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Author Topic: Submarines in the Medway  (Read 38655 times)

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Offline MartinR

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2017, 00:11:08 »
I visited U122 for the first time today but haven't got good photos.  We were a bit late leaving Commodore's Hard and in consequence arrived at West Bulwark just at high tide.  Being unfamiliar with the waters we went in but only stayed for about 5 minutes before leaving, possibly over-cautious since it was a 6m spring.  At high water there is not a lot to see.  If anyone else is planning the trip I suggest being at West Bulwark as early in the tide as possible and following the flood in.  Navigation was by Imray chart 2100.4, Google Maps and Garmin 78S.

Offline Signals99

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2017, 00:25:09 »
Re First World War submarine engines . My ex wife worked at the Majestic/Gaumont cinema for a fairly long time, so I got to know some of the staff fairly well. .One gentleman, a Mr Taylor was positive that the emergency diesel generator housed in a separate room at the end of an alley, situated between the cinema and Hobdays pram and toy shop, was originally from a German submarine scrapped at Upnor.  l did see the unit once, "Siemens gmbh" was a name on some of the bits of stuff mounted there. I can't say if any of this was fact or fiction, I can only verify that the engine room existed.

Offline AMD

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2017, 14:15:04 »
Apropos the identity of the Medway U-boats, I have been able to consult the Admiralty's sales ledger for 1919-1939, which includes all ex-German submarines sold by Britain after WW1, and which unambiguously resolves the issue of those acquired by the cement works for their engines - although leaving some issues of individual.

U122 (NOT UB122), UB76 and UB93 are listed as sold to M. Lynch & Son on 7 September 1920 (for £1,000, £1,500 and £1,000 respectively), for ‘[…]kham Cement Works, Halling, Nr Rochester’, Lynch also having acquired UB133, UB136 (for £1,000 each), UB144, UB145 and UB150 (for £2,000 each) on 22 July – making the requisite eight boats. Not only this, but the ledger expressly notes ‘Hull dumped 1922’ for UB144, UB145 and UB150. Of the other five, U122, UB76 and UB93 were re-sold to Upnor Shipbreaking on 25 October 1922, and UB133 and UB136 to T.W. Ward in the same year.

Regarding the precise identification of the three currently-visible wrecks, the apparent size of the ‘big’ wreck would indicate that it is indeed U122, as has often been suggested.  If so, it might suggest that the other two hulks might be the other two Upnor boats, likewise only partly dismantled in situ before being abandoned; on the other hand, the explicitly ‘dumped’ UB144, UB145 and UB150 must also be candidates, especially as the two Slede hulks were largely intact until cut down around 1940.

These findings have been shared with Historic England, and will be included in a forthcoming paper on the post-WW1 fate of ex-German submarines, and a projected book on surrendered ex-enemy vessels of both World Wars.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2014, 21:25:42 »
WOW! That film is just AWESOME! I want one of those in my back garden, if the Trailer would allow me. Thanks for posting the link I really enjoyed that. I wonder if Ebay have one for sale.........

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2014, 20:55:25 »
As posted in the news section of the forum the Humble Bee Creek U-boat has been identified by English Heritage as probably UB 122.

The vessel alongside is most likely the Swale, a 37 ton sailing barge built in 1864. The barge belonged to Brice's, who operated the nearby Stoke Mud Hole, where clay was dug out for cement manufacture. (ATB 36)

The other two U-boats at Sled Creek are probably UB 76 and UB 93.

After the Battle number 36 is required reading for anyone interested in the Medway U-boats, copies are still available from afterthebattle.com.


"Mr. J. R. Kerr, who was then a small boy, recalled to me how he would earn a penny-and a look at a former U-boat engine in action-by delivering the Sunday dinner of the engineer on duty at the Municipal Power Station at Gillingham."

And this is what he would have seen.
MAN F6V35 World War 1 U-boat diesel engine load run, early 2013.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5opnhfG35zo

Offline Admiral D Ascoyne

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2014, 10:37:26 »
I went out to the sub in Sept 13, the island beside is big enough to camp on, we named the island after the Sub captain, but the name escapes me at present! :)
Nostalgia's not what it used to be

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2013, 22:06:50 »
The Medway U-boats.

When hostilities ceased on the 11th November 1918, it was arranged for the majority of the German U-boat fleet to surrender at Harwich, the major British submarine base. By the 18th April 1919, a total of 150 surrendered U-boats were moored in lines on the river Stour on the Essex-Suffolk border.
Some of the U-boats were then assigned to the French, US, Italian and Japanese navies. The remaining U-boats were then mostly sold for scrap and were towed to places as far apart as Bo,ness in Scotland and Swansea in Wales.
A list of the surrendered U-boats can be found @ http://www.uboat.net/wwi/fates/listing.html
An eyewitness account of the surrender can be found in chapter 19 of 'A North Sea Diary 1914-1918' by Commander Stephen King-Hall.
Available to view @http://archive.org/details/northseadiary00kingiala

Eight of the surrendered U-boats are listed on uboat.net as going to the Medway.
U 112,    broken up Rochester 1922.
U B76,               ditto
UB 93,               ditto
UB 144,             ditto
UB 145,             ditto
U 126,  broken up Upnor 1923.
U 141,               ditto
UC 60,  broken up Rainham 1921.
Note, broken up must refer to the date at which Mr Batchelor sold the hulls for scrap.

