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Dreadnought
16-10-2009, 17:00
This is one of those subjects where there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of widely available information, and what there is, seems sometimes contradictory. I suspect, judging from recent posts in the ‘Malta’ thread, members may have some knowledge and experience to share regarding these valuable naval assets that enabled our Fleets to operate anywhere in the World.


Whilst not built as an Admiralty Floating Dock, the floating dry dock at Southampton was moved to Portsmouth for use by Admiralty throughout the Second World War as AFD 11. The general construction was common for all floating docks at the time.

AFD 11 was built by Armstrong Whitworth in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and moved to Southampton in April 1924. It was the largest floating dry dock in the world at that time.

It had an overall length 960 feet, being made up of seven sections; Five middle sections 139 feet 3 inches long and two end sections 102 feet 7½ inches long that had cantilevered platforms at their outer extremities. With a clear width inside between the side walls of 130 ft 8 ins, the total internal area of the deck was three and a half acres. The outside walls were 70 feet high and the depth of water over the blocks when the dock was fully submersed was 38 feet. Any one of the seven sections could be disconnected from the remainder and docked. By turning the sections through ninety degrees, they could pass between the side walls of the dock.

The dock weighed 18,990 tons and had a total lifting capacity of 60,000 tons.

There were ten main pumping units for the five central sections and four for the two end sections, the pumps being housed in the two side walls. These pumps were electrically driven vertical centrifugal pumps totalling 1470 BHP.

The time taken to sink the dock to its maximum depth was 5 hours 25 minutes. To raise it, using the pumps, from an immersion giving 38 feet depth over the blocks to one over which the pontoon deck had a freeboard of 1 foot at the centre, took 1 hour and 4 minutes.

The dock was fitted with four mechanically operated shores on each side for mutually adjusting the dock and the ship so that its centre line lined up accurately over the keel blocks. These shores were 63 feet long and made of 3ft by 2ft mild steel beams. They were actuated by cast steel racks and pinions, each shore exerting a pressure of 10 tons at a speed of one foot per minute.

It was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales on the 27th June 1924, and remained in regular use until 1934 when the new King George V Drydock was inaugurated in January of that year. As previously mentioned, on the 27th February 1940 it was moved to Portsmouth and was used as AFD11 during WWII.

In 1959 it was acquired by the Rotterdam Drydock Company and remained in use at Rotterdam until 1983 when the company went out of business. It was then sold to new owners in Brazil but was wrecked off the Spanish coast whilst being towed to its destination.


Postcards from my personal collection. The cantilevered platforms and ‘shores; can clearly be seen.

Dreadnought
16-10-2009, 17:05
Perhaps someone can shed some light on AFD 5. I have conflicting information.

As far as I can gather AFD 5 was built in 1912 ... by whom I cannot find out, and may have already been in Malta at the beginning of WWII. It was only capable of taking vessels up to 31,500 tons, which included Queen Elizabeth and Royal Sovereign Class battleships in a specially lightened condition but not for any of the emerging more modern battleships (KGV Class) at the time. This was seen as imposing definite limitations on the composition of the Eastern Mediterranean Fleet.

It appears that AFD 5 was destined to be moved to Alexandria, but the decision was reversed after the then Commander-in-Chief raised the strongest objections, pointing out the disadvantages of losing the facilities of a floating dock at Malta, and, rejecting the idea of surrendering altogether the use of Malta as a base in favour of Alexandria. In any event, the floating dry dock at Malta was bombed and sunk on 21st June 1940.

I then find conflicting commentaries as to which floating dock ended up in Alexandria. One source suggests that it was one moved from Southampton … ?? As outlined in my previous post, this would have had to have been AFD 11, which was moved to Portsmouth in February 1940 for the duration of the War. Another source says the Alexandria floating dock was moved from Portsmouth via Gibraltar ..?? AFD11? I don’t think so, so which one, and from where? I know some floating docks were built in India and moved to Malta.

The two postcards are from my personal collection. The identity of these floating docks is unknown to me, but they appear earlier than AFD 11. It would be nice to know how many came and went to and from Portsmouth

Dreadnought
16-10-2009, 17:16
This article from a 1912 newspaper .... this could well be AFD 5, but of course it dosen't say ..!! Anybody got any Cammell Laird records for August 20th 1912?

Dreadnought
20-10-2009, 10:59
God it's lonely in here .... never mind, perhaps this will stir a bit more interest.

Firstly, as reported in a 1947 Children's Newspaper:


SNOW WHITE ON THE OCEAN
The Adventurous Voyage of Four Floating Docks

'"THE British Navy has again demonstrated its skill and endurance,not this time, happily, in battle, but in the remarkable feat of towing three huge clumsy floating docks from India to Malta and Britain, and a fourth which joined the convoy at Gibraltar.

The operation was called SnowWhite, the name being suggested, presumably, by the incident in the well-known film where Snow White is led through the woods by the little animals. It was an apt simile, for these gigantic floating basins are as helpless at sea as Snow White was when lost in the woods.

The adventure began in India, where three of the floating docks were taken in tow by Naval tugs under the command of Commander H. N. A. Richardson, D S O. Many of his men had had no previous experience of towing these monsters, a job which, requires great skill. Parties were put aboard the floating docks themselves, some of the men going home to be demobilised, and the strange procession began.

Thrills and Boredom
For the men on the floating docks the voyage was to be a mixture of thrills and boredom, for there was nothing they could do to help navigate these enormous trailers—a floating dock has no motive power and it cannot be steered. For the men on the little tugs the voyage was one of hard work and constant vigilance, because their lumbering charges, trailing at the ends of wire hawsers, had to be "nursed " along, and speed reduced as soon as there was any sign of the strain and stress becoming too much for the hawsers. Such was their vigilance that the cornmanders of the tugs claimed that even when asleep they could sense if the breaking point of those long hawsers was near.

But towing the docks in the Arabian Sea was easy work compared with the task which lay ahead of getting them through. the Suez Canal. No one knew just how awkward a floating dock was likely to be in the Suez Canal. They soon found out. The smallest change in the wind caused the high floating walls to swing clumsily to one side, bringing them within inches of concrete pylons. Two of the docks actually went aground in the canal, but the gallant Snow White company pulled them off.

The greatest test was when this odd-looking" convoy approached the swinging railway bridge at El Firdan, which carries the railway connecting Egypt and Palestine. The bridge, of course, was open, but it was found that there would be only ten feet of clearance on either side for the largest floating dock, A F D 35, the one destined for Malta. How was she to be got through without damaging the bridge structure or herself? With infinite care and patience the mass of floating metal was edged along foot by foot until at last she was past the bridge.

The troubles of the Snow White party, however, were by no means over. They safely installed A F D 35 in harbour at Malta, but after they had sailed on with the other two, a full easterly gale sprang up and blew for two days. The hawsers linking the tugs to the floating docks snapped, and the monsters drifted helplessly in the tempest, while the little tugs bounced like corks on the tossing waves of the Mediterranean Sea.

Adrift in a Storm
The men left in the wandering floating docks, with waves pounding against the sides and sending showers of spray over the high walls, must have felt this was a queer way of going home to be demobilised.They certainly earned the .extra pay they received,, called in the Navy "hard lying money," for the discomfort and danger's they endured. Not until the. gale abated could the gallant tugs come to the rescue of the aimlessly drifting docks. Hawsers were securely fastened to them again, and Snow White moved valiantly on.

At Gibraltar the last floating dock was picked up, and this queerest fleet that was ever seen on the ocean set out on the last lap for Home, and safely reached the English Channel.

These sailors of Snow White proved to the world that British seamen are still second to none.”


Now, as reported in the Naval Review 1947. Author initials 'HR' unknown.

OPERATION " SNOW-WHITE."

“This nickname was given to the operation of moving the Admiralty Floating Dock No. 35 from Bombay to Malta, though in fact it expanded, as three smaller docks joined up en route, and did not finish until the last dock was safely berthed in Rosyth.

AFD35 was built at Bombay by a British firm for the Japanese war, but, not being completed on VJ-Day, work on it was unhurried and spasmodical and the dock, in two sections, was not launched at Bombay until January, 1947, although tentative proposals and many Admiralty dockets had been put forward for the dock to be towed to Malta during 1946. It struck me when looking through the Admiralty files that everyone was getting heartily sick of the name AFD35. Either the berthing at Malta or the season of the year, or availability of suitable tugs or completion of dock machinery held the party up. But when I joined D.B.D.'s department at the Admiralty on the 1st of January, 1947, to get the low-down on this operation as senior officer, it looked almost as though these difficulties had all been resolved. The idea was to borrow ocean-going tugs from the various commanders-in-chief and start the tow from Bombay before the end of March so as to avoid the cyclones which begin in that area in April. Time was short. Seven tugs (apparently the nickname was chosen before the number of tugs was known) had to have brief overhauls and be in Bombay by the 14th of March ; meanwhile I was flown out, stopping at Malta and Port Said for conferences with the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, and the Suez Canal Company, then to Bombay to have a quick look at the dock's progress before flying to Trincomalee where the programme was arranged by the Commander-in-Chief , East Indies.

By the 14th of March all the tugs had arrived, two of them bringing from Trincomalee AFD26 which joined " Snow-White " for tow to the United Kingdom.

All seven ocean-going tugs, which are to fly the white ensign in the post-war Navy, were present. They were :-

Mediator and Reward ... 3,200 h.p. diesel.
Marauder, Brigand, Freebooter 3,000 h.p. steam.
Encore ... ... ... 1,600 h.p. steam.
Hengist ... ... ... 1,360 h.p. steam.

The Mediator and Reward were the only tugs really suited for .this operation from endurance, towing and power points of view. The remainder of these magnificent British-built ships of the " Growler " class have been sold since the war. The tugs were allmanned by general service crews, many of the personnel never having been in a tug before. The Commanding officers and a few of the officers were E.S.C.s R.N. (ex T.124) with the war experience behind them, and as these tugs had only recently been taken over by naval personnel from T.124, these few officers with towing experience had a hard task ahead of them. Towing is, undoubtedly, a " specialist " job ; and it says a lot for these officers and their pupils-many of whom were H.0.s about to be demobbed -that things went so well and that there were no major accidents.

Details of AFD35 cannot be gone into here, but this dock is a sister of the Singapore dock and therefore among the largest in the world. All the machinery was installed, two towing bridles of 24-inch chain cable, and four emergency anchors, each with their cable, and &inch wire hawsers were ready by the 15th of March when the personnel. joined. Anexecutive officer R.N. was commanding officer of each section, with a shipwright officer as dockmaster and a runner crew of fifteen ratings to supply look-outs, signal watch, etc. The British firm supplied Indian labour for working the machinery and the wires. Every caste of Indian seemed to be included and no trouble was experienced during the voyage ;in fact they all enjoyed their trip. The Moslems had their pens of sheep, ducks, chickens, etc., with their own cooking facilities apart from the Hindus.

On the 20th of March we sailed, and only just in time, as a cyclone hit Bombay two days later. I doubt whether the docks' anchors would have held under those conditions. The formation adopted was a V-formation with the senior officer's tow leading, and the other two tows one on each quarter, each tow having two tugs. All units had R/T, and communications were soon running very smoothly, certain routine times daily being used for passing non-urgent messages. Tugs have only one telegraphist and one signalman, so they had their work cut out to compete with the 490 signals received from outside authorities and the 200 signals sent to outside authorities between Bombay and Malta. With the arrival of a frigate as escort off Aden, this strain was greatly eased.

The Mediator and Reward, having excellent refrigeration, were able to keep docks and tugs supplied with fresh meat where their facilities were inadequate. Likewise AFD.35 was able to bake bread for those docks and tugs requiring it. All these provisions were collected and delivered by the spare tug

A flotilla doctor was carried, and he would be hoisted out in a boatswain's chair by the spare tug to visit his patients. The first patient was an Indian with toothache; andas a reward both the senior officer's ship and the doctor's ship received a duck each. The weather up to Aden was excellent, and " Snow-White " averaged just over five knots.

Seven days after sailing we had a rendezvous with a R.F.A. oiler. The three " Brigand " cIass tugs have very poor consumption figures and all had to oil on this occasion at sea. It is no easy matter slipping and re-connecting these heavy tows. Most tugs had about 250 fathoms of 5-inch winch wire, with 60 fathoms 22-inch cable-laid manilla tailed by a sixty-fathom 53-inch wire pendant for shackling to the docks' cable bridles. However, by the time we arrived at Malta both dock and tug crews were most proficient and treated it like Monday morning general drill. The Encore and Hengist having to use a fixed towfrom the hook, as they do not have winches, spent anything up to four hours recovering their gear after slipping their tows. The time when " Snow-white " was deprived of its full complement of tugs because of oiling was always a time of anxiety, but on each occasion the weather held. Chafe being the great enemy on these long tows was overcome by using metal towing sIeeves (known also as dutchmen and scotsmen) ; these are in two halves and are bolted over the towing wire wherever it touches the tug's structure, the wire having been well parcelled first. Special weather reports were received daily and all went swimmingly.

On the 3rd of April Aden was not entered, but tugs were sent in one at a time for fuel, provisions and mail. We had our first blow going through the Straits of Bab el Mandeb, and the docks rode up on the quarter of the tugs. Single line ahead had to be ordered in the narrow waters. Keeping station when there was much wind blowing was always difficult, as comfortable courses and speeds were never the same for all tows and often cohesion was temporarily lost.

Going up the Red Sea the escort was stationed ahead to warn shipping about us, but even so out of curiosity ships would pass inside our lines at night and some even signaled " What are you ? " It must have been a very confusing sight to shipping, especially in single line when it looked like the sea front of a town stretching right over the horizon, and many port and starboard lights could be seen at the same moment.

Unfortunately the original route had to be changed in order to pass nearer to Port Sudan as figures showed that the " Brigand " class would need fuelling before reaching Suez. This meant passing along that coast from Marsamahru to Port Sudan where, on the chart dotted about among shoals and coral reefs, one sees the names of several of H.M. ships. However, with the help of the escort and the radar, all went smoothly, and while " Snow-White " altered to due north to get as much sea room as possible before the expected northerly winds began, the Brigand and Marauder were sent in to oil, and the spare tug took over their tow at reduced speed. By noon next day (the 8th of April) both tugs had rejoined and were towing.

Allowance had been made for north winds to increase in strength as we went up the Red Sea ; but this did not happen and, despite a reduction in speed and unequal speed manoeuvres off Suez, we were 24 hours ahead of time. The pilots boarded all tugs and docks on the 14th of April in Suez Bay, by which time all tows had been shortened to harbour tows. After much difficulty and parting of wires, AFD35 sections were put at buoys at Port Tewfik, clear of the main channel. During the five days here it blew considerably, and our tugs were being used the whole time holding the docks while parted wires were replaced. Few people had a satisfactory rest after their twenty-five days at sea. However, it did give the engineers time to do a little to their engines which were beginning to wilt slightly after such a long stretch at practically full power. Also a conference was held with the naval officer-in-charge Port Said and the Suez Canal Company to decide on all details for the passage of the Canal. The whole scheme of passage was in the hands of the Suez Canal Company, and was based on the experience gained when the Singapore dock went through in 1928.

The passage took four days, starting at first light eacq morning, i.e., about 0430, there being an interval of one hour between the two tows.

The Mediator and Reward towed the centre section and the Marauder and Brigand the end section, using short two-legged wire bridles from the dock which were connected to the tugs' winch wires, and these were adjusted in length so that the distance between the stern of the tugs and the bows of the dock was 120 feet. This arrangement ensured a corrective pull being exerted on the bow of the dock immediately it was required. Acanal company tug secured at the stern of each dock section controlled the stern. The senior pilot of each tow was in the centre of the flight bridge of the dock and passed orders to his pilots in the tugs by whistIe and loud hailer.

Canal traffic was completely stopped while " Snow-White " was under way. Most buoys had been pulled to the sides of the canal, and as we passed a working party replaced them.

The centre section led out at 0430 on the 20th of April, and within twenty minutes had knocked a port hand light buoy for six--a good start. The end section following an hour later completed the job by hitting the starboard light buoy and going aground. The Marauder also went aground and had to be towed off by the Brigand before they tackled the dock. This was achieved and they made up for lost time by catching up the other section.

The first day was undoubtedly the worst, as we hadn't quite got the hang of the best way of applying speed and the slight alterations necessary to keep the dock in the middle. For no apparent reason the dock would start a yaw, and often as not it would be corrected too late or over-corrected, which caused many anxious moments.

At the station-Geneffe-situated at the point on the Canal where it opens out into the Little Bitter Lake-the centre section grounded. I am aware that ships often have gone, and still do go, aground, but it's a different matter with a dumb thing like a dock, and at this particular spot there was room for it to swing right round, which in fact it proceeded to do, missing carrying the Geneffe pier (crowded with people) with it by four feet. Both tugs had stopped engines, and it looked as though the tugs would be pulled aground too and the whole party finish up facing the way we had come. I frankly do not know how we would have got out of that mess, especialIy as the end section was advancing rapidly and was almost on top of us. However, the tugs applied full power before the dock had swung right round and, as luck would have it, off she came, and we proceeded with the stern tug endeavouring to re-connect, having slipped her ropes when the stern got out of control. For the next twenty minutes, and until the stern tug was re-connected, we had I as exciting a time as anyone could wish for. The dock was practically out of control and was yawing from hard-a-starboard to hard-a-port, missing by inches the concrete pylons which mark the channel in the Little Bitter Lake. Different speeds and earlier corrections were tried, but nothing could stop this behaviour. But the dock, as though possessed, appeared to know what it was up to, as the stern would start its yaw to starboard just as it was about to hit a concrete pylon on the port side. This, as I have said, lasted twenty minutes with never a dull moment, and we were all very relieved to get secured to special buoys in the Great Bitter Lake for the night. The tugs made fast to the buoys and held their tows astern.

The next day was a short leg and, without any difficulty although with many a near miss, we secured as before to special buoys off Ismailia. All commanding officers were taken down by tug to look at the trickiest part of our journey-the swinging railway bridge at El Ferdane. This bridge, built in 1940,connects Palestine with Egypt, and is rather strategically important. Already one of its concrete pillars has been smashed by an American ship, and we were told that, if we bumped it, there would be a Humpty Dumpty. As with the docks (beam 175 feet) in the centre of the bridge there was only 12 feet clearance eachside, it was not a pleasant prospect ; and it was agreed that if on arrival at the bridge there was any wind we should just put ourselves against the canal bank and wait. The sections were to be warped through-not towed. The two ahead tugs were to anchor exactly on leading marks, north of the bridge, paying out their winch wires which would be hove in by a signal from the dock and so control and pull the bow through. The dock passed big manillas and wires ashore from each corner, and, by heaving in by the capstans at each corner, the dock was kept central. The stern was controlled by the stern tug, which itself was kept steady by the naval spare tug, which anchored bows south and passed her winch wire to the stern tug. It was a long job, and the docks were passed through a foot at a time. A wire parted in each case but no damage was done, to the relief of all concerned. The docks were secured alongside the bank at kilo. 40 for the night, and next morning the final lap to Port Said was made without any trouble, the docks being well secured between buoys in the avant-port.

At Port Said was AFD26, which had come with us from Bombay and had gone through the canal ahead of us, and AFD22, which had been waiting for some time for a tow to the United Kingdom.

When we left Port Said for Malta at 0430 on the 29th of April we had four separate tows, eight tugs and two escorts - H.M. frigates St. Austel Bay and Widemouth Bay. Special weather reports again were received and we did experience one blow of force 6. Any wind over force 3 cuts down one's speed by at least half, and very big allowances for wind must be made in course, as docks sail to leeward. Speed at one time was down to one-and-a-half to two knots, as not only had commanding officers of docks reported damage by seas but the limit of stress and strain on the gear could be felt in the tugs.

On the 8th of May, the correct date by the programme, dockyard tugs took over the tows just outside the breakwater and berthed AFD35 in the Grand Harbour where the two bits will be joined together. And so finished the major task. " Snow-white," now reduced to two destroyer docks (A.F.D.s 26 and 22) five tugs and one escort, continued to Gibraltar after the tugs had been fuelled at Malta.

With the departure of AFD35, " Snow-White's " luck seemed to change, and, after clearing Cape Bon, and with no warning from the weather experts, a full easterly gale hit us and blew for forty-eight hours, the escort registering force 11 on his anemometer at one time. The wind was certainly not less than force 8 during this period. " Snow-White " lost cohesion, though we were all in touch by R/T. Both tows broke away, and all the tugs could do was to remain in V/S touch until the weather moderated, leaving the docks to drift. Eventually the docks were taken in tow and Gibraltar was reached without further trouble. Here, a third small dock joined up, and, after a rest and a certain amount of repair work, " Snow-white" set off on the last lap to the United Kingdom. Nothing much of interest can be recorded on this stage. With the exception of the first and last days, we experienced continuous bad weather, wind averaging force 6 throughout the 12 days to Plymouth. One tow parted but was soon re-connected by the spare tug.

One dock entered Plymouth, one went to Chatham and the end of Operation " Snow-White " was the arrival of the last dock (AFD46) at Rosyth.”



Two poor pictures (internet). First one AFD35, Second one of unknwon AFD at Malta - could be AFD35. Newspaper cutting from the Cariboo Observer, New Columbia 1947

mik43
20-10-2009, 14:56
clive

Just to let you know that someone reads yours posts!!!

Well done lad

Mik

alanbenn
20-10-2009, 16:32
Clive, me too! I did scour my photo's and few books to see if I had anything on AFD5 for you but alas No...

Keep posting these stories, I'm sure more than just a handful are reading them.

Well done from me!!

Regards
Alan

Dreadnought
20-10-2009, 16:51
Thanks both ... I know they don't have guns or flags, or travel at 30 knots, but I just think they are forgotten heroes to some extent.

Ok then, rejuvenated by your encouraging comments, I shall carry on.

Advance warning .... AFD23 and HMS Valiant ... watch this space

karen
20-10-2009, 17:32
Hi Clive
Not sure if this is useful info to you...Have picked it up on Google---

www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=23255

You may already have seen it...another Forum with everything on AFD.

Happy Hunting...Good luck.

Karen:)

Dreadnought
21-10-2009, 20:09
Hi Karen,

Thanks for that. I know that forum well and have seen the thread you kindly directed me to. There are a couple of interesting facts included there concerned with floating docks in general.

I hope very miuch that this thread will develop into a concise history of the Admiralty Floating Docks .... there are lots of mysteries surrounding the movement and fate of these ugly sisters who, in my view, contributed greatly to our naval exploits across the globe.

karen
21-10-2009, 21:51
Hi Clive

Here is another link..you may have seen.

www.navsource.org/archives/09/28/2848.htm

This actually has a photograph of the AFD-5 but any information you ask it comes up---date and place unknown..

Also I have been on Wikipedia and they have quite a few AFD,but only No.7 has alot of information--but no picture available.

Karen:)

astraltrader
22-10-2009, 01:15
Just a quick question - do any of the AFDs survive today??

BCRenown
22-10-2009, 01:24
Advance warning .... AFD23 and HMS Valiant ... watch this space

Yep, that's the one I'm waiting for - the one that collapsed with Valiant in it.

Monty

Dreadnought
22-10-2009, 09:01
Thanks for that Karen. Unfortunately, what complicates research into this is that the Americans also called their floating docks 'AFD's' denoting Auxilliary Floating Docks as opposed to the British AFD's, Admiralty Floating Docks ....!! The AFD in the link is the American one. Maybe if I ever get to tracing all the Admiralty ones, I will look at foreign ones of the same era. Appreciate you taking the time to search.

tinduck
22-10-2009, 09:36
I have the following information which may be of interest

AFD-5 was transferred to Alexandria from Portsmouth, leaving on 23 June 1939, reaching Alexandria 3 weeks before the declaration of war in September 1939 and was vital to the use of that port as a fleet base after Malta became untenable. However its max lift of 31500 tons limited the battleships which could be based at Alexandria to the QE or R classes, as any larger ships would have been forced to go to South Africa or India for even routine dockings.

The AFD in Malta was AFD-8 this was originally a German floating dock, taken over by Britain after WW1. A new mid section was built at Chatham in 1924 increasing its capacity to lift 65000 tons. The original German dock left Sheerness on 1 June 1925 in tow of RETORT, RESOLVE, ROYSTERER, ST CLEARS, ST DAY, ST MELLONS. It arrived at Malta on 27 June. The new section left on 1 Aug 1925 in tow of RETORT, RESOLVE, ST CLEARS, ST MELLONS, ST KITTS, arriving 22 Aug. The sections were then joined at Malta. This dock was obviously capable of docking any size of RN battleship. Unfortunately the dock broke apart and sank after near-misses from Italian bombs in late June 1940.

Dave

astraltrader
22-10-2009, 14:19
Just a quick question - do any of the AFDs survive today??

Cant anybody answer this question??

SCRG1970
22-10-2009, 19:08
Terry
The answer is yes but not as Admiralty Floating Docks. AFDs 79.80 and 81 exist under civilian dockyards. I believe that others suggested as existing are 41,42 and 44.

Regards

Gerry

astraltrader
22-10-2009, 19:14
Many thanks for the heads up Gerry.

Do you happen to know if any of the surviving examples are still in the UK??

SCRG1970
22-10-2009, 19:14
Clive
Ref AFD5, also known as the "Portsmouth Dock", was built by Cammell Lairds at Birkenhead in 1912. I believe it ended up in the States in the seventies.

Regards

Gerry

SCRG1970
22-10-2009, 19:23
Terry

I think they all ended up abroad and the last RN use would have been those in the Gareloch. With the new facilities at Faslane they became surplus to requirements. Really is a bit of a grey area for info probably because they were considered to be a bit of "dockyard equipment" !!!!

Regards

Gerry

davep
23-10-2009, 07:07
very intersesting thread, up until the trident subs became operational at faslane AFD60 was used to maintain the 4 polaris boats. I think it was later sold to an icelandic company and was towed away but i'm not sure if it got there or sank under tow.

Big Al
29-10-2009, 19:55
Prior to AFD 60s arrival at Faslane, AFD 58 was used to maintain the O Boats. I was attached to her from Maidstone 64/65.

astraltrader
29-10-2009, 22:36
Thanks for that info Al.

harry.gibbon
29-10-2009, 23:01
Big Al;

do you know what the appendages with the 'wing shaped profile' are, fitted port and starboard under the after hydroplanes please?

Little h

CYLLA
30-10-2009, 16:41
I have seen a old map of the dockyard of bermuda, and there was a floating dock there,i wonder if it was ever used much, ......then what happed to it when H.M.S MALABAR was closed.???

cylla

Big Al
30-10-2009, 21:42
Harry,
It was if memory serves me right to support the shafts when the props were removed for replacement /cleaning.

qprdave
01-11-2009, 21:51
While this is not a AFD. It is a floating dock surrendered by the Germans after WW1 and taken to Malta

harry.gibbon
01-11-2009, 22:12
Big Al;

I have had another go at this pic of the 'O' boat in floating dock in an attempt to resolve these additional wing like appendages at the stern under the planes, IMO they look unlike something that would be used to support prop shafts :-


Little h

sorry pic should have been 4 times magnification

Dreadnought
02-11-2009, 11:31
Thanks to all for recent posts, especially the photo of AFD 60.

