his employers
interests.[91] The jury was out for only 35 minutes before
returning guilty verdicts against both defendants. On 22
October George Orsborne was sentenced to 18 months
imprisonment, and James to 12 months.[92]


Orsbornes alternative account

Thirteen years after the trial, in a memoir entitled Master

of the Girl Pat published by Doubleday, George Orsborne
provided a new context for the Girl Pat voyage. According to this narrative, he had been recruited in 1935 to
work for British Naval Intelligence.[93] The Girl Pat venture was a secret assignment, connected with the imminent Spanish Civil War.[94] Between the stops at Corcubin and Dakar, Orsborne claims, he carried out a mission to blow up a railway bridge in Spanish Morocco.[95]
The stops at Port Etienne, Dakar and elsewhere had been
to receive further instructions from Naval Intelligence.[96]
Orsborne changes crew names and other details: Stone
becomes Fletcher, and his leaving the voyage in Dakar
is recorded by Orsborne as a desertion.[97] Some of
Orsbornes dates are inconsistent with the boats known
movementshe gives 26 June as the date of arrival in
Dakar,[98] and the account he gives of his Old Bailey
trial bears no relation to the published record.[99] Orsborne records his stay in Wormwood Scrubs prison as
a wonderful experience. I wouldn't have missed it for


It is dicult not to entertain a sneaking gratitude towards

the two men whose curious and unsuccessful adventure
has sent us all vicariously sailing on a desperate mission
across tropic seas ... Apart from the length of their voyage
and their happy-go-lucky methods, they maintained to the
end an air that was at once tough and enigmatic.
The Times leading article, 23 October 1936.[101]
After the trial the press and public remained broadly sympathetic to the Orsborne brothers. During the commit-

tal stages The Spectator had commented that the adventure had given romantic satisfaction to the whole world
and that her captain had become a national hero. On
the day after the sentencing, The Times leading article
noted the publics sustained pleasure in the escapade.[101]
Nearly 30 years later, in his social history of the betweenthe-wars years, Ronald Blythe saw the aair as an antiestablishment gesture, a colourful snook cocked in the
face of some of the most soul-crippling ocialdom ever
experienced by ordinary men and women.[102]
While in prison, George Orsborne lent his name to a
ghost-written account of the Girl Pat adventure which repeated the claim that the vessel had been sent out inadequately equipped and provisioned. Marstrands successfully sued the publishers, Hutchinsons, and two newspapers which had repeated the details.[103][104] On his release, Orsborne planned to make a single-handed transatlantic crossing in an open boat,[105] but the trip was delayed, and nally cancelled when war began in September 1939.[n 6] Likewise, nothing came of an announcement in 1938 that Orsborne would lead an expedition
to the Caribbean and up the Amazon.[107] During the
war Orsborne worked as mate on a trawler which formed
part of Britains anti-invasion force, before rejoining the
Royal Navy.[108] His wartime exploits included service
as a beachmaster during the Normandy landings of June
1944,[109] a spell as a commando in Combined Operations,[108] and service in the Far East, where he records
being captured and imprisoned by the Japanese.[110] In
September 1947 Orsborne was one of two men rescued
in mid-Atlantic from the abandoned ketch Lovely Lady;
the other was a stowaway, a Spanish greengrocer.[111]
In his 1949 memoir Master of the Girl Pat, George Orsborne records briey that Stephens went straight back to
sea after the adventure, that Harris drank up his share of
the crews newspaper money, and that Fletcher (Stone)
emigrated to Australia. James Orsborne worked for a
while in the Mediterranean, assisting refugees from the
Spanish Civil War. Later he went to Canada. He was
in Singapore when it fell to the Japanese in February
1942, and was not heard from again.[112] George Orsborne died on 23 December 1957, at Belle le o the
Brittany coast, while delivering a motor-cruiser from
Nice to England.[108]
Girl Pat was repaired and retted by her new owners,
Grimsby-based Girl Pat Ltd, in Georgetown and was
brought back to England, arriving at Portsmouth on 9
May 1937.[2][113] She remained there for two weeks as
a tourist attraction, before moving to London on 28
May.[114] Her new owners declared that they were still
undecided as to the ships longer-term future, but for the
time being she would be displayed at Blackpool and other
holiday resorts.[115] On 17 February 1939 The Times reported that Girl Pat had been sold to the Port of London Authority (PLA), to be used as a wreck-marking
vessel.[116] After the outbreak of war in September 1939
she was requisitioned by the Admiralty for naval use, and