From 'WW1 Medway U-boats', by Pat O'driscoll. After the Battle, number 36, 1982.
"A number of correspondents told me about Mr. Albert 'Spot' Batchelor, who owned a small private cement works up-river at Halling, later taken over by the Rugby Portland Cement Company...........
.......In 1914 his cement works at Halling was driven by a steam-engine. About 1919-20 he brought a number of U-boats and took the engines out of them. The machinery of the submarines (wrote a correspondent who preferred not to be named) consisted of a 700 hp MAN diesel engine for main propulsion, two 490 hp manually reversible engines and 230V Siemens generators.
Two of the bigger motors went to replace the steam-engine at his cement works (unfortunately they were scrapped before I started to investigate). Two more went to the Holborough cement works at Snodland (established 1926). Southend Corporation bought two from him for the local power station and they saved the town from blackouts on a number of occasions. A further two, complete with generators, supplied power to the Wembley Exhibition of 1924 while a pair went to Davantry for the famous 2LO broadcasting station. Two even went out to New Zealand for use in the building of a hydro-electric project.
Mr. J. R. Kerr, who was then a small boy, recalled to me how he would earn a penny-and a look at a former U-boat engine in action-by delivering the Sunday dinner of the engineer on duty at the Municipal Power Station at Gillingham.
Mr. P. Squires, of Hoo, actually saw the three submarines arrive at Stoke Mud Hole, towed by Knight's tugs Kenley and Kent............
Mr. Squires and other boys crept aboard the big submarine. By then, he said, the engines had been removed and in the space left there were a number of 15ft pontoons................... He recalls that many submarines were broken-up at Lower Upnor, further upstream, and that the two submarines in Slede Creek were broken-up at the beginning of the war when scrap fetched good prices.
Mr. Norwood sent me a photograph of one of the smaller U-boats taken in the 1930's. They lay bow-on to the saltings and apparently they were without conning towers.............
A reader at Gillihgham, Mr. L. A. Griffith, who took a great interest in unravelling the U-boat story, very kindly followed up many of the leads given by correspondents and consulted Admiralty Disposals files at the Public Record Office. One man who wrote to him spoke of helping to dismantle several U-boats at Halling including one big one that was U 112."


So it seems that the eight U-boats were sold to Mr. Batchelor, who had them towed up the Medway to his cement works at Halling. Here the main and auxiliary engines were removed. The hulls were then sold to the ship-breakers, possibly the Upnor Ship-breaking Company.
5 were scrapped. When the price of metal fell, or the Upnor Ship-breaking Company went bust, the three remaining hulls were dumped on the mud banks of the Medway at Humble Bee Creek and Slede Ooze. During the early 1940's, the two boats in Slede Ooze were scrapped, leaving just their very bottoms. For some reason the boat in Humble Bee creek was left untouched.
So, to my way of thinking, the remains of the three U-boats must be from the eight listed above. Note that all three seemed to have had their conning towers removed, possibly to allow them to be taken under Rochester bridge.

Uboat.net lists 5 U-boats that "ran aground on the English east coast on the way to be broken up." This could be anywhere between Berwick to Dover. I would discount these, along with U 122 and U 123, on account of Mr. Squires as quoted above, which suggests that the U-boats were deliberately dumped.

gavinparson

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2012, 07:35:28 »
We know that the big sub at Humble Bee Creek is either U122 or U123. There seems to be no record of what the other sub wrecks are.

d-fore

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2012, 08:40:38 »
Just found these on another site,
 http://www.southeast-defencephotos.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=106&pos=1

Best get back to work now, too much time digging!!!!

d-fore

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2012, 06:48:08 »
From what I understand the engine from the single sub went to Southend power station and then was sold on to India.
From other sites I think someone has identified the big sub or got it down to one of 2 boats.
You can see where they cut a hole big enough to get the engine out.
For those without a boat you can get a good view of the sub on the lower road from Hoo to Stoke.

Offline bromptonboy

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2012, 10:34:51 »
Just after WW1 the Gillingham Electric Light Company bought the engines from some German subs for installation in their power station as auxiliary back-up engines to the main plant. It could well be the engines came from the subs now on the mud flats.

gavinparson

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 23:17:51 »
I took another exploratory trip to check out some of the Medway wrecks today. Here's some pictures.

The first one is of the wooden hulled vessel in an inlet near Darnet Fort and the other four are of the submarine wrecks near Oakham Ness Jetty.



gavinparson

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 20:43:34 »
It looks like the remains of a wooden hulled vessel. Does that little island have a name?

It's just part of Darnet. I've been through that channel lots of times and never noticed that wreck. I think it's probably a wooden hull but too pointed to be a barge.

I'll pop over there soon and take a look.

Offline LenP

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2012, 23:33:48 »
It looks like the remains of a wooden hulled vessel. Does that little island have a name?

d-fore

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Re: Submarines in the Medway
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2012, 23:27:26 »
This is the lat and long of the other hulk 51.405524, 0.614617 but looking at it again it seems too wide.  It would be worth a look though.

 

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