From what I can find out, It would appear that AFD60 was built in 1964 at Portsmouth (unconfirmed), and, along with AFD 59, they were specifically built for servicing the four Polaris nuclear submarines of the time. AFD 60 arrived at the Faslane HM Naval Base Clyde on the eastern shore of Gare Loch in 1966, to replace AFD 58.

In 1968 the dock was damaged whilst docking the submarine Renown, and had to moved to a shipyard in Greenock for repairs and strengthening.

AFD 60 was sold in the late 1990’s to Iceland for servicing the Icelandic fishing fleet in Rekjavik. Supposed to be still in service somewhere. The Bell from AFD 60 is apparently held by the Royal Navy Submarine Museum (2002.281.1). Perhaps someone can confirm.



AFD 58 was built by the Furness Shipbuilding Company, Haverton Hill, Teeside . Launched on 30th June 1957, and completed in August. She was 450 feet long and with a beam of 92 feet, displaced 7840 tons (gross). She was based at Gareloch (1957) and Devonport 1976. She was still at Devonport in 1992.

Cannot trace her precise movements yet but it seems that at some stage, Shetland-based repair yard Malakoff & Moore, Lerwick, purchased her from Drammen Skipsreparasjon (on Oslofjord) Norway …. Possibly 2002.

Malakoff & Moore shipyard went into receivership in January 2003 and the dock was taken over by the council’s Shetland Development Trust. It was eventually sold to Norwegian company Eide Marine Service A/S, in 2005. Possibly still there now.



AFD 59 was laid down at Portsmouth in 1959 and spent time at Barrow-in-Furness, having been towed there in 1960. It was used as a fitting out berth for submarine Dreadnought and subsequent submarines. I think she was moved to the Netherlands in 1996, and later to Nigeria …. 2003 I think.



Photograph of AFD 58 being towed out of Furness 1957, and another photograph of her in the Shetlands around 2003.
Photograph of AFD 60 at Gare Loch, date unknown. You can clearly see the closed end. One end had a closed wind break, and the other end opening doors.
Photograph of submarine Dreadnought at Barrow, with the end of AFD 59 visible on the right. Photograph of AFD 59 on a cargo vessel bound for Nigeria.



Original sources of these photographs are unknown.

qprdave
02-11-2009, 13:51
Once again I have erred by placing the cutting of the German Floating Dock in this thread. I didn't realise that this was solely for AFD's.

I thought that some people might not be aware that the RN used others apart from AFD's

Apologies to every concerned

astraltrader
02-11-2009, 15:39
No need to apologise Dave - as you say it was used by the RN and is very relevant to this thread IMO.

As the cutting you posted mentions we even built an addition to it - so it must rank at least as an honorary AFD!!

Dreadnought
03-11-2009, 05:50
I agree with Terry Dave ... it is certainly relevant. Apology not required ..

Dreadnought
03-11-2009, 08:47
Admiralty Floating Dock No. 18 departed from Darwin, Australia June 19th 1945 under tow from the South African manned Salvage Tug HMS Salvestor. She sailed in company with two other tugs and an escort of two Australian fleet minesweepers, bound for Milne Bay New Guinea, arriving there on 8th July l945.

In 1942/43 AFD 20 had been based in Kames Bay, primarily used for submarines. On New Years Eve 1944 it left Greenock and arrived at Manus in the Admiralty Islands six months later after being towed over 13,000 miles, possibly the longest tow in maritime history. HMS Barle was part of the escort from Darwin to Manus. After the Japanese surrender AFD 20 went to Sembawang Dockyard, Singapore naval base.

Below is the story “A Good Towing Feat” from H.M.A.S. Mk. IV, published by The Australian War Memorial in 1945. The author is given as “Rocky Darby”.

A Good Towing Feat

“There was a sigh of relief in the Naval Staff Office, Darwin, when A.F.D.18, and her escorting vessels and tugs, were safely anchored. For the rattle of cables through hawse pipes on this occasion marked the completion in Australia of long and eventful tows which had commenced, in the first place, at Greenock, Scotland, when A.F.D.20 - a sister dock to A.F.D.18 - had departed from that port in December 1944, in tow of H.M.R. tugs Destiny and Eminent.

Earlier in the war A.F.D.20, being identical with an enemy floating dock then located in Norwegian waters, was used by midget submarines of the Royal Navy as a practice target, it being intended later to carry out a midget-submarine operation against the enemy dock. In addition to acting as a practice target, A.F.D.20 also docked the midget submarines before they proceeded on their successful mission against her German opposite number.

H.M.R. tugs Destiny and Eminent, with A.F.D.20 in tow, commenced the long tow to Darwin on the 31st December, 1944, when the vessels departed from Greenock for Gibraltar. New Year's Day was passed in fine weather, but shortly afterwards the weather deteriorated, causing Destiny and Eminent, together with A.F.D.20, to pitch and roll so heavily that Eminent's steering gear carried away. Although her engineers repaired the damage with the aid of the galley fire, Eminent was relieved by another tug so that she could put in to an adjacent port for repairs. Rough weather continued until Gibraltar was reached on the 12th January, 1945.

Following the completion of various repairs, Destinyand A.F.D.20 departed from Gibraltar on the next stage of the voyage, leaving Eminent to follow. Eminent overtook the tow at a most opportune moment when Destiny was in trouble. Eminent took over the tow, and Destiny proceeded to Oran for repairs. Eminent and A.F.D.20 proceeded to Bizerta where they were joined by Destiny, and sailed for Malta, reaching there on the 27th January and leaving again five days later for Port Said. Good weather was experienced on passage, and port was reached on the 7th February. Six days later Suez was left astern and a good-weather passage was made down the Red Sea until, two days before reaching Aden, a considerable swell was experienced. Arriving on the 21st February, tugs and tow departed from Aden on the 25th of the month and reached Cochin at daylight on the 10th March. Here their numbers were swelled by A.F.D.18 and her tugs, and escort vessels for the passage to Australia.

The whole convoy departed from Cochin but was soon reduced in numbers. Shortly after leaving port Eminent caught fire in her engine-room, and although the fire was extinguished by her crew she had to proceed to Colombo, towed by H.M.R. tug Cheerly. To add to the troubles Destiny had a fire, but got it out successfully.

Some days later A.F.D.20 broke adrift from Destiny in the early hours of the morning, and it was five hours before the tow was secured again. Cheerly, however, rejoining the convoy, eased the situation for the other tugs. Water and fuel supplies being low by this time, the tanker Eagles Dale rendezvoused and supplied the vessels with those necessities.

Heavy weather was again encountered, and seas commenced breaking over the docks to such an extent that their boats were in danger of damage. Good seamanship, however, and an ingenious idea of raising and forming a breakwater around them, saved the boats from harm. By this time the convoy was near Australia, and H.M.A.S. Warrnambool and H.M.A.S. Inverell having joined, these ships were ordered to escort A.F.D.20, towed by Destiny, and proceed independently towards Darwin, which was reached on the 22nd May. Destiny and A.F.D.20 had by this time completed a voyage of 11,313 miles, with a steaming time of 2036 hours at an average speed of 5.56 knots.

In the meantime H.M.A.S. Karangi had joined A.F.D.18 and company and provided them with stores and fresh provisions. A.F.D.18 with her attendant vessels arrived in Darwin on the 24th May and remained there until towed by H.M.A.S. Heros and Salvestor to Thursday Island for onward passage to her destination. The escorting vessels for this part of the voyage were H.M.A. ships Goulburn and Tamworth. A.F.D.20, towed by her constant companion Destiny, assisted by H.M.A.S. Sprightly, also departed from Darwin to continue her voyage to her destination.

Other vessels which were in this convoy from Britain and India to Australia were H.M.S. Helford, H.M.S. Plym, H.M.S. Odzani, H.M.S. Usk, H.M.S. Barle, H.M.S. Advantage and H.M.S. Empire Sam.”


A Towing Feat was extracted from the
MARITIME HERITAGE ASSOCIATION JOURNAL
Volume 17, No. 4. December 2006

Which states “Except where shown to be copyright, material published in this Journal may be freely reprinted for non-profit purposes provided suitable acknowledgment is made of its source”


I do not have any photographs of AFD 20 or AFD 22, but here is one (source unknown) of an unidentified floating dock in a Scottish Loch, complete with submarine - more likely to be one of the AFD's 58,59 or 60?

Dreadnought
03-11-2009, 11:33
With reference to Post #4 .... another photograph of AFD 35 at Malta. It was there between 1948 and 1965, so can't be sure of a precise date.


Photographer unknown.

Dreadnought
03-11-2009, 12:14
....... The AFD in Malta was AFD-8 this was originally a German floating dock, taken over by Britain after WW1. A new mid section was built at Chatham in 1924 increasing its capacity to lift 65000 tons. The original German dock left Sheerness on 1 June 1925 in tow of RETORT, RESOLVE, ROYSTERER, ST CLEARS, ST DAY, ST MELLONS. It arrived at Malta on 27 June. The new section left on 1 Aug 1925 in tow of RETORT, RESOLVE, ST CLEARS, ST MELLONS, ST KITTS, arriving 22 Aug. The sections were then joined at Malta. This dock was obviously capable of docking any size of RN battleship. Unfortunately the dock broke apart and sank after near-misses from Italian bombs in late June 1940.

Dave

Think we should all read the posts more closely ...!! Your newspaper article (qprdave) is referring to the dock that Tin Duck mentions in post #14 (above) ... that is ... AFD 8, that went to Malta in 1925 after it had been modified at Sheerness. I have only just twigged.

As far as I can find out, she was bombed and sunk on 21st June 1940. Some (if not all) of the sections were salvaged in September 1947.

Now you can definitely forget about an apology ..!!

Here is a photograph of HMS Glorious taken in 1939 docked in Malta, so she must be in AFD 8.


Source of photograph unknown.

jayenn
10-11-2009, 17:03
Hi Clive
The unidentified pic is "Los Alamos" the floating dry dock that serviced the US Navy Polaris submarines at the base in the Holy Loch on the Clyde from 1961 until 1991.
It was built of sections A,B,C and D of the seven section "advanced base sectional dock" No 7 built during the war for service in the Pacific. John

Dreadnought
10-11-2009, 17:26
Thanks John .... that' extremely interesting ... would love to know more ... how do you have that information ...?

jayenn
11-11-2009, 15:12
Hi Clive It was a photograph of HMS Hood in AFD8 at Malta that triggered an interest in floating dry docks. I started to look for information and data with the view of building a model of AFD8 but as you stated in your original post, there is not a lot of detail or information about AFDs out there, so plans for this were put in the pending file until more info is found.
Whist conducting some research, I found a picture of the USS Iowa in a floating dry dock and on investigation discovered "Advanced Base Sectional Docks". These were different from our AFDs in that they were assembled from individual sections where the wing walls were folded down for ease of towing, they could be towed by a single tug or even a liberty ship. The completed ABSD had armament that consisted of up to 20 20mm Oerlikons or 20 40mm bofors or a mix of both.
"Battleship" docks (ABSD 1,2 and 3) which consisted of 10 sections had a capacity of 90,000 tons and "Cruiser" docks (ABSD 4,5,6 and 7) which had dimensionally smaller sections, consisted of only 7 sections and a capacity of 56,000 tons. I have been able to gather enough information to start the build of an accurate and detailed replica, which is now well underway..
Now it could be queried why a US navy ABSD is mentioned in an AFD thread, but check out AFD32 which was ordered by the admiralty from the USA in Oct. '42 - its capacity and dimensions were exactly that of a 10 section ABSD - it was cancelled in 1944 and completed by the US Navy. Navsource website has many pictures of ABSDs. Regards John

Dreadnought
11-11-2009, 15:36
Hi John ... even more interesting. I was beginning to think that I was the only one on the planet with any more than a passing interest in these damn things ..!!

Funnily enough, I too would love to build one myself (a model that is ..!!). Of course the AFD's were also built in sections; the two end sections and then as many middle sections (4, 5, 6 or more). As mentioned in a couple of my threads, they were often also towed in sections, or sections towed to destinations for increasing capacity of existing docks.

My interest only really started within the last few months, springing from the Southampton Dock (later AFD 11), of which I have many postcards and photographs with Liners in them. I have a photograph of my Grandfather at Southampton Docks and the dock can be seen in the background. The concrete plinths of the pontoons are still visible at Southampton.

So anyway, I am bitten now and will carry on searching for information. I still have plenty more to post yet ... as you will see soon.

You are of course right about the 'Los Alamos' at Holy Loch; I found another photograph which is not as good, but I might try and clean it up and post it.

The reason I started the thread as AFD's exclusively was that I didn't really want it full of modern commercial docks. Now as I have learn't more, and the fact that many AFD's ended up all over the World, maybe the thread should be extended to the US, as long as it is limited to those built, say, before the end of WWII. So welcome to the ABSD's of that era.

Would love to see any pics of your model.

jimmca78
11-11-2009, 16:24
Once again I have erred by placing the cutting of the German Floating Dock in this thread. I didn't realise that this was solely for AFD's.

I thought that some people might not be aware that the RN used others apart from AFD's

Apologies to every concerned

In 1949 I was serving in the minesweeping trawler Foulness and we used to tie up in a floating section of the Mulberry Dock which was somewhere in the vicinity of Portland. We were ferried ashore by DUKW which ran right up the shingle and on to dry land. When docking it was a bit hairy as the platform with the bollards was often covered by a foot or so of the sea and we had to jump on to this with head and stern lines. I hope this qualifies as a floating dock. Google carries a photo of this dock.

jimmca78

Dreadnought
11-11-2009, 16:57
Thanks for that jimmca78,

What the thread is really about is floating dry docks where the docks would be submerged by flooding their tanks, and then a ship sailing in; whereupon the tanks would then be pumped out to raise the dock, and the ship out of the water. The ship, then being held on keel blocks and supported by hydraulic rams, could be worked upon as if in a conventional dry dock.

Nevertheless thanks for your contribution. Maybe Mulberry docks will be considered later as they too played an important part in being able to load and unload ships with men and equipment in places where they couldn't get alongside a quay.

John Odom
11-11-2009, 17:21
I have always been fasenated by them. The only one I have personal acquaintance with is the USN Dewey Dry dock. This is a limnk to a good article about it:

http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cacunithistories/Dewey_Drydock.html

I know this isn't an "Admiralty Drydock" and probably should go in the USN section, but it is a famous floating drydock

jayenn
11-11-2009, 20:26
Clive Some info on AFD11 that may be of interest.
It was bought by the Admiralty on 23.08.39 and whilst still at Southampton, docked the monitor HMS Erebus. When work was completed, the dock was transferred to Portsmouth on 24.02.40. During the war no major warship was docked in it as it was only used for repairs to smaller dry docks and LCTs and possibly the construction of some Mulberry harbour components.
After the war it docked various auxiliaries and minor vessels and the first large warship to dock was the carrier Indomitable in 1946. It seems it was used for a number of carriers vis:
Victorious 1947, Illustrious 1948, Indefatigable 1948, Implacable 1949, Warrior 1950, Leviathan 1952, Theseus 1955, Triumph 1957.
Smaller AFDs that must have been at Portsmouth that docked in AFD11 over the period were:
AFD2 - 1941, AFD18 - 1942, AFDs 14 & 16 - 1947, AFD2 - 1953.
I have not found a picture of any warship docked in it. When it left in May '59 it was towed to Rotterdam by the tugs Elbe, Schelde and Tasman Zee. Two references I have suggest that it was painted a dark brick red whilst at Southampton - have you any info to confirm otherwise. Regards John

Dreadnought
11-11-2009, 22:26
Great to see that you confirm the date of her leaving Southampton. If you look at my post#1, our dates perfectly correspond. Phew ..!!

Good info about about its time at Portsmouth ... new to me. Have been trying to find out all of the AFD's that were at Portsmouth, so will check that out in more detail armed with your information. Somebody out there must have pictures of warships in her ... surely?

Excellent info about the tugs ... don't know where you dug that up from.

Know nothing about brick red colour ... will ask my Aunt ...!!

Whilst it was at Southampton, it was moved around quite a lot ... I have some photos somewhere I will try and find ... of it in different places.

You have confirmed info in post#1 that in 1959 it was acquired by the Rotterdam Drydock Company. And as I further mention, she remained in use at Rotterdam until 1983 when the company went out of business. It was then sold to new owners in Brazil but was wrecked off the Spanish coast whilst being towed to its destination. What a shame.

Keep it coming John. All these additional details nicely build up the whole picture.

jayenn
12-11-2009, 20:44
Clive The AFD in the overview of grand harbour is AFD8 as the pic is before the war. If you look at the harbour mole ,at the left end you can see the connecting bridge that was subsequently destroyed by Italian MAS boats during the war. You were looking for pics of AFD22 the Photoflite site has 2 coloured pics of it under tow john

Linton
12-11-2009, 21:06
Does anybody have any details of the one at Port Said in WW2?

jayenn
13-11-2009, 09:08
Clive The AFD in the overview of grand harbour is AFD8 as the pic is before the war. If you look at the harbour mole ,at the left end you can see the connecting bridge that was subsequently destroyed by Italian MAS boats during the war. You were looking for pics of AFD22 the Photoflite site has 2 coloured pics of it under tow john

clive photoflite should be fotoflite

Dreadnought
16-11-2009, 11:16
Clive Some info on AFD11 that may be of interest.
It was bought by the Admiralty on 23.08.39 and whilst still at Southampton, docked the monitor HMS Erebus. When work was completed, the dock was transferred to Portsmouth on 24.02.40. During the war no major warship was docked in it as it was only used for repairs to smaller dry docks and LCTs and possibly the construction of some Mulberry harbour components.
After the war it docked various auxiliaries and minor vessels and the first large warship to dock was the carrier Indomitable in 1946. It seems it was used for a number of carriers vis:
Victorious 1947, Illustrious 1948, Indefatigable 1948, Implacable 1949, Warrior 1950, Leviathan 1952, Theseus 1955, Triumph 1957.
Smaller AFDs that must have been at Portsmouth that docked in AFD11 over the period were:
AFD2 - 1941, AFD18 - 1942, AFDs 14 & 16 - 1947, AFD2 - 1953.
I have not found a picture of any warship docked in it. When it left in May '59 it was towed to Rotterdam by the tugs Elbe, Schelde and Tasman Zee. Two references I have suggest that it was painted a dark brick red whilst at Southampton - have you any info to confirm otherwise. Regards John
Thanks for that John, more pieces of the jigsaw ... information base beginning to build nicely now.

Have looke at the Fotoflite pics ... I shall be submitting a post about AFD 22 in due course.

Dave Hutson
16-11-2009, 11:24
Any Ganges Boys remember the AFD which was moored in the Stour/Orwell in the early fifties ??? ...... or am I having a senior moment :confused:

Dave H

Dreadnought
16-11-2009, 12:11
AFD23 and HMS Valiant

AFD23 was built in Bombay. Completed in July 1944, she was towed to Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri-Lanka). She was 1000 feet long and 200 feet wide, with a design lifting capacity of 50,000 tons.

In January 1944 HMS Valiant joined the 1st Battle Squadron Eastern Fleet and took part in several operations in the Indian Ocean against Japanese installations. At the end of July, after taking part in the bombardment of targets at Sabang, she was deployed to Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

It is not certain, but it is possible that Valiant was the first ship to use AFD23, entering the dock on August 8th 1944 for minor repairs, and to have her hull cleaned and antifouled. During the day, the tanks of the dock were pumped out, raising Valiant so that work could be carried out.

The ‘undocking’ procedure started in the evening, the pumping scheduled to take several hours whilst most of the crew on board Valiant were asleep. At some time during the night, things went seriously wrong. The dock was first observed to be listing to starboard, and then started to settle lower in the stern. Before long the bow of Valiant was up out of the water, with her stern almost submerged. Suddenly, there was a loud cracking noise and the dock, with Valiant, jolted downwards further at the stern, and then rose up again rapidly. This caused one of the dock’s mobile cranes to roll down it’s tracks and into the water.

The aft section of the dock had been ripped off from the centre section and sank to the sea floor 180 feet below. As it broke off, the rest of the dock surged upward, smashing into the rudder and propellers of Valiant. The forward section of the dock also burst upwards into the ship’ bow, which holed the forward tanks of the dock, causing them to flood. This left Valiant’s two inner propellers, being lower than the outers, with their shafts bent and seized up. One rudder post was driven several feet upwards and jammed likewise, but the other could be turned slightly.

The crew of the Valiant were able to keep the ship afloat as AFD23, now with her punctured tanks flooding, continued to sink. By dawn of August 9th, the dock was no longer visible.

Although her stern gear and stern hull plating were seriously damaged, Valiant set off for Suez with three escorting destroyers, on a slow, tedious voyage, steering by using her outer propellers. The drag of the two inner props, and severe vibrations, forced her to keep her speed below 8 knots to minimize damage to her turbines. The plan was to repair her in the dry dock at Alexandria, if they could coax her through the canal. But when she arrived at Port Tewfik in early October they realised she was too bulky and unmanoeuvrable. After an ingenious and dramatic repair by Lt Cmdr Peter Keeble, the experienced diver and salvage expert, Valiant eventually managed to pass through the Suez canal. She reached Devonport dockyard in early February, 1945, ending up as a training ship for stokers before being scrapped in 1948.

AFD23 remained on the seabed after several salvage attempts failed. Then, in 1968, a French team managed to raise the dock, although it seems uncertain whether all of it was salvaged as there are still reports of the wreck of AFD23 being dived.

So what caused the sinking?

AFD23 was an American design, and apparently, there was no margin of safety designed in. British designs allowed a 50% margin, thus giving a breaking strain of 75,000 tons.

At that time in her career Valiant displaced 42,000 tons on a length between perpendiculars of 600 feet, which is where the chocks would have been in the dock, giving a loading on the chocks of 70 tons per foot. With no margin of safety the floating dock could only take 50 tons per foot. In addition, being short ship, she was weighted amidships. And even more importantly still, she was fully loaded with ordnance. Apparently the dock operators did know that Valiant carried most of her weight amidships, but did not know that she had a full load of ordnance.

The break-up was therefore most likely caused by firstly being grossly overloaded, coupled with an uneven pumping of water from the numerous separate tanks comprising the dock (some reports say that the flooding valves to the aft section failed). The weight of the ship was concentrated in the centre of the dock, but the aft tanks must have been too buoyant without the corresponding weight of the ship's raised stern. When the dock's aft part broke off, the dock then surged upwards, smashing into the four propellers and wrecking them and the rudders.


See also http://www.divesrilanka.com/DSTrincoAFD23.html



Inspired by the ‘Coloured Drawings’ thread, I have made an attempt at some drawings of this incident based on the documented records. I have drawn a ‘section’ of the dock to reveal the ship and some detail of the dock and the damage caused in the accident. The drawing of AFD23 is a best guestimate of how she looked using the available photographs, and of AFD21 and AFD22, assumed to be similar. So I make no apologies for any inaccuracies. This is also my first attempt at this type of drawing, and next time I would do certain things differently.

My thanks to Dash for borrowing, and slightly modifying one of his ship drawings to give Valiant.

jayenn
16-11-2009, 13:54
clive great drawings if thats a first attempt dont see how you can make them them better. the information on the collapse is fascinatingAFD 23 and HMS Valiant

AFD 23 was built in Bombay. Completed in July 1944, she was towed to Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri-Lanka). She was 1000 feet long and 200 feet wide, with a design lifting capacity of 50,000 tons.

In January 1944 HMS Valiant joined the 1st Battle Squadron Eastern Fleet and took part in several operations in the Indian Ocean against Japanese installations. At the end of July, after taking part in the bombardment of targets at Sabang, she was deployed to Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

It is not certain, but it is possible that Valiant was the first ship to use AFD 23, entering the dock on August 8th 1944 for minor repairs, and to have her hull cleaned and antifouled. During the day, the tanks of the dock were pumped out, raising Valiant so that work could be carried out.

The ‘undocking’ procedure started in the evening, the pumping scheduled to take several hours whilst most of the crew on board Valiant were asleep. At some time during the night, things went seriously wrong. The dock was first observed to be listing to starboard, and then started to settle lower in the stern. Before long the bow of Valiant was up out of the water, with her stern almost submerged. Suddenly, there was a loud cracking noise and the dock, with Valiant, jolted downwards further at the stern, and then rose up again rapidly. This caused one of the dock’s mobile cranes to roll down it’s tracks and into the water.

The aft section of the dock had been ripped off from the centre section and sank to the sea floor 180 feet below. As it broke off, the rest of the dock surged upward, smashing into the rudder and propellers of Valiant. The forward section of the dock also burst upwards into the ship’ bow, which holed the forward tanks of the dock, causing them to flood. This left Valiant’s two inner propellers, being lower than the outers, with their shafts bent and seized up. One rudder post was driven several feet upwards and jammed likewise, but the other could be turned slightly.

The crew of the Valiant were able to keep the ship afloat as AFD 23, now with her punctured tanks flooding, continued to sink. By dawn of August 9th, the dock was no longer visible.

Although her stern gear and stern hull plating were seriously damaged, Valiant set off for Suez with three escorting destroyers, on a slow, tedious voyage, steering by using her outer propellers. The drag of the two inner props, and severe vibrations, forced her to keep her speed below 8 knots to minimize damage to her turbines. The plan was to repair her in the dry dock at Alexandria, if they could coax her through the canal. But when she arrived at Port Tewfik in early October they realised she was too bulky and unmanoeuvrable. After an ingenious and dramatic repair by Lt Cmdr Peter Keeble, the experienced diver and salvage expert, Valiant eventually managed to pass through the Suez canal. She reached Devonport dockyard in early February, 1945, ending up as a training ship for stokers before being scrapped in 1948.

AFD 23 remained on the seabed after several salvage attempts failed. Then, in 1968, a French team managed to raise the dock, although it seems uncertain whether all of it was salvaged as there are still reports of the wreck of AFD 23 being dived.

So what caused the sinking?

AFD 23 was an American design, and apparently, there was no margin of safety designed in. British designs allowed a 50% margin, thus giving a breaking strain of 75,000 tons.

At that time in her career Valiant displaced 42,000 tons on a length between perpendiculars of 600 feet, which is where the chocks would have been in the dock, giving a loading on the chocks of 70 tons per foot. With no margin of safety the floating dock could only take 50 tons per foot. In addition, being short ship, she was weighted amidships. And even more importantly still, she was fully loaded with ordnance. Apparently the dock operators did know that Valiant carried most of her weight amidships, but did not know that she had a full load of ordnance.

The break-up was therefore most likely caused by firstly being grossly overloaded, coupled with an uneven pumping of water from the numerous separate tanks comprising the dock (some reports say that the flooding valves to the aft section failed). The weight of the ship was concentrated in the centre of the dock, but the aft tanks must have been too buoyant without the corresponding weight of the ship's raised stern. When the dock's aft part broke off, the dock then surged upwards, smashing into the four propellers and wrecking them and the rudders.


