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Author Topic: Submarine pens at Borstal.  (Read 783 times)

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Offline Rochester-bred

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2017, 05:38:17 »
This submarine as far as I know is still moored on the river Medway near Strood, Submarine U-475 Black Widow was a Soviet Navy submarine of the Cold war period, which is now in private hands.
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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 19:14:28 »
AlanH. In my day the Esplanade finished at Shorts front gate. A road inside Shorts Works ran between the river and the shops.Nothing past the concrete apron but a footpath up the hill to Borstal. Shop numbers were from the gate (with a very nice gateHOUSE). No. 1 was a machine and detail shop. No.2 offices. Then 3 final assembly etc. up to 18.

Offline AlanH

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 09:06:06 »
You're right DaveS. No 18 shop was where I first started in 1959 with BK and then they built the assembly shop which was the last building on the Esplanade at the bottom of Shorts Way.
I'm not sure about where No 3 shop was unless it was the CAV end which was the last factory by the Backfields as we called them.
AlanH.

PS. Nothing to do with this thread but they (BK) also built their Admin. block up on the banks above the assembly shop at the same time.)

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2017, 23:04:27 »
The only submarines I know of that made it upstream of the Rochester bridges were the ex-German U-Boats brought by Albert Batchelor in 1919-20 and taken to his cement works at Halling where the engines were removed. I cannot find the reference now but I seem to remember that the conning towers had to be removed to get them under the Rochester bridges.
Perhaps, over time, it was assumed that they were moored in pens?
Maybe at one point they were moored/beached at Borstal?
Wouldham is almost opposite Halling.

Offline colin haggart

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2017, 22:17:50 »
prb, maybe.  There is talk of pens at Wouldrum.

Offline prb

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2017, 20:49:47 »
Could it be that someone is confused with the old tunnels of the cement works at Safety Bay.
 

Offline Rochester-bred

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 15:37:03 »
I have just spoken to my brother who worked along the Esplanade for many years and he said there were no submarine pens there. The only place he knew of submarines being worked on was the nuclear ones which were worked on in Chatham dockyard and what is left of the part which serviced them is supposedly sealed underground .
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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 13:45:34 »
Alan H. As a matter of interest, I've seen photo's of Shorts in the 30's & no sign of anything else there then. You,at Blaw Knox, worked in the old No.18 shop of Shorts Seaplane Works. ( My first 6 months was spent there as an apprentice in 1945). The large concrete apron in those days held the Shetland and a few other flying boats, which of course could be launched from there. However, the main assembly shop with two slipways direct out onto the Medway was No. 3 shop, at the far end. 

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 13:33:07 »
Couldn't agree more Bilgerat. On the surface, about 2/3rds of a submarine was submerged and with a hull of around 10 ft. deep AND the Medway tidal, I don't think viable- so a myth! U- Boat pens, for a vast fleet, needed to be large & under cover against air attack &, as you say, opening direct to the sea/ocean;e.g. Brest.

Offline Bilgerat

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 12:15:50 »
You have to ask yourself why would submarine pens be built at Borstal? Submarines are and always have been very specialised vessels, which need a lot of maintenance. Given that there was a large naval base a few miles down the river with all the specialised facilities to build and maintain submarines, why would they be built there? Also, they need to be near the sea, not miles upstream on a river notorious for it's tight bends, fast currents and rapid and continuous silting. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the British have ever built proper submarine pens anywhere, at least not along the lines of those built by the Germans.

Also, I think I'm right in thinking that the Medway is too shallow for submarines at Borstal. Even the midget submarines of the World War 2 X and XE classes needed at least ten feet of water to even float. Their operations were deeply shrouded in secrecy, even more so than regular submarine operations, so keeping them anywhere other than a place far from public view was simply not an option. The smallest ocean-going World War 2 submarines of the U and V classes needed about 20 feet of water and at low water at Borstal, I think the Medway has never been any more than 10 feet deep. Deep enough for flying boats, sailing barges and coasters, but not submarines.

Submarine pens at Borstal? No - Urban legend.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

Offline AlanH

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 08:52:17 »
I agree with RB there. I did my apprenticeship at Blaw Knox and my father worked for Shorts and I've never heard of any sub pens. Actually I have an aerial  pic of the Medway from the cathedral which shows only the last factory that was then still standing (20 odd years ago?) at the far end, BKs assembly shop. Slipway where planes were probably launched into the water is shown as well.
AlanH.

Offline colin haggart

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 22:07:32 »
Thanks, Rochester bred.

Offline Rochester-bred

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Re: Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2017, 18:45:32 »
I'm just thinking, with all the amount of building work that has totally changed the Esplanade along to Borstal, I don't think anything remains, apart from the old slipway where the shorts planes took off. All the factories are long gone and housing has taken its place, I know the remains of the Shorts tunnels are still there, behind the new estate, but I don't think any sub. pens are along the waterfront, but if anyone knows any different it would be good to know.
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Offline colin haggart

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Submarine pens at Borstal.
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2017, 18:10:43 »
I've been told that there are remains of submarine pens at Borstal. Does anyone know anything about them, if indeed they exist?

 

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