Monday, 17 January 2011

Peter Newman re-united with his fathers ferry the Freelance

This morning I received an e-mail from the current owner of the Freelance; Jeremy Mitchell, another boat-owner passionately tracing the history of his vessel. He had read about the Freelance in the Ferry-boat article on the Rosemarie published in last weeks West-Briton.

In my interview with Peter Newman last year, he remembered the Rosemarie working as a passenger launch around 1948, in competition to his father Rodney Newmans business running the Freelance, which had started a little earlier in 1946. The Freelance was built in the West Indies in the 1930's and was brought to Falmouth on the deck of a ship, sold off and converted into a passenger vessel.

Jeremy has now managed to fill in some of the gaps in the Freelances history, and Peter has been re-connected to his fathers boat, which I'm sure He is relieved to find in such capable hands.

Jeremy said "It is only due to your article in the West Briton that I have found out the missing history of the Freelance from the 1930's until the late 1960's. I Googled "Ferry Falmouth" and found details and pictures of all of Newmans Cruises ferry boats including the Freelance, back to the 1940's on It was mentioned that the Freelance was sold by the Newmans in the late 1950's to Falmouth owners for use as a dive and salvage ship to a salvage company in Falmouth. My father bought the boat approximately 10years later from the salvage company."

Jeremy inherited the boat from his father who bought it around 1968 from a salvage company in Falmouth. The Freelance was then moored at Port Navas on the Helford river until approximately 1972 when it was moved to Camborne.

"The Freelance is 30ft. long by 9ft. wide and is build from teak which is why it has stood up so well to being stored for so long. It was a project that was never finished due to having parts that were missing from the engine and were no longer available from the manufacturer. I have spent 6 years looking for the missing parts on the Internet. All the parts that were missing have turned up on eBay."

A happy end indeed, and personally I am so grateful that Jeremy has contacted me and that I could pass on Peters contact to him! Peter gave me so much priceless information about the Rosemarie, and his time for the interview and the film where also given free, and from the goodness of his heart. So I am delighted that in a roundabout way he has had a universal return, in the form of something more valuable than cash, a link back to the past, his own father and re-awakened memories of that time when the Rosemarie and the Freelance graced the river Fal.

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