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aircraft stan
08-05-2010, 19:29
Iíve recently acquired the archive of an airman who served in S E Asia during WW2 with 203 Squadron. Amongst the photographs are two of HMS Menestheus.

I can find affair amount about her role as a brewery later in the war but nothing about her previous history. My assumption is that she was involved in trooping and that he trained in the USA as part of the Arnold Scheme.
Can anyone help with history of Menestheus or point me in the right direction for references?

Thanks

PSA I'm trying to upload the images but photobucket isn't playing nicely!

astraltrader
08-05-2010, 19:37
Stan if you are trying to upload pictures here then please dont attempt to try and take them directly from photobucket as we prefer that you use the thumbnail method that everyone else uses here.
All you have to do is look for the paperclip icon or symbol which you can find at the top of the reply box.
Click on to that and it will take you to where you store your pictures on your computer.

Love to see the pictures of HMS Menestheus

Many thanks.

rumrat
08-05-2010, 19:42
Stan,
MENESTHEUS was an Auxillary Minelayer with the capability to carry 410 mines Built in 1929 and Requisitioned by into the R.N. in 1940.
From 1940 -43 she formed part of the 1st Minelaying Squdron based in Scotland.
1944 she became an Amenities ship and returned to her original owners in 1946 .
Hope this is of some use to you.
Regards
Dave

astraltrader
08-05-2010, 21:22
Thanks Dave - I have this picture of her.

jbryce1437
09-05-2010, 15:38
This is the business end of Menestheus

Jim

Big Al
23-07-2010, 09:39
I recently came across a reference to the above named ship, in the form of a pub quiz question which read." What was special about WW2 ship HMS Menesthus"?. The answer apparently is that in 1945 it was converted into a floating Military Brewery, which has caused a problem as I can't seem to find any information on this vessel, so I thought that I would try to get some inclination from our more enlightened members any help most appreciated.

clevewyn
23-07-2010, 09:51
MENESTHEUS was built in 1929 by Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd at Dundee with a tonnage of 7715grt, a length of 460ft, a beam of 59ft 5in and a service speed of 14 knots. Sister of the Agamemnon she was built for the Ocean Steam Ship Co. and in 1939 was requisitioned by the Admiralty for conversion into a minelayer. During 1942 she was damaged by bombs when off Iceland and was towed to Lochalsh for repair by the Agamemnon. In 1943 she was converted into a recreation ship during which she acquired a second funnel and a brewery. She was decommissioned in 1946 and returned to her owners in 1948. On 16th April 1953 she was abandoned off Punta Eugenio, California when she caught fire after an explosion in the engine room. The crew were rescued by the Navajo Victory. Although ablaze from fore to aft the master and chief officer tried to reboard her the next day but all they could do was fix a tow rope to the rudder with which she was then towed stern first into Magdelena Bay. On 20th August she was reboarded and inspection revealed that everything inflammable had been destroyed. The ship's cat, however, survived and made a full recovery. The management considered scuttling the vessel but it was finally decided that the cause of the fire needed to be ascertained and she was towed to Long Beach where an enquiry was held. The Enquiry Board's findings went a long way to tightening up fire precautions and firefighting equipment in the fleet. In June 1953 she arrived at Baltimore where she was broken up; the companies first marine loss, excluding losses by hostile actions, for 36 years.

http://www.red-duster.co.uk/BLUEFUN15.htm

Scroll down till you find her.

clevewyn
23-07-2010, 10:08
Extra info

George Medal winner as one of the ships company.

SMALES
James Stanley
Gunner (T)
HMS Proserpine (Scapa Flow)
HMS Menestheus (Loch Alsh)
8 Jul 41
1 Jan 43
GM
DSC
RMS - Awarded GM for gallantry and undaunted devotion to duty. Mine disposal Orkney to Mar 41.
DSC awarded New Year Honours 1943.

astraltrader
23-07-2010, 21:56
Threads combined.

MelQuick
24-07-2010, 08:03
Terry & Jim

Thanks for sharing the pictures of Menestheus - an interesting looking ship.

Mel

tonclass
13-04-2011, 15:50
Re: the photo's in #4 & #5. They are both pics of AGAMEMNON rather than MENESTHEUS.

astraltrader
13-04-2011, 16:06
Why do you say that Rik??

If you are right then both pictures are widely circulated in different books and sites with the wrong caption.

tonclass
13-04-2011, 16:18
Why do you say that Rik??

If you are right then both pictures are widely circulated in different books and sites with the wrong caption.

I have 2 other pix of Agamemnon. If you compare them to your pic you'll see they are virtually identical.

tjstoneman
13-04-2011, 16:33
I believe AGAMEMNON and MENESTHEUS were sister ships .....

tonclass
13-04-2011, 16:36
I believe AGAMEMNON and MENESTHEUS were sister ships .....

Anyone got a pic of Menestheus in civvies ?

JackW1208
13-04-2011, 17:04
Found this one of Menestheus from this site: http://www.photoship.co.uk/

Jack.

Darleydave
13-04-2011, 17:22
Could this be the photo you are looking for Rik. SS Menetheseus circa late 1930's.

astraltrader
13-04-2011, 19:27
Menestheus became an auxillary minesweeper at the same time her sister ship Agamemnon became an auxillary minelayer. [1940].

However in 1942 Menestheus also became an aux minelayer. She was unfortunately bombed off Iceland later that year and towed into Lochalsh by her sistership Agamemnon.

Here is a picture of her just after she was converted in Vancouver from her guise as an aux minelayer, to a recreational ship during 1943-1945.

As you can see from the picture she now had 2 funnels, apparently the second funnel was a dummy, kitted out as a recreation room!

astraltrader
13-04-2011, 19:40
Just to provide a bit more information on the Menestheus, I found this little piece which I took from "Ships Nostalgia".

The Blue Funnel liner MENESTHEUS was converted into an 'amenity ship' in 1945. A naval detachment and a Royal Marines Band joined the ship at Vancouver in December 1945, and the MENESTHEUS arrived at Yokohama in January 1946 to join the 'Fleet Train'. She was the only floating brewery in the world and was capable of brewing 1,800 gallons of beer daily from distilled sea water.

Lt.Commander George Brown, a professional brew master from Burton-on-Trent, was in charge of this operation and over half a million pints were sold to the men of the Royal Navy.

The MENESTHEUS was also equipped with a theatre and cinema, and a revue company of sailor artists gave a two-hour show called 'Pacific Showboat'. ("It ain't half hot,Mum?")

The atomic bomb and an earlier than expected end to the war made the MENESTHEUS redundant as a floating 'Fleet Club', and she returned to the UK in July 1946, and rejoined the Blue Funnel Line in 1948.

Sadly in April 1953, she became abandoned on fire following an engine room explosion whilst off Punta Eugenio.

After a subsequent inspection she was written off as a total loss and scrapped soon afterwards.

mandrake079
14-04-2011, 09:22
MENESTHEUS was ... requisitioned by the Admiralty for conversion into a minelayer ... In 1943 she was converted into a recreation ship during which she acquired a second funnel and a brewery. She was decommissioned in 1946 and returned to her owners in 1948.
http://www.red-duster.co.uk/BLUEFUN15.htm


Does anyone know definitively when Menestheus ceased to be a warship? The picture posted by Terry at #18 shows her just after she was converted (presumably around December 1945) wearing a mercantile 'pilot jack', so