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Author Topic: Sheerness Yard Craft  (Read 13403 times)

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John38

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2013, 20:36:26 »
Photo of two tugs working with the Floating Dock with Garrison Fort in the back ground
(Image removed from quote.)

Not wishing to be picky, but rather in the interests of historic accuracy. I believe Garrison Fort is not visible. Behind the tug and out of sight is the Cornwallis Jetty, the pontoon bridge behind it led the the floating dock, access to the dock was via a brow. The Floating Dock was still there in 1959. The building behind is HMS Wildfire. It's difficult to see what the building is between the mast and edge of the dock but it should be the Boathouse.

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2013, 12:14:28 »
Another piece to the history of the Largest  Floatng Dock. From " Free fiction book 246page 141-

Length over all 381 feet. Length between caissons 330 " Breadth over all 124 " Breadth between sides 84 " Depth inside 53 " 5 in.

She is divided into eight longitudinal water-tight compartments, and these again into sets of compartments, called respectively load on and balance chambers. Several small compartments were also made for the reception of the pumps, the machinery for moving capstans, and cranes, all of which were worked by steam. She is powerful and large enough to lift an ironclad having a displacement of 10,400 tons, and could almost dock the _Great Eastern_.

The building of the _Bermuda_ was begun in August, 1866; she was launched in September, 1868, and finally completed in May, 1869. For the purposes of navigation two light wooden bridges were thrown across her, on the foremost of which stood her compass, and on the after the steering apparatus. She was also supplied with three lighthouses and several semaphores for signalling to the men-of-war which had her in tow, either by night or day. In shape she is something like a round-bottomed canal boat with the ends cut off. From an interesting account of her voyage from Sheerness to Bermuda by "One of those on Board," we gather the following information respecting her trip. Her crew numbered eighty-two hands, under a Staff-Commander, R.N.; there were also on board an assistant naval surgeon, an Admiralty commissioner, and the writer of the book from which these particulars are taken. The first rendezvous of the _Bermuda_ was to be at the Nore.

[Illustration: THE BERMUDA FLOATING DOCK.] not included

On the afternoon of the 23rd of June, 1869, the _Bermuda_ was towed to the Nore by four ordinary Thames tugs, accompanied by H.M.SS. _Terrible_, _Medusa_, _Buzzard_, and _Wildfire_. On arriving at the Nore off the lightship she found the _Northumberland_ waiting for her. The tugs cast off, and a hawser was passed to the _Northumberland_, which took her in tow as far as Knob Channel, the _Terrible_ bringing up astern. The _Agincourt_ was now picked up, and passing a hawser on board the _Northumberland_, took the lead in the maritime tandem. A hawser was now passed to the _Terrible_ from the stern of the _Bermuda_, so that by towing that vessel she might be kept from swaying from side to side. The _Medusa_ steamed on the quarter of the _Northumberland_, and the _Buzzard_ acted as a kind of floating outrider to clear the way. The North Foreland was passed the same evening, at a speed of four knots an hour. Everything went well until the 25th, when she lost sight of land off the Start Point late in the afternoon of that day. On the 28th she was half-way across the Bay of Biscay, when, encountering a slight sea and a freshening wind, she showed her first tendency to roll, an accomplishment in which she was afterwards beaten by all her companions, although the prognostications about her talents in this direction had been of the most lugubrious description. It must be understood that the bottom of her hold, so to speak, was only some ten feet under the surface of the water, and that her hollow sides towered some sixty feet above it. On the top of each gunwale were wooden houses for the officers, with gardens in front and behind, in which mignonette, sweet peas, and other English garden flowers, grew and flourished, until they encountered the parching heat of the tropics. The crew was quartered in the sides of the vessel; and the top of the gunwales, or quarter-decks, as they might be called, communicated with the lower decks by means of a ladder fifty-three feet long.




The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Joedest

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 16:23:11 »
From Bermuda Attractions.


Floating Dock, the way it looked originally
 
 


Bermuda Floating Dock, From Spanish Point

 



The dock was as an integral part of the Royal Naval Dockyard that was built by the British navy and served as part of its defence infrastructure.
So how did this floating dock, named as HM Floating Dock landed up in Bermuda and now lying as a massive piece of junk on the Spanish Point water area?

In the early 1800s when the construction of the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda's Ireland Island began, the British Navy required a dock here to accommodate large warships. They initially conceived the idea of making a dockyard with the help of Bermuda limestone. Later they gave up the idea because the Bermuda rocks were porous in nature and also heterogeneous. But they needed a dock so that the ships did not require to go all the way back to England after serving the water areas in the Western Atlantic.