See also http://www.divesrilanka.com/DSTrincoAFD23.html



Inspired by the ‘Coloured Drawings’ thread, I have made an attempt at some drawings of this incident based on the documented records. I have drawn a ‘section’ of the dock to reveal the ship and some detail of the dock and the damage caused in the accident. The drawing of AFD 23 is a best guestimate of how she looked using the available photographs, and of AFD 21 and AFD 22, assumed to be similar. So I make no apologies for any inaccuracies. This is also my first attempt at this type of drawing, and next time I would do certain things differently.

My thanks to Dash for borrowing, and slightly modifying one of his ship drawings to give Valiant.

qprdave
16-11-2009, 15:20
Re The AFDs that were used abroad

Who actually run/worked them. Was it Royal Navy, British Dockyard Workers or a local workforce or a mixture of all three?

Dreadnought
16-11-2009, 15:54
Hi Dave,

I am pretty sure that in the early days they were manned and run by RN personnel, according to the information I have. Whether this changed, or when, I cannot say. I am sure someone will tell us ...!!

Dreadnought
16-11-2009, 16:13
AFD 59 was laid down at Portsmouth in 1959 and spent time at Barrow-in-Furness, having been towed there in 1960. It was used as a fitting out berth for submarine Dreadnought and subsequent submarines. I think she was moved to the Netherlands in 1996, and later to Nigeria …. 2003 I think.



Following on from the above in post #28, I have found some more information regarding AFD 59 .......

AFD59, which was laid down at H.M. Dockyard, Portsmouth, on 1st January, 1959, was launched on March 31st, 1960, by the Lady Carrington, wife of the First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Peter Carrington. AFD 59 was constructed in a dry dock and as previously mentioned, was initially used in the fitting out of the nuclear submarine Dreadnought.

The Dock was 400 feet long, 77 feet wide and 65 feet high, and was an all-welded structure containing some 4,500 tons of steel. Extensive use was made of pre-fabrication, and the completion of the structure within fifteen months represented a considerable achievement, more particularly as the work was carried out in a dry dock which lacked many of the facilities normally associated with a building slip. Assistance in fabrication of certain fittings was given by Chatham and Rosyth dockyards.

In addition to being fully equipped to carry out routine maintenance and repairs of ships docked in it, it also provided accommodation and living facilities to what was then the latest habitability standards, including air conditioning and fluorescent lighting in all of the cabins and messes, for about two hundred men.

A push button control system was installed for the operation of the Dock and the main pumps for controlling the raising and lowering of the Dock were capable of dealing with over 200 tons of water per minute. Instruments were fitted to record, for the Dock Master's information, the strains coming on the structure during the docking operations. Four main generators and two auxiliary generators supplied 1,320 k.w. for the main pumping machinery, lighting, etc. This power supply was sufficient for the domestic load of a vessel in the dock and power and lighting for repairs in addition to the dock services. The Dock was equipped with special sliding keel blocks for the docking of submarines. A 74ton travelling crane was situated on, and runs the full length of, each dock wall.

Dreadnought
16-11-2009, 16:56
German battleship SS Derflinger at Faslane yard of Metal Industries Ltd. on board a floating dock (possibly AFD 12) in 1946.

Launched on June 1 1913, Derflinger was one of the Derfflinger Class German battle Cruisers along with Lutzow and Hindenburg. Both Derfflinger and Lutzow were at Jutland and Derflinger was at the Battle of Dogger bank.

Derflinger was scuttled at Scapa Flow on June 21st 1919 and lay in 45 metres of water until it was raised in July 1939 by the London, Liverpool Salvage Co. She was lying upside down and divers spent weeks cutting away superstructure to get her onto the floating dock. After the divers had done as much as they could, the dock had to sink one and a half feet below the design specifications in order to load the ship.

Derflinger was the last of the accessible big ships scuttled at Scapa Flow, and after the Second World War she was brought to the Gareloch for scrapping.



Photograph from unknown source. No copyright restrictions apparent.

jayenn
17-11-2009, 17:15
Some additional information on the "Derflinger" pic,
the dock with "Derflinger" is AFD4 and as noted, Metal Industries bought it from the Admiralty after the war.
It had been brought to the Clyde in September '41 from Devonport in a voyage that lasted 6 days and it was placed under the control of the "Emergency Repair Organisation". The Admiralty had approached John Brown of Clydebank to oversee the management of the work in the dock, but due to pressure of new build work at their yard, they declined and the Fairfield Ship Building & Engineering Co of Govan took management responsibiliy, but drawing labour from other Clyde yards as required.

The dock was anchored close to the mouth of Gareloch between Roseneath Point and Helensburgh and as this was remote from the shipyards and docks on the south bank of the Clyde, two old paddle steamers the"Balmoral" and "Lorna Doon" were moored alongside and altered to meet messing and accommodation needs.

The first ship to dock was the new monitor HMS Roberts and over the period over 70 vessels were docked for repair. These included Aurania, Royal Sovereign and carriers Queen, Trumpeter, Begum, Biter, Patroller and Archer.

Earlier history of AFD4 is a bit shakey at present, but it was built by Swan Hunter and had acapacity of 33,000 tons. It was designated "Medway" dock
and it arrived at Sheerness in1912. A couple of references indicate that it had been moved to the Tyne at some stage during WW1 before eventually moving to Portland. On12 Sept '25 it was towed to Devonport by five tugs -Retort, Resolve, St. Kitts, St.Mellions and St. Clear.
HMS Ramilles was the first ship docked in AFD4 at Devonport

As seems to be the case with most of our larger AFDs, this one also ended up abroad going to Rotterdam in 1948 and eventually Stokholm in1984.

jayenn
17-11-2009, 20:38
More on AFD4

It was at Sheerness until 1915 and then it was towed back to theTyne ,where it was moored at Jarrow Stake throughout WW 1 .She did not leave the Tyne until 1923 presumably then to Portland.

john

Dreadnought
18-11-2009, 17:05
What I don't understand John, is that I spend hours searching for every scrap of information I can find, and then you come up with some more ..!! How do you do it for God's sake ..!! Anyway it's brilliant.

We soon should be able to summarize the movements of some of these AFD's from cradle to grave.

Powers
18-11-2009, 22:13
Just a few lines to confirm and add to what has already been written about AFD 20, and some additional details about the previously unmentioned AFD 17.
All facts are taken from the late Lt Cdr Ken Burn's book 'The Devonport Dockyard Story' published in 1984:

'Other interesting items of new construction apart from ships, were two floating docks - AFD 17 and 20 - each with a a lifting capacity of 2,875 tons. AFD 17 saw service in Iceland before being towed to Australia at the end of the war. The dock was moored alongside Fitzroy Wharf at Cockatoo Island, Sydney, until 1964 when it was scrapped.

AFD 20 was also used in Iceland, but in July 1944, it was attached to the 7th Submarine Flotilla at Rothesay. On the 31 December, 1944, it sailed for Manus in the Admiralty Islands calling at Darwin, Australia, on the way. When the war ended the dock returned to Singapore.'

I'm left wondering whether AFD 17's tow from Iceland to Sydney was, in fact, longer than AFD 20's marathon voyage.

From my own personal memory, I can recall visiting (if that's the right term) AFD 58 on several occasions throughout the 1980's when she was engaged on conventional submarine refitting duties at Devonport. She was moored in the north east corner of 5 basin.

By way of interest, during annual 'Navy Week' in the 1930's, a Devonport AFD was an unlikely 'star' attraction, as members of the public were invited 'onboard' to experience the sensation of walking under a Battleship! The good old carefree pre H&S days!

Regards. ... Paul

astraltrader
19-11-2009, 09:57
After digging around in an old box of photographs and postcards I came across this which I thought might prove to be of interest.

Unfortunately there was no information or caption at all although I expect Clive might know something about it!


[Note: For identification of this photograph please see post#295.]

John Odom
20-11-2009, 11:01
Most interesting! Thanks.

astraltrader
20-11-2009, 14:00
Thanks John - just waiting for Clive to reappear to get his verdict!

Dreadnought
21-11-2009, 11:39
Hi Terry ... I have now reappeared ...!!

This is, as John says, an interesting one. The derricks visible on the dock walls suggest to me that it is not of British or American design? I am looking into this further and will see what I can dig up.

Dreadnought
21-11-2009, 11:52
Just a few lines to confirm and add to what has already been written about AFD 20, and some additional details about the previously unmentioned AFD 17.
All facts are taken from the late Lt Cdr Ken Burn's book 'The Devonport Dockyard Story' published in 1984:

'Other interesting items of new construction apart from ships, were two floating docks - AFD 17 and 20 - each with a a lifting capacity of 2,875 tons. AFD 17 saw service in Iceland before being towed to Australia at the end of the war. The dock was moored alongside Fitzroy Wharf at Cockatoo Island, Sydney, until 1964 when it was scrapped.

AFD 20 was also used in Iceland, but in July 1944, it was attached to the 7th Submarine Flotilla at Rothesay. On the 31 December, 1944, it sailed for Manus in the Admiralty Islands calling at Darwin, Australia, on the way. When the war ended the dock returned to Singapore.'

I'm left wondering whether AFD 17's tow from Iceland to Sydney was, in fact, longer than AFD 20's marathon voyage.

From my own personal memory, I can recall visiting (if that's the right term) AFD 58 on several occasions throughout the 1980's when she was engaged on conventional submarine refitting duties at Devonport. She was moored in the north east corner of 5 basin.

By way of interest, during annual 'Navy Week' in the 1930's, a Devonport AFD was an unlikely 'star' attraction, as members of the public were invited 'onboard' to experience the sensation of walking under a Battleship! The good old carefree pre H&S days!

Regards. ... Paul
Hi Paul, thanks for that. I have put together the following from a number of sources, in attempt to plot the history of ADF17. Some of the sources and information are in conflict and leaves questions that I summarize at the end.

AFD17 was built in America. It measured 380 x 50 x 19 feet, and had a 2,750 ton lift. It had a compliment of 32 men.

The Admiralty had earmarked AFD17 to support the Pacific Fleet, and was to be towed to Sydney, Australia. An earlier attempt to get one of these docks across the South Atlantic had ended in disaster when the well escorted convoy, which included an armed merchant cruiser, was attacked by U‑boats. The dock broke its back and was lost. And so, because of the desperate need for a floating dock in the Far East, the Admiralty had decided to risk the next one in the North Atlantic in wintertime, via Iceland.

On arrival in Icelandic waters bad weather descended and the tow broke leaving AFD17 wallowing around for days before it was secured. The RN trawler HMS Northern Sun took over the escort, ready for the next leg of the journey to Gibraltar. Two ocean going tugs HMT Saucy and HMT Lariat took up the tow, leaving Reykjavik in August 1944. As they approached the western tip of England the two tugs needed to refuel so they detached in turn to go into Falmouth for oil. While only one tug had the tow, little progress was made and the most that could be done was to keep the dock head to sea. It was the best part of a week before the double‑tow was resumed and seventeen days later AFD17 reached Gibraltar, having taken well over a week to get through the Bay of Biscay.

The small flotilla left Gibraltar late September bound for Port Said en route to India and then Sydney, with a new escort from the South African Navy, HMSAS Southern Sea (a whaler), commanded by Nelson Albert Tomalin R.N.V.R. The tugs were joined by a third, HMS Walborough (name not certain), with one pulling from ahead, and the other two on each “bow” of AFD17, all having to constantly adjust their tows to steer the dock. Progress was slow, zigzagging their course at eight knots.

After three days, somewhere between Oran and Algiers, a North Easterly gale was encountered which was so fierce that it was it almost impossible for any headway to be made at all, and with visibility so poor that the tugs and escort could barely see each other. It took over two days for the weather to improve, during which time one of the tugs and the escort ending up losing the dock and remaining tugs altogether for a couple of hours. However, contact and proper formation was resumed and the journey progressed, with Walborough having to call in at Bizerta, Tunisia, for refuelling, before completing her duties as escort after passing the Cape Bon Peninsula. The Tugs continued, with AFD17 in tow onwards to Port Said, and then to Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), before arriving in Cochin (Kochi) on the South West coat of India. Here HMT Integrity took over from Saucy for the final leg Sydney, arriving there in May 1945 (although sources from Australia say 1946). Here she was moored just off Cockatoo Island (photograph), where she remained until she was scrapped in 1964.

Article from "Look & Learn" Magazine August 4th 1945


Half a Year In Tow
Towing a 2750-ton naval floating dock more than halfway across the world is no light undertaking at the best of times; but when storms are raging, and U-boats are lurking, it is perilous, to say the least. Yet little more than six months ago such a journey began from Iceland, whence a British dock was to be towed to Australia. Two 300-ton tugs, the Lariat and the Saucy, were entrusted with the task of towing the dock to its destination. Since the dock's arrival in Australia some details of the six months' journey have become known. Trouble started early. The North Atlantic gales lashed the dock and the tugs mercilessly, and frequently the towropes were broken. Sometimes the crew of the floating dock had to work on repairing them while up to the neck in water. During one ten-day storm, the towropes broke five times, and the floating dock drifted for three days. When the storm was over, the crews of Lariat and Saucy were exhausted and their fuel was nearly spent, so two relief tugs took over. Lariat resumed her task alone through the Mediterranean and, except, for two days, continued to do so until India was reached. There-another tug and a corvette joined her, and together they brought the great floating dock safely to port in Australia.


Conflict and questions:

Was the lifting capacity of AFD17 2750 tons or 2875. My information is that AFD17 –AFD22 are all listed as 2750 ton lifts.

Was the name of the escort from Gibraltar HMS Walborough? I can find no reference to her. What was she … HM tug or anti-submarine trawler?

Did the tugs have any escort after Bizerta? If so who?

What was the Corvette that joine the party in India?

Was the date of arrival in Sydney May 1945, or sometime in 1946. Has this date been confused with the arrival of AFD18 at Darwin on May 24th 1945?

And finally, as to the question whether this was a longer trip than that of AFD20? Don’t know ….


Photograph of AFD17 at Cockatoo Island atated as 1951. Photograph from National Library of Australia, believed to be out of copyright

SCRG1970
21-11-2009, 13:41
Clive
The info I have is that AFD 17 lift capacity was 2750 tons i.e designed as Destroyer Docks.

The tow to Aden was by Eminent and Lariat.

Aden to Cochin by Lariat, Integrity and Empire Sam.

Escort from Cochin to Freemantle was Meadowsweet.

Arrival Sydney in May (no date given)

AFD 18 arrival Darwin 24 May departing for New Guinea 19 June 1945.

Does this help ???

regards

gerry

Dreadnought
22-11-2009, 10:59
Thanks for that Gerry,

Didn't know tugs Eminent or Empire Sam were involved. The corvette then was Flower Class HMS Meadowsweet. Excellent additional info .. thanks again.


Coulpe of poor quality photos showing HMS Meadowsweet and the tug HMRT Saucy. Sources unknown Not aware of any copyright restrictions.

Dreadnought
22-11-2009, 11:35
Floating Dry Docks & Submarines

Collection of photographs showing submarines in floating dry docks, information about which I have very little. I am sure someone will be able to let me know more .....

AFD_E34: E34. Don’t know where, when or which AFD?
AFD_E47: E47. At Harwich. Don’t know when or which AFD?
AFD_L12: L12. June 1930. Don’t know where or which AFD
AFD_Sub1: HMS Seraph at Port Balatine Rothesay 1956. Probably AFD19
AFD_Sub2: Don’t know anything. Oberon Class? 1970/80’s?
FloatingDryDockPlymouth_1: Mid 1980’s. Don’t know which AFD? Oberon Class submarine?
FloatingDryDockPlymouth_2: Same as above?
FloatingDryDockBarrow_1: May 1959. Don’t know which AFD? AFDF59 didn’t get there until 1960?
FloatingDryDockHarwich_1: Don’t know which sub, which AFD, or when?


Photographs from a number of sources. Unaware of any copyright restrictions.

jayenn
22-11-2009, 14:30
Clive
With regard to the article "Half a Year in Tow", the following quoted information from the Sydney Morning Herald dated July 18th 1945 may help establish dates and timelines for AFD17's voyage from Iceland.


"NAVAL DOCK HERE AFTER ROUGH TRIP"
Capable of servicing vessels up to large-type destroyers, a 2,750-ton British naval floating dock arrived in Australia recently after a perilous voyage from Iceland which lasted six months.
It left Iceland in September, towed by two small naval rescue tugs of 800 tons each.
Rectangular in shape, the vast bulk of the dock was towed with 18in. lines. There were about 1,000ft of lines between it and the tugs while afloat.
As North Atlantic gales lashed the three craft, great combers washed through the dock bottom. Tied to life lines, the crew sometimes worked for hours, neck deep in water, to repair broken tow ropes. Frequently, there was danger of attack by German submarines.
CRANE BREAKS LOOSE
The dock was manned by 32 Royal Navy personnel in charge of Warrant-Shipwright W.J. Trist, R.N.
On the first stage of its voyage to Gibraltar, a five-ton travelling crane mounted on top of the starboard wall broke loose. Electrical Artificer John Carson of Glasgow, manned the crane for almost two hours, driving it ahead and astern on its runway as the dock rolled through the big seas. There was a constant danger that the crane would run overboard before it could be made fast.
For 10 days the tugs battled in the storm and the tow ropes broke five times under the strain. The dock drifted for three days.
One of the three escort craft warned that it was drifting to an area where 10 U-boats were suspected and the tugs crews had to chance the tow rope breaking in an attempt to force a way back on to their course.
When the rope broke it was impossible to reconnect it and as the other tug could not do the job alone, the three craft drifted towards the U-boat zone. Both tugs hove-to in the lee of the dock. Soon after one of the escorts had reported that U-boats were near, the tow rope broke again.
Completely adrift, they floundered 60 miles off course. The crew decided to go kown into the flooded dock bottom to try to connect with the tugs lines. After hours of work, they retrieved the tugs’ cables. Many of the crew were almost washed overboard before the storm abated.
After 10 days, with the ships’ fuel very low, relief tugs came and carried on with the tow.
DAMAGE SLIGHT
Damage received throughout the long voyage was superficial and only one seaman was slightly injured by a rocket line fired by one of the tugs.
Gibraltar was reached without further accident. One tug made the tow alone in the Mediterranean, two others standing by, accompanied by two escort vessels.
On their arrival in Australia, the crew looked none the worse for their experience. They were working in the great well of the dock bottom, moving a heap of rusted rivets. Many stores were lost when they were washed out the stern.
Chief Shipwright John R. Jones of Portsmouth, said the trip reduced rations to a minimum. They carried tinned foods, but soon had to settle down to bully and biscuits. They carried 300 tons of fresh water below but could not always get at it in “big” weather. The 16 tons of fresh water they carried “on top” was the main supply.
“On V-E Day we didn’t get the Admiralty’s signal to ‘splice the main brace,” said Shipwright Jones, “but we’ve seen to that now. We heard about the end of the war from one of our escorts.”
Warrant Shipwright Trist, who was in command, has served in all types of naval craft in the war. He was mined twice and torpedoed three times. His father was a lieutenant in H.M.S. Lion, Earl Beatty’s flagship in the last war.
NO NAME FOR IT
Leading Seaman Douglas Carr of Dover, served in H.M.S. Cornwall, before being drafted to the dock. He summed up the crew’s opinions of the voyage when a reporter asked him if they had given the dock any name. “You couldn’t print what we call it, lad” he said.
Command of the dock has been taken over by Lieutenant E.F. Williams, R.N.V.R. of Gillingham, Kent."
John

qprdave
22-11-2009, 14:33
Taken from The Times Archive

1) June 22, 1928
2) June 10, 1947

Powers
22-11-2009, 17:34
Clive, re your pictures at post 66.

The 6th and 7th are definitely Devonport and show AFD 58 in the north east corner of 5 Basin, when it was employed on refitting 'O' class boats. I'm pretty certain that picture 5 is also 58.

Regards..... Paul

mik43
22-11-2009, 17:55
Excellent work guys!!

Mik

Harley
23-11-2009, 15:09
A couple of years ago I was at the Annual Naval Meeting of the World Ship Society in Bristol. Dr. Ian Buxton (of "Big Gun Monitors" fame) gave a talk on the history of A.F.D.s. I believe that this year he published a history of A.F.D.s in a journal of the World Ship Society.

One highlight of the talk was when H.M.S. "Valiant" came up. It turned out that the great D. K. Brown had been taught at Greenwich by the Commander (E) responsible for the A.F.D., who had soberly informed the constructors of the incident. Somehow the man had been promoted to Captain and continued to prosper in the Navy, having nearly clapped out one of Britain's most modern battleships.

Simon

John Odom
23-11-2009, 18:17
Great story, Jayen

Dreadnought
25-11-2009, 15:34
A couple of years ago I was at the Annual Naval Meeting of the World Ship Society in Bristol. Dr. Ian Buxton (of "Big Gun Monitors" fame) gave a talk on the history of A.F.D.s. I believe that this year he published a history of A.F.D.s in a journal of the World Ship Society.

Simon
Hi Simon,

That's extremely interesting, and extremely frustrating .... wish I had been there ..!! Do you have any more details about the publication and whether I would be able to get hold of a copy ..??

Dreadnought
25-11-2009, 20:55
AFD5

Thanks to the contributors in this thread regarding AFD5, and coupled with a bit more information I have managed to acquire, I think we can just about put together the history of this dock.

AFD5, also known as the "Portsmouth Dock", was built by Cammell Laird Ltd, Birkenhead and launched in August 1912. She was 680 feet long, 144 feet wide, with side walls of 66 feet high on the outside (46.5 feet above the pontoon). She had two rows of keel blocks, made from English Oak, down her entire length. Her maximum lifting capacity was 31,500 tons.

She first went to Portsmouth, where she stayed until, on the 23rd June 1939, she was towed to Alexandria. After the war she was towed to Bermuda, by tugs Empire Lola and Eminent, where she stayed until the dockyard closed on March 31st 1951.

AFD5 left for England on July 11th, under tow by tugs Reward and Warden, with Prosperous as escort. They reached Falmouth on 11th August.

The dock was sold to Maryland Shipbuilding in Baltimore USA, and on the 30th April 1966, she left for America under to by Alice L Moran. On the 6th May AFD5 broke in two 400 miles south west of the Scilly Isles with one half on the dock sinking.


Two photographs I have recently come across, both of which required much restoration. The first one of AFD5 in Bermuda, November 1949. The second, of AFD 5 being towed into Bermuda by the tugs Empire Lola and Eminent, also November 1949.

The tug Alice L Moran

Harley
25-11-2009, 21:26
Hi Simon,

That's extremely interesting, and extremely frustrating .... wish I had been there ..!! Do you have any more details about the publication and whether I would be able to get hold of a copy ..??

I'm rubbish at following these things up, but apparently to subscribe to the W.S.S. Warship magazine one gets in touch with Brian Hargreaves at World Ship Society. I'll P.M. you his email. Part I of the articles is in Issue 160, not sure about part II.

Simon

astraltrader
25-11-2009, 21:27
Clive sorry to be a pain but did you manage to find out anything about the photo I posted in #59??

I would like to get some sort of information on it if possible...

Dreadnought
26-11-2009, 06:27
Big thanks for that Simon ... will email him and see what happens.

Dreadnought
26-11-2009, 06:45
After digging around in an old box of photographs and postcards I came across this which I thought might prove to be of interest.

Unfortunately there was no information or caption at all although I expect Clive might know something about it!


Hi Terry ... I have now reappeared ...!!

This is, as John says, an interesting one. The derricks visible on the dock walls suggest to me that it is not of British or American design? I am looking into this further and will see what I can dig up.



Clive sorry to be a pain but did you manage to find out anything about the photo I posted in #59??

I would like to get some sort of information on it if possible...


Hi Terry .... pain is the one thing you never are ...

So far no joy ... it's those bl**dy derricks that are so frustrating, yet so revealing. I have seen them once before, and for the life of me I can't now find where. But believe me, I am looking. Going to enhance the photo and see if we can get a ship ID ... that may help.

astraltrader
26-11-2009, 07:57
Many thanks Clive for looking into this for me.

Dreadnought
26-11-2009, 10:23
ADF 11 in Southampton. It was necessary to keep the dock's berth dredged to a depth of 65 feet and occasionally the dock was moved to enable this to be done.

Photograph shows the dock berthed alongside the newly completed quay at 101 berth in 1932. It was there from 23rd May until 8th July whilst dredging was carried out. Eight tugs were involved in moving her.


Out of copyright Associated British Ports photograph, taken from the book "150 years of Southampton Docks 1838-1988" by Bert Moody, in my personal collection.

Dreadnought
26-11-2009, 11:48
After digging around in an old box of photographs and postcards I came across this which I thought might prove to be of interest.

Unfortunately there was no information or caption at all although I expect Clive might know something about it!
Terry,

Have tried to enhance photo to see if it reveals anymore clues .... it doesn't really ..!! Here it is anyway. Can you identify the ship in any way?

astraltrader
26-11-2009, 19:53
Sorry Clive - there is not enough clear detail to be able to identify the ship.

It is down to the floating dock itself to provide any information on the photo IMHO.

jayenn
26-11-2009, 20:53
"Singapore Dock" AFD 9
Additional info. to post 68 . The Dutch tugs made good progress and brought the two sections of AFD 9 to Singapore on 12th & 15th Oct. 1928 - a full month ahead of the estimated arrival date.

AFD 9 was scuttled at the fall of Singapore, but was raised and used by the Japanese until it was bombed by USAF B29's in1945. If you look in the "Australian" forum and the Singapore thread there is a link to a US site where you can view reconnaissance photos before and after the raid.

It was salvaged again in 1952/53 and four sections demolished at Singapore. Almost 25 years after it arrived, two Dutch tugs again towed the remaining three sections back to the UK. The tugs were the Zwarte Zee (3) and Thames and the voyage took over a year as the group had to lay over the winter in Malta to avoid storms in the Bay of Biscay. The group was augmented by a third tug Ostzee and in May'53 the final destination of Troon was reached where the sections of the AFD were scrapped.

robertr
28-11-2009, 15:40
"Dreadnought"

I'm advised by ANDY3E that the attached photo may be of interest to you. It was taken by my father during his service in Coastal Forces as a PO MM, on Vosper MTB's, while stationed at Trincomalee. Sorry about the quality, it's from a photo about 3"x2".

Regards, Robert.

Dreadnought
28-11-2009, 18:13
Hi Robert, yes it certainly is of interest and thankyou. Have to see if we can identify the ship.

Dreadnought
28-11-2009, 20:48
AFD9 - The Singapore Project

The floating dock destined for Singapore was part of the controversial desire to turn Singapore unto a British Naval Base which had been argued from the beginning of the First World War. The expensive project was dogged by political and diplomatic disagreement over a number years and successive governments. Work started in 1923, but was then stopped in early 1924 against a backdrop of further diplomatic rows and domestic economic downturn.

