Tribute to Falmouth tug master Maurice ‘Mossy’ Fuller

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Flags fly at half mast on Falmouth Towage Company tugboats, in honor of retired tug captain Captain Maurice ‘Mossy’ Fuller, 89, who dropped anchor and sailed the tide after a brief illness.

He was one of the finest tug captains in the harbor who served the harbor with distinction. Her career spanned the heyday of shipping using Falmouth Docks, when it was not uncommon for tugs to do 12 jobs a day at peak times.

Maurice spent 51 action-packed years working for the Towage Company, which he joined in 1946 as an office boy at the age of 14. At this time the seven steam tugs called the ‘Magnificent Seven’ were controlled from North Quay House. The two superintendents were Captain Edward “Ted” Newton and his replacement Captain Daniels, both war-hardened former masters of the famed Hain Steamship Company.

Tugboats would come to North Quay to take on provisions and fresh water, as berths at the quays were scarce. In summer the tugs would be beached alongside Prince of Wales Pier to allow crews to scrub the bottom. The tugs had moorings off Flushing with crews gathering at the dock to row to their ships in all weathers.

n Captain Maurice Fuller, who died at the age of 89

From an office boy, Maurice made the natural progression to work afloat on tugboats. In 1958, after 12 years of learning the trade, he was promoted to captain of the tug Norgrove.

He once said, “Everybody got their ‘wings’ on old Norgrove. She could be hard to deal with sometimes.

Over the years he commanded six fleet tugs, before retiring in 1997.

Towing ships is extremely skilled work, requiring maximum focus, dedication and teamwork. Maurice was an accomplished professional held in high esteem by the port fraternity and especially by the pilots.

Former pilot Captain Gordon Kent said: “Maurice was the last of the ‘old guard’ professional tug captains here in Falmouth. A great guy to work with anytime.

In retirement, Maurice enjoyed bowling at Falmouth Bowls Club, during which time he played for Cornwall.

Maurice, who was predeceased by his wife Elsie ten years ago, leaves three children, Rita, Kiera, Clive, and four stepchildren, Karen, Sandra, Andrew and Lesley.

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