is listed as one of the minor war vessels in service in July

1940.[117] By 1945 she had been returned to the PLA;
there is no public record of her subsequent history.[118]
The name Girl Pat was adopted by at least one later registered vessel; in August 1966 a 60-ton yacht of that name
was arrested by Greek coastguards in the Gulf of Corinth
and its occupants charged with the theft of antiquities.[119]


Notes and references


[1] In his memoirs Orsborne gives 4 July 1918 as his 16th

birthday.[3] In 1936, at the time of the Girl Pat aair, most
press accounts gave his age as 32,[4] implying that he was
born in 1903 or possibly 1904. At least one 1936 newspaper account reported an older age.[5]
[2] The name of this shing boat is often given as Gypsy Love,
but its registered name was Gipsy Love, ON 164394.[1]
[3] The Bahamas authorities subsequently investigated a theory that the Atwood wreck might be the remains of the
British cutter Altair, which disappeared while crossing the
Atlantic in 1935.[49]

[4] See, for example, Crew of the Girl Pat. The Observer.
21 June 1936. p. 20. (subscription required)
[5] Girl Pat Leaves Dakar. The Aberdeen Journal. 27 May
1936. p. 7.
[6] Orsborne, p. 22
[7] Voyage of Girl Pat: Skipper in the Box. The Times. 21
October 1936. p. 11. (subscription required)
[8] Voyage of Girl Pat. The Times. 21 October 1936. p.
11. (subscription required)
[9] Runaway Trawler: Skipper Orsbornes Defence. The
West Australian. 22 October 1936. p. 18.
[10] Orsborne, pp. 3738
[11] Orsborne, p. 40
[12] Orsbornes Own Story. The Hull Daily Mail. 20 October 1936. p. 1.
[13] Girl Pat Case: Brothers On Trial. Dundee Evening Telegraph. 19 October 1936. p. 1.
[14] The Voyage of the Girl Pat. The Manchester Guardian.
11 September 1936. p. 16. (subscription required)

[4] The Manchester Guardian of 22 June 1936 reported that

Marstrand intended to take no action against the crew. A
Board of Trade ocial opined that the position was obscure, but a future prosecution could not be ruled out.[57]
In Parliament, the Secretary of State for the Colonies reported that a warrant for the arrest of the captain and
the detention of the vessel was issued at the request of
Lloyds agent in Georgetown, but was subsequently withdrawn. The Secretarys lack of knowledge of the details
maritime law prevented him, he said, from explaining how
Lloyds could have warrants issued, but that it was apparently withdrawn because it eventually came quietly into

[15] Crew of the Girl Pat. The Observer. 21 June 1936. p.

20. (subscription required)

[5] MacLean, who turned down Orsbornes oer to join Girl

Pat and played no part in the adventure, nevertheless
claimed to an Australian newspaper in 1937 that he had
been part of the crew that sailed with Orsborne, but had
succeeded in getting away some time before she was

[20] Girl Pat: The Next Step. The Hull Daily Mail. 22 June
1936. p. 5.

