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Author Topic: Princess Irene.  (Read 30669 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2010, 10:57:01 »
A.   A defective striker - the striker being too long - and if the thing is being rushed, people not taking sufficient care in gauging or noticing this and also if the washer happened to be left off the primer tin and the pistol was subject to any rough usage, there is nothing to prevent the detonator striking the point of the striker.  If the clips on the dropping ring are not properly engaged and anyone is playing about with the pistol after it was put into the mine, it could be fired then.
10.   Where is the mine when the primer is inserted?
A.   On the sinker, on the rails.
11.   Do you have to cant the mine?
A.   In some cases, yes.
12.   Is there any chance of the whiskers being knocked in doing that?
A.   They are not put on then.  Not until the mine is upright.
13.   Supposing that the primer had been inserted with the clips only just holding but not properly underneath the holding ring and the whisker was struck and the shearing pin sheared, would the mine then explode?
A.   Yes.
14.   In your ship, how many really expert people have you that you can trust to fit these mines?
A.   The only people I care about trusting to do the work are the Chief armourer and the Chief Electrical Artificer for cocking pistols and 2 Torpedo Gunner's Mates.  The other Torpedo Gunner's Mate on board the ship I do not consider has had enough experience to be of much use.
15.   In a previous answer we understood you to say that in case of rush other people were employed.  Whom have you employed in these cases?
A.   In these cases we employ L.T.O.'s.
16.   Would you employ them in preference to the third T.G.M. to whom you refer?
A.   Yes.  I should do.  People who have done the job before.
17.   What labour is used in handling mines during priming?
A.   This is all skilled labour.  The remainder is merely shifting mines and carrying pistols.
18.   Are any cautions given to the unskilled men that handle mines?
A.   They are always cautioned about bumping mines about.  We are always very particular about that.
19.   When a working party, consisting probably largely of stokers, comes on board from the depot, what instructions are given to them?
A.   They are employed on the upper deck in working guys of the derrick and in the lighter hooking on and a few are employed on removing nuts from the tops of mines as they are placed on the rails, and shifting mines along.  No special instructions are required for this.
20.   Are no cautions given to them regarding the precautions to be taken with mines already in position with whiskers on?
A.   There are no mines with whiskers on.  They are in a perfectly safe state.
21.   On board your ship, when is the priming done?
A.   After the mines and sinkers are inboard.  Everything is got ready as the mines are coming in for priming as regards removing nuts and top plates from mines.
22.   Have you ever had occasion to prime while other work was going on on board?
A.   Yes.  We may have been adjusting the brackets of the sinkers at the same time as we have been priming.  We have done that.
23.   Do you ever have to hoist in mines at the same time as priming is going on?
A.   No.
24.   We have here a statement from the "Actaeon" that one mine which has been recovered which had a lower block tackle hooked on to it as if it had been hoisted in.  Would there be any occasion for the tackle to be hooked on except for hoisting in that you can think of?
A.   Yes.  In case of the attachment chain of the mine not being clear it may be necessary to hoist the mine to cleat the attachment chain to get it out over the edge of the sinker.  Although we always do that by means of wedges and bars.
25.   Have you any knowledge as to who was on board the "Princess Irene" at the time?
A.   No.

Witness withdrew.

david brown

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2010, 22:06:10 »
About five years ago the wreck of a coal hulk which sank whilst alongside or close by the "Princess Irene"
was surveyed and chains were passed around the hull by divers and two tugs the "Harty" & "Warden" with a total of 10,000 horse power were tasked with an attempt to move the wreck along the seabed to shallow water
To everones surprise the wreck was moved about a mile towards Burntwick Island and is now marked by a buoy.
The wreck is possibly that of "HMS Forte" which was cut down and used as a hulk 

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2010, 20:27:21 »
Remarkably the wreck of the Princess Irene was not declared a war grave.
The wreck was lost! until 1962 when it was discovered when a tug fouled an obstruction.
25 tons of wreckage above the sea bed was removed between 1962-64.
The lower hull still remains in position, the bow pointing to the North-East.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2010, 12:31:35 »
Minutes of evidence of Court of Enquiry held at R.N.Barracks, Chatham, on Friday 28th May, 1915, to enquire into the blowing up of H.M.S. "PRINCESS IRENE" on Thursday 27th May.

Mr. Leonard Parsons.   Gunner.T.   H,M,S, "Angora"
Called and Cautioned.

