A former Newhaven regular.

By Andy Gilbert

Photo:Con Zelo (click for larger image)

Con Zelo (click for larger image)

Bob Scott

My fellow 'Ships Nostalgia' contributor Bob Scott recently posted this shot and I thank him for giving permission for me to share it here.

Con Zelo was part of the Newhaven scene for many, many years, under the command of 'Captain Tom'. This photo was taken from the arriving  Dieppe-Newhaven ferry and shows the coaster off Seaford. Probably taken some time in the 1970's.

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 17/08/2012.
Comments about this page

Like the photo of the Con Zelo, that was my grandad's boat. He was Captain Tom Chamberlain. Thanks for the photo, I stood on the bridge as an eight year old boy. Happy memories...thanks.

By Gary Robson
On 08/04/2014

'Captain Tom' Real name Howard Chamberlain. Born 1919 in Dalston, East London, a true cockney. First went to sea 1934 as a cabin boy worked his way up to bosun. War service with the Merchant Navy, torpedoed twice, mined once. 1 of 14 out of 44 when torpedoed the first time, out of the 14 was his future father-in-law and brother-in-law. His future father-in-law took him home to Leigh-on-sea and he ment his future wife. After that his home was Leigh-on-sea. After the war he was a cockler and fisherman. In 1960 he went back to coastal work and in about 1967 took command of the Con Zelo running out of Newhaven until he retired in 1983. I spent a few trips with him including 3 days as second engineer. He sadly passed away in 1997 aged 77 years. How do I know so much? He was my father-in-law -married to his daughter Beryl. 

Yours, Mick Robson 

p.s Gary's father

By Michael Robson
On 09/05/2014

That sight takes me back to the 70s, can't remember how many times I helped to unload her timber on the North Quay as a fork lift driver. 

By Bill Simmons
On 11/05/2014

I was fortunate to spend a few years working alongside Eddie Boulton, Ruth, and Peter Hornsby in the North Quay offices of Southern Port Services. I recall Tom very well, a nice old gent but he liked things his way and nearly always got his way. The owners or the charterers were Jepperson Heaton I think and she used to do a run over to France for beech logs and such other cargoes. She was powered by an engine that originally was intended for a German U boat during the second world war but was given over as war reparations from what I recall. The engineer at the time I knew the ship was a gent who if I am right went by the name of Arthur who married a woman locally in Newhaven, I think they were both re treads. I have many happy memories of Tom and the rest of the crew.

By R C
On 01/01/2015

I used to see Con Zelo all the time, she was a lovely little ship. The engineer was a chap called Arthur, can't recall his surname, but when he was ashore he practically lived in the Ship Hotel, where he took up with one of the barmaids. That's another story. One day he invited me on board * took me down into his engine room. The whole place was immaculate * I swear you could have eaten your dinner off any part of that engine room, such was the love for his job & his ship. I felt it a great honour to have been invited down there. A sturdy little ship that I can only dream still exists in a maritime museum somewhere. Sadly though she is long gone.

By Malcolm Pelling
On 13/02/2015

Hi folks,  I remember the MV Con Zelo very well. She traded mostly timber from the northern France ports to Newhaven under Captain Tom Chamberlain. A true gentleman who ran a tight ship and was a pleasure to work with. I spent about six months on her in the summer of 1973 as second engineer under Chief Engineer Jan Rottier a dutchman. The crew were two phillipino deckhands and the Mate a Yorkshire man from Hull whose name escapes me. Happy memories.

By Pat Judge
On 02/10/2017

Hello, my uncle Gabriel Lucas was a crew in the Con Zelo. I remember always when sended pictures with this ship.

Best regards from Chile

By Alex Panayotopulos
On 20/09/2020

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