[6] According to Orsborne, a small sailing boat was built to

his specication, capable of crossing from Southampton
to New York in 60 days. Orsborne also records that the
boat, the Little Elizabeth, was destroyed during an air raid
in 1940.[106]



[1] Mercantile Navy List. London. 1936. p. 594. Retrieved

29 June 2015.
[2] Mercantile Navy List. London. 1937. p. 594. Retrieved
29 June 2015.
[3] Orsborne, p. 23

[16] Brothers Charged With Stealing Girl Pat.

Evening Telegraph. 10 September 1936. p. 1.


[17] Ocean Adventures of the Girl Pat. Lincolnshire Echo.

10 September 1936. p. 1.
[18] The Girl Pat Sold. The Dundee Evening Telegraph. 3
October 1936. p. 8.
[19] Hewitson, Ch. 1 (Unpaginated section: The Ocean At
Our Doorstep)

[21] Voyage of the Girl Pat. The Times. 17 September 1936.

p. 7. (subscription required)
[22] Stone Tells of Talks in Wheelhouse. The Dundee
Evening Telegraph. 10 September 1936. p. 1.
[23] Opening of Girl Pat Trial. The Aberdeen Journal. 20
October 1936. p. 5.
[24] Remarkable Evidence in Girl Pat Case. The Nottingham
Evening Post. 10 September 1936. p. 7.
[25] Voyage of the Girl Pat: Seamans Story in Court. The
Times. 11 September 1936. p. 11. (subscription required)
[26] Girl Pat Crew Buy Rice With Their Last Pennies. Daily
Express. 28 May 1936. pp. 12.
[27] A Trawler Mystery: Where is the Girl Pat?".
Portsmouth Evening News. 14 May 1936. p. 14.



[28] Lost Ship Reappears on High Seas. Daily Express. 14

May 1936. p. 1.

[51] Girl Pat Herself This Time Seized By Armed Police.

The Hull Daily Mail. 19 June 1936. p. 1.

[29] Lookout Kept for Missing Fishing Boat. The Yorkshire

Post. 15 May 1936. p. 12.

[52] Girl Pat Captured in Dawn Chase. The Daily Worker.

20 June 1936. p. 1.

[30] Girl Pat Sighted": What Freighter Saw O Lone Treasure Isle. Daily Mirror. 19 May 1936. p. 2.

[53] The Girl Pat: Arrest by Police O Georgetown. The

Times. 20 June 1936. p. 12. (subscription required)

[31] The Girl Pats Wanderings: Latest. The Dundee Evening

Telegraph. 10 June 1936. p. 1.

[54] Girl Pats Crew in Police Station. The Dundee Courier.

20 June 1936. p. 7.

[32] Telegrams in Brief. The Times. 20 May 1936. p. 15.

(subscription required)

[55] Girl Pat Crew ask for Police Shelter. Daily Mirror. 20
June 1936. p. 1.

[33] Girl Pat Odyssey. The Hull Daily Mail. 10 September

1936. p. 12.

[56] Girl Pat: The Next Step. The Hull Daily Mail. 22 June
1936. p. 5.

[34] Voyage of the Girl Pat. The Times. 22 October 1936.

p. 9. (subscription required)

[57] The Girl Pat: No Action by Owners Of The Trawler.

The Manchester Guardian. 22 June 1936. p. 10. (subscription required)

[35] Girl Pat Crews Fight With Death. The Hull Daily Mail.
21 July 1936. p. 1.
[36] Girl Pat Found. The Manchester Guardian. 27 May
1936. p. 11. (subscription required)
[37] The Girl Pat Found And Lost Again. The Yorkshire
Post. 27 May 1936. p. 12.
[38] Girl Pat Film Story. The Nottingham Evening Post. 6
June 1936. p. 1.
[39] Trawler 'Girl Pat'". Hansard (House of Commons debates) 312: col.238283. 29 May 1936.
[40] Motor Trawler 'Girl Pat'". Hansard (House of Commons
debates) 313: col.1617. 9 June 1936.
[41] The Girl Pat. The Times. 2 June 1936. p. 13. (subscription required)
[42] Girl Pat o South America?". The Times. 11 June 1938.
p. 15. (subscription required)
[43] Girl Pat Across the Atlantic?". The Hull Daily Mail. 10
June 1936. p. 7.
[44] Telegrams in Brief. The Times. 16 June 1936. p. 15.
(subscription required)
[45] Strange Vessel Sighted o Guiana. The Manchester
Guardian. 16 June 1936. p. 14. (subscription required)
[46] The Girl Pat: Search by Bahamas Government. The
Manchester Guardian. 18 June 1936. p. 11. (subscription required)