However, on the 9th December 1924 the newly elected Conservative Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, informed the House of Commons that it had been decided to renew work on the Singapore project. The announcement renewed political division and arguments yet again raged over questions of expense, Singapore versus social service, the probable effect on relations with Japan, the implications of the Washington Conference, the efficacy of unilateral disarmament, and technical considerations in regard to the defence of the base and the protection of Britain's Far Eastern trade and Dominions. A new aspect of the matter introduced into the discussion at this time was the building of the base being in contravention of the Geneva Protocol.

When the Singapore base was first envisaged, the Admiralty had planned to use one of the two German floating docks acquired after World War I. The other was to be utilized at Malta, but towing it there proved to be very difficult. Since it was obvious that towing all the way to Singapore would be highly dangerous, it was decided to have a new dock built one constructed in such a manner that it could be taken to the Far East in sections.

The order for such a dock was officially given on November 16, 1926. Rapid progress in construction was made, and less than two years later, April 27, 1928, the Board of Admiralty invited members of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and representatives of the engineering and technical press to visit the nearly completed work.

“They found a huge structure displacing some 50,000 tons and capable of accommodating the largest ships of the Royal Navy. Each longitudinal side consisted of a perpendicular and rectangular wall 855 feet long, 15 feet wide, and rising some 50 feet above the water line. Composed of ship plates, these were topped by an assortment of hatchways, ventilators, capstans, raised skylights, and a covered line of "live rail." The walls themselves were separated by, and dropped sheerly to, a platform 150 feet wide where the vessels entering the dock would rest on blocks similar to those at the bottom of any dry-dock, except that in this ease there were three lines of them. All three could be used to shore up the heaviest vessels for repair work. Otherwise three small ships could be docked at the same time. The stern end of the dock was open, but the forward end had a light steel lattice bridge formed by two brackets moving on hinges to a nose point like the gates of a lock, but only running halfway down to the platform.

The under-water structure of the dock consisted of large tanks which, when filled, caused the platform to sink, thus making it possible to take a vessel in. It could be regulated in such a manner as to ensure that the dock was on a level keel or to enable it to be trimmed to admit a damaged ship. By emptying the tanks the docked ships could then be raised out of the water. With pumping equipment capable of expelling 30,000 tons of water per hour, a large vessel could be berthed and raised above water in about four hours. This operation was controlled by 90 switch-operating keys brought to narrow tables running along each side of the small control cabin above the fore end of the starboard deck. The floating dock also contained engineering workshops fitted with the most modern types of machine tools, and a plating shop, with plating slabs, tools, sheer forge, and well-lighted benches, and two sets of portable plant for welding. According to the same description, the electrical equipment itself, lodged within the dock walls, was composed of the following units: three 1,000-volt, three-phase, alternating current generators for main power and pumping; a 225-volt, two-wire, direct current system for auxiliary generation, lighting, and power; a 20-volt, direct current, two-wire system for control of dock operations; a double telephone system, one part with central exchange and another direct, to enable the dock-master to get in touch immediately with any portion of the vessel; a complete plant for supplying ships in the dock with electrical energy for lighting and power when their own machinery was idle; and lastly, provisions for supplying submarines in dock with electrical energy for charging their large storage batteries at 330 volts.”

The contract for towing the 50,000-ton floating dock to Singapore was let to a Dutch firm, L. Smit & Co., at a cost of approximately £200,000. The first section left the Tyne on June 21, 1928, and the second a week later. The most difficult part of the 7,500-mile voyage, which took nearly four months, was the trip through the Suez Canal where, with only fifteen feet to spare on either side, the dock was at the same time so high out of the water as to be liable to catch the wind. The passage was made safely, however, and both sections arrived at Singapore in the middle of October.


Photograph as it says ... but bit confusing because the dock looks a bit bigger than one of the two sections that were towed out to Singapore.

Two photos of AFD 9 in 1934

Photo of what I believe is HMS Suffolk in AFD 9


Poor photographs of AFD 9, but of enough historical importance to make them worth posting. No copy right restrictions evident.

Dreadnought
28-11-2009, 20:56
AFD9 - Thrills of Voyage

Taken from the Canberra Times 29th September 1928


FLOATING DOCK
Thrills of Voyage
Tug Captain Reveals
Columbo, Thursday

The skipper of the tugs attendant on the Singapore floating dock which is now passing Ceylon, has told news paper men a remarkable story of the voyage .

Gales snapped the hawsers in the English Channel and the tugs had their greatest difficulty in maintaining their charges in safety.

A wonderful feat was the negotiation of the Suez Canal. The captain asserted thal the canal was not closed to ordinary shipping when the dock was being towed through. The passage of the canal lasted four days, and the section went three-quarters aground, but a tug put her nose to the task in the nick of time and disaster was averted.

Captain Parsons, in charge of the end section of the dock, confesses that he will be immensely relieved when the voyage Is ended and he is able lo hand over, to Hie Admiralty.

The voyane so far has occupied 118 days, including a delay of 3 weeks, at Aden. The distance already travelled Is about 7,000 miles.

Among the amusements of those on board the dock is football, for which there is ample space.


Two photos of the tugs towing the two sections opf AFD 9 through the Suez canal and one of the tugs having arrived in Singapore with the dock.

Photograph of HMS London in AFD 9 in 1934.

Poor photographs, but of enough historical importance to make them worth posting. No copyright Restrictions evident

Dreadnought
28-11-2009, 21:00
AFD9 - Fall of Singapore

The second World War saw Britain’s old friend Japan becoming foe. As the war developed, and the Japanese advanced through the far east, Singapore became a desperate problem to the Allied strategists. It had been prepared in advance with elaborate fortifications and supplies to withstand a long siege. Its land and aerial defences had been strengthened for protracted resistance and its neighbouring waters heavily mined. The immediate task was to hold it at all costs, for even if immobilized, it could serve to check-mate large Japanese forces. However, the attackers' superiority in numbers and materiel, and their command of the air enabled them to overwhelm the defenders in short order. On February 15th 1942, London announced the unconditional surrender of Singapore. The "impregnable" fortress had gone down before a land and air attack.

in December 1941, as part of the preparations for British withdrawal, AFD 9 had been scuttled by allowing the floatation tanks to fill with water, and by cutting it in places with acetylene torches.

The Japanese occupied Singapore from 1942 until 1945, renaming it Shonan. All European and Australian prisoners were interned at Changi on the eastern end of the island--the 2,300 civilians at the prison and the more than 15,000 military personnel at nearby Selarang barracks. The 600 Malay and 45,000 Indian troops were assembled by the Japanese and urged to transfer their allegiance to the emperor of Japan. Many refused and were executed, tortured, imprisoned, or sent as forced labourers to Thailand, Sumatra, or New Guinea. Under pressure, about 20,000 Indian troops joined the Japanese-sponsored Indian National Army to fight for India's independence from the British.

In May 1942, Japanese salvage experts made efforts to raise AFD 9. It took them three months to successfuly achieve returning the dock to use for the Japanese Imperial Navy to repair their damaged warships.


Newspaper article - unidentified

Dreadnought
28-11-2009, 21:09
AFD9 - Bombed & Sunk

As Commander of Allied Forces in Southeast Asia, one of Lord Louis Mountbatten's objectives was to send B-29s to damage or destroy.

On the 1st February 1945, a hundred and thirteen USAAF B29 Superfortress from the 58th Bomber Wing set off from 20th Air Force’s base at Tinian, Marianas, on Mission 33, to bomb the naval base at Singapore. Sixty seven of the bombers bombed AFD 9 sinking her along with a Japanese oiler Shiretoko, berthed inside her.

This mission was part of the final assault on Japan leading up to B-29 bombers dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th August and 9th August 1945.

On the 6th September 1945, Singapore was liberated by British troops. AFD 9 was refloated on the 29th November 1946.
(John – our info seems to differ here ..??)


B29's of the 58th Bomber Wing on the runway at Tinian.
AFD 9 supposedly taken in 1946 after she was refloated?
IJN Shiretoko with heavy cruiser Chokai (1933). Although originally an oiler, the IJN converted half of her tank into cargo space to transport turrets and main guns of BB Nagatoty


Photogrpahs from various sources. No evidence of copyright restrictions

Dreadnought
29-11-2009, 13:22
AFD9 - Additional Photograph

Just acquired this today ... AFD 9 after having been bombed in Singapore dock. Clearly showing Shiretoko on board.

My huge thanks to the NATIONAL MALAYA & BORNEO VETERANS ASSOCIATION UK for providing me with a copy of this photograph
http://www.nmbva.co.uk

jayenn
29-11-2009, 14:28
Hi Clive

A fascinating post on the Singapore dock with pictures that show just how massive it was,the pics of the Dutch tugs and the dock sections under tow being particularly interesting.
The picture of HMS London in a floating dock is intriguing and puzzling for a number of reasons.
I think HMS London had her major refit and conversion during 1939/41 at Chatham. It was during this refit that the funnel configuration was reduced from three to two and the new block bridge structure added. She did not sail to join the Eastern fleet until mid/late '43 by which time both AFDs 9 and10 were in Japanese hands.

AFD10 was bought from the Dutch, where it had been based at Sabang in the Dutch East Indies and it was towed to Singapore in November '39. the Admiralty paid 760,000 Guilders(£95,000 at then X rate) and intended it to be used for "destroyers and light cruisers" and tofree up space in the existing facilities at Singapore for larger vessels.

Like AFD9, AFD10 was also scuttled at the fall of Singapore in early '42, but it was salvaged,founderd and finally raised again in 1946.

Regarding the HMS London pic, as the floating dock is much smaller than AFD9 could it in fact be a post war picture of the raised AFD10 or is it another AFD that had been taken to Singapore.

As you said in your first post there does not appear to be a great deal of information--- but surely someone out there must know.


John

Dreadnought
29-11-2009, 15:40
Hi John,

Yes, I have references to AFD 10 supposedly being bought from the Dutch for Singapore, but I cannot find any official records regarding this, her scuttling, or post war raising/use. All records refer to AFD 9 alone. So it's a bit of a head scratcher, and I am looking further into it now. If AFD 10 was there and raised in 1946, it might explain our discrepancy in dates for raising AFD 9. I have a record of AFD 9 being dismantled in '46 and scrapped in '47? As for London ... armed with your information, I will investigate further. I do have a photo (not very good) of three floating docks at Singapore ...??!! Think it's a bit later though.

Driving me mad ..!!

Powers
01-12-2009, 21:29
Re: my previous post 58 and Clive's response at 63.

Clive, you reported that your research into AFD's has thrown up some conflicting facts which, I suppose, is to be expected when looking into such an obscure subject. I'm therefore sorry to fan the flames a bit more, but I feel sure you will be interested in the following information that I came across today in a book I'd forgotten I had. It relates once again to AFD's 17 and 20 the subject of our previous posts.

You will recall that I quoted the late Lt Cdr Ken Burn's book which stated that AFD 17 was built at Devonport Dockyard, whilst your research established that it was built in the USA. The book I found today is entitled ' A Short History of Devonport Royal Dockyard' by George Dicker, first printed in 1969 and revised in 1980. The final chapter lists all 308 vessels constructed at Devonport from the 73 ton, 4 gun 'POSTBOY' in 1694, to the last warship, HMS SCYLLA in 1968, and finally the very last vessel RDV CRYSTAL in 1971. The list shows that in 1942 the Dockyard constructed 2 submarines, HMS TUDOR and HMS THULE and 2 AFD's, 17 and 20. Interestingly, the record also shows that the AFD's were both fitted with 4 'guns'. The chapter was reproduced by permission of the 'Mariner's Mirror' the internationally recognised journal on Naval and Maritime history.

So there we have it, something else to consider.

Regards .........Paul

SCRG1970
02-12-2009, 14:04
Clive

Info I have on AFD10

Purchased from Sabang Bay Harbour and Coal Co, Sumatra at the end of 1939.
Left Sabang on 19.11.39 towed by ROODE ZEE for Singapore arriving on 28.11.39 and dry docked. Remained in Singapore 1940-42 and on 29.1.42 towed to Keppel harbour by ST BREOCK and ST JUST and scuttled.

Raised by Japanese. Later sank in the Naval Stores Basin Sembawang on 30.10.45.

Raised in 1946 and refitted. On transfer of the Dockyard in December 1968 the dock was transferred and renamed FD No 2.

Eventually belived to be sold in 1994 to Thailand for scrapping but not confirmed that this took place. Possibly sold on for use in Thailand also unconfirmed.

Regards

Gerry

keblin
02-12-2009, 15:39
Big Al;

do you know what the appendages with the 'wing shaped profile' are, fitted port and starboard under the after hydroplanes please?

Little h

Little h,
If you examine subsequent photo No.5, in post #66, it gives a clearer shot of the 'appendages' you are querying.
They are obviously some part of the trimming/steering equipment.
Perhaps some kind hearted submariner will enlighten us.

By the way, Clive....cracking thread!

keblin

ekd
02-12-2009, 20:10
Thanks for that jimmca78,

What the thread is really about is floating dry docks where the docks would be submerged by flooding their tanks, and then a ship sailing in; whereupon the tanks would then be pumped out to raise the dock, and the ship out of the water. The ship, then being held on keel blocks and supported by hydraulic rams, could be worked upon as if in a conventional dry dock.

Nevertheless thanks for your contribution. Maybe Mulberry docks will be considered later as they too played an important part in being able to load and unload ships with men and equipment in places where they couldn't get alongside a quay.

Clive,

Can you explain the " supported by hydraulic rams" bit, in more detail?

I remember going into a floating dock twice in my time, and in a drydock twice; in Singapore, Rosyth and Hong Kong in the 1960's.

All the information they had, and needed, was where the 12 x 12 inch baulks of timber to keep the ship upright, once the dock had been pumped out, were positioned.
The precise position of these baulks was determined from Commander 'E's (or engineer's) plan from the builder, for dry docking of the vessel.
Every ship had these plans, and they were precise to the inch, and kept by the engineering (writer) department. Thus for height and at which deck and bulkhead frame they were to be positioned on docking, for maximum security, was always determined. The 'Mateys' would paint the precise spot on the ships side where the timber would rest, before the event.

As a consequence, the floating (and dry dock) recieving the vessel knew exactly in advance, the number and length of the shoring timbers to be required for the docking.
Small descepancies in length of 'shores' were accomodated by wooden wedges which were driven in by stouthearted 'Mateys' on the sides of the 'floating' or 'dry' dock as necessary.
The ship sat happily, as any ship does, on the keel blocks. The baulks of timber were there just to offset any wind or natural weather event that could topple the vessel, (as well as a DB party not up to scratch, i.e. not keeping the ship 'on an even keel'!)

What was really scary was that six or seven pieces of timber each side would appear hold a massive vessel upright in the dock! But it usually did the trick. Hundreds of years of experience in design, and meticulous measurement had proven that.

At times it was an awesome sight to see.

Thanks to all those Floating and Dry dock operating personnel, Civilian as well as Naval, who over the years made a massive contribution to modern society without them knowing it; and in ways which they will not be recognised for.
We can't thank them enough!

edaward

Marek T
03-12-2009, 18:01
... The ship sat happily, as any ship does, on the keel blocks. The baulks of timber were there just to offset any wind or natural weather event that could topple the vessel, (as well as a DB party not up to scratch, i.e. not keeping the ship 'on an even keel'!)

What was really scary was that six or seven pieces of timber each side would appear hold a massive vessel upright in the dock! But it usually did the trick. Hundreds of years of experience in design, and meticulous measurement had proven that.

At times it was an awesome sight to see ...

Sorry, not a warship. But still a good illustration to the above description.
Polish former sail training ship DAR POMORZA, now a floating museum - here during drydocking in November 2003.

Dreadnought
06-12-2009, 11:34
Clive,

Can you explain the " supported by hydraulic rams" bit, in more detail?


Hi Edaward,

As I understand it, and this is not based on experience, rather on documented information, docks were fitted with mechanical/hydraulic shores to enable the ship to be positioned centrally over the keel blocks along its length prior to pumping out the dock's tanks. I do not think, certainly on the earlier docks, that these were designed to support large ships once the dock was raised, and that, as you say, that shoring timbers were used to provide the supplementary support where needed. As Marek T says, the ship should sit happily on the keel blocks. So my use of the word "support" was perhaps a little misleading.

The Southampton floating dock (AFD 11), as I mention in post #1 ..

.... was fitted with four mechanically operated shores on each side for mutually adjusting the dock and the ship so that its centre line lined up accurately over the keel blocks. These shores were 63 feet long and made of 3ft by 2ft mild steel beams located in the dock side walls. They were actuated by cast steel racks and pinions, each shore exerting a pressure of 10 tons at a speed of one foot per minute.


Although not brilliant, I attach a schematic of this arrangement for AFD 11.

Later on , I believe the shores were operated hydraulically. But, designed for positioning rather than actual support as mentioned.

Having said all that ... when looking at various photos of ships in dock, there seems a lot a variation in the amount of shoring employed. Some appearing to require very little or none, others having a lot? Maybe the shape of the hull influenced the amouint required as well as weather conditions? I attach some photographs to try and illustrate this. (not very goods ones which is why I haven't posted them before; but they hopefully gaive some idea of the point)

_________oo000oo_________


Thanks to all those Floating and Dry dock operating personnel, Civilian as well as Naval, who over the years made a massive contribution to modern society without them knowing it; and in ways which they will not be recognised for.
We can't thank them enough!


I most certainly agree ....


Identification of ships as file name where known

ekd
06-12-2009, 22:29
Thanks for that, Clive.

It makes sense now.

Although I never came across this method.
I can see how its versatility in positioning an awkward hull shape makes it rather more simple, especially for remote outposts and in places, where the abundance of really experienced and formally trained people in docking, could be somewhat lacking.

cheers
edaward

Dreadnought
07-12-2009, 12:50
AFD9 & AFD10 at Singapore

The conflicts between the limited available records get worse …!!

AFD10 was built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richarsdon Ltd. It had a lifting capacity of 50,000 tons, slightly smaller than AFD9. Both AFD 9 and AFD10 were intended to for Singapore. That much seems to be factual.

How it ended up in Sabang, goodness only knows. I have seen some information stating that the only privately owned floating dock at Sabang in 1939, was of 3000 tons lifting capacity. The 3000 ton dock’s existence is confirmed by the 1921 publication “The Ports of the Dutch Indies” which states under the section about Sabang …"A floating-dock, with a practical lifting capacity of 2,600 tons was brought from Soerabaja in 1893." That doesn’t mean to say that AFD 10 was not there later though. Was it AFD10 that was bought from the Dutch and towed to Singapore? There was so much fuss (and written/photographic records) about getting AFD 9 to Singapore, but nothing about AFD 10?

I have more than one source saying that the British bought the dock in the early months of WW2 from the Dutch company Nederlandshe Scheepsbouw (Amsterdam) - which I presume to be the Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, of Amsterdam, about whom I have found records of their existence at that time. See also John’s post #91 confirming this – at the cost of 760,00 Guilders. Gerry’s post #94 says that it was bought from the Sabang Bay Harbour Coal Co. Where did that come from Gerry out of interest? Have found a record of the Sabang Bay Harbour & Coal Company (British Limited company). A Welsh Coal depot for the Admiralty in 1905, contracted to supply the Dutch navy with coal. Also, a record of them building a tanker in 1930.

In any event, The British needed the dock for use by “destroyers and lightened cruisers” in order to free up space for bigger ships in the graving dock and AFD9. (as John has mentioned post #91). The question here now is if the dock was indeed AFD10, why did the cruisers have to be “lightened”. AFD10 had a capacity of 50,000 tons?

I have information stating that the dock was towed to Singapore, leaving on the 10th November 1939. Gerry’s information says 19th November … which I think is probably correct. There is a Report submitted by the first Lord of the Admiralty (CAB 68/4/1) that confirms that in any event the dock arrived on 28th November as Gerry says.

Incidentally, the tugs St Breock (photo attached) and St Just were both bombed and sunk by the Japanese on 14th February 1942. St. Breock en route from Singapore to Sumatra; St.Just in the Durian Straights, Singapore.

Having raised doubts about AFD10 at Singapore, I do have records of her there as follows:

January 1951; HMS Loch Quioch undergoing re-fit in AFD 10, Singapore
23rd January 1957; HMS Cardigan Bay docked in AFD 10, Singapore
23rd January 1957; Extended Notice for docking in AFD10 Singapore – HMS St. Brides Bay

In addition, records of other floating docks at Singapore:

16th May 1955; HMS St. Brides Bay in AFD 20, Singapore
24th July 1958; HMS St. Brides Bay in AFD 31, Singapore
December 1958; HMS Dampier in AFD11, Singapore

Haven’t looked into these other three being there yet – some of it doesn’t seem quite right?

__________oo0oo__________


I have found more information about the passage of AFD9 to Singapore, courtesy of http://www.zeesleepvaart.com/gesch.reg.htm (http://www.zeesleepvaart.com/gesch.reg.htm)

As previously mentioned, L. Smit & Company International Towing were awarded the Contract (copy attached) to tow AFD9, in two tows, to Singapore. A total of eight tugs were employed, four for each section. These were:

First Tow: (3 middle dock sections)
Zwarte Zee (II)
Indus
Schelde (III)
Roode Zee (lead tug)

Second Tow: ( 2x2 end dock sections temporarily joined)
Humber
Java Zee
Oostzee (III)
Witte Zee (Lead Tug)

The route was planned to afford the necessary coaling stops and was planned as Gibraltar, Algiers, Malta, Port Said, then through the Suez Canal and onwards to Singapore via Aden and Colombo. A total journey of 7,500 miles (records of the total distance vary from 7,500 up to 18,000 miles ..!?). It was estimated that the eight tugs would need 20,000 tons of coal to make the trip.

The first tow, having left Tyneside on June 21st with the heavier middle sections, cruised past Gibraltar on July 9th. The second tow followed a few days later having been delayed by strong easterly winds. The passage through he Suez Canal was successfully completed in four stages. The convoy then proceeded through the Red Sea to Aden and arrived at Guardafui Cape on the eastern tip of Somaliland, East Africa on the 27th August. Upon entering the Indian Ocean violent south westerly monsoons were encountered and the tugs, with their dock sections, returned to Aden to wait out the storm. They had to wait two weeks. On September 29th both of the convoys passed Dondra Head on the southern tip of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The tugs in the first tow had to refuel at Colombo whilst the second tow continued on, reaching Sabang on October 6th, and then Singapore on October 13th.


Some more photos, not good size/quality, but worthy of posting due to their historical significance:

AFD9_13 One of the end sections approaching Suez.
AFD9_14 Roode Zee(II) and Zwarte Zee (II) leaving the middle section at Singapore.
AFD9_15 Middle sections at sea.
AFD9_16 End section at sea.
AFD9_17 Schelde (III), Indus, Roode Zee (II) and Zwarte Zee (II) preparing to start with the middle section.
AFD9_18 Dutch newspaper photograph showing middle section in the Red Sea.
AFD9_19 Middle section at Port Said.
AFD9_20 The two end sections temporarily joined, being towed by Oostzee, Witte Zee and Humber at he front, and Java Zee behind.
AFD9_21 Moored up for the night.
AFD9_22 Again moored, showing two sections in line.
AFD9_23 Middle section in the Suez Canal with Schelde (III), Indus, Roode Zee (II) and Zwarte Zee.


Photos from various sources, principally from the zeesleepvaart website. No copyright restrictions evident.

mik43
07-12-2009, 15:20
Extremely interesting thread, well done and keep them coming Clive and others

Mik

Dreadnought
07-12-2009, 15:37
AFD9 - Additional Information

John,

In your post #83 regarding AFD9 ..

It was salvaged again in 1952/53 and four sections demolished at Singapore.


Which I had conflicting information about, as stated in post #89 ...

AFD9 was refloated on the 29th November 1946.
(John – our info seems to differ here ..??)


Well I just found this on the Royal Fleet Auxilliary Historical Society website ........

RFA Salvictor:
"1 April 1952 sent to Singapore from the UK to work with HMS Barfoil in the salvage of Admiralty Floating Dock 9 which had been sunk during the Second World War. The AFD had been towed to Singapore from the UK in 1928. Salvage actually started on 22 October 1952. The first part of the Dock was raised on 27 November 1952. Described at the time as one of the biggest and toughest salvage jobs ever undertaken anywhere in the world."

So that clears that up ...!!

astraltrader
07-12-2009, 16:38
Clive - I just got hold of this postcard that might be of interest to you.

jayenn
07-12-2009, 19:01
Clive,

Another great post on AFDs 9 & 10, absolutely grand!

You have certainly cast your net wide when you discovered the info on the salvaging of AFD 9,it all helps.
Some more snippets which hopefully will help build up the bigger picture:
[1] Lenton in his bible, gives the capacity and dimensions of AFD 10 as 50,000tons, 391ft x 62ft clearance x17ft draught.
[2] HMS London's beam is 66ft.
[3] If Lentons' figures are correct London does'nt fit and it cannot be AFD10 in the pic.
[4] HMS London was in Singapore in June 1946---so we are back to what could be the AFD in the picture be.
[5] Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij built a floating dock called the "Sabangdok" for the "Zeehaven en Kolenstation" which was launched in Oct '22. Their works number was 173 and if we could determine its dimensions it may help determine its relevance.
John

Dreadnought
07-12-2009, 19:46
AFD11 - Additional Photographs

Clive - I just got hold of this postcard that might be of interest to you.
Thanks for that Terry .... probably of little surprise for you to learn that I have that card too. Here are some more, all of the Southampton Dock AFD11.


Postcards from my personal collection

Dreadnought
07-12-2009, 20:02
John, re your post #104, this now then appears to suggest that the dock purchased by the Admiralty from the Dutch was the "SabangDok" built by Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, and not AFD 10 ... doesn't it?

"Zeehaven en Kolenstation" sounds like the "coaling station in the harbour" which fits with the Sabang Bay Coal & Harbour Company that Gerry referred to.

AFD 10 was built by Swan Hunter. So where did it originally go, and how did it get to Singapore, and when? We need Swan Hunter records, and the ones I have seen don't yield any infomation.

I am determined to get to the bottom of this ....... driving me mad ..!! Going to look carefully at the photos I have have of AFD 10 (supposedly), and the one of HMS London, and see If I can spot anything; one presumes that AFD 10 will be very much like AFD 9.

keblin
07-12-2009, 21:36
Clive,

I don't have good eyesight these days; due to age and medical conditions etc.etc.etc........but if you are referring to post #87, and the ship in dry dock being "LONDON", then where is its third funnel?

Perhaps the picture is not so clear, or a trick of light, but examine as I may, I can't see it. (I hope it's just my eyesight)

Therefore one must ask, if it's not "LONDON"; what ship is it; and then what does this mean for your thread's questions and theories on this dock?
Is this misleading you somehow, your thinking it is "LONDON"?

Just a thought.

keblin

Powers
07-12-2009, 22:26
Re: post 107 above.

The ship does look like LONDON to me but clearly after her early 1940's refit when, amongst other modifications, one of her funnels was removed. If so, the date of the photograph of her in dock (1934) is clearly wrong.

