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New book delves into mystery of the Hartlepool fishing trawler than simply vanished

The crew of the Doris Burton.
The crew of the Doris Burton.

The tragic true story of a Hartlepool fishing trawler that disappeared at sea is told in a new book.

Author Mark Quinn became fascinated by the story of the Doris Burton, which set off in to the North Sea during the First World War in November 1914 and was never seen again.

John William Truefitt, one of the missing trawlermen of the Doris Burton, with wife Mary and family.

John William Truefitt, one of the missing trawlermen of the Doris Burton, with wife Mary and family.

Nine men perished, leaving behind devastated families with no explanation.

After two years of painstaking research, Mark details the story and what he believes happened in Someday We’ll Understand.

Mark, 49, from Manchester, said: “A colleague at work mentioned her great-grandfather Absalom Cave got lost on a fishing trawler.

“I started looking into it and did some research and all of a sudden I just got hooked.

Mark Quinn author of Someday We'll Understand about the Hartlepool fishing trawler Doris Burton

Mark Quinn author of Someday We'll Understand about the Hartlepool fishing trawler Doris Burton

“There was very little known about it at the time. On the fateful day it left Aberdeen, where it had gone from Hartlepool, and just vanished.

“Many fishing trawlers are known to leave some sort of wreckage or for there to be survivors, but nothing was found of the Doris Burton except an overturned lifeboat.

“I kept researching and found out other information and found family members including the captain’s great-grandaughter and also spoke to the son of Doris Burton, who the trawler was named after.”

Mark also went back through records and newspaper archives including the Mail’s predecessor, the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail.

The discovery of the Doris Burton’s lifeboat did not appear in the newspapers until January 1915.

Along with Absalom Cave, the crew of the Doris Burton who disappeared were John William Truefitt, Robert Jowsey, William Reynolds, Thomas Leslie Harwood, John Christopher Mansfield, Thomas Smith Coulson, Jacob Grimes Cole and Hugh Hirst Hawthorn.

Mark, who has written nine books, added: “It was a tragedy for these men and their families and I think it a fitting tribute that their story can now be told to a wider audience.”

When the North Sea was declared a war zone fish prices rocketed by 100%.

Mark believes the Doris Burton left Aberdeen heading for Hartlepool and tried to go back but most likely hit a mine and sank.

He added: “Nobody knows, to this day it is still a mystery.”

Someday We’ll Understand, Mark’s first true story book, is available now in paperback priced £7.99 and £1.99 on Kindle from Amazon.