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Author Topic: Swale Wreck, what is it?  (Read 9746 times)

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Offline CDP

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2015, 12:26:03 »
Excepting this year my wife and I  always attend the Minesweepers reunion church service and Parade  at Queenborough .It is the reunion of the Minesweepers Service from  the Last War  and about 20 to 30 sections attend  from all over England complete with Standard Bearers etc Queenborough was the home port of many Byms  and my wife's father was stationed on HMS St.Tudno  the feeder ship for these Byms . .At a Reunion a few years ago we sat at a table with many old ? sailors from the Tudno .I am told that  many of these sailors attend each year . When I  go next year I will ask some of them these questions .
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2015, 10:22:57 »
I think I might know where this "Brooklyn Yard Minesweeper" thing might have come from. During World War Two, the Royal Navy acquired hundreds of vessels from the Americans under Lend-Lease, including the 150 BYMS vessels. There is a law in the USA which prevents American shipyards from building warships for foreign navies. To get around that, vessels destined for the Royal Navy and others had to be commissioned into the United States Navy first, then decommissioned and handed over to the Royal Navy a few hours later, to all intents and purposes as a second hand vessel.

The Royal Navy set up a shore establishment called HMS Saker, where these handovers occurred and all American-built vessels, from Escort Carriers and Tank Landing Ships to the little BYMS vessels went through it. HMS Saker just happened to be located in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, across the East River from Manhattan Island. Thats my theory anyway.
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Offline kyn

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2011, 12:21:17 »
Thank you all for your thoughts on this  :)

Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 21:18:20 »
CDP. you may be right. The MMS type Motor Minesweepers were called Mickey Mouse Ships.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

Offline CDP

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 12:36:49 »

Bilgerat re post 4
Perhaps called by their nick name then ?? , as everyone in the Sheerness Dockyard referrd to them as Brookland Yard Minesweepers as did their crews and the  staff at Queenborough  which was the Base for these ships during the war .
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2011, 19:11:32 »
Re post #4 - definately British Yard Mine Sweeper. The reason for this is that the ones supplied to the US Navy were known simply as YMS class ships.

See http://www.navsource.org/archives/11/19idx.htm

Very nice picture of BYMS ships being built in a US shipyard.

The hull forms of the ships being built in this picture look identical to the wrecks.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

darrenh

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 15:29:25 »
apologies if my post was missleading, i dont know for fact they are minesweepers.  i had read 3 sources calling them minesweepers while trying to find some history (after taking the photos linked).  one source was historical research group of sittingbourne. it said they were privately owned, originaly berthed on the elmley side of the crossing by the old ferry house, one was fitted out for dwelling.

i tried to get to the elmley side of the ferry but its part of the RSPB nature reserve, not officially passable by road.  i had the dog in the car too (original intention to dog walk down there) but they are banned for obvious reasons.

Offline Islesy

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 14:26:56 »
Being supplied under Lend-Lease, all the ships would have been returned to the USA after the war ended.

Or destroyed - just as long as we didn't retain them (this has gone on to be the root of countless 'urban legends' regarding buried Jeeps/Tanks/Harleys/Radios/planes etc etc). Might explain why they've come to be in the Swale.
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Offline CDP

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 12:26:15 »
BYMS stands for Brooklyn Yard Mine Sweepers I am sure ,I worked on  a couple  of these at Queenborough when I was an apprentice in Sheernes Dockyard
Some sailors felt sorry for me and gave me a lot of rice which I immediately filled my pockets to overflowing .Shortly after this I was invited to the Wardroom for a drink and when I sat down in one of the low easy chairs the rice fell from my pockets onto the floor .After a second or two everyone burst out laughing and my pockets were soon refilled.
It was my first experience of American engineering .The engine room had large boxes full of parts and  loads of diagrams of the various parts and instead of repairing a faulty part ,it was thrown away and the whole section  was replaced with an identical part from the spare parts box.
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2011, 23:32:23 »
Looking at the photos, I think there are three possibilities

1) BYMS (British Yard Mine Sweeper) Class minesweepers. These were built in large numbers in the USA for both the US and UK Navies. The Royal Navy had 150 supplied under Lend-Lease. They weren't given names, the most famous of these, J-826 became (eventually) Jacques Couseau's ship 'Calypso'. Being supplied under Lend-Lease, all the ships would have been returned to the USA after the war ended. These were 136 feet long and displaced 270 tons.

2) MMS Type (Motor Mine Sweeper). 400-odd of these were built for the RN during the war. They were not powerful enough to tow standard minesweeping gear, so were used specifically to hunt and destroy magnetic and accoustic mines. Thes were slightly smaller than the BYMS type, but I always thought that they were 'sharp' at both ends. Their usefulness was very limited and they had all been disposed of by 1947.

3) Discounting the WWII theory, they could be 'Ton' class. 119 of these were built for the RN during the 1950s and several of them were disposed of in the Swale. They looked similar to the later batch of BYMS ships, but were bigger, being 152 feet long and displacing 440 tons.

There are other possibilities, Bangor or Algerine classes spring to mind, but they were a lot bigger, being over 1000 tons displacement and over 200 feet long for the Algerine Class, and 600-odd tons and 171 feet for the Bangors.

Without seeing the wrecks for myself, it's difficult to say what they actually are, what I've given here is intended as a guide to what they could be.

Are we sure they're Minesweepers?
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

Offline Paul

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 12:41:32 »
Just found this aswell...(I should have looked here first... )

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=11665.0
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline Paul

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Re: Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 12:26:05 »
It must be these two http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/575486

ADS says they are unidentified.

It has been said that the one closest to the bank was a WW2 minesweeper?
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Offline kyn

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Swale Wreck, what is it?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2011, 11:31:28 »
I have had an email passed on to me asking for information of a wreck in the Swale.  Would members be kind enough to read below and see if they have any information which may help?

I am trying to ascertain the origins / history of a hulked wooden powerboat wreck laying in the mud out of the Swale main channel, on the mainland side [south side] of the Swale at Elmley Ferry. I feel sure it dates from WW2. Can you please kindly throw any light on the subject for me?
 
My wife and I sailed the Swale from the early 1960's keeping our 15ft LOA Norwegian clinker sailing dinghy at what was then the SSC [Swale Sailing Club] based at the disused cement works at Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey.  My memory may be at fault, but I seem to recall that there were two wooden ex Navy minesweepers at Elmley ferry in addition to the above mentioned hulk. The better of the minesweepers was acquired by a Mr Wakelin the proprietor of the SSC and was floated into the remains of the small dock at the SSC. This we used as the club premises, cum licenced bar accomodation etc.. The remaining ex minesweeper "disappeared" over the years.  I feel sure it was broken up by a character living then at Elmley Ferry.
 
The afore said Mr Wakelin was a charming but wily character, a former w/o flying in Westland Lysanders during WW2. In answer to my queries he could not throw any light on the hulk in question - which I belive is still "resident" at Elmley Ferry.
 
Subsequently in the late 1960's we left the SSC for I had by then built my own double diagonal planked 27 ft LOA Eventide sloop, keeping this at Jarman's Boatyard at Conyer. I understand Mr Wakelin died of a heart attack a year or two after we left the SSC which was wound up  Happy days indeed!.
 
I have a sneaking suspicion that the above hulk in question could possily be an ex German Navy Scnellboot, but it is some years since I passed the vessel having sold our yacht.

 

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