|Darryl Collins reporting on a famous ship|
The 102 foot schooner which was 'shipped' along the Belfast - Bangor Road on Saturday has a strong Lisburn connection. Mr. Tom Welch, headmaster of Central Primary School and his family had been in command of it from 1925 to 1970.
Originally a three masted double topsail schooner, `Result' has gone through many changes in its seafaring life. Built in 1892 at Carrickfergus as a cargo vessel, it was fitted with guns and used as a Q-ship during the First World War. After the war, an old-fashioned hot bulb engine was installed, and in 1925, T. C. Welch took over command.
As a boy on his father's ship, Tom Welch remembers vividly, various incidents and unusual cargoes.
"The most lively cargo was a group of 20 French onion sellers, shipped from St. Malo in Northern France to Exeter."
"When they docked in Exeter the Frenchmen set off to sell their onions, but a while later, one of them reappeared with only one string of onions left to sell. My brother Peter bought that last string and invited him to stay the weekend in the furtherance of L'entante cordiale. Indeed, he managed to drink all the alcohol in the house".
|Mr. Thomas Welch, headmaster of Lisburn Central Primary School, pictured beside a model schooner in the school this week. E1406.||Result at Pentewan before the refit of 1946. E1404.||Captain and crew of the Result
Captain Tom Welch (centre) and his son Peter (left) are included in this picture. E1405.
Mr. Welsh first went to sea as a boy of eight, and until he joined the schooner as an ordinary seaman when he was 17, he spent most of his summers on board. His first trip was in 1929, but more significantly, his last trip was to sail it from Carrickfergus to Belfast in 1970 to be re-decked at Harland and Wolff in preparation for its new home.
Believed to be the - last surviving sailing vessel of its kind, `Result" was also renowned as a very fast ship.
"When Sam Mitchell, a first mate on the schooner, was to be in Devon for his wedding, the weather turned bad and he was stranded in Jersey. When the wind turned South, my brother and the Mate managed to get her out of the harbour with great difficulty. A gale was blowing, but they succeeded in sailing from Jersey to Plymouth in eight hours, just in time for the wedding".
LAST CARGO RUN
The schooner's last cargo run was in 1968, giving it a working life of 76 years. "This is a tribute to her builders at Carrickfergus and the maintenance it received throughout its working life", said Mr. Welsh. Most of the schooner's trade was with the Channel Islands, although Lloyd's registered it suitable for trans-Atlantic work.
Through most of its working life, `Result' was owned by the Welsh family. One of Tom's fondest memories was when it had an almost exclusively family crew. "My brother was the captain and with him were his wife Lena, sons Peter and Tommy and daughter Sarah. The Mate, Mr. J. Crick had his son Nicholas John. During the holidays my son John and I joined them".
Mr. Welsh served on minesweepers in Russian convoys during World War Two.
The old schooner has now at last found its final resting place, the Maritime section of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra.
Mr. Welsh feels that she will continue to have an active working life as an, educational showpiece, providing entertainment and instruction for all its visitors, who otherwise might not have been able to get a glimpse of the past in such a unique way.