One of Mike Newton-Smith's many vessels.

By Rob Vinall and Andy Gilbert

Back in the 1960s, Mike Newton-Smith ran a very successful marine salvage business known as METREC, short for Metal Reclamation, I think. He had a few tugs, mostly converted wartime TIDs, and various other ships like the Metrec Vulture and a former minesweeper named Investic. He bought some ships to convert and rebuild, like our harbour tug Tidworth, and others to scrap up at Denton Island, including submarines!

Photo:Trawler used for salvage diving

Trawler used for salvage diving

Rob Vinall

One of his working vessels was the former East German trawler shown in the first photo - Rob can't recall its name, but I've looked carefully at the full sized scan and it would seem to be someone's name. As far as I can tell, it's **ELA **MAN. Anyone recognise it and able to put a name to it?

Rob's brother Rod was a master diver and was skipper of the trawler. Apparently to all outward appearances, it was still an East German vessel and was subject to frequent stop and searches in the Channel!

Photo:The crew in the wheelhouse

The crew in the wheelhouse

Rob Vinall

The second photo shows the crew in the wheelhouse of the trawler. Rod Vinall is at the wheel and the man with the beard and wooly hat is Colin Feaver. Rob thinks one of the other men is a member of another of Newhaven's well known nautical clans, the Wood family. Anyone recognise him? The identity of the fourth man is also not known.


This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 29/04/2019.

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