This is the sixth installment in a new series of posts about BCN tugs. Other posts in the series list below can be accessed by clicking the ‘Introduction’ link :
2. Tug Portrait: Enterprise No. 1
3. Tug Portrait: Bittel
4. Tug Portrait: James Loader
5. Tug Portrait: Judith Anne
6. Tug Portrait: Caggy (this post)
It’s generally believed that ‘Caggy’ originated as one of a number (perhaps up to 16) ‘wartime’ 40’-ish tugs ordered by the Ministry of War Transport and built by Harris Brothers of Bumblehole.
The majority of the fleet were given patriotic aircraft names such as Spitfire, Typhoon, Defient, Hurricane and Tempest. It’s likely that part of the design brief would have been to enable the tugs to also act as ice-breakers, and this could have informed the shape of their tapered profile.
I’ve been unable to confirm it, but tend to think it likely that the tug had a different ‘aircraft-orientated’ name when initially owned by the coal merchant F. Folkes of West Bromwich before she passed to Oldbury steerer and boat owner Alan ‘Caggy’ Stevens.
Caggy Stevens used her for various jobs including tugging boats loaded with rubbish to tips around the BCN.
I’m afraid a ‘general health warning’ has to be attached to all the information above, as BCN tugs are proving hugely slippery when it comes to finding ‘hard’ evidence of their provenance. (For example, contributors on various forums hypothesise that the wartime contract was actually cancelled, and tugs were never paid for, as a result they were immediately dispersed to other manufacturers and steerers, or Noah Hingley’s name is linked to building ‘Caggy’…) if you know more, or could point me in the direction of additional information I’d be hugely grateful.