[58] Motor Trawler 'Girl Pat'". Hansard (House of Commons

debates) 313: col.175152. 24 June 1936.
[59] Hamburger Fremdemblatt, quoted in German Interest
and Sympathy. The Hull Daily Mail. 26 June 1936. p.
[60] Girl Pat Puzzles Board of Trade. The Hull Daily Mail.
20 June 1936. p. 1.
[61] Girl Pat Crew Controversy. The Hull Daily Mail. 23
June 1936. p. 5.
[62] News in Brief. The Times. 14 July 1936. p. 13. (subscription required)
[63] Girl Pats Skipper Interviewed.
Guardian. 26 June 1936. p. 5.

The Manchester

[64] Girl Pats Skipper Arrested. The Observer. 28 June

1936. p. 20. (subscription required)
[65] Girl Pat Skipper Again Remanded. The Observer. 5
July 1936. p. 17. (subscription required)
[66] Girl Pats Skipper: Further Remand Ordered. The Hull
Daily Mail. 18 July 1936. p. 1.
[67] The Girl Pat Identied. The Nottingham Evening Post.
23 July 1936. p. 1.
[68] Girl Pat is Captured After Flight. The Nashua Telegraph
(New Hampshire). 19 June 1936.
[69] The Girl Pat Case. The Times. 27 July 1936. p. 11.
(subscription required)

[47] 3 Dead in Ship Believed to be Girl Pat. The Daily Mirror. 17 June 1936. p. 1.

[70] Telegrams in Brief The Times (London). Saturday, 15

August 1936. (47454), col G, p. 9.

[48] Coral Island Wreck Thought to be Girl Pat. The Nottingham Evening Post. 17 June 1936. p. 8.

[71] Girl Pats Mate Home. The Times. 21 July 1936. p. 18.
(subscription required)

[49] Girl Pat Suspect Towed to Port. Dundee Evening Telegraph and Post. 19 June 1936. p. 1.

[72] Girl Pat Crews Fight with Death. The Hall Daily Mail.
21 July 1936. p. 1.

[50] The Girl Pat Found: Lloyds Report. The Manchester

Guardian. 19 June 1936. p. 11. (subscription required)

[73] Adventures of the Girl Pat. The Times. 22 July 1936.

p. 13. (subscription required)



[74] Girl Pats Skipper In Court. The Manchester Guardian.

3 September 1936. p. 13. (subscription required)
[75] The Girl Pat: Charge of Stealing Vessel. The Times. 3
September 1936. p. 6. (subscription required)

[98] Orsborne, p. 137

[99] Orsborne, p. 170
[100] Orsborne, p. 71

[76] Voyage of the Girl Pat: Seamans Story In Court. The

Times. 11 September 1936. p. 11. (subscription re- [101] Leading article: The Girl Pat. The Times. 23 October
1936. p. 15. (subscription required)
[77] Remarkable Evidence in Girl Pat Case. The Nottingham [102] Blythe, p. 193
Evening Post. 10 September 1936. p. 5.
[78] The Girl Pat: Serious Allegations to be Made. The
Manchester Guardian. 17 September 1936. p. 12. (subscription required)
[79] The Girl Pat Changes Hands. The Nottingham Evening
Post. 3 October 1936. p. 1.