1.   Will you explain to the Court how these mines are primed?.
A.   In the ship that I am in, the Chief Electrical Artificer and the Chief Armourer cock the pistol and examine it.  After that is done it is passed to the Torpedo Gunner's Mate - one Torpedo Gunner's Mate to each pair of mine rails.  The priming party is stationed at a table between the mine rails, these men fitting the detonators into the primers.  The fitted primer is then passed to the Torpedo Gunner's Mate who fixes it on the pistol, examining the pistol before fitting the primer.  This is the routine carried out when we have time to do it, but as a rule, the thing is done at such a rush that you have to employ other people on the work in addition to the Torpedo Gunner's Mates.
2.   What sort of people do you refer to?
A.   Leading Torpedo Men and Seamen Torpedomen.
3.   Would these men have had previous instruction?
A.   Instruction in the ship.  There is also another point I should like to mention in regard to the priming.  The priming is practically the last thing done after the mines are got on board and the men have practically worked 18 hours out of 24 and when it comes to the priming they have just about had enough of it.  Therefore unless you have got proper experienced people to do the work - Petty Officers that you can trust - you cannot guarantee that the proper amount of care is going to be taken for the work.
4.   Have you any knowledge whether the procedure was the same on board the "Princess Irene"?
A.   I could not say.
5.   Will you show the Court the procedure in priming?
A.   The procedure was shown and explained to the Court by witness, Chief Electrical Artificer and Torpedo Gunner?s Mate Munn of "ANGORA".
6.   In the pistol which has just been shown to us, the striker protrudes more than it should do.  Have you come across any similar instances in dealing with your mines?
A.   Yes.  Several.
7.   Have you found it to protrude more than that?
A.   Yes.
8.   After gauging these strikers, is the primer immediately inserted?
A.   Any defective pistols are altered before use and the pistol is tested a second time by the Torpedo Gunner's Mate before screwing on the primer.  This is to see the hydrostatic clips are properly engaging under the ring and the striker is gauged again by feeling with the thumb.
9.   What in your opinion are the possible causes, if any, of a premature explosion.


(Due to length of this document I will stop here and continue at a later date)

Offline busyglen

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2010, 11:31:37 »
Well I've learnt something here today!  I don't know why, but I thought that the Princess Irene blew up because of a boiler problem (similar to the Bulwark).  It's very interesting seeing these documents Kyn, keep them coming!  :)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2010, 19:30:19 »
Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.
28th May, 1915.
Sir,
In compliance with your Memorandum No. W.24.G. of the 27th May, 1915, we have the honour to report that, having held a careful enquiry into the circumstances attending the blowing up of H.M.S. "PRINCESS IRENE", the Court is of the opinion that the explosion was an accidental one.
The evidence shows that at the time of the accident mines were being primed on board.  The form of pistol used has been shown and explained to the Court and it appears that a premature explosion might be caused by faulty construction of a pistol if the striker projected into the primer holder so that it could penetrate the detonator when the primer was being screwed on.
A faulty pistol in which the striker projected more than one sixteenth of an inch as supplied to H.M.S. "ANGORA" was produced to the Court.
A second possible cause of explosion might be if when fitting a pistol the tumbler levers did not properly engage under the dropper ring; it has been shown that they will hold with only one under or with all three bearing against but not under the dropper ring.  In such a case, if the pistol were being fitted into the mine, any jar might release the striker and explode the detonator.
A third possible cause of explosion would be if the indiarubber washer was left out of the top of the primer leaving the detonator free to be thrown against the striker, but this could only occur if the striker projected too far as in the first case.
The Officers, Petty Officers and men who gave in written statements were all questioned as to whether they had anything to add to their statements.
Under the lamentable circumstances, the Court consider it impossible to attribute blame but is of the opinion that no plea of haste should ever allow of these pistols being fitted by other than fully qualified men and further that a slight mechanical device should be fitted to the pistols to ensure that the pistol could not fire until it is properly placed with the other safety devices in the mine.
Our report is accompanied by the minutes of evidence.  The inquiry has been hurried to permit of Commander Petre proceeding to sea, but it is not thought that any additional evidence of value is likely to be obtained.
We have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your obedient Servants,
Commander.  H.M.S. "ANGORA".
Captain.  H.M.S. "CONQUEST".
Rear Admiral.  H.M.S. "PEMBROKE".

Offline busyglen

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2010, 11:06:43 »
I guess they would be suffering from shock!  It was a terrible tragedy, especially for someone in the near vicinity.  I can't invisage what the sound and after effects were like....more like the noise from a torpedo or bomb going off.
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline kyn

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Re: Princess Irene.
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2010, 10:54:41 »
Date: 27th May 1915.
COPY OF
TELEGRAM.
From: Admiral Superintendant.
To:  Commander-in-Chief, The Nore.
Submit the Associated Portland Cement Co., report that their barge "Silver Wedding" now at Upnor was close to "PRINCESS IRENE" when explosion took place.
The barge is seriously damaged and will be examined by Dockyard.  The Mate has been taken to R.N.Hospital, Chatham, and the Master has gone home suffering from shock (stop)  They make no claim and I have thanked them for the information and expressed sympathy with the injured man.
1800.


Offline colin haggart

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Princess Irene.
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2010, 21:25:48 »
I took photos of  these in The Holy Trinity Church in Sheerness.







 

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