Regards ..... Paul

keblin
07-12-2009, 23:15
Great stuff, Paul.
I knew I'm only half blind!

keblin

Dreadnought
08-12-2009, 07:36
Gentlemen,

Thankyou for probing the HMS London photograph. It has forced me to revisit my original source of information and further research the facts; which are ....

The photograph is of HMS London, and was taken in 1948 whilst she underwent a major refit in Singapore. I attach a second photograph taken at the same time. I also re-post the original one as well (sorry Terry), to remind us all of what we are questioning.

The attached newspaper article, taken from the China Times, 31st August 1948 announces the impending refit. London entered Singapore on 23rd September 1948, and left on 19th November, spending nearly all of this time in the dock. The dock now is clearly not AFD 9. Closer inspection reveals it is obviously much smaller, as John pointed out some posts ago.

So thanks again chaps for helping to get that one cleared up. The only trouble is now, what dock is it?


Thanks to Mike Overton and his HMS London website for helping to piece this together, and for the photographs.

Dreadnought
08-12-2009, 19:15
Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij built a floating dock called the "Sabangdok" for the "Zeehaven en Kolenstation" which was launched in Oct '22. Their works number was 173 and if we could determine its dimensions it may help determine its relevance.


John, unbelieveably, I have found a photograph of one of the sections Sabangdok dock 173 being launched. Here is the crudely translated captiion that was with it:

"Tewaterlating of the Sabangdok construction number 173, floating droogdok, by the Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw built society (N.S.M.), Cornelis Douwesweg 1, for sea port and coal station Sabang. The new yard on the North side IJ was taken in October 1922 in by a beginning using with the construction of two dokken, the Hendrikdok and the Sabangdok."

The date they quote however, doesn't match the date of the photo - left hand corner says 1924?


Also found this reference on the Dutch tug website ...

"In the years 1924/1925 the tugs "Willembarendsz" and "Vlaanderen" performed a remarkable voyage. These tugs towed a drydock from IJmuiden to Sabang, Sumatra"

This must be the dock methinks IJ in photo caption = IJmuiden?

Not quite sure where that leaves things, but yet more little pieces in the puzzle ...

keblin
08-12-2009, 21:28
Clive,
Very interesting picture above. I know it's dated 1924 (can't read the month, although it's there), but lurking in the background, on the right, is an already launched major section of a dry dock. Obviously launched before the date on this photo.

Now if you look closely along the right hand side vertical edge, of the section being launched, you will see open rivet holes all the way down. You will also see two angle iron staging brackets positioned close to the edge.

On the section already launched, you can also see the staging brackets fixed to the side, next to a vertical line of rivets.(still got the staging planks on some of them.) The riveters would use these when joining the sections together.

So what I'm trying to say is:
The dates you have for the launch date could be correct. If the 1st main section was launched in Oct 1922, then subsequent sections could have been launched later. This may be the answer to the date puzzle.

Ironically, to rivet the the sections completely, below the waterline, they would have to be dry-docked, or clear of the water, at least! That's probably why there is a huge craning system above the dry dock sections..I'ts enormous!
I would think that the massive structure has something to do with the finishing of these massive sections.

Just a thought. Hope this helps.

keblin

Dreadnought
09-12-2009, 19:28
I absolutely concur with your observations Keblin and thankyou for pointing those details out. I am curious as to your obvious experinece as to be able to make such informed comments ...?

Yes, big isn't it .... making quite a splash ...!!

Dreadnought
09-12-2009, 20:10
By way of temporary relief from the head scratching ........

“Suter Hartmann and Rahtjen’s Composition Company Ltd, 18 Billiter Street, London”, used this sign depicting the British Super-Dreadnought moored in an Admiralty floating dock to promote their antifouling paints. It sold for £10,500

Dreadnought
10-12-2009, 15:05
I do like these old advertisements, so here are some more related to floating docks ....

Dreadnought
11-12-2009, 16:36
News article from the Australian Newspaper The Argus. February 1st 1915


REAR-ADMIRAL BEATTYS FLAGSHIP THE BATTLE-CRUISER LION IN FLOATING DOCK

Under vastly different conditions from the "docking" which H.M.S. Lion, Rear-Admiral Beatty, flagship in the North Sea, will undergo as the result of the recent engagement, the Lion is shown in the above illustration undergoing an overhaul in one of the huge floating docks which are installed at the various British naval stations.

The docking question is a vital and perplexing issue for Great Britain. She possesses an array of harbours around her coasts, but very few of them are adapted to the accommodation of warships of the largest description. Upon the east coast there is not a single harbour in which H.M.S. Lion may be docked. Rosyth will possess elaborate docking facilities, even for vessels exceeding in size those already contemplated, but Rosyth is still in the making. At the mouth of the Thames we possess a first class dockyard, but at the time of the Dreadnought's creation there was not a dock at this point where she could be laid bare for overhaul and repair to her hull.

When at last the significance of the North Sea as the possible arena for the naval conflict in the next European war became recognised, an effort to remedy the existing deficiencies was made. For the first time it was seen that if the largest vessels in the fleet suffered injury in battle, they would have to repair to Portsmouth to be overhauled. The Thames was useless, since although the dockyard at Chatham would be able to copeo with such a situation up to a certain point, the inability to dry dock the battered craft at this point nullified the utility of the dockyard to a very appreciable degree.

Yet at the same time the Thames estuary was an obvious point to which damaged craft should hasten. The naval issue could be determined practically at two points in the North Sea - off the coast of Suffolk, or in the vicinity of the Firth of Forth. The waters between these two points were not likely to see a big conflict between the largest craft of the opposing powers for obvious reasons. For years it was argued that in the event of the battle taking place in the lower reaches of the North sea, damaged craft would be able to make Portsmouth while Rosyth was to meet similar conditions if the issue were determined in the northern stretches of these waters.

The dock was designed by Messrs Clark and Stanfield, the well known engineers who have specialised in this work, and who have been responsible for the greater number of the German docks, and was constructed by Messrs Swan, Hunter, and Wigham Richardson Limited. At the time it was one of the largest undertakings of this class which had ever been attempted. The dock is 680 ft. in length by 144ft wide, with walls 66ft in height. A more intelligent idea of its immense size may be gathered from the fact that the surface of the deck is no less than 2.1/4 acres, while the depth of the deck pontoons is about 20ft - more than the combined height of two floors of the average suburban villa.The dock for the Admiralty was completed, and it was subjected to a severe test, the battle cruiser Lion being utilised for the purpose. At the time, the battleship displaced 30,415 tons, and was drawing 31ft. of water. The trials were of unusual interest, because heretofore no warship of so great a displacement had ever been lifted out of the water by means of a floating dock. The battleship was warped into position between the walls of the submerged structure, and the powerful pumps were set going. Some idea of the work these pumps were called upon to perform may be gathered from the fact that no fewer than 48,000 tons had to be ejected out of the pontoons, while the vessel herself had to be lifted a distance of 10ft to bring her high and dry. The task, however, was satisfactorily completed in three hours ten minutes.


The quoted dimensions of the dock, and the date, would immediately lead one to say that the dock in question is AFD 5. However, the arcticle quotes the builder of the dock as Swan, Hunter & Richardson, whereas AFD 5 was built by Cammel Laird? So not quite sure.


The illustration (for want of a better description) is not very good, but is as published in the paper.

keblin
11-12-2009, 18:17
I am curious as to your obvious experinece as to be able to make such informed comments ...?


Clive, I was fortunate enough to have been involved in engineering all my working Life. When left the Navy in 1971, I worked for a big engineering company that made huge components for oil refineries, power stations, steel works, ship builders and the likes. I travelled to all the big project sites.
I also travelled the world over with them. I have a good grasp of methods of engineering construction, and still study it in retirement with pleasure. I have a vast array of old books on the subject.
love it!
keblin

Dave Hutson
11-12-2009, 18:53
Hi Clive,

I have been following the AFD thread with great interest and found the subject fascinating.

But I still keep coming up with the question - Was there ever an AFD in the Stour/Orwell [Harwich] in the early fifties?. I keep conjuring up this vision of one there - but perhaps because no other Ganges or Swiftsure/Obdurate guys have raised the question it becomes a pigment of my imagination.

You are the expert.

Dave H

Dreadnought
12-12-2009, 10:10
Hi Dave,

My "expertise" is only acquired since starting this thread, so I am negotiating a steep learning curve ...!! I am glad you find the thread interesting.

There most certainly was a floating dock at Harwich, and and far as I can tell it was there during the first world war, making her a very early one, possibly not even an Admiralty dock, as AFD1 (Bermuda dock) was complete 1901/1902. In any event, the Harwich dock does not appear to be of the size of AFD 5 and those that followed.

The attached photograph (not very good I'm afraid) is of HMS Doon in the dock, and that was taken in 1904. I can find no records relating to floating docks at Harwich in the 50's, but let's hope that we can attract some further information now that you have rasied the issue.

There are two more photographs of the Harwich floating dock with submarines) in a prevous post (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=84743&postcount=66) The second one taken in 1919.

All these photographs also showing a huge floating crane in the background. Do you remember that being there I wonder?

Dave Hutson
12-12-2009, 10:54
Thanks Clive .

Perhaps with the interest shown for your endeavours someone will come up with something that shows I am not going through a senior moment in time.

Dave H

Dreadnought
12-12-2009, 21:58
The First Bermuda Dock

The idea to build a docking facility in Bermuda started as far back as 1823, but the local geology made it unsuitable to construct efficient coffer dams and ships were careened on slipways for maintenance work. In the early 1860’s it was finally decided that Bermuda should have a floating dock.

The first dock was designed by the military engineer Sir Andrew Clarke (who was also responsible for the design of the dockyards at Portsmouth, Chatham and Malta), and was required to lift and service ships up to about 10,000 tons displacement. It also had to be capable of being careened itself in order to clean its hull and clear the underwater valves and drain. This was done by emptying air chambers, balance chambers and load chambers inside the dock.

The dock was built by English floating dock engineers Campbell & Johnstone at Blackwall, on the River Thames, and was completed on June 23, 1869. It had an overall length of 381 feet and beam of 123 feet 9ins, the first and only floating dock to be made entirely of iron. The unique u-shaped section set it apart from every other floating dock built.

The first attempt to launch it on the 2nd September 1868 failed, but the second attempt on September 13th was successful. The dock then wintered submerged near Sheerness until the following June when it was towed out by two of the Navy’s steam-and-sail ironclads, HMS Agincourt and HMS Northumberland, who towed the dock as far as Porto Santo, Madeira, where HMS Warrior and HMS Black Prince took over on July 4th 1869. With HMS Terrible and a small gunboat fast astern, the 3,985 miles voyage took 35 days at average speed of 4.8 knots. The ships and the floating dock arrived off Ireland Island on July 28th.

The large Ironclads were too long to pass through the channel, and the dock remained in Grassy Bay until the following April when the tug Spitfire, and two small twin-screwed ironclads Vixen & Viper, along with the dispatch boat Lapwing, brought the dock to the North Basin and moored it against the Great Wharf.

The dock serviced ships in the yard from 1869 to 1906. It is interesting to note that the much reproduced lithograph of HMS Warrior in the dock is not historically accurate as it never happened.

In 1906 the dock was sold to a German breakers who started dismantling it, firstly stripping out all of the copper, bronze, brass, teak and accessible iron plating. But the dock was then abandoned in 1907. In March 1908 the remains of the hulk were being towed away by the dockyard tugs Powerful and Gladisfen, when it broke loose and struck the foreshore at Spanish Point. It was abandoned again.

Archaeological work was intermittently carried out between 1986 and 1991, providing well documented information about the construction of the dock and her condition. In 1993 a full survey was undertaken that revealed that most of the wreck laid at or a few feet below the waterline. 77% of the overall length and 92% of the lower hull structure was intact. However most of the above water hull was destroyed. In 1995, what remained represented only one sixth of the original structure.


Pictures from various sources. No copyright restrictions evident. Photographs are rare and I particularly like the first one ... can't identify the ship within however.

Marauder
13-12-2009, 04:25
Dear Dreadnought I served on the HMS Marauder as Telegraphist and have photographs of AFD35
plus pohotos of El Firdan bridge almost being destroyed. Are you ineterested in seeing them.

Marauder ( AKA GR Williamson)

Dreadnought
13-12-2009, 08:44
Hi Marauder, and welcome to the forum.

I would be extremely interested to see any photogrphs you have of AFD 35. Would I be right in thinking these would have beem taken in Malta?

As for the El Firdan Bridge (Suez Canal?), It might be worth posting those separately in a new 'Suez Canal' thread as there strangely doesn't seem to be one and I am sure members would have many stories and photographs about Suez.

If you need any advice/instruction regarding posting photos or starting threads, please don't hesitate to ask. There are very many really helpful people here.

I look forward to seeing your AFD 35 shots in due course.

Dreadnought
14-12-2009, 15:06
AFD 17 Additional Information

I have just come across some new information regarding the end of the AFD17 saga, covered initially in post #63
(http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=84609&postcount=63 (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=84609&postcount=63)) (after Paul’s enquiry in post #58), and then progressed in posts 64, 65 and 67.

It turns out that AFD17 may not have been built in America as I previously suggested, but at Devonport Dock Plymouth, being completed in September 1942. She was then towed, by the tug Freebooter, to Reykjavik, Iceland, where she remained until September 1944 under the control of the RN depot HMS Baldur.

In 1944 the dock was re-assigned to the British Pacific Fleet, the story of the tow, we have already covered in the previous posts.

Additional timeline information states that the dock arrived in Freemantle on February 13th, and in Sydney sometime in June (not May as previously suggested).

Due to dock being damaged, it could not become immediately operational and it was taken to Mort’s Dock for initial repairs, after which, it was moved to Cockatoo Dockyard. Here, berthed at Fitzroy Wharf, AFD17 remained, on loan to RAN until they finally bought her in 1948.

Her first docking was on the 17th December 1946, after which she docked 641 vessels, with her last docking on the 24th March 1964. She was then withdrawn from service and scrapped. She never saw any active duty with the Pacific Fleet.

However ………. I have also stumbled across a book called “Schooner Integrity” by Frank Mulville. Mulville was a crew member on the tug Integrity which towed AFD 17 on the last lap from Cochin to Sydney. He has a somewhat different account of the last stages of the journey, and the fate of the dock ...


"Earlier, we had taken part in a much longer tow – the floating dock A.F.D. 17 from Reykjavik Fiord, Iceland, to Sydney, Australia in 1945 – which must be the longest tow on record because Reykjavik and Sydney are two places as far apart in this world as it is possible to be. The bureaucrat in the Admiralty, either naval or civilian, who ordered this tow intended that A.F.D. 17 should be taken to Manus in the Pacific but by the time the dock reached Sydney, after nine months on passage, it was apparent even to the British Navy the A.F.D. 17 was a write off. During the thrity three days of the tow across the Indian Ocean between Cochin and Freemantle and again the twenty days between Freemantle and Sydney, the long swells of the ocean had punched a hole twenty feet across in the bottom of the dock. The iron plates had opened upwards like the petals of some gigantic tropical flower. Every time the dock rose and fell the sea was forced up through the hole under enormous pressure, sending a column of water high in the air so that the dock was bathed in a continuous shower of spray. By the time it arrived in Sydney every pump and every piece of machinery on board was rusted solid, The strange part of the story was that although the condition of the dock was strikingly apparent to everyone who saw it in every port between Gibraltar and Sydney, there seemed to be no way in which this grotesque bureaucratic folly could be halted. Once started the machinery had to flog it out to the bitter end. The bitter end came in Sydney when the Australian engineers who were given the job of putting the dock back in order, screamed derision and ridicule at the naval authorities, as only Australians could do. The dock was cut up for scrap iron and no more was ever heard of A.F.D. 17."



A very different account. Whilst the dock was obviously damaged when it reached Sydney, Mulville's description doesn't seem to stack up with the the former information, which, I am inclined lean towards. It was gleened from http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/BPF-EIF/Ships/AFD17.htm


There are some photographs on the above website of the crew of AFD 17 actually on, and inside, the dock. I do not reproduce then here because of copyright protection.

But all very interesting nevertheless.

robertr
14-12-2009, 20:54
Clive,
Further to my post including the photo of AFD23 at Trincomalee. If it helps to identify the ship in the dock, according to his service record my father was "allocated" to the shore base HMS Braganza at Bombay from 17th July '43 to 19th August '44. Unfortunately I don't know when between these dates the photo was taken.

Regards,
Robert.

ajd84
15-12-2009, 11:46
AFD 17 Additional Information

I have just come across some new information regarding the end of the AFD 17 saga, covered initially in post #63
(http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=84609&postcount=63 (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=84609&postcount=63)) (after Paul’s enquiry in post #58), and then progressed in posts 64, 65 and 67.
......

A very different account. Whilst the dock was obviously damaged when it reached Sydney, Mulville's description doesn't seem to stack up with the the former information, which, I am inclined lean towards. It was gleened from http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/BPF-EIF/Ships/AFD17.htm


There are some photographs on the above website of the crew of AFD 17 actually on, and inside, the dock. I do not reproduce then here because of copyright protection.

But all very interesting nevertheless.

Hi Dreadnought

I am the author of the short account of AFD 17 you give a link for. My account is drawn from information supplied with the photos.

Here is an interesting scan of an Australian article which includes a number of the photos on my site - http://lh3.ggpht.com/_iSmQphnTv48/SyeBEtMRFMI/AAAAAAAACEQ/j2SJL3Ife-E/s800/AFD%2017%20new2%20.jpg

WHile the extract from the tug crewman is interesting my sources were in contact with DSRTA (Deep Sea Rescue Tug Association) and they don't speculate on developments 'post-tow'.

If any one would like to view the photos (and two documents) of AFD 17 Click Here (http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/BPF-EIF/Galleries/Gallery_AFD17.htm) and another for AFD 22 showing her lifting the destroyer HMS Van Galen in Trincomalee harbour during 1945 Click Here (http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/BPF-EIF/Galleries/Gallery_AFD22.htm)

I am looking to cover the AFDs that were attached to the BPF and the EIF, in addition to all other vessels that served in these fleets, any assistance the members could offer would be gratefully received.

Tony

Dreadnought
15-12-2009, 12:13
Hi Tony, and a very warm welcome to the forum.

Firstly, I hope you didn't mind me lifting your information for inclusion in this thread. I am sure you appreciate that this is quite a difficult subject to research and even the smallest bits of information help towards the overall jigsaw puzzle.

And secondly, thanks for the additional links you have provided, I am just about to go and have a look, but I thought I would drop you this note first.

When you find your way around the forum, I am sure you will be able to find out an awful lot of information that will be of value. There is a search facility that you can use forum wide, or within individual threads. I have had a cursory search for BPF and I direct you to a couple of threads to get you started. You may wish to search individual BPF ships, which I am sure will throw up even more useful info.

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5019&highlight=British+Pacific+Fleet (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5019&highlight=British+Pacific+Fleet)

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1497 (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1497)

I am shortly going to submit a post in this section regarding AFD 22 which may also interest you.

If you have problems with the search facilities, or any queries about uploading material, or indeed anu other aspect of the forum, please do not hesitate to ask. There are a lot of extremely helpful and knowledgeable members here, only too keen to help.

ajd84
15-12-2009, 16:41
Hi Clive

Thanks for the welcome. Here are three more AFD resources that may be new to the forum:

Newspaper clippings

Floating Dock in 10-Day Gale (The Times Nov 14, 1944) (http://lh3.ggpht.com/_iSmQphnTv48/SyfH7RVGCkI/AAAAAAAACGQ/APQO3NgxGZw/s800/cLIPPING%20-2.jpg)

Dock in tow for six months (The Times July 18, 1945) (http://lh5.ggpht.com/_iSmQphnTv48/SyfH7Z5oqJI/AAAAAAAACGM/ytAXPa29vCM/s800/cLIPPING%20-1.jpg)

Floating Dock in Fremantle (http://lh6.ggpht.com/_iSmQphnTv48/SyeZz37DDyI/AAAAAAAACFg/7OIkTwEKY7U/s800/AFD17_Freemantle-col.jpg)

The later is a photo of the dock but there is no sign of the"huge hole" in her described in the tug man's account.

I have full page (pdf) scans of the two newspaper pages that the two article clippings appear in if anyone wants them I could attach them.

My AFD investigations are from a few years ago, my main focus is RN CVEs and have a website devoted purely to them, so help with the 45 vessels that fall into this category would also be a bonus. I look forward to your latest AFD 22 material.

Tony

Dreadnought
16-12-2009, 14:37
Thanks for that newsclips Tony, supports a lot of the AFD 17 info posted. Excuse my ignorance, but what is a CVE ..?

Dreadnought
16-12-2009, 14:52
AFD1 The Second Bermuda Dock

When the first Bermuda Dock was designed it was thought that its 10,000 ton lifting capacity would be large enough to lift any ship that might be built in the future. The dimensions of warships increased so rapidly, however, that the dock was soon out of date and the Admiralty was obliged to replace it by a structure more suited to modern requirements. Borings were made at many points on the island with the intention of deciding a position for a graving-dock, but the geological formation proved to be such as would render the construction of a graving dock a very expensive matter. The authorities therefore ordered a new floating dock.

Swan, Hunter Wigham & Richardson received their first from order the Admiralty in 1900, to build a floating dock for Bermuda. It was to be known as AFD1. It was to have a lifting capacity of 17,500 tons (this figure slightly various between sources)

AFD1 was 545 feet long, 126 feet wide; 100 feet clear width between the sidewalls, which themselves were 53 feet high and 435 feet long, effectively forming girders of enormous strength. Three pontoons, secured to the lower portions of the walls by fish-plate joints, lugs, and taper-pins, formed the bottom or deck of the dock. The middle pontoon was a rectangle 96 by 300 feet; the end pontoons, each 120 feet long, tapered for 49 feet towards their outer extremities to facilitate towing.

The dock, with all its machinery, weighed 6500 tons, and actually had a lifting power up to deck level of 15,500 tons, though by using the "pound" formed by the bulwark surrounding the pontoon decks, additional lifting power up to 17,500 tons could be gained. When called upon to perform its maximum lift the dock was sunk until the summit of its walls were but 2 feet 6 inches above sea-level. Water was admitted into the three pontoons and the two side walls, and from them, removed by eight 16-inch centrifugal pumps at a rate sufficient to lift an ironclad of 15,000 tons in three and a half hours. In order that the dock didn’t tilt as it rose, the whole was divided into fifty-six divisions, each of which were separately connected with the pumps. By turning off cocks, water could be left in any desired divisions, and the dock forced to incline in any direction for purposes of cleaning and repairs.

AFD1 was launched at Wallsend in February 1902, the largest floating thing that ever took the water. Upon completion, it was then towed round to the Medway to be tested by lifting the battleship Sanspareil, chosen for the test on account of her shape, and the fact that the peculiar distribution of her weight made her a somewhat difficult vessel to handle. A first hand account described the docking and lift that took place on July 5th.

"The battleship was moored just above Sheerness, and about the time of high-water, about 11.30 A.M., she was taken in charge by three dockyard tugs, and brought up to the entrance of the floating dock. Steel-wire hawsers were made fast to the bow, and these being secured to the winches on the dock the hauling-in commenced. There was a strong breeze blowing down the reach at the time, and on the flood this had raised waves of a considerable size for enclosed water, the tide running in this part of the Medway with considerable force. With the turn of the ebb, wind and tide being together, the water was smoother, but still there was considerable motion. This, naturally, did not affect the dock in the slightest degree, as the whole of the pontoon was 28 feet below the water-line, and only the tops of the walls were above the surface. The heavy battleship of over 10,000 tons displacement she was drawing only 27 feet had to be hauled in against the tide, which was now running somewhat over 3 knots. Naturally, care had to be taken to keep her keel fairly parallel with the sides of the dock, for, had she got across, her spur would speedily have made a rent in the walls of the dock. With the powerful hauling appliances, however, there was no fear of this, and the vessel was under complete control with the wire hawsers on each side. The ship was centred on the keel blocks, and the upper rows of shores were fixed in position in something under two hours, and the work of pumping out the dock was commenced at a few minutes past two o'clock. Pumping was continued for fifty minutes, by the end of which time the dock and ship had been raised 13 feet, and it was then necessary to put in another line of shores. This operation occupied a considerable time, and it was late in the evening before the work was concluded, and the ship raised out of the water."

The trial completed, AFD 1 was towed from Sheerness to Bermuda by two tugs, the Zwarte Zee and Oceaan of Rotterdam. The only place at which it was necessary to call was the Azores, where the tugs replenished their bunkers. The 4,000 mile voyage took fifty-two days, including the stoppage of three or four days at the Azores. I have not yet determined a date for the arrival of the dock, but it arrived in perfect safety and was moored in the deep part of Sea Reach opposite Port Victoria

Some more pictures of the first Bermuda Dock: (Post #121 )

BermudaDock_4 Postcard showing HMS Tourmaline (date unknown)

BermudaDock_5 Postcard of “Bermuda Dock”
(Date stated as 1927, but this worries me as this looks like the first Bermuda dock))

BermudaDock_6 Postcard of “Floating Dock Bermuda” (Date stated as 1928. This is quite an odd one because the shape of the dock looks like the first Bermuda Dock, except that the bridge gates look like those of AFD 1. Artistic licence?)

Also:

AFD1_1 Photograph of Sanspareil with dock submerged
AFD1_2 Sanspareil in dock raised
AFD1_3 Newspaper account of the test
AFD1_4 Dock AFD 1 being towed by Zwarte Zee (I) and Oceaan (I)
AFD1_5 Cover of L Smit Brochure of 1902, listing the tow of AFD_1


Pictures from various sources. No evidence of copyright restrictions.

ajd84
17-12-2009, 11:30
Thanks for that newsclips Tony, supports a lot of the AFD 17 info posted. Excuse my ignorance, but what is a CVE ..?

I'm pleased the clippings proved to be useful. The CVE is an American classification (originally AVG then ACV and finally CVE) that describes the Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier or more commonly known as the Escort Aircraft Carrier. These were merchant vessels converted into 'baby flat tops' and those supplied to the RN under the lend -lease agreement were CVEs. Out of a total of 45 vessels to serve in the RN Britain converted 6 ships and the remaining 39 were converted in US shipyards. If you are curious visit my site Royal Navy Escort Carriers (http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org.uk/ESCORT/).

Tony

jayenn
17-12-2009, 19:22
Clive

After some investigation, thefloating dock with H.M.S. London is AFD 31.
AFD 31 was ordered on 15/10/42 from the firm of Dorman,Long in Middlesbrough but wasbuilt by Dorman,Long (Africa) Ltd in Durban and completed on 14/9/45. All the steel for the dock was made in Britain and some7,000 tons was required with only one shipment of about 230 tons being lost through enemy action.
It was not built in sections and launched conventionally as there were no slipways. Instead it was completed as a single unit in a bay that had been closed off with a cofferdam and on completion the cofferdam was breached and the dock floated out.
The "launching" ceremony was officiated by Vice Admiral Sir Robert Burnett and his wife Lady Burnett on 14/7/45

The capacity of AFD31 is stated to be 15,000 tons in one source and 17,000 tons in another and dimensions 584ft x 86ft x 26ft.
It was sold to Sembawang Shipyard (Singapore) on 8/12/68.

