Rob and Jack Wing celebrate being named UK Fishmonger of the Year

This Remembrance weekend, as we pay our respects to those who fought for our country, we also remember the Cornish fishing communities who made such a significant contribution during the two World Wars.

Many Cornish men were drafted to help with the war efforts, sadly with many never returning. Our small, close-knit fishing communities felt the pain of losing fathers and sons, much like the rest of the country.

The contribution of Cornwall’s Fishing industry wasn’t confined to the front line. Back home during World War 1 there was a shortage of fishing crews. So groups of older men; many over the age of 70 rose to the challenge to keep our country fed.

Due to a wartime shortage of fishermen during World War Two, these Porthleven men, all over 70, rose to the challenge of keeping the country fed.

The herring industry was particularly important during the First World War, when larger vessels were called up for service and the smaller Cornish drifters were vital to feeding the nation.

In World War 2, as larger boats were requisitioned for use in the war efforts once again smaller boats took the strain. They were supported by Belgium and French fishing crews, many of whom made the trip across the Channel with their families. The first of the French boats arrived in Newlyn in 1940, with many other boats following bringing refugees to fishing villages on the Cornish coast.

During World War Two, Cornwall also became a refuge for children escaping the bombs which were falling on the larger urban cities across England. Many families in fishing communities opened their doors, offering a warm welcome – with Cornwall playing an important role in the legacy of an entire generation of youngsters.

If you’d like to find out more about role of Cornish fishing during wartime, take a read of:

Newlyn at War: Published by the Newlyn Archive and edited by P Lomax -

Cornwall Seafood Guide: History of the Cornish Fishing Industry: