The fishing yawl to the left of the above image is the Annie Johnson. Her registration - KY 478 - can just be made out on the left side. This vessel was launched on 30 March 1880 in Anstruther from the yard of John Alexander Millar. Described by the Fife News on 3 April as "one of the largest and finest fishing craft ever built on the Fife coast". However, this fifty feet long, thirty ton boat was destined to begin life outside of Fife. It has been built for John Pert of Ferryden, Montrose and was given the registration ME 535. The newspaper continued:
"Designed for the cod and ling fishing of the North Sea, she is fitted up with all the latest improvements, so much so that a finer craft of her class does not swim today on the briny wave."
In 1882, Annie Johnston ran into difficultly when a storm hit Yarmouth. The two-part update in the 28 October Weekly Scotsman (below) reported initially that, of the numerous Scottish boats damaged while fishing there, Annie Johnston was one of two to fail to find shelter. This early report (from the Wednesday afternoon) stated that she was "now lying totally wrecked on Yarmouth beach" and had been laden with herring. But updated news from the following afternoon informs readers that the Annie Johnston had been ashore on the beach and was now "being got off", with the cargo saved. Subsequently, she must have been repaired and was able to return to service.
On 22 February 1884 there was a change of owner for the Annie Johnston, when James Coull took her over. Five years later on 4 April 1889, James West became her owner but only for a couple of months. On 5 June that same year the Annie Johnston was sold to Largo's David Gillies. Presumably this was 'Fisher Davie' (1836-1923), owner of various vessels over the years, including a smaller boat named Violet. Perhaps the vessel was purchased in time for the Shetland trip mentioned below in the 20 June 1889 Fifeshire Journal. Note that a 'cran' was a measure of fresh herrings, equivalent to 37 and a half imperial gallons (or 170.5 litres). This could vary from around 700 to 2500 fish but on average was about 1200 herring. A cran was roughly four baskets (known as quarter crans) or one barrel.
For several years, Annie Johnston would have been one of the large deep-sea fishing boats operating out of Largo. The piece below from the 10 August 1900 East of Fife Record is one of the last references to her Largo days. It describes how a fishing trip was but short by a severe gale. The next year the vessel would be sold to a buyer in Shetland.
The 18 May 1901 Shetland Times (below) reported Annie Johnston joining the Shetland fleet. This left only one Largo deep sea fishing boat - the Ocean Bride.