[103] The Girl Pat: Owners Libel Action Settled. The Times.
5 February 1937. p. 4. (subscription required)
[104] Girl Pat Libel Action: 400 for Former Owners. The
Manchester Guardian. 14 January 1938. p. 15. (subscription required)

[80] Telegrams in Brief. The Times. 5 October 1936. p. 11. [105] Hull Man Challenges Girl Pat Skipper. The Hull Daily
(subscription required)
Mail. 13 June 1938. p. 8.
[81] Voyage of Girl Pat: Stealing Charge. The Times. 20
[106] Orsborne, p. 183
October 1938. p. 13. (subscription required)
[82] Girl Pat: Managing Directors Denials. The Portsmouth [107] Girl Pat Skipper to Lead Expedition to Caribbean. The
Manchester Guardian. 31 December 1938. p. 14. (subEvening News. 19 October 1936. p. 12.
scription required)
[83] Gun-Running and Smuggling: Alleged Talks by Girl Pat
Accused. The Dundee Evening Telegraph. 20 October [108] Orsborne, of Girl Pat, Dead. The Manchester Guardian.
1936. p. 1.
24 December 1957. p. 1. (subscription required)
[84] Sailed in the Girl Pat. The Courier-Mail (Brisbane). 12
[109] Neillands and De Normann, p. 271
March 1937. p. 18.
[85] Director of Owners Says Catches Were Not 'Extremely [110]
Poor'". The Hull Daily Mail. 19 October 1936. p. 1.
[86] Girl Pat Case at Old Bailey. The Manchester Guardian.
20 October 1936. p. 3. (subscription required)

Orsborne, pp. 21726

Lovely Ladys Stowaway: A Spanish Greengrocer. The
Manchester Guardian. 7 October 1947. p. 5. (subscription required)

[87] Skipper of Girl Pat in Box. The Aberdeen Journal. 21

[112] Orsborne, pp. 17475
October 1936. p. 5.
[88] Girl Pat Story Sold for 5000. The Gloucestershire [113] Return of the Girl Pat. The Times. 10 May 1937. p.
Echo. 21 October 1936. p. 1.
16. (subscription required)
[89] Judge on Girl Pat Suggestion by Defence. The Derby
[114] Trawler Girl Pat. The Portsmouth Evening News. 28
Evening Telegraph. 22 October 1936. p. 1.
May 1937. p. 9.
[90] Last Stages in Girl Pat Case. The Nottingham Evening
[115] The Girl Pat in Portsmouth. The Portsmouth Evening
Post. 22 October 1936. p. 7.
News. 10 May 1937. p. 7.
[91] Girl Pat Case Verdict. The Times. 23 October 1936. p.
7. (subscription required)
[116] The Girl Pat Sold to P.L.A.. The Times. 17 February
1939. p. 11. (subscription required (help)).
[92] Both Orsbornes Sent to Gaol.
The Manchester
Guardian. 23 October 1936. p. 11. (subscription re[117] Lists of Minor War Vessels. Indexed. Reference AD
208/3. The National Archives. Retrieved 11 January
[93] Orsborne, pp. 7778
[94] Orsborne, pp. 11517
[95] Orsborne, pp. 12226
[96] Orsborne, pp. 13036
[97] Orsborne, p. 141

[118] History of a Fishing Town. Grimsby Telegraph online.

Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved 11
January 2015.
[119] British Yacht Held by Greeks. The Times. 25 August
1966. p. 1. (subscription required (help)).




Blythe, Ronald (1964). The Age of Illusion.

Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books. OCLC
Hewitson, Jim (2005). Skull and Saltire. Edinburgh:
Black & White Publishing. ISBN 978-1845-020262.
Neillands, Robin; De Normann, Roderick (1993).
D-Day 1944: Voices from Normandy. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-81251-3.
Orsborne, Dod (1949). Master of the Girl Pat.
New York: Doubleday. OCLC 1151423.



Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



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