At this stage I assume it went straight to Singapore from Durban, probably in 1946

John

Dreadnought
18-12-2009, 15:27
Brilliant John. Prompted me to do a bit more digging and I came up with the dockyard plan below (1968), which clearly shows AFD 31. Also shows others there as AFD 20 (which we knew went there (post #32), AFD 10, and what looks like AFD 18, which had been at Darwin with AFD 20 in 1945.

In the not very good photograph, three AFD's at Sembawang (no date), and comparing the shot with the map, looks like (left to right) AFD 10, AFD 20 and AFD 31.

It is interesting to note on the dock plan, that AFD 31 is shown proportionately much larger than the other docks. We know that AFD 18 and AFD 20 were 2,750 ton lift capacity, and now know that AFD 31 had a 17,000 lift. This presents another problem, that, if the plan is roughly to some sort of scale, then AFD 10 looks too small as it had a 50,000 ton lift. So maybe what looks like AFD 10 in the plan is something else? AFD 19? - but no records of that one anywhere?

The atached newspaper articles support all of your information, so that's good.

Also found some photographs of the dock being constructed:

AFD31_1 Constructing the coffer dam 20th September 1943
AFD31_2 The dock being built 25th August 1944
AFD31_3 Another of dock being built 12th May 1944
AFD31_4 Dock being launched with (left to right) B.C Wade, D.M Shaw, A.M Baird and J.M Osborne (Deputy Chairman, Dorman Long (Africa).

AFD31_6 Photograph of AFD 31 undergoing trials at the Floating Dock Jetty, Salisbury Island, Durban before leaving under tow for the far East on 27 September.


Photographs from various sources. No copyright restrictions evident.

jayenn
20-12-2009, 21:08
Hi Clive

Thanks for posting the plan of the of the Singapore base showing the floating docks, it allows some interesting "nuggets" of information to be mined. The illustrations of AFDs 10,20 & 31 all scale out remarkably accurately in proportion with the published dimensions of these three docks. With regard to AFD 10 it would confirm that the dimensions of 391ft x 63ft x 17ft are in fact correct and it is the capacity of AFD10 which is suspect.

I carried out an analysis of some 30 AFDs relating capacity to dimensions to determine a reference factor that could be used for comparison purposes. When comparing AFD 10 at its stated capacity of 50,000 tons, its figure was some 14 times greater than the reference factor of all of the other docks.
There is an inconsistancy, and of such a magnitude that I believe that the 50,000 figure must be wrong. Relating the reference number for the other 30 docks with AFD10s dimensions the capacity turns out to be some 3,600tons.

Given information and comment that has surfaced in earlier posts this is realistic given
That the dock was to support destroyers and lightened cruisers
The dock was to leave AFD 9 free for larger vessels.
We know from posts 91/94 that a floating dock was taken from Sabang to Singapore.
Why would the Sabang harbour and coaling station need a dock of 50,000ton capacity-----3,600tons does seem more commercially realistic.
Why would Singapore need two large 50,000 ton floating docks when there was already a large graving dock.
I believe this all indicates that AFD 10 was indeed the Dutch built Sabangdok that had been built in 1924 and it had a much smaller capacity than earlier figures suggest.
I suppose over 80+ years an error in the reported figure could easily have occured.

There is a super ariel view of Singapore dockyard in 1962 in the Australian Ships Forum which shows five floating docks at the base (two are in the graving dock).

AFD19 was a 2,750 ton capacity dock that was built at Chatham, it was ordered in '41 and completed 31/8/42. It was one of the identical series of docks built in the royal dockyards in that period, the others being AFDs 17,18,20,21,22 & 26.
On 30/11/42 it arrived at Dunstaffnage near Oban and the first ship to dock was HMS Cygnet in Sept'43. After the last ship HMS Inver was docked on2/6/45 the dock was towed to the Clyde and on to the Far East departing on 15/7/45, I assume straight to Singapore.
It was purchased by Vickers Armstrong (Barrow) on 7/11/68 which is around the date when all the Singapore docks seem to have been sold off.

AFD49, there is a small dock (800 ton capacity) shown in the dockyard drawing against the West Wall which is a bit of an enigma, as it is reported as being completed in 18/2/45 by an Italian company Franco Tosi (Taranto)--was it confiscated?--Italy had surrendered by then--I just don't follow this one. It was sold to Sembawang Shipyard on 8/12/68.

John

astraltrader
28-12-2009, 22:48
Whilst combing through various pictures on my old computer, I found these that might be of interest.

If any of them have appeared in the thread already then please let me know and I will remove them.

Normally I would have checked them through but I am a bit short of time tonight. :)

jayenn
30-12-2009, 20:44
Terry,

Thanks for posting the pictures of the Southampton dock that became AFD11.
The one of the Majestic entering the submerged dock is particularly interesting from the modelling perspective as it shows good crane details and the top of the dock walls which you don't normally get to see in pics.

John

astraltrader
30-12-2009, 20:57
Thanks John - I was begining to wonder if anybody was interested in them as there was a lack of response. Just for you here is a different shot of AFD 11 showing I think Mauretania....

I was also wondering if the floating dock I showed at Durban was an AFD??

Dreadnought
30-12-2009, 21:08
Hi Terry,

I wasn't ignoring your post, great shots (well yours are never anything less) of Majestic; just reminded me to finish restoring one of her, also at Southampton, which I have just completed. One of my favourite shots of good old AFD 11, the dock that started my interest.


Original news photo from my personal collection.

astraltrader
30-12-2009, 21:27
Thanks Clive although to be fair the pics I submitted were hardly the best quality as they all came from an old 1930`s shipping book set that I have owned for years. Still it is good that they generated some interest.

I am sure I have mentioned this before but I would like to say that AFD`s have never really provided much interest for me until you started this marvellous thread.

That is one of the many great things about this forum.

Our members bring such a diverse range of interests to the table.

Long may this continue throughout the forthcoming new year!!. :)

TACKLINE
30-12-2009, 21:37
I remember in May 1943,I was serving onboard HMAS Maryborough,and we escorted tugs towing a floating dock from Port Said to Haifa. Speedy Gonzalas it was'nt!

Dreadnought
30-12-2009, 22:39
Thanks John - I was begining to wonder if anybody was interested in them as there was a lack of response. Just for you here is a different shot of AFD 11 showing I think Mauretania....

I was also wondering if the floating dock I showed at Durban was an AFD??
Thanks for your kind words (post #139) Terry. As I have mentioned previously, I didn't have much of an interest in these things either until I joined the Forum. So it's your fault in a way ... tee hee ..!!

Back to business ... I am pretty sure your Durban dock is a conventional graving dock. There was a floating dock at Durban, ordered by the Natal Government, and built by Swan Hunter (C.S Swan & Hunter ship/yard no. 279). It was launched on the 7th August 1902, and delivered to Durban harbour on the 8th February 1904. An earlier dock, on the way to Durban from Scotland unfortunately ran aground en route two years earlier, and could not be recovered.

The dock (known as the “Eldock”) was 425 feet long and 70 feet wide, with a lifting capacity of 8500 tons. It was tested by lifting the 7000 ton S.S. Kent on June 29th 1904. The dock was a stop gap until the graving dock (your pic) was constructed at Congella. I believe Eldock is still there today.

Incidently, the Mauretania and Lusitania were both built at the same yard as the floating dock.

The graving dock (the Prince Edward Graving Dock) was opened by King Edward VIII when he was Prince of Wales (so must have been opened after 1911). The reinforced concrete dock is 850 feet long and 85 feet wide, and divided into two compartments, either of which could be used independently. The depth the dock at high water ordinary spring tides was about 41 feet.

Dreadnought
30-12-2009, 23:13
I remember in May 1943,I was serving onboard HMAS Maryborough,and we escorted tugs towing a floating dock from Port Said to Haifa. Speedy Gonzalas it was'nt!
Thanks for that Tackline; I shall endeavour to find out which dock that might have been. Possibly AFD 24, but I have no evidence at present.

Dreadnought
31-12-2009, 15:12
Whilst we are talking liners and the Southampton floating dock, here is another one of Majestic, one each of Mauretania and Aquitania, and a couple more of Berengaria.


Postcards and photographs (Berengaria) from my personal collection,

mik43
31-12-2009, 16:41
Just a quick note to Clive and the others for a really informative thread on what is really an obscure subject and not one that you would normally home in on each time you log on!!!!! I don't read all the threads as they don't interest me, but this one has really got to me!!

Mik

John Odom
31-12-2009, 23:04
This IS an obscure subject, but I too have enjoyed this thread.

Dreadnought
01-01-2010, 15:58
Mik/John, I am glad this thread provides some interest for you both, and others. God only knows how I got started with it ..!!?

I have, however, stumbled across a family conection with AFD's, albeit extremely tenuous. Here is a photograph of my Grandfather at Sourhampton Docks with the floating dock AFD 11 just visible in the background to the left.

After my Grandfather left the Navy in 1919 (his naval career detailed on other posts in this Forum somewhere) he became a Customs Officer in Southampton until his retirement.

Maybe this photograph, and the family link explain my obscure interest in these floating docks ..??

SCRG1970
01-01-2010, 17:26
Thanks for that Tackline; I shall endeavour to find out which dock that might have been. Possibly AFD 24, but I have no evidence at present.

Clive

I believe AFD 24 was in Freetown in May 1943 thro to Dec 1944.

Regards

Gerry

Dreadnought
01-01-2010, 18:17
Clive

I believe AFD 24 was in Freetown in May 1943 thro to Dec 1944.

Regards

Gerry
Ok, going to try and find out more then Gerry. Thanks.

Dreadnought
01-01-2010, 18:45
AFD22

AFD22 was built at Chatham and launched from No.8 slip on the 7th December 1942. She was 380 feet long, 50 feet wide, with a lifting capacity or 2750 tons. She was designed for the emergency docking of escort vessels and was sent to HMS St. Christopher, Fort William, Scotland.

HMS St. Christopher was a Coastal Forces training base that operated between October 1940 and December 1944, for training the crews of a variety of inshore patrol craft. A number of different boats were attached to the base at different times to serve as depot ships, training vessels and accommodation ships. AFD22 was used as the base's main repair facility.

After the base closed, AFD22 was towed to Tincomalee in Ceylon (Sri lanka) to replace AFD23, which sunk in the “HMS Valiant” episode. See post #49. Well hardly to replace, as she was much much smaller than AFD 23’s 50,000 ton capacity.

There are photographs of AFD22 at the links provided by Tony in post#126. The captions to these photograph show that the dock was at Trincomalee until at least early 1946.

I have also established that around May 1947 the dock was at Aden awaitng a tow back to England. In fact she was picked up and taken back by the returning “Snow White” escort. See post #4.

I have a record that HMS Mermaid escorted AFD22 to Aden “Post War”, so I assume that this was on the trip from Trincomalee. Mermaid had been with the Mediterranean Fleet (33rd Escort Flotilla) until the end of the war and was en route to join the Pacific Fleet. In fact, upon arriving in Aden with AFD22, she was recalled to the Meditteranean.

I have some conflicting information as to where AFD 22 went upon return to England. One source says she went to Sheerness and stayed there until 1959, when she was then moved to Rosyth “when the dockyard closed”. My information is that Sheerness close in 1957?

Another source tells me that she was at Kames Bay (between Port Bannatyne and Ardmaleish), in Scotland, between 1947 and 1956 where she was used mainly for docking submarines.

I have found a record of HM Submarine Scotsman being docked in AFD22 from 16th to 25th February 1949 for a change of propellers and inspection of the sub’s underwater fittings. So if that is indeed correct, it knocks out the Sheerness information.

What happened to the dock after 1956/59, I cannot find out.

Haven't got any photograph's of AFD22 other than the ones in the links. So here is one of HMS Mermaid instead ..!


Photograph from unknown source. No copyright restrictions evident.

SCRG1970
01-01-2010, 19:35
Clive

AFD22 JULY 1945 due to deploy to Durban but reallocated to Trinco ariving October 1945.

Departed a year later for UK arriving Plymouth June 1947 for allocation to Sheerness. Reallocated to to the Clyde to replace AFD7 in support of the 3rd SM Sqdn.

Docked ARTFUL in March 1948 as first docking and SCOTSMAN in October 1956 was the last in the Clyde.

Towed to Falmouth in November 1956 leaving a year later for Sheerness to replace AFD 12. Served at Sheerness until 1959 and relocated to Rosyth where she remained until sale in 1981.

Headed south to Southampton owners and resold in 1983 to Italian company.

Regards

Gerry

Dreadnought
01-01-2010, 19:56
Thanks Gerry,

So that just confirms the early bit and sorts out the end bit. So it did in fact go to Rosyth and stay unitil 1956, when it then went to Sheerness until 1959. Wraps it up nicely. Thanks again.

jayenn
02-01-2010, 10:24
AFD12

Gerrys post 150 makes reference to AFD12 being at Sheerness around 1956/57. Is there information as to when it arrived there, and from where?

Some of its earlier info is as follows,

AFD12 a 2750ton lift capacity dock was ordered from Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson in Sept '39 and completed Aug' 40. On completion it was towed to Scapa Flow and moored in Gutter Sound on 26/8/40. The tow was escorted by HMS Lowestoft and Egret.

By the time AFD 12 left Scapa for the Far East in June'45 it had handled some 345 ships including 263 R.N. destroyers and frigates, 80 submarines.
The last ship to dock there was HMS Onslow on V.E.day.

AFD12 was eventually sold to Liaaen Skipsvaert (Aalesund) in march'59

John.

Dreadnought
02-01-2010, 13:09
Hi John,

I haven’t got much to add to your info about AFD 12. According to Swan Hunter records, the only dock they made in that year was Yard No.1591, which was launched on the 23rd May 1940. There is no name in the record I have but this could fit together. I don’t know whether the docks are like ships in as much as the completion date is sometime after the launch date for final works to be completed. Granted AFD’s don’t have much of a superstructure …!!

Then yes, I can confirm she departed the Tyne on Tuesday 20th August under tow escorted by Lowestoft and Egret, as you say, and, also by two trawlers. And as you again say, the dock arrived at Lyness Royal Navy Base (Gutter Sound) in the Orkneys on the 26th.

The destroyer HMS Bedouin entered AFD 12 on Monday 9th September, the first ship to do so after the dock arrived. After repairs to her asdic directing gear and rudder, Bedouin undocked on the 15th September.

There is a record of the destroyer HMS Versatile undocking from AFD 12 after repairs to her stern gland, on 17th September 1940, and of HMS Mendip entering the floating dock at Scapa Flow for repairs on 18th November 1944.

Cannot find anything out about AFD 12 going to the Far East ... do you know where John? Neither can I find any record of her at Aalesund (Alesund), which I believe is a fishing village/town in Norway

SCRG1970
02-01-2010, 13:47
John/Clive

AFD12 was refitted in Rosyth during July and August of 1945 in expectation of deploying to Trinco. This was cancelled after the dock had reached Gib,probably due to the pace the war was moving. The dock was towed to Sheerness arriving in October 1945.Eventually sold to Norwegian interests in 1959.

Regards

Gerry

jayenn
03-01-2010, 11:34
Clive/Gerry

Thanks for the additional info on AFD 12. We now have a complete timeline and locations from completion until sold out of service.

Another one off the list for investigation!

John

Dreadnought
03-01-2010, 11:37
AFD4

Some additional information on the "Derflinger" pic,
the dock with "Derflinger" is AFD4 and as noted, Metal Industries bought it from the Admiralty after the war.
It had been brought to the Clyde in September '41 from Devonport in a voyage that lasted 6 days and it was placed under the control of the "Emergency Repair Organisation". The Admiralty had approached John Brown of Clydebank to oversee the management of the work in the dock, but due to pressure of new build work at their yard, they declined and the Fairfield Ship Building & Engineering Co of Govan took management responsibiliy, but drawing labour from other Clyde yards as required.

The dock was anchored close to the mouth of Gareloch between Roseneath Point and Helensburgh and as this was remote from the shipyards and docks on the south bank of the Clyde, two old paddle steamers the"Balmoral" and "Lorna Doon" were moored alongside and altered to meet messing and accommodation needs.

The first ship to dock was the new monitor HMS Roberts and over the period over 70 vessels were docked for repair. These included Aurania, Royal Sovereign and carriers Queen, Trumpeter, Begum, Biter, Patroller and Archer.

Earlier history of AFD4 is a bit shakey at present, but it was built by Swan Hunter and had acapacity of 33,000 tons. It was designated "Medway" dock
and it arrived at Sheerness in1912. A couple of references indicate that it had been moved to the Tyne at some stage during WW1 before eventually moving to Portland. On12 Sept '25 it was towed to Devonport by five tugs -Retort, Resolve, St. Kitts, St.Mellions and St. Clear.
HMS Ramilles was the first ship docked in AFD4 at Devonport

As seems to be the case with most of our larger AFDs, this one also ended up abroad going to Rotterdam in 1948 and eventually Stokholm in1984.
Whilst we seem to be in Sheernes, I have a bit more infomation about it's connection with AFD 4.

As John has stated, AFD 4, known as the “Medway Dock” was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Yard/Ship no. 0867, launched on the 4th January 1912. It was 680 feet long, and 113 feet wide, with a lifting capacity of 33,000 tons.

It was moored in Saltpan Reach in the River Medway, which was about six miles from Chatham and two or three miles from Sheerness. The position of the dock caused widespread concern because of the difficulties in the workers getting to work at the dock from Chatham.

Although I do not have a precise date for its arrival at the reach, there are references to it being there by at least July. The first ship to use the dock was HMS Vincent on the 3rd September 1912.

Postcards showing the dock at Saltpan Reach, two of which have HMS Vincent docked.


Photographs from unknown sources. No copyright restrictions evident.

Dreadnought
03-01-2010, 12:06
Continuing a bit further, and following on from post #54/55 above, I have found some more pics of AFD 4 and the salvage of Derflinger.

Photograhs believed to be in public domain. No copyright restrictions evident.

SCRG1970
03-01-2010, 12:52
Clive

According to local papers AFD4 reached Sheerness on 25th June 1912.

Regards

gerry

Dreadnought
03-01-2010, 13:02
Perfect Gerry ... another one sorted ...!!

RonB
04-01-2010, 09:47
I was posted to AFD60 in January 1968 and served on board for about a year. I was onboard when we docked the Polaris Boats for the first time. AFD 58 was across the Loch and still in use for conventional submarines. AFD59 was down at Barrow I belive during this time.

jayenn
04-01-2010, 11:13
AFD 59.
Browsing through "Portrait of a Shipbuilder" a photo book on Vickers at Barrow I found an aerial view of Devonshire dock which shows AFD 59 in 1977.
Although it is a very small image it appears to show that AFD 59 had a normal ships bow, and looking back at Clives' post #28 with the photo of AFD 59 on the heavy lift ship there is the hint of a shaded area which could be the start of a curved bow.
Can anyone confirm whether 59 indeed had a bow, is there any other photographic evidence to support this

If it indeed had an enclosed bow it would be unique amongst all the AFDs

John

Dreadnought
04-01-2010, 11:39
Hi John ... the answer is yes she did .... see my PM to you.

SCRG1970
04-01-2010, 18:49
Clive/John

AFD59 had one end closed to facilitate ocean towing and also to act as a wind deflector. This work was carried out mid-June 1967.

Regards

Gerry

jayenn
04-01-2010, 19:57
AFD 59.

Clive/Gerry Thanks for confirming the thought that AFD 59 did indeed have an enclosed bow. I suppose that makes it pretty similar to the U.S. navy ARDs-Auxiliary Repair Docks that had a ship type hull.

regards
John

harry.gibbon
04-01-2010, 22:39
I know that Clive started this thread and it has been most interesting watching the details of the individual Floating Docks unfold.

However since all of these AFD's are numbered may I ask:- a) does anybody have a list of how many were built? and b) has anybody kept a tally of how many have been revealed in the thread to date?

Little h

Dreadnought
05-01-2010, 11:24
Hi Little H,

One, amongst many, of the frustrating points about this subject, is that it is not clear exactly how many were built, or whether the consecutive numbering system of AFD’s is complete. For some time now, I have been meaning to try and summarize the plot so far, so thanks for the prod to finally do it ...!

To date, I have knowledge of the following, many of which, but not all yet, have been covered in the thread:

AFD1 - Capacity 17,500 tons. Built by Swan Hunter Wigham & Richardson 1901. Bermuda.
AFD2 - Portsmouth
AFD4 - Capacity 33,000 tons. Built by Swan Hunter Wigham & Richardson 1912. The Medway dock. Portland, Devonport.
AFD5 - Capacity 31,500 tons. Built by Cammell Laird 1912. The Portsmouth dock. Alexandria, Bermuda, Falmouth. Sunk.
AFD7 - Rothesay, Clyde.
AFD8 - Capacity 65,000 tons (after extension from 40,000 tons). Ex German dock circa 1919. Sheerness, Malta. Sunk.
AFD9 - Capacity 55,000 tons. Built by Swan Hunter Wigham & Richardson 1927. Singapore. Scuttled. Salvaged.
AFD10 – Capacity 3600 tons?? Built by Swan Hunter Wigham & Richardson. 1927. Singapore. Scuttled. Salvaged.
AFD11 – Capacity 60,000 tons .Built by Armstrong Whitworth 1924. The Southampton dock. Portsmouth, Rotterdam, Sunk.
AFD12 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built by Swan Hunter Wigham & Richardson 1940. Scapa Flow, Sheerness, Norway.
AFD14 –
AFD15 –
AFD16 -
AFD17 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built by HM Dockyard Devonport 1942. Cockatoo Island.
AFD18 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built by HM Dockyard (??).Darwin, New Guinea..
AFD19 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built by HM Dockyard. Chatham 1942. Singapore.
AFD20 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built by HM Dockyard Devonport 1942.Admiralty Islands, Singapore.
AFD21 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built by HM Dockyard Portsmouth 1943.Belfast, Rosyth
AFD22 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built at HM Dockyard Chatham 1942. Fort William, Tincomalee, Rosyth, Barrow.
AFD23 – Capacity 50,000 tons. Built in Bombay 1947. Trincomalee (HMS Valiant) dock. Sunk.
AFD24 – Freetown, Dartmouth.
AFD26 – Capacity 2750 tons. Built HM Dockyard (??) or Calcutta February 1944?. Trincomalee, Portsmouth, Rosyth.
AFD31 – Capacity 17,000 tons. Built by Dorman Long, South Africa 1944. Sembawang.
AFD32 -
AFD33 – Rosneath 1947
AFD35 – Capacity 50,000 tons. Sections built at Karachi, built in Bombay 1947. Malta.
AFD36 – Malta 1947
AFD37 – 1944
AFD39 – Trincomalee 1945
AFD40 –
AFD41 – 1945
AFD42 – Capacity 750 tons. Assembled in Karachi January 1946.
AFD43 – Capacity 750 tons. Assembled Bombay November 1945.
AFD44 – Capacity 750 tons. Assembled Vizagapatam November 1945.
AFD46 – Gibraltar?, Rosyth
AFD49 – Capacity 800 tons. Built in Italy 1945. Sembawang.
AFD57 – Malta.
AFD58 – Built Haverton Hill Ship Yard, Teeside 1957. Gareloch, Devonport, Lerwick, Norway.
AFD59 – Built by HM Dockyard Portsmouth 1959. Barrow, Faslane, Netherlands, Nigeria.
AFD60 – Built by HM Dockyard Portsmouth 1964. Faslane, Iceland.
AFD79 –
AFD80 –
AFD81 –


I have a record of AFD 93 being order by the Royal Navy around 1950 from West coast Shipbuilders Ltd. Vancouver, Yard No.162. The order was however cancelled.

Docks highlighted in blue denote those that have had no coverage (or very little) in the thread so far due to scant information. Lots of gaps. Some info I may have missed from the posts. Any additions/corrections would be gratefully received.

SCRG1970
05-01-2010, 11:56
Clive

Thanks for that list ..very interesting.

See my PM

Regards

gerry

harry.gibbon
05-01-2010, 21:52
Clive,

Thank you for the listing. Now that myself and others are aquainted with the outstanding docks still to be given coverage or require further info we may just happen upon the info needed.

Good Luck and happy hunting!

Little h

jayenn
06-01-2010, 14:00
Hi Clive
Not all Admiralty Floating Docks were giant structures built from many sections by famous shipbuilding yards, nor did they all experience epic ocean voyages half way round the world.
In 1943 the navy was concerned about the volume of repair work due to landing craft being damaged during training exercises, as well as the massive expansion in numbers of this type of craft in the build up to invasion.
There was a lack of docks and slipways to service this fleet. To overcome this problem, civil construction companies and engineers were allocated contracts to build small floating docks from reinforced concrete. This programme had the advantages of not requiring scarce shipyard capacity, skills or sheet steel. Concrete floating docks could be built under skilled supervision almost anywhere beside water by semi-skilled labour using basics such as cement, sand, stone and reinforcing rods. The time scales involved could be a few months from start to completion which was much quicker than steel dock building and much shorter than the construction time for a graving dock.
The lead company for this programme was Holloway Brothers at Northfleet and the first three were 400 ton lift docks, the contract being placed 10.08.43. The first dock took three months to complete and was floated out on 25.11.43 with the other two each following one month later.

AFD36 Capacity 400 tons – R/C dock completed 11.43 sold Schiedam ‘55
AFD37 as above completed 01.44 sold 06.46
AFD38 as above completed 02.44 wrecked at Flamborough Head 24.09.45

After the success of these initial builds, three more identical docks were built by Holloways at Northfleet.

AFD50 Capacity 400 tons – R/C dock completed 04.44 sold Stavanger ‘48
AFD51 as above completed 05.44 sold Sowerby (London) 08.46
AFD52 as above completed 06.44 sold Vlaardingen ‘46

All of these small docks were configured solely to take flat bottom landing craft and not conventional hulls. With the idea proven for this type of reinforced concrete dock capacity and flexibility to accommodate other than flat bottoms was soon expanded.
With the future eventuality of an invasion of Japan, it was decided that production facilities should be set up at Cocanada and Vizagapatam in India and a further site in Australia.

A table of the subsequent docks follows:
AFD55 Capacity 800 tons – Holloway (Gravesend) completed 11.44 sold Dutch East Indies ‘48
AFD56 as above completed 02.46 sold Aden 02.48
AFD57 as above completed ’46 sold 04.48
AFD66 as above completed ’45 foundered in tow 10.03.45
AFD67 Capacity 800 tons – A. Monk (Bromborough) completed 03.45 sold Aden 05.46
AFD68 as above completed 04.45 sold Port Said ‘47
AFD69 Capacity 800 tons – Holloway (Gravesend) completed 04.45 sold Cairo 03.47

Reinforced Concrete Floating Docks ordered ’44 from Holloway (Cocanada) India – 1000 ton capacity
AFDs 58,59,60,61,62,63,65
AFDs 70,71 72,73,74,75
All cancelled 1945 as the Japanese war ended.

