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Brian W Lavery

Author of The Headscarf Revolutionaries and The Luckiest Thirteen

Out now

The Luckiest Thirteen

A true-life drama of an intense battle for survival on the high seas. The Luckiest Thirteen is the story of an incredible two-day battle to save the super-trawler St Finbarr, and of those who tried to rescue her heroic crew in surging, frozen seas. It was also a backdrop for the powerful stories of families ashore, dumbstruck by fear and grief, as well as a love story of a teenage deckhand and his girl that ended with a heart-rending twist. From her hi-tech hold to her modern wheelhouse she was every inch the super ship, the great hope for the future built to save the fleet at a record-breaking price but a heart-breaking cost. On the thirteenth trip after her maiden voyage, the St Finbarr met with catastrophe off the Newfoundland coast. On Christmas Day 1966, twenty-five families in the northern English fishing port of Hull were thrown into a dreadful suspense not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive after the disaster that befell The Perfect Trawler. Complete with 16 pages of dramatic and poignant photographs from the period.

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The Headscarf Revolutionaries

In the harsh seas of 1968, three trawlers from Hull sank in just three weeks. 58 men died. That broke the heart of many in the city. One fishwife put down her filleting knife, picked up some sheets of paper, and stormed into action. Lillian Bilocca started with a petition, took her battle to the docks at dawn, and then led a raid on Parliament. Lillian and her team of women changed the Shipping Laws. In just a few days of action, the lives of thousands of seamen were made much safer. She became a TV star and an international celebrity. It is hard to live down fame like that in the back streets of Hull. It was harder still for the one man who battled the storms as the trawlers sank to be the lone survivor. The Headscarf Revolutionaries thrills with the dangers of the high seas; inspires with the passion of women who changed their world; and reveals the vivid life inside one of the most vital communities of recent history. With a foreword by John Prescott.

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The Headscarf Revolutionaries' story is one the world should never forget. I was proud to have played a small part in it and pleased Brian is telling the whole tragic, powerful story in full for the first time. Mark my words, this will be the next Made In Dagenham

Lord Prescott

Praise & Reviews

Brian’s story of how the Triple Trawler Tragedy unleashed the fury of the formidable women of the Hessle Road is inspirational.

Alan Johnson, former home secretary and Hull West and Hessle MP

I relived the struggle all over again. It was like Brian had been with us.

Mary Denness, one of Lillian Bilocca's 1968 'headscarf army'. 

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About Brian

Dr Brian W Lavery was born in Glasgow’s East End in 1959, the fourth of six sons. His father William was a sheet metal worker and his mother Margaret a shop assistant. Brian has been a factory worker, car valet, market trader, waiter, university dropout, VAT officer (very briefly) and latterly a journalist, university tutor and writer.