Category: ships and shipping
I was given a whole stack of prints that were photographed of warships that called in Cape Town and Simonstown roughly between 1994 and 2002. The photographer was Patrick Gavin Worman, and unfortunately like so many of us he was tied down to weather, photography position, camera and skill, and I am grateful to him for capturing images of these vessels. He passed away in 2018
This gallery features ships from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
DRW © 2019 -2019. Created 23/12/2019.
My handy ship visit book records that we visited on board this classic beauty on 18 May 1996. Rudi and I went down specifically to see her, and I was carrying a large video camera but no stills camera. Rudi was to take some extra images of the ship for me for my collection but he never did and those images and the video are gone forever as Rudi passed away in December 2018 and his collection was lost. All I recall of the ship was that she really was a ship from a different age and really stunning.
My notes read:
MV Anastasis (IMHO 5379729). Ex Victoria of Lloyd Triestino. Built Cr Adriatico, yard # 1765. 11695 GRT, 158,4 x 20,7. Sold 1978 to “Youth With A Mission” (YWAM) Co, Limassol. Used as a mobile hospital, housing 3 operating rooms, a 40 bed hospital ward, dental clinic, laboratory, x-ray unit and 3 cargo holds. In service for 29 years, she was broken up in 2007.
We were fortunate to have a guided tour of the ship by the lady who signed my book. Alas her surname is unrecognisable.
DRW © 1996- 2019. Created 23/08/2019
This post has been written many years after the fact and to be honest prior to today I have never really had much to add to a SAS Somerset post. However, I have recently found the handout I received when I visited the ship in 1993.
The one thing I do remember is how clean and well maintained she looked when I was on board, and the men in charge were rightly proud of her. Sadly as at 2019 her future is bleak and it is likely that she will end up being broken up.
Potted history of the SAS Somerset.
The ship was built by Blyth Shipbuilding Company and is listed as yard number 280, her machinery was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richards Ltd, Tyneside. Her keel was laid on 15 April 1941 and she entered service with the Royal Navy on 08 April 1942 as HMS Barcross.
HMS Barcross and her sister ship HMS Barbrake arrived at Simonstown, in 1942 and was transferred to Saldanha Bay for boom defence operations directly thereafter. In 1943 she was re-designated as HMSAS Barcross and transferred to the South African Naval Forces for the remainder of the war. In 1946 she was was purchased by the South African Government and was used for the dumping of ammunition off Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. On completion of these services, she was transferred to Salisbury Island in Durban and was subsequently laid up at Salisbury Island. In 1951 her name was changed to SAS Somerset.
During 1955 Somerset was brought back into service and during this period she was tasked in salvaging the remains of two Harvard training aircraft following a mid air collision over Table Bay. Six weeks later she recovered a third Harvard which had crashed into the sea off Bok Point. In 1959 during a refit, Somerset had her coal fired boilers converted to oil.
In 1961 Somerset salvaged the South African Railways tug F. Schermbrucker which had sunk in East London harbour. In 1967 she was fitted out with new boilers and a reconditioned main engine. In 1968 her services were called on again to assist the cable ship John W. Mackay to raise and repair the newly inaugurated overseas telephone cable in the shallow waters off Melkbosstrand. During 1969 Somerset raised the old whale catcher Wagter 11 in Saldanha Bay and subsequently towed her back to Simonstown. During the same year, she salvaged a floating crane which had capsized and sunk at Port Elizabeth. In the early hours of 24 July 1974 Somerset was dispatched to Cape Agulhas to assist with the salvage of the Oriental Pioneer, poor weather conditions and bad luck rendered this effort unsuccessful.
In 1981 the fishing trawler Aldebaran was successfully raised in Port Elizabeth having laid on the bottom for over two and a half years. Somerset also acted as a standby vessel during submarine shallow water diving operations. In 1983 she assisted in the salvaging of a barge and two whale catchers at Saldanha Bay. In March 1986, Somerset was finally paid off. In 1988 she was donated as a museum ship, moored at the waterfront at Cape Town. She is the only boom defence vessel remaining in the world. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAS_Somerset)
The following images were taken by Dylan Knott on 17 February and April 2019. Sadly it appears as if the Somerset is to be broken up. Images are used with permission and are copyright to the photographer.
DRW © 2019 -2020. Created 01/03/2019. Images of Somerset on the synchro by Patrick Gavin Worman, images of Somerset in 2019 courtesy of Dylan Knott © 2019
The preserved tug Canning, is permanently berthed in Swansea at the Swansea Maritime and Industrial Museum. She was built in 1954 and built by Cochrane & Sons of Selby for the Alexandra Towing Company and was based at Liverpool until being transferred to Swansea in 1966. She became the last steam tug to operate in the Bristol Channel, serving until 1974. She was retired to the Museum in 1975. (https://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/register/4/canning)
She is a oil burner with a triple expansion engine by C D Holmes & Co. Ltd., Hull. Unusually there is even a builders plate for her engine makers on board.