AFD76 Capacity 300 tons – Holloway (Gravesend) completed 07.45 sold 11.46
AFD77 as above completed 09.45 sold Granton 16.07.46
AFD78 as above completed 10.45 sold 11.46
AFD79 Capacity 300 tons – A. Monk (Bromborough) completed 07.45 sold 08.46
AFD80 as above completed 08.45 sold 08.46
AFD81 as above completed 09.45 sold 08.46

AFD82 - 87 300 ton capacity docks to be built at Brisbane, Australia – all cancelled 1945 as Japanese war ended

AFD88 – 91 300 ton capacity docks to be built at Vizagapatnam, India all cancelled 1945

AFD95 – 100 as above

With all of these numerous, small concrete docks, it is extremely difficult to find any information as to where they were located and it can be seen from the information tabled that they did not last long in service with virtually all of them sold by 1947.
In some of the aerial views of the Mulberry harbours in Normanday, it is possible to see two small floating docks behid the Pheonix caissons that could well be concrete docks.
John

astraltrader
06-01-2010, 23:40
A slightly different question but does anyone have an idea how many or which AFD`s or other floating docks are now used in other countries??

Also [apologies if this has been asked already] are there any AFDs still in existence in the UK?

dennis a feary
10-01-2010, 08:53
A query I have posted with a pic in another Thread. What is a DRY DOCK SHIP ??? It is written of (I think) on a postcard. The ship alluded to is BASSETT - photo of ship (circa 1935/36) ??? Gen as to what is a Dry Dock Ship ?? Not come across that before, but it may be that it is written by a non-knowlegable fellow.
And a pic of RAMILLIES circa 1935/36 ??

Sadsac

jbryce1437
11-01-2010, 19:32
Floating Dock manuscript on sale on Ebay
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/FLOATING-DOCKS-PATENT-MULLER-1922_W0QQitemZ230420628101QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Co llectables_Nautical?hash=item35a623c285

harry.gibbon
17-01-2010, 15:14
I have happened upon this site whilst searching for something for aggyaggy related to his research about HM S/M Ursula being broken up.

See several one line entries towards bottom of piece and above the pic of the floating dock ....I wonder which AFD this refers to ... AFD 77 perhaps:-

http://www.grantontrawlers.com/Granton%20Harbour.htm

Little h

Dreadnought
17-01-2010, 15:48
A slightly different question but does anyone have an idea how many or which AFD`s or other floating docks are now used in other countries??

Also [apologies if this has been asked already] are there any AFDs still in existence in the UK?

Hi Terry,

Apolgies for the delay with a reply to this one.

Out of the docks so far discussed in this thread, there are a handful still around:

AFD 4
As mentioned in post #156, AFD4, The "Medway Dock" (built in1912) was sold after the war and towed to Rotterdam Dockyard in 1948, and then re-sold in 1984 to Gotaverken Finnboda, Stockholm, who then went bankrupt in 1991. After the sale of the dock to Mexico fell through in 1992, it ultimately ended up at Bergen (Laksevaag) in 1994. It was confirmed as still being there in 2008 (Google Earth), and looking now, it still appears to be there.

AFD 22
Following on from posts #149/150, AFD 22 was sold to naval architects Cantiere E. Noe' S.P.A, Augusta (Siracusa), Italy, in 1983. Looking on Google Map, there are four floating docks visible. The middle one of the cluster of three looks as though it could be AFD 22 according to its size.

AFD 59
In post #28 it was speculated that AFD 59 went to the Netherlands in 1996 and then Nigeria in 2003. Well in fact the dock was sold to C & H Heuvelman BV, Rotterdam, arriving there in 1992. It left Rotterdam for Lagos in May 2003 on the submersible barge Zheng Ren, towed by Amolese. It was there in Lagos in 2008 (Google Earth), so probably still there now.

AFD 60
Also in post #28, we left AFD 60 in Reykjavik in the late 1990's. In fact the dock was sold to Velsmoja Orms & Viaglundar SF, Reykjavik in 1998. It arrived there on the 30th May 1998, under the tow of Anglian Earl. It was reported as still there (Google Earth) in 2008.


AFD 26 is reportedly still in service but as this dock has yet to be covered, I will reveal its whereabouts later.

As far as I can ascertain, there are no AFD's still in service in the UK. But I will keep looking, and let you know.

Dreadnought
17-01-2010, 16:26
I have happened upon this site whilst searching for something for aggyaggy related to his research about HM S/M Ursula being broken up.

See several one line entries towards bottom of piece and above the pic of the floating dock ....I wonder which AFD this refers to ... AFD 77 perhaps:-

http://www.grantontrawlers.com/Granton%20Harbour.htm

Little h

Nice one Little H ... not come across that one before.

Yes ... AFD 77. Reinforced concrete dock with a lifting capacity of 330 tons. Sold to Granton Harbour Board in 1946. Was in service until the late 1970's I believe.

I plan to submit a post about these small concrete docks at a later date.

harry.gibbon
17-01-2010, 17:12
Clive,
It looks like the contents your post # 166 and Johns' post #169 will need to be corrolated at some stage to present the findings on the forum so far.

Little h

astraltrader
17-01-2010, 17:45
Hi Terry,

Apolgies for the delay with a reply to this one.

Out of the docks so far discussed in this thread, there are a handful still around:

AFD 4
As mentioned in post #156, AFD4, The "Medway Dock" (built in1912) was sold after the war and towed to Rotterdam Dockyard in 1948, and then re-sold in 1984 to Gotaverken Finnboda, Stockholm, who then went bankrupt in 1991. After the sale of the dock to Mexico fell through in 1992, it ultimately ended up at Bergen (Laksevaag) in 1994. It was confirmed as still being there in 2008 (Google Earth), and looking now, it still appears to be there.

AFD 22
Following on from posts #149/150, AFD 22 was sold to naval architects Cantiere E. Noe' S.P.A, Augusta (Siracusa), Italy, in 1983. Looking on Google Map, there are four floating docks visible. The middle one of the cluster of three looks as though it could be AFD 22 according to its size.

AFD 59
In post #28 it was speculated that AFD 59 went to the Netherlands in 1996 and then Nigeria in 2003. Well in fact the dock was sold to C & H Heuvelman BV, Rotterdam, arriving there in 1992. It left Rotterdam for Lagos in May 2003 on the submersible barge Zheng Ren, towed by Amolese. It was there in Lagos in 2008 (Google Earth), so probably still there now.

AFD 60
Also in post #28, we left AFD 60 in Reykjavik in the late 1990's. In fact the dock was sold to Velsmoja Orms & Viaglundar SF, Reykjavik in 1998. It arrived there on the 30th May 1998, under the tow of Anglian Earl. It was reported as still there (Google Earth) in 2008.


AFD 26 is reportedly still in service but as this dock has yet to be covered, I will reveal its whereabouts later.

As far as I can ascertain, there are no AFD's still in service in the UK. But I will keep looking, and let you know.


Thanks Clive - I appreciate the efforts you have made in answering my question[s]. Greatly appreciated my friend.

keblin
17-01-2010, 20:14
Continuing a bit further, and following on from post #54/55 above, I have found some more pics of AFD 4 and the salvage of Derflinger.

Photograhs believed to be in public domain. No copyright restrictions evident.

Can you imagine the detailed preparation and very hard work that went into the dry docking of this ship, 'DERFLINGER'?
Upside down!
It beggars belief!
What an amazing crowd of people to be able to do this!

Let's give them credit. Let's applaud them. Let's not forget them.

Brilliant.

keblin
17-01-2010, 21:06
Little h,
If you examine subsequent photo No.5, in post #66, it gives a clearer shot of the 'appendages' you are querying.
They are obviously some part of the trimming/steering equipment.
Perhaps some kind hearted submariner will enlighten us.

By the way, Clive....cracking thread!

keblin

Little h, did you ever get a definitive answer to your 'appendages' question?

harry.gibbon
17-01-2010, 22:02
Keblin,

Thanks for revisiting the query, as yet I regret there has been no difinitive answer. It is extremely strange that they have the appearance of 'planes' yet they also appear to be attached to the rudder; AND the normal aft planes are in-situ.

Little h

Dreadnought
18-01-2010, 08:04
Clive,
It looks like the contents your post # 166 and Johns' post #169 will need to be corrolated at some stage to present the findings on the forum so far.

Little h

Hi Little H,

Yes. To date all of the information on the AFD's in this thread, I have dragged from wide and various sources.

In post #71 Harley pointed me towards a work on AFD's by Dr Ian Buxton.


A couple of years ago I was at the Annual Naval Meeting of the World Ship Society in Bristol. Dr. Ian Buxton (of "Big Gun Monitors" fame) gave a talk on the history of A.F.D.s. I believe that this year he published a history of A.F.D.s in a journal of the World Ship Society.
Simon
........


This journal publication had also been mentioned to me by John (JAYENN) and Gerry (SCRG1970) - both of whom have made such valuable contributions to this thread.

I have only very recently been able to get hold of a copy of the two Buxton articles, and they very comprehensively cover all of the AFD's. Many of my frustrations are now answered and dead ends opened, and the summary in post #166 can be fully updated - which I shall do soon.

The excellent Buxton articles now provide me with a firmer foundation from which to carry on with the history of these docks.

Dreadnought
24-01-2010, 00:16
AFD 5 AT INVERGORDON

At the beginning of this thread, in post #2 we took an initial look at the “Portsmouth Dock” later known as AFD5 (the AFD numerical numbering didn't come in until 1925).

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=79190&postcount=2 (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=79190&postcount=2)

We then revisited it, with new information, in post #74

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=85181&postcount=74 (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=85181&postcount=74)

In neither of these posts, was the period of the dock's history during World War 1 discussed, that being it’s time at Invergordon. I was aware of AFD’s at Invergordon during the war, but have only just discovered that AFD5 was one of them. She was moved there on the 6th September 1914 so that there was a repair dock facility capable of taking Dreadnoughts in the North, pending completion of Rosyth dockyard. Moorings for the floating dock were apparently put down sometime after Sep 1913, after the government had been pestered in Parliament on the subject ever since HMS Dreadnought entered service.

The first record I can find of a ship being docked in AFD5 at Invergordon is that relating to HMS Australia who entered the dock on July 15th 1915.

In May 1916 HMS Emperor of India is recorded as being in the dock undergoing the first refit carried out in the dock. This was not completed until the 3rd June (another record says 19th July), and so Emperor of India missed being part of the Battle of Jutland.

After Jutland, HMS Malaya was docked for repairs. Entering on the 4th June. She was there until June 24th, but did not rejoin the 5th Battle Squadron until the 11th July.

In August 1919, the ex-German battleship SMS Baden, under Admiralty orders to make her sailable, was towed from Scapa Flow and put into AFD5 for major repairs.

On the 5th August, an explosion occurred on board the ship, whilst in the dock, causing a major fire to break which resulted in the loss of a life. One consequence, was a Lieutenant Abbott being awarded the Albert Medal for his gallant effort at going between the burning decks to save lives. (The Albert medal was the forerunner of what we know today as the George Cross).

Here is the citation for the account of the incident:


On the 5th August 1919, an explosion occurred on board the ex-German battleship Baden whilst in dry dock at Invergordon. Lieutenant Abbott immediately proceeded down the hatch to the main deck and saw that smoke was coming from the ladder-way tunnel leading down to the shaft passage and after-room containing the cooling plant. Other measures proving ineffectual, he proceeded to the corresponding tunnel on the starboard side, to see whether it was possible to get below and work up to the scene of the explosion from that side. The starboard tunnel was practically clear of smoke, so he proceeded to the upper deck, collected a party, and descended again through the tunnel to the room containing the cooling plant. He made his way to the port side and found a dockyard workman lying unconscious.

Assisted by the party which had accompanied him, Lieutenant Abbott got the body to the upper deck, but life was found to be extinct. Although greatly affected by the fumes, Lieutenant Abbott called for further volunteers and again proceeded to the rescue of a second man whose groans had been heard and succeeded in.removing him out of danger.


I don’t have a date for when Pic #2 was taken, but it shows HMS Erin in AFD5 at Invergordon. Also in the shot, to the left, are the three early warships (left to right) Mars, Akbar (Temeraire), and Algiers, that were being used as a Headquarters for naval staff, and accommodation for workers. The ship at the pierhead may apparently be the Eclipse Class cruiser HMS Isis, but this is not my determination and cannot be confirmed.

Do not have a date for Pic #1, showing HMS King George V in AFD5 at Invergordon.

Pic #3 is interesting because of the date, which looks like 27/5/20. The dock is clearly under tow and could be leaving Invergordon on its way back to Portsmouth where it would remain until 1939, when it was moved to Alexandria. I have a record that states that AFD5 was at Invergordon until 1919, so either the date on the card is wrong, or the record, normally reliable, is incorrect?

Pics #4 and #5 of AFD5 at Invergordon, date unknown.


Pictures from various unknown original sources. No copyright restrictions evident.

JarrowDave
24-01-2010, 03:50
Just before Christmas I met Dr Buxton, but I only realised it after the event, as I was walking away. You know how sometimes you wish that you'd had your thinking head on.

Hi Little H,

Yes. To date all of the information on the AFD's in this thread, I have dragged from wide and various sources.

In post #71 Harley pointed me towards a work on AFD's by Dr Ian Buxton.



This journal publication had also been mentioned to me by John (JAYENN) and Gerry (SCRG1970) - both of whom have made such valuable contributions to this thread.

I have only very recently been able to get hold of a copy of the two Buxton articles, and they very comprehensively cover all of the AFD's. Many of my frustrations are now answered and dead ends opened, and the summary in post #166 can be fully updated - which I shall do soon.

The excellent Buxton articles now provide me with a firmer foundation from which to carry on with the history of these docks.

Dreadnought
24-01-2010, 08:22
Hi Jarrow Dave ... don't think we have spoken before, so a belated welcome to the Forum. I expect you have found your sealegs by now ..!!

Oh that Dr. Buxton would have the unfortunate experience of bumping into me ... he would struggle to get away from me methinks ..!! I know little about him other than his AFD articles. I know not what his background is, or why his connection/authority/interest regarding Admiralty floating docks?

If you meet him again, get him on the Forum ...!!

keblin
24-01-2010, 19:05
I don’t have a date for when Pic #2 was taken, but it shows HMS Erin in AFD 5 at Invergordon. Also in the shot, to the left, are the three early warships (left to right) Mars, Akbar (Temeraire), and Algiers, that were being used as a Headquarters for naval staff, and accommodation for workers. The ship at the pierhead may apparently be the Eclipse Class cruiser HMS Isis, but this is not my determination and cannot be confirmed.

Do not have a date for Pic #1, showing HMS King George V in AFD 5 at Invergordon.

Pic #3 is interesting because of the date, which looks like 27/5/20. The dock is clearly under tow and could be leaving Invergordon on its way back to Portsmouth where it would remain until 1939, when it was moved to Alexandria. s I have a record that states that AFD 5 was at Invergordon until 1919, so either the date on the card is wrong, or the record, normally reliable is incorrect?

Pics #4 and #5 of AFD 5 at Invergordon, date unknown.


Pictures from various unknown original sources. No copyright restrictions evident.[/QUOTE]

Clive,
I'm a bit stumped by what you are saying here above.
#2 photo looks to be dated and described as KGV. Has your photo numbering gone awry? #1 and #2 mixed up perhaps?

I think photos #4 and #5 are on the same day; you can see KGV in the distance being towed towards the dock, after the dock has been submerged?
So this implies photo #2 is sometime after photos #4 and #5...

Dreadnought
25-01-2010, 08:34
Hi Keblin,

I may have confused things a bit by not submitting the photos in numerical order. My reference numbers refer to the pic file numbers ... i.e "pic #1 refers to "Invergordon_1", "pic #2 to "Invergordon_2" etc., not "pic_1" is the first picture as viewed (left to right). Sorry about that.

As for the ship being towed to the submerged dock (pic "Invergordon_5"), whilst I had noticed the battleship, I hadn't been able to identify her. How are you sure it is King George V?

keblin
26-01-2010, 17:06
Clive, thanks for the explaination of the photo series.

I'm not absolutely 100% sure of the ship being towed towards the dock, but in all honesty, when people in those days went to the trouble of photographing a docking event, they seldom took one photo in isolation.

If the photographer was aware that a docking was taking place, He would be there with his equipment, set up before, during and after the event.

Don't forget the readily available snap shot was'nt quite up to speed in those days, so the likelyhood of these being random shots by different people, at different times is extremely remote.

Also the likelyhood of his being allowed to take pictures in a sensitive area must mean he had to have been authorised to be there.

Also the parked position of the drydock cranes seem to be identical in pictures #4 and #5, is this co-incidence also?

Food for thought.

jbryce1437
27-01-2010, 10:03
While browsing some photos I came across these of an AFD under tow. The book covers the period Jan 1941 to March 1942. Will have to dig the book out again to see if there is a specific reference to the event. The photo titles are all that I have at the moment.

jayenn
27-01-2010, 11:59
Hi
The dock under tow by the three tugs is either AFD4 orAFD5 as these two docks can be identified by the eight funnels and four cranes on the dock walls, and also the two entry ports on the side walls above pontoon level.
From post14 we know that AFD5 was moved to Alexandria in Sept 39 and remained there for the duration of the war. Post55 shows AFD4 was moved from Devonport to the Clyde in Sept 41 which falls within the timeframe that your book covered. So I think the picture could be that transfer tow which took 6 days.

On a website on the American battleship USS Texas (BB35) it states that Texas was docked in a floating dry dock At Jarrow Slake on the Tyne from 20 Oct until 4th Nov. 1918. This must be AFD4 which from post56 we know was on the Tyne at this period.

Dreadnought
28-01-2010, 21:38
I concur John ... good piece of deduction.

Excellent photos ... not seen them, or anything like them before. Valuable contribution to the thread. Thanks jbryce

JarrowDave
30-01-2010, 02:23
Hi Jarrow Dave ... don't think we have spoken before, so a belated welcome to the Forum. I expect you have found your sealegs by now ..!!

Oh that Dr. Buxton would have the unfortunate experience of bumping into me ... he would struggle to get away from me methinks ..!! I know little about him other than his AFD articles. I know not what his background is, or why his connection/authority/interest regarding Admiralty floating docks?

If you meet him again, get him on the Forum ...!!

Get yourself into the Institute of Marine Engineers ( or the RINA if you've got no class ).

Dr Buxton is an "Eminance Griz" of the North East Coast branch of the IME.

He's just published a book on "Big Gun Monitors".

Look the North East Coast IME programme up on the web, but just to wet your appetite, on the 6th May there's a talk on "Challenges of Bilge Separation".

You know it makes sense.


JD

jamesapottinger
30-01-2010, 13:31
When calling at Trincomali on14/8/1959-16/8/1959 I noted part of a sunken dry dock in the harbour. Which one was this?

Dreadnought
31-01-2010, 11:55
When calling at Trincomali on14/8/1959-16/8/1959 I noted part of a sunken dry dock in the harbour. Which one was this?

Hi James,

The dock you remember seeing would have been the salvaged sections of AFD 23, that sank in the harbour whilst trying to raise HMS Valiant on the 9th September 1944. See post #84.

The dock broke her back due to the sections of the dock not being pumped out in an even sequence. Valiant was seriously damaged and effectively put her out of action for the rest of her career.

The forward five sections of the dock were partially raised in September 1945, and towed to shallow water where they were grounded. Full salvage, however, was abandoned in December of the same year, and the dock sections remained where they were for many years. In 1957 the wrecked sections of the dock were purchased by Darwin (London), but it was not until 1968 that the sections were salvaged by Victor Baroukh (Alexandria), and towed, by the Smit tug Witte Zee, to Kaohsiung (Taiwan) for breaking up.

The two aft sections of the dock still sit at the bottom of the harbour in Trincomalee, 30 metres below the surface, and are a popular scuba dive site.

jamesapottinger
31-01-2010, 13:32
Hi James,

The dock you remember seeing would have been the salvaged sections of AFD 23, that sank in the harbour whilst trying to raise HMS Valiant on the 9th September 1944. See post #84.

The dock broke her back due to the sections of the dock not being pumped out in an even sequence. Valiant was seriously damaged and effectively put her out of action for the rest of her career.

The forward five sections of the dock were partially raised in September 1945, and towed to shallow water where they were grounded. Full salvage, however, was abandoned in December of the same year, and the dock sections remained where they were for many years. In 1957 the wrecked sections of the dock were purchased by Darwin (London), but it was not until 1968 that the sections were salvaged by Victor Baroukh (Alexandria), and towed, by the Smit tug Witte Zee, to Kaohsiung (Taiwan) for breaking up.

The two aft sections of the dock still sit at the bottom of the harbour in Trincomalee, 30 metres below the surface, and are a popular scuba dive site.

Many thanks for info, just regret that I did not take some photos!
Jim

Dreadnought
31-01-2010, 21:05
Many thanks for info, just regret that I did not take some photos!
Jim
And me ......!!!

Big Al
07-02-2010, 23:30
Little h,
Re the apendages that have had you thinking they are the after planes situated just forward of the rudder. The ones above are the prop guards. The boat in the dock is the Onyx.I am surprised that the submariners in the fraternity did not respond sooner.

harry.gibbon
07-02-2010, 23:44
Big Al

a la .... this drawing of the class....

Little h

Dreadnought
28-02-2010, 13:16
Nice shot of the rear end of an L-Class submarine in a small floating dock. I haven't yet been able to identify this dock. Does anyone recognise the building/chimney on the horizon.


Photograph from magazine in my personal collection

ekd
28-02-2010, 19:05
It closely resembles a building in Barrow-in Furness during the 1890's that could have survived much later in Barrow's development.
A search of the old Barrow skyline could prove fruitful.

regards

fancyspinach
01-03-2010, 10:02
Hello all!

I've joined this forum in the hope of finding some information about my grandfather. He was 80 when I was born and I didn't think to ask my father about him till too late. Also, I'm a complete ignorama re matters naval :o.

He was a marine engineer based in HM Dockyard, Plymouth, and family history has it that he accompanied the first (?) floating dry dock to Singapore in the 1930s (?). I've attached a photo of what I asssume is a floating dock somewhere near Singapore. Could someone kindly tell me where the dock would have been situated, and anything else about it? Really, anything!

The second photo is of him (seated) possibly on board the ship which towed the floating dock out, as we have photos of him with that hat in Singapore - I include it just so someone might tell me name of that type of hat, as I can't think of it! :D

Thanks,

FS

steve roberts
01-03-2010, 10:26
Hi FS. Welcome to the forum,hope you will find the info your looking for.As to the hat,it's known as a "Pith Helmet" as worn by our Royal Marines in ceremonial duties.Though no doubt,it had some more unprintable names...Many Regards Steve.:D

Dreadnought
01-03-2010, 10:54
Hi Fancy Spinach,

A very warm welcome to the Forum, and to this Thread.

Fantastic picture of what is almost certailny AFD 9, the "Singapore Dock". Built 1926/1928 and then towed on an epic 7500 mile trip to Singapore. You can find full accounts of this dock earlier in this thread. Link here:

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=85582&postcount=86

Just briefly, she was scuttled by the British in December 1941 when Singapore fell to the Japanese. They raised the dock to use for their own battleships, only for American B29's to sink her in February 1945.

Your photograph shows her at a most peculiar angle? Do you know what date the shot was taken. It is difficult to know whether she is being lowered and has run into problems, or whether in fact it is a shot of her being scuttled perhaps? There don't seem to many people about, although I have blown the photo up and it looks as if there could be people on board. A very interest and fabulous shot. Do you mind if I download it for my collection?

Was your Grandfather an Engineer on the dock itself, or on one of the accompying escort ships; if so, which one?

EDIT:
FS ... that link above only takes you to the single post #86. There are subsequent posts about the journey of AFD 9 and its fate. So you are probably better just manually going to post #86 so that you scroll on.

fancyspinach
01-03-2010, 12:29
Thanks for the warm welcome Steve and Clive, and for the link to #86. This will make very interesting reading, and partly remedy my ignorance :).

You are very welcome to download the photo Clive, and anyone else too.

Now for your questions! Unfortunately there is no date on the photo. It was not taken with the same camera as the other shots of my grandfather in Singapore, and is the only one I have, although I will ask my brother to scour his drawers to check there are no others. I wonder where the shot was taken from.

I don't know whether grandad was an engineer on the dock or the escort ship. And there is no-one to ask :(

I've attached some photos of my family at a model ship exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum (Glasgow) taken in the mid seventies. The ships they are standing next to are somehow connected to grandad, though I don't know how. Maybe escort ships? He also worked on dredgers - perhaps there was a darned fine, famous dedger that deserved a place in the exhibition ;). I've contacted Kelvingrove and one of the archivists is trying to find out which ships they are as I can't read the info on the plaques.

Thanks again,

Helen

Dreadnought
01-03-2010, 14:02
Hi FS,

Was your Grandad Royal Navy? If you have had chance yet to read through all the AFD 9 posts yet you will know that the dock as towed in three sections by Dutch ocean going tugs. Escorts were mostly provided by RN ships that happened to be around; several being used on the different stages, especially for trips through Suez, around Aden etc.

I ask, because you mention his possible links to the merchant vessels in the photos.

Thanks for the letting me download the photo. I am in the process of trying to enhance it and clean it up a bit ... rare photo. Will post a copy of it for you when completed. Just a tip: if possible can you scan future pictures at a resoluion of least 300dpi. For postcard size photos (monochrome) you can actually scan in at 600dpi (like I do), and still be within the 1.9mB limit. Colour photos fine at 300 dpi.

____________________oo00oo____________________

EDIT:
Here's the cleaned up picture. Couldn't enhance to any great degree because of the low resolution. But a little better.



With reference to the Pith helmet by the way, it is also know as a safari helmet, sun helmet,
topee, sola topee, salacot or topi, and is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of cork or pith (typically pith from the sola Indian swamp growth – courtesy of Wiki

steve roberts
01-03-2010, 15:01
Hi Clive.Nice one mate!Fancy wiki having all the names for the hat,it would not normally recognise "Pith Helmet"!!!!!..Many regards Steve.:D

jayenn
01-03-2010, 15:23
Hi Clive
Regarding the photo of the L class submarine in the floating dock in your post198 - the dock is AFD2 at HMS Dolphin at Hasler Creek.
AFD2 was there for all of its service life from 1906 for some 50 odd years until the late '50s
It can be recognised by the two story control house in the middle of the wing wall and the timber guide constructions that were on the external corners to allow it to move up and down with the tide and to constrain it when submerging to dock a sub.
One of these timber guides is visible on the upper left side of your photo behind the bollards.
There is a picture in post 114 in the RN submarines 1900-1925 thread where AFD2 is visible in the left background.

