The Gamecock Fleet

The Dogger Bank Incident of 1904 saw Hull’s Gamecock trawler fleet fired on by warships of Russia’s Baltic Fleet, after being mistaken for Japanese torpedo boats.

The waters of these islands fair give bounty all beyond compare
A harvest every fisherman to keep
But answering the ocean’s call is the hardest living of them all
A heavy toll is taken by the deep
The bravest boats of all of these would sail across the Northern seas
Steamboat trawlers of the Gamecock Fleet
And many fine young men were sank all to the depths of Dogger Bank
A stormy day their maker they would meet

The year is nineteen hundred four and Russia she has gone to war
Engaging with the land of rising sun
Battleships have been released a dozen mighty iron beast
Embarking on a long Pacific run
But soon the light of early dawn gives rising to a deadly morn’
A drunken captain’s eyes begin to tire
The Gamecock trawlers that he sees appear to him as enemies
And gives the order for his men to fire

Pray mercy for the Gamecock Fleet for the Russian navy they did meet
In war and fury on that fateful day
The sorrow of the Gamecock Fleet all torn asunder mast and cleat
A shocking price those brave young men did pay

The fishing boats in peace do sit pulling herring from the Silver Pit
They dare to dream of better times ashore
But soon they’re in a fiery hell a barrage of three hundred shell
Tangled in the bloody nets of war
Two men killed a vessel drowned and devastation all around
A dreadful scene to fall upon the eye
And no rescue and no lifeboat could keep those stricken men afloat
The Russian ships ignored the sailors’ cries

There’s some who will dismiss another legend brung to port
As the makings of another seaman’s fable
But appreciate the sacrifice and give a little thought
To the cost of putting food upon your table