Son: Goodbye to my ‘best friend’

Popular fisherman Frank Taal, who has died aged 73
Popular fisherman Frank Taal, who has died aged 73

The son of a Scarborough fisherman, known affectionately as ‘The Dutchman’, has paid tribute to his father following his death,

Father of four Frank Minnekus Taal passed away at the age of 73 on August 20 in Scarborough Hospital following a battle with a respiratory condition.

A popular figure in Scarborough’s fishing community, he was also known as ‘Clogger’.

He had lived in Scarborough since 1965, after starting off on the Dutch herring boats.

Speaking for both himself and sister Cassie, his proud son Frankie said his dad was a “brilliant father” and a “respected skipper”. He added: ”My father had a fiery personality, and was a very sociable man who used to go down drinking in the pubs at the bottom end.

“He was an old school, proper fisherman, He always had a fishing smock on, a dutch scarf and a rollie in his mouth 24/7.”

“But he was a brilliant father, and he used to take me to watch Scarborough Football Club when I was little.

“People used to say I would follow him all over the place as a kid - I idolized him. And without being cheesy, he really was one of my best mates and I spoke to him every day.”

A familiar face around Scarborough, he was born the son of a decorator.

However, it was his uncle who brought on his lifelong passion for fishing, and at 13, he quit school to pursue his dream of being a captain.

He worked his way up, eventually buying the biggest boat in Scarborough - The Admiral Von Tromp.

However, tragedy struck on a calm day in October 1976. The boat sunk just off Black Nab in Saltwick Bay.

Two crew members perished with it.

“He never got over that,’ said Frankie.

“It was his dream boat and it was easily the biggest boat in Scarborough Harbour.

He owned another boat, the Girl Catherine, but he retired in 1996 when that was decommissioned, although he still worked as a deck hand.

He had three grandchildren, William, Mikey and Jessica, who his son said he doted on.

A collection has been started to purchase a bench and plaque to be placed on Scarborough Pier in his memory.