Dreadnought
01-03-2010, 15:50
Thanks Edaward,

After a bit of digging, I now know that it is submarine L12, and the photograph as taken on June 1st 1930. The length of L12 is just about 235 feet, so I reckon this must be a 1000 to 1500 ton dock. Looking at the dock cabins an cranes, it looks very similar to the Barrow floating dock below, except there are subtle differences which lead me to believe it is not the same dock. Vickers at Barrow built submarines as we know, and used floating docks to fit them out. L12 was actually built by Vickers, so that fits.

The problem, is the date. On the 9th July 1929, L12 was in a collison with submarine H47. She penetrated the hull of H47, which sank, dragging L12 down with her; to a depth of 40 feet before she managed to break free. L12 managed to limp back to Milford Haven.In 1932 she was sold, and scrapped at Newport. So is it feasible she was in dry dock in Barrow in 1930? Who knows?

If the dock is at Barrow, then I don't think it is an Admiralty dock, as the only ones of that vintage and size are AFD 2, the "Haslar Dock", or AFD 3 the "Submarine Dock". Both are the right size, but AFD 2 was at Haslar, Portsmouth in 1930, and AFD 3 was in Rosyth. Would L12 go to either of those from Milford Haven?

I favour the Barrow location, and submarine L12 in a Vickers owned dock, returning there for some sort of repair work after her collision.

Graet photograph of floating dry dock at Barrow in 1935.

The submarine alongside and furthest back is HMS Clyde. The next one (sticking out at an angle) is Portugese submarine Delfim (S166). The other one alongside (nearest) is HMS Severn. The submarine alongside the floating dock is Portugese Submarine Golfinho, and in the dock is Espardarte, also Portugese.


Photograph from my personal collection. No knowledge of any copyright restrictions.

Dreadnought
01-03-2010, 15:55
Ha ... threads crossed. Blew my theory then, but I am relieved we have a definitive answer. Knew it would be you that would crack it John...!!

Thanks.

____________________oo0oo____________________

John,

Just checked it out, and I see the dock. Does that mean the photo caption is wrong ...? I am putting a link here for cross reference.

http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=79267&postcount=114

fancyspinach
01-03-2010, 16:52
Hi FS,

Was your Grandad Royal Navy?

I ask, because you mention his possible links to the merchant vessels in the photos.


EDIT:
Here's the cleaned up picture. Couldn't enhance to any great degree because of the low resolution. But a little better.



Thanks for the clean up, Dreadnought!

I would scan at a higher resolution for you if I knew how. I have ACDSee for Pentax and the only facility I can find for a better image is either 'percentage of original' or 'number of pixels wide and high'. Would either of these do? Can't find any ref to dpi :(.

AFAIK he wasn't in the RN. But he was fond of rum ;)

FS

jayenn
02-03-2010, 11:19
Hi Clive
As we have discussed before on the thread there is a lot of confusing, conflicting and totally contradictory information regarding AFDs out there--perhaps this is just another example.
Anyway back to the detective work!
I mentioned one of the unique identifiers for AFD2 is the timber guides that kept it in position-there were two each side at either end of the dock. I found another picture of AFD2 in Batstigers' post no2-4th picture- again in the RN submarines 1900-1925 thread. In the pic the dock is flooded down and there is a good view of one of the large timber guide structures showing the angled bracing members behind the vertical face against the dock
In the picture under question you can see one of angled braces of the mooring structure just beyond the furthest away submarine ,and this together with the distinctive double story control room helps identify AFD2
You are absolutly correct when you said the only possibleAFDs were 2 or 3 as of the eleven AFDs existing prior to WW2 all the rest are known to be at other locations or to be too large.
Earlier thread posts eliminate 1,4,5,8,9,10 & 11 on the basis of location and 6 & 7 are out on size as they could both take two vessels side by side.
As far as I can ascertain AFD2 was only ever at the submarine base at Gosport.

Dont know if this all helps or hinders
Rgards John

Dreadnought
03-03-2010, 09:17
Hi John,

Took me a while to understand what you were referring to .... but I see it now, especially after looking at Batstiger's post, which I link to here to keep it all together:
http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showpost.php?p=8445&postcount=2 (4th pic)

So let's agree that my pic in post #198, is of AFD 2 at Haslar. My information is that the sub is L12. Let's forget all about how and why it was in Porstmouth at that time.

Barracuda's post (link above, post #208) says his shot is at Plymouth, not Portsmouth. Is that correct? Can anyone ID the location? If it is indeed Plymouth, and then the dock is not AFD 2. So what dock is it? Also, how unique is the two storey control hut? Because now, it features on AFD 2, the now unknown Devonport dock, and, if you look at the Barrow dock (post #207), it too, has a two storey control hut'

mik43
03-03-2010, 17:21
Clive

Ref post #208 and the link, I don't think that the pic of the subs is at Plymouth, or that should be Devonport to be correct. Probably the age old problem, that is still with us today, that non-RN people think that Portsmouth and Plymouth are one and the same!!! As an aside there was a report in the local rag, sorry, paper, a few years ago of a couple from up country who arrived at the main gate (Camels Head) of Devonport Dockyard who got a bit upset when Mod-plod wouldn't let them in to catch the ferry. They were booked on the ferry from Pompey to Cherbourg!! Just a bit of useless info to brighten the day..!!

Mik

jayenn
03-03-2010, 20:04
Hi Clive
Had a look through a number of books, and in H.M. Submarines In Camera 1901-1996 by Tall & Kemp published by Sutton in 1996 ,on page 18, is a superb picture of AFD2 with submarine C11 in dock at Hasler Creek.
The background in this picture is very similar to the Plymouth picture and apart from the dock and guide structure already mentioned,the timber pier structure beyond the submarines and the long roofed building with the centre tower on the skyline appear to be the same in both pictures although the viewpoint is slightly different.
As I dont know the Gosport area, could the building in background actually be the R.N. Hospital at Hasler? someone with local knowledge would surely know.

Perhap another Forum member with the above book could compare both photos and post a view as to whether they are in fact both the same location.

Cheers John

Dreadnought
04-03-2010, 07:59
Hi John,

Don't know that book, sounds good ... I will try and get a copy.

Did you have any comments regarding the two storey cab issue from my previous posting?

tjstoneman
04-03-2010, 12:05
John is correct; the long building with the tower visible both in the photo linked to in post #208 and in the picture in Submarines in Camera is the then Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, a well-known local landmark. The photo linked to is indeed incorrectly captioned, and was taken in Haslar Creek, alongside the submarine base at HMS DOLPHIN.
Tim

Dreadnought
04-03-2010, 12:11
Excellent Tim.... huge thanks for that. Makes sense. Just would now like to identify the Barrow dock, although it was probably privately owned by Vickers and not an AFD.

I must go and get that book ...!!

Cheers for now

jayenn
05-03-2010, 15:22
Clive
To see more pictures of the Barrow floating dock have a look at the online Vickers Photo Archive at the Dock Museum Barrow. I think you will find it fascinatng.
The earliest picture of the dock is circa 1914. It is clearly a commercial dock and not an Admiralty Dock from all the cargo vessels and liners that can be seen over the years photographed. In 1914 we only had AFDs 1 to 7 and they can all be accounted for at other locations.

From all the photographic evidence that has surfaced so far, AFD2 is still the only small AFD to have the two storey control house in the middle of the wing wall.

John

Dave Hutson
12-03-2010, 15:23
Clive,

Just been browsing "India's Used Carrier" thread - you may be interested in ObiWanRussell's post #102 - first photo shows an AFD of unknown origin - a mystery perhaps right up your alley.

Dave H

jayenn
12-03-2010, 17:40
Dave H

Back in some earlier posts you asked about an AFD in the Stour/Orwill area around the 1950s. I came across a reference recently that indicated that AFD26 was at Harwich in the period '51 to '54. perhaps this is the one that you saw. Hope this helps.

Regards John

Dave Hutson
12-03-2010, 18:29
Hello John,

Thank you for that - it eliminates the thought that I was having a Senior moment at 15 years of age.

Sometimes it is strange that a memory emerges but you need confirmation that it is really existed - especially when there were 2,000 plus other guys who must have seen it but at our tender years at the time and other things on our minds it was just there, part of the overall picture.

Thanks again.

Dave H

Dreadnought
12-03-2010, 19:00
Clive,

Just been browsing "India's Used Carrier" thread - you may be interested in ObiWanRussell's post #102 - first photo shows an AFD of unknown origin - a mystery perhaps right up your alley.

Dave H


Dave,

Had a look at Obiwan's post. Have blown up the dock (not literally). What ship yard is it ... ? Swan Hunter built a couple of floating docks that went to India, one in 1929 (Bengal), and one in 1961 (Apapa); and of course the Swan Hunter's own floating dock went to Bharati in April 2009.

If I know where it is, I will have a delve. Haven't yet checked to sse if any AFD's were sold to India ... love a mystery.

Johm (Jayenn) may of course know?

jayenn
13-03-2010, 14:34
Hi Clive
Had a look at the pic of the floating dock that you have "blown up". It is a Russian one and not an Admiralty dock. Its location is at the Sevmash Naval Shipyard, Severodvinsk near Archangel in North Russia. This is the yard that builds the Russian navy's nuclear subs and the roof structures could be to hinder satallite observation or simply protection against snowfall.
It can be clearly seen on Google Earth at 64-34-45 N;39-49-28E.

Regards John

Dreadnought
13-03-2010, 15:37
I just knew you would have the answer .........!!!

Thanks John.

Going to go have a look on Google Earth now

Dave Hutson
13-03-2010, 17:05
Thanks Clive and John,

That didn't take long with our FD Detectives on the case:o

Dave H

Dreadnought
14-03-2010, 13:04
Not AFD, I know but I staggered myself today as, upon looking through some holiday snaps, I was astonnished to discover that I had taken a photograph of a floating dock whilst on a Red Sea cruise three years ago. I had absolutely no recollection of taking it until today...!

So here it is (Alexandria_1), taken in 2006.

Picture (Alexandria_2) is one I have had on file for sometime, and is the same dock ..!! This pic is apparently of a Russian submarine in 1976, thirty years before my photo. Don't know the history of this dock, when it arrived, or from where.

All very odd.

Dreadnought
18-03-2010, 17:30
JUBILEE DOCK

The Wellington Floating Dock was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson (Yard No. 1463) and launched on the 5th June 1931. The wife of the secretary of the Wellington Harbour Board, Mrs A.G. Barnett, later named it the “Jubilee” dock in commemoration of the board’s jubilee.

The dock was 584 feet long, weighed 5000 tons and capable of lifting 17,000 tons. It left the Tyne in July 1931 under the tow of the Dutch tugs Zwarte Zee (Black Sea II) commanded by Captain Barend ‘t Hart, and Witte Zee (White Sea I) commanded by Captain C. Verschoor. The dock arrived in Wellington Harbour on the 29th December after a journey of 13,627 miles that took 166 days. It was the World’s longest tow at the time.

The dock enjoyed a long career, the first paying customer to use the dock being the steamer Maori on April 6th 1932. The largest ship ever docked was the 16,576 ton steamer Rimutaka in circa 1935. The second largest was the 15,911 ton Gothic in 1965.

In February 1988, the Wellington Harbour Board sold the dock to Nalder & Biddle Limited of Nelson, who intended to keep her in Wellington for ship repair work. However, it appears that the new owners did not start any operations with the dock because of its failure to negotiate an agreement with the Weelington Waterside Workers Union, and it maybe the dock was resold, because 15th December 1988 the dock was moved, for the first time in 57 years, by the tugs Kupe, Toia and Ngahue,to a new location at nearby Aotea Quay, prior to being taken overseas.

In darkness, on the 28th December, the dock began the first stage of it’s journey to Bangkok via Singapore. On the 2nd January 1989, after covering a distance of about 450 miles across the Tasman Sea, the dock broke in two and the forward section sunk. The tow of the remaining aft section continued, but on the 8th January, after a further 125 miles, it also sunk.

Pictures

Jubilee_1: Dock being moved by Kupe, Toia and Ngahue in December 1988.

Jubilee_2 & 3: Dock in operation in July 1932. Ship unknown.

Jubilee_4:The Huddard Parker liner Wanganella leaving the dock on the 27th of May 1947. Wanganella' was subsequently wrecked on Barrett's Reef at the entrance to Wellington harbour on the evening of the 19th of January 1948. A week later she was salvaged and entered the Dock to be made watertight.

Jubilee_7: Blue StarLine Trojan Star in the dock in 1980 after suffering rudder damage in the Pacific.

Jubilee_8: SS Waroonga in the dock 1941/42

Jubilee_9: Unknown ship in the Jubilee Dock (can’t quite read name on bow)

Jubilee_10: NZ Shipping Co. Tekoa 16th November 1940

Jubilee_11 & 12: Union Steamship Co. Kaito in dock 1968

Jubilee_13: Blue Star Melbourne Star in dock on May 7th 1942

Jubilee_14: Union Steam Ship Co. Maori in dock around 1960

Jubilee_15: Transport ship American Legion in dock on 22nd September 1942

Jubilee_16, 17 & 18: Zwarte Zee and Witte Zee arriving in Wellington with the dock. The mall vessel alongside in Jubilee_16 is Janie Sneddon

Jubilee_19: SS Rangatira in dock, June 1938

Jubilee_20: Union Steam Ship Co. Hinemoa Earl probably in the 1950’s


Pictures from a variety of sources. No evidence of copyright restrictions. Jubilee_7 photographed by Wallace Trickett 1980.

astraltrader
18-03-2010, 18:00
Clive one thing I have noticed reading this great thread is the incredibly high number of floating docks that have been lost at sea whilst being towed to their new owners!!

steve roberts
04-04-2010, 12:48
A unique rare sight in Gareloch. Heading to what was then #1 Military Port at Faslane. The scuttled German battlecruiser SMS DERFFLINGER in AFD 4. She had been salvaged by Metal Industries in 1939, just before the outbreak of war.This prevented her being broken up at Rosyth Dockyard,and after the war M.I. were unable to use the dry docks at Rosyth to scrap her.She had spent the war, floating upside down on a cushion of air at Lyness. AFD 4 was was bought from the Admiralty and was used as her cradle for scrapping. In the background are 8LST's and 2 LCT's awaiting the torch.

Regards Steve.

astraltrader
20-04-2010, 12:24
Apologies if anybody has seen this information before but this leads on from the question I asked earlier on in this excellent thread, enquiring as to whether there were still any floating docks in use by the Royal Navy today.

Apparently last year saw the delivery of a brand spanking new floating jetty called Valiant to the Faslane base specifically to service the new Astute Class Submarines.

Costing a mere £150,000,000 the new jetty is expected to last for up to 50 years and was built at Greenock before being towed to Faslane.

I have provided a link to an article I read which sparked off this post which also contains a picture of the new floating jetty.

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/upload/pdf/Courier09

mik43
20-04-2010, 16:03
AS you say Terry it is a floating JETTY and not a Floating DOCK. I did post this info way back on a thread which I can't remember when it was first put up on the MOD website ...... search facility.......................!!!!!

Mik

jbryce1437
20-04-2010, 16:12
There was a form of floating dock at Sunderland for many years, at the shipyard of Peter Austin and was known locally as Austin's Pontoon. I have attached a photograph of HMS Kedleston on the dock, she was built by Austins. The second, postcard view, is taken from Wearmouth Bridge and shows a ship on the pontoon.
The pontoon only had one side to it and was flooded to allow a ship to be loaded onto it. Not sure what size ship she could accommodate, but it was mainly Colliers and Coasters that used it.

Jim

astraltrader
20-04-2010, 18:49
AS you say Terry it is a floating JETTY and not a Floating DOCK. I did post this info way back on a thread which I can't remember when it was first put up on the MOD website ...... search facility.......................!!!!!

Mik

As it happens I did use the search facility as per usual.

The problem was I thought that if there had been a post about this Jetty then it would naturally be here so I used the facility to search this thread.
It did show up a floating Jetty but in South Africa or something!

It is no bad thing to have the article in this thread as there seems to be little difference between a floating jetty and a floating dock - especially in this particular case.

mik43
21-04-2010, 16:30
No problems Terry, think I originally posted it on the state of the RN today or some variation along those lines

Mik

Dreadnought
21-04-2010, 22:26
There certainly is a difference between a floating dock and a floating jetty, but then there are differences with floating jetties, and/or pontoons. The floating docks in their traditional meaning are docks that can raise a ship/vessel (including submarines) out of the water to enable work to be carried out in the same manner as a conventional dry dock. Some floating jetties/pontoons also enable this. Then there are floating jetties/pontoons that offer the facility for simply berthing vessels in situations where dockside berthing is not possible.

As far as I can ascertain, the Valiant floating jetty is designed to allow berthing of submarines, but not raising them out of the water. It is tied/mounted on piles that are driven into the seabed, but is allowed to rise and fall in the water.

Nevertheless it is very welcome in this thread. The modern variant(s) of floating docks tend now to be lift ships that transport ships back to repair facilities.

Two examples below:

HMS Endurance on MV Target March 2009
HMS Nottingham on the heavy lift ship Swan in 2002

qprdave
28-04-2010, 02:19
An item that I have found,

Bermuda Floating Dock

Reported in The Times on 6th Jun 1902

Dreadnought
11-05-2010, 13:20
There was a form of floating dock at Sunderland for many years, at the shipyard of Peter Austin and was known locally as Austin's Pontoon. I have attached a photograph of HMS Kedleston on the dock, she was built by Austins. The second, postcard view, is taken from Wearmouth Bridge and shows a ship on the pontoon.
The pontoon only had one side to it and was flooded to allow a ship to be loaded onto it. Not sure what size ship she could accommodate, but it was mainly Colliers and Coasters that used it.

Jim

Interesting JB, and although referred to as a pontoon throughout its’ life, as far as I am concerned, it is a floating dry dock – it was a submersible platform able to raise a ship in the same way. In fact, built by Swan Hunter in 1903, their records refer to it as Yard No. 0277 Sunderland F/D. It was capable of accommodating ships up to 390 feet long, and at the time attracted lots of attention as an engineering marvel.

Originally owned by S.P Austin & Sons, who began in 1826, and took delivery of the “pontoon” in 1904. It was located on the south bank of the River Wear, just east of the railway & road bridges. Austin’s merged with Pickersgill’s in 1954 to become Austin and Pickersgill. The yard closed in 1956, but it appears that the “pontoon” was in operation until 1966 after which its’ fate is uncertain, but it may have gone to Rotterdam or Hong Kong. Other sources say it sank off the coast of Norway?


AustinsPontoon_1: Photograph of small ship on the "pontoon" (no details) and a print (date unknown)showing the “pontoon” by Herbert William Simpson (1907-1972)
AustinsPontoon_2: Contemporary advertisement showing “Austin’s Pontoon”
AustinsPontoon_3: Postcard (sometime before 1906)

Original sources of attachments unknown, no copyright restrictions evident.

astraltrader
11-05-2010, 19:48
Thanks for giving us that information about Austins Pontoon.

Like most of the posts in this thread it contains things I literally new nothing about until now.

Whilst going through pictures I had stored on my other computer I came across this example of AD60 carrying Resolution at Faslane.

If it is of no interest or relevance to where you have reached now in this thread then I fully understand if you wish to remove it.

Thanks again for all of your hard work in putting this thread together.

Dreadnought
12-05-2010, 07:15
Thanks for your comments Terry .... appreciated.

Any photograph of an AFD or related subject is more than relevant here, always of interest, and very welcome. In fact it's a cracker of a shot ... not that many good shots of AFD60, especially showing the unique "doors". Thanks.

Rob Hoole
12-05-2010, 13:12
Sorry if already posted but I came across the attached photo recently and was fascinated because the AFD shown was berthed where the Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port is now located, just opposite the Whale Island marina which I visit almost every week. The photo comes from: Portsmouth from the Air - In Colour (http://ww2.portsmouth-college.ac.uk/portsmouth/main.php?g2_itemId=1322)

Rob Hoole
12-05-2010, 13:44
Here is a Google Earth shot of Fountain Lake today for comparison.

Dreadnought
14-05-2010, 19:53
Sorry if already posted but I came across the attached photo recently and was fascinated because the AFD shown was berthed where the Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port is now located, just opposite the Whale Island marina which I visit almost every week. The photo comes from: Portsmouth from the Air - In Colour (http://ww2.portsmouth-college.ac.uk/portsmouth/main.php?g2_itemId=1322)
Hi Rob,

Interesting picture. I have tried to date it, and in doing so have come up with a bit of a mystery.

In the picture, we can see the large floating dock, which I believe is AFD11. The smaller floating dock in the bottom left of the picture I believe to be the 2,750 ton AFD26. Also visible is HM Yacht Britannia, and HMS Belfast.

AFD11 was at Portsmouth until 14th May 1959, on which date, she was towed to Rotterdam (covered in previous threads).

AFD26 arrived in Portsmouth on the 23rd January 1959. Buxton says she was berthed at the former moorings of AFD11, which is odd in as much as she was still there at this time? The small dock is empty, which is fine, as AFD26’s first docking wasn’t until June 1959.

If this information is correct, the time window for this photograph is therefore between January and May 1959.

HMY Britannia may well have been here at this time; she didn’t leave on her trip to Chicago through the new St. Lawrence Seaway until June/July 1959.

HMS Belfast was in Portsmouth between 1956 and 1959 undergoing an extensive refit, and not re-commissioned at Devonport until 12th August.

The mystery that remains then is whether in fact the small floating dock is AFD26, and if it is, Buxton’s berthing statement doesn’t stack up, unless of course it is just in a holding position waiting for AFD11 to be moved..

Don’t know whether anybody else can confirm or deny my deductions …??

harry.gibbon
14-05-2010, 20:08
Clive, (teaching granny and sucking eggs etc - not trying to do that) ... but if you scroll through some of the other shots eg Dockyard 1 and Dockyard 2 in the comments at the bottom of the page there are AFD's mentioned including AFD59 and others. These come with 'some validation' as they are said to have been worked on or painted by the contributors to the comments section.

Hope that is of some help

Little h

Dreadnought
14-05-2010, 20:19
Hi Little h,

Thanks for that .... yes I did look at the comments, and Dockyard1/Dockyard2, but nothing there really helps date the photo in question, or confirms the ID of the docks. All good photos though aren't they.

Dreadnought
15-05-2010, 07:08
AFD26

I have just realised that AFD26 has not so far been covered in this thread, so here we are.

This dock was ordered by the Admiralty on the 27th October 1941 from Braithwaite, Burn & Jessop. It was fabricated in Calcutta and assembled in Bombay, with the auxilliary machinery coming from the USA. Similar to AFD12, it was a Clarke & Stansfield design with a lifting capacity of 2750 tons, primarily for Destroyers.

Completed on the 6th February 1944, it was towed from Bombay to Trincomallee, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) by the tugs Hesperia and Empire Sandy, arriving on the 15th of the same month.It stayed at Trinco until February 1947 when it was towed to Malta as part of Operation Snow White (see post #42), arriving on the 7th May 1947. It then contnued to Gibraltar, arriving on the 17th May where it waited for a tow back to Chatham Dockyard. Here it remained until 1951, when it was moved to Harwich, arriving on the 20th March. Here, it was used for the Reserve Fleet ships until 1954, when it was again moved, this time to Falmouth, arriving on the 6th December, where it underwent a refit (docked in AFD5) lasting until Agust 1955.

On the 24th Sepotember 1955 AFD26 was towed to Portland Dock to repl;ace AFD19. It remained here until the dock closed in 1958. On the 23rd January 1959 it was moved to Portsmouth by the tug Samsonia. The first docking was HMS Trespasser on the 15th June 1959.

At the end of June 1971 AFD26 docked the submarine HMS Artemis for maintenance work, and the fitting of new equipment for trials in the West Indies. After work was completed, the submarine undocked and was taking on fuel when a chain of events and human errors led to the submarine sinking at 1907 on Thursday July 1st. This accident is covered http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6165&highlight=artemis (http://www.worldnavalships.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6165&highlight=artemis)in more detail here:

AFD26 remained at Portsmouth until 1984, during which time it docked 400 submarines and 17 other vessels. The last docking was HMS Otus on the 10th October 1983. In May 1984 AFD26 was towed to Tilbury, by the tug Rollicker, where it had another refit, carried out by Blundell & Crompton in a large graving dock. It was then moved to Rosyth, arriving on the 11th August 1984.

In August 1995 AFD26 was sold to Velsmioja Orms & Viglundar, Iceland, and was towed there by the tug Kondor. Apparently, the dock was visible at Rekyavik, Iceland, on Google Earth in 2008.

AFD26_2: Colour photograph of AFD26 being moved out of Portsmouth in May 1984. The tug RMAS Adept at the bow, RMAS Bustler at the stern, and RMAS Dalmation to the starboard side.

AFD26_3: Think this shows the same event.

AFD26_4: HMS Alliance in AFD26 in 1968.


Original sources of photographs unknown. No copyright restrictions evident.
Acknowledgement to Ian Buxton (Warships 161) for some of the information in this post.

Rob Hoole
15-05-2010, 10:21
Google Earth still shows a Floating Dock in Reykjavík harbour.

keblin
17-05-2010, 10:58
This article from a 1912 newspaper .... this could well be AFD 5, but of course it dosen't say ..!! Anybody got any Cammell Laird records for August 20th 1912?


The floating dock appears to be on this list..

http://www.wirralhistory.net/lairds.html

regards,

.

Dreadnought
17-05-2010, 12:22
Spot on Keblin. Thanks for that ... the only record I have seen that confirms.

Cheers

Dave Hutson
17-05-2010, 12:33
Hi Clive,

Some time ago I asked the question "Could anyone remember an AFD moored off Harwich/Shotley in the early 50's" No replies so I thought I was having a Senior Moment. Last week we were going thru late mum's photo box and lo and behold a photo of a loaded AFD obtained when I was at Shotley 53/54. If I can work out how to load it I will put in on the thread - then perhaps we may be able to identify it.

Back later.

Dave H

jayenn
17-05-2010, 14:34
Hi Clive

What a great coloured picture of Portsmouth dockyard with AFD 11. It answers an earlier query in the thread as to the colour of AFD 11. It is also the only picture posted that shows a docked naval vessel as all the other pictures posted earlier show AFD 11 when it was in commercial service at Southampton.
I believe the vessel docked to be the maintenance ship Mull Of Kintyre which was in AFD11 from the end of November '57 untill early January'58 and if this is correct helps date the photo.

I dont think the small floating dock is AFD 26 for the following reasons

It is too small-its only half the size of AFD26.
There are no cranes on either of the wing walls.
AFD26 had machinery houses cantilevered outboard of the wing walls.
If the above date is correct it predates AFD26' s arrival by a year.


My guess at the identity of the small dock is AFD14 which gave wartime service at Scapa prior to transfer to Portsmouth where it stayed from October45 until its departure in December 1958. which again ties in with the suggested picture date.
I believe this is the first picture of AFD14 posted in the thread and perhaps it will trigger some others

Regards John

jbryce1437
19-05-2010, 18:35
Belated thanks for posting the info about Austin's Pontoon, Clive. Somehow, I missed the post.