It was the director of Royal Naval Dockyard, Colonel Clarke, who then suggested that a floating dock to be constructed as per the new designs from Campbell Johnstone and Company of England. The suggestion was quickly approved and the construction began in August 1866 on river Thames.
In May 1869, the construction of the world's second largest floating dry dock was finally completed by the company which engaged some 1,400 workers for the job. The floating dock had a size of over 47,000 square feet with 381-feet in length and 123-feet as the maximum width, and a depth of 74-feet. It could easily accommodate ships up to 370-foot long and 25-foot wide.
Now the next step was to tow this huge structure from England to Bermuda along the Atlantic water route that was 3,985 miles long. The floating dock weighed some 8,600 tons. On June 24 1869 the journey began from England along the Atlantic.
The floating dock was towed by two ships HMS Northumberland and HMS Agincourt. They were assisted by HMS Warrior and HMS Black Prince. Another ship HMS Terrible guided the stern. After 35 days of towing, the floating dock finally reached Bermuda on July 27, 1869. It then went on to serve the Royal Navy in Bermuda until 1906.
By that time the new generation warships were put into use by the British and the floating dock could no longer serve the purpose. It was then sold out to a German company. After dismantling it partially, while it was being towed away, it fell into a gale and broke loose. It then got stuck in a reef near the Spanish Point from where it could never be removed.
The floating dock was abandoned in 1908. Although Bermuda government even tried to break it apart in 1950 by using dynamite in order to clear up the nearby harbour area, the attempt was unsuccessful. Today from the Spanish Point shore, you can see this large chunk of rusted iron lying in the water.

Minsterboy

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2013, 16:54:00 »
Thanks Joe, its a good possibility.

Joedest

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2013, 16:49:40 »
Before Diesel motor boats, The Steam Pinnace was the Liberty Boat carried by Warships and there were a few in the Yard Craft
These were used to carry Dockyard workers out to ships in the harbour. Perhaps your Grandfather was a stoker on these.

In 1919 my grandfather's occupation was noted as - Stoker HM Dockyard Craft. As he lived in the Halfway, Sheppey I assume that meant that the Dockyard was Sheerness Dockyard. What were these Craft that he was a stoker on, any ideas.

My grandfather's occupation was "dockyard harbour crew" that I've understood meant crewing naval vessels while in the dockyard, as well as the dockyard's own craft (this thread). Maybe your grandfather was doing this too.


From Woolwich Museum

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2013, 12:24:27 »
Where does this one fit in I wonder ??

From Bert Shardlow's notes
" In August 1868 the Sheerness paddle steamer Medusa towed a huge iron dock weighing 8,350 tons built at north Woolwich to Sheerness. It was moored there for two years for fitting out before proceeding to Bermuda where it was to be used; the first floating dock ever built.

The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Joedest

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2013, 11:41:59 »

Paddle Steamer Harlequin

She had a life before becoming a Yard Craft.

 

Offline Sylvaticus

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2013, 11:17:23 »
In 1919 my grandfather's occupation was noted as - Stoker HM Dockyard Craft. As he lived in the Halfway, Sheppey I assume that meant that the Dockyard was Sheerness Dockyard. What were these Craft that he was a stoker on, any ideas.

My grandfather's occupation was "dockyard harbour crew" that I've understood meant crewing naval vessels while in the dockyard, as well as the dockyard's own craft (this thread). Maybe your grandfather was doing this too.

Minsterboy

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 14:56:43 »
In 1919 my grandfather's occupation was noted as - Stoker HM Dockyard Craft. As he lived in the Halfway, Sheppey I assume that meant that the Dockyard was Sheerness Dockyard. What were these Craft that he was a stoker on, any ideas.

Joedest

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 14:34:16 »
I thought the Yard Craft came under the "NORE Command" but it seems that the Chief Engineer was in Control.  Does anyone have an Hierarchy chart for the Dockyard?

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 13:24:44 »
Way back in 1954 I decided to leave the P & O Shipping line and returned to Sheerness Dockyard and I worked there for one year deciding what to do with my life.
A vacancy occured as a Second Engineer on the Yard Craft so I decided to apply. My application was refused so I requested a meeting with the Captain Engineer which was denied me. I first had to meet the Chargeman, then Inspector, then the Foreman, etc. etc. etc. This I did not like so I banged the table and was interviewed by the Captain who told me that I had no experience, I then very crossly told him that if I can take a 35,000 ton ship to Australia and back I am ****** sure that I could take his piddly little boat from Sheerness yard to Grain, etc.
He said he was given the wrong information re my application, he was sorry but the post was now filled. ( I found out later that they wanted to keep me on the very important job that I was doing !!).
A few of my friends went as engineers on the Yard Craft after their apprenticeships.
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Joedest

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 10:03:47 »

Was there really a Commodore in charge of yard craft?


Offline Ted Ingham

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 16:40:28 »
The picture shops the Paddle Ship (sorry can't remember the name) which used to ply from the Cornwallis jetty each day to take dockyard workers to the various ships in the harbour, she also called at the floating dock.
At night she would take the workers back to the dockyard. I rode on her many times and when approaching the jetty the workers would crowd to one side ready to get off, making steering very difficult. The Captain would shout "Spread Out".
Yes, she was one of the Yard Craft.

The Paddle Steamer Harlequin was purchased by the Admiralty and transported Dockyard workers between Chatham and Sheerness.

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 12:12:15 »
Does anyone remember Bill (William) Penney, ships Pilot at Sheerness Dockyard? His son Cyril was also a ship`s Pilot with the Dockyard.
The solution to every problem is a.) time , or  b.) another problem.

Offline conan

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Re: Sheerness Yard Craft
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 11:45:16 »
Here's a photo of the old German floating dock

To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

 

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