She was not in a perfect condition and really needed some paint and derusting. I was unable to get onto the pontoon to see what she is like on the other side, and photographic positions were limited by the fence. Berthed ahead of her was the preserved light vessel “Lightship 91”, known as ‘Helwick’, and she too was very difficult to photograph.
To the best of my knowledge neither ships are open to the public.
DRW © 2018-2019, Created 11/10/2018
Liverpool Naval Memorial may be found on the Mersey River Bank between the Ferry Terminal and the Museum of Liverpool. (GPS co-ordinates: 53.40349, -2.99659). There are 1408 identified casualties from the Second World War on the memorial.
The memorial was designed by C. Blythin and S.H. Smith and was unveiled by the Admiral of the Fleet, The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, K.T., G.C.B., O.M., D.S.O., on the 12th November 1952.
More than 13000 officers and men from the Merchant Navy served with the Royal Navy and they were subject to Naval discipline while generally retaining their Merchant Navy rates of pay and other conditions. Liverpool was manning port for many of the various types of auxiliary vessels, including armed merchant cruisers and boarding vessels, cable ships, rescue tugs, and others on special service.
The memorial is a difficult one to photograph as it is a very popular spot with people, and I was never really able to get decent photographs of it from land side, and the closest I got from the ferry was:
It is also very close to the statue of Captain Frederic John Walker RN.
Appropriately the Merchant Navy Memorial is also in this area.
This was not one of my better memorial explorations, but if ever I return I will rectify the situation.
DRW © Created 16/06/2018
The Merchant Navy Memorials in Liverpool are situated on the waterfront facing the Mersey and the Birkenhead side of the river bank. The city played an important role in the Battle of the Atlantic as Western Approaches Command was based in the city, and many of the men and ships that sailed in the convoys came from this port.
A few metres further is a raised block with a number of relevant dedications. The two memorials are between Google Earth co-ordinates: 53.403829° -2.996822°
Of particular relevance was this plaque that does not really make up for the lack of recognition of men and women from so many other countries that lost their lives in the Merchant Navy during both wars.
There was also an Arandora Star Plaque which served as a reminder that all ships were in danger of being sunk, whether combatant or non-combatant.
Norwegians, Poles and Belgians are also commemorated on this block.
Unfortunately these plaques are mounted on what appears to be some sort of housing for some unidentified machinery/access chamber and really do not connect too well with the Merchant Navy Memorial close by. I would have thought that a unified MN memorial would have meant much more instead of having these two distinct groupings that appear as an afterthought.
The Maritime Museum also had a very good Merchant Navy exhibition on while I was visiting.
A few steps away is the Liverpool Naval War Memorial which I will cover separately.
DRW © 2018. Created 05/06/2018
The Cenotaph in Liverpool may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates 53.408540°, -2.979478°, it is situated in front of St George’s Hall and consists of a rectangular block of stone on a platform, with bronze, low-relief sculptures on the sides depicting marching troops and mourners. It was designed by Lionel Budden, with carving by Herbert Tyson Smith. It is a Grade I listed building.
The inscription on the front face reads:
TO THE THE MEN OF LIVERPOOL WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR
AND ALL WHO HAVE FALLEN IN CONFLICT SINCE.
AND THE VICTORY THAT DAY WAS TURNED INTO MOURNING UNTO ALL THE PEOPLE
This addition to the Cenotaph was unveiled in May 2003 by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Jack Spriggs. The inscription reads:
THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES
THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC
AND THE PIVOTAL ROLE PLAYED BY THE CITY
AND PORT OF LIVERPOOL IN THIS THE
LONGEST AND MOST CRUCIAL SEA AND AIR
CAMPAIGN OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
THIS BATTLE LASTED 5 YEARS, 8 MONTHS, 4 DAYS;
HAD IT BEEN LOST, SO TOO WOULD HAVE BEEN THE WAR
BY THE MARKER, LIVERPOOL’S UNPARALLELED SERVICE
AND SACRIFICE SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.
As far as Cenotaphs go it is really not a very noticeable one, although the carvings are very beautiful. It is really overshadowed by the very large St George’s Hall behind it and while appropriate to the setting is just does not make much of an impact.
The inscription on the rear face reads:
AS UNKNOWN AND YET WELL KNOWN AS DYING AND BEHOLD WE LIVE.
OUT OF THE NORTH PARTS, A GREAT COMPANY AND A MIGHTY ARMY
It was only dedicated in November 1930 and the delay was attributed to the Lord Mayor who announced that due to the high unemployment he was postponing the appeal for funds. The appeal was finally initiated in 1925.
DRW © 2018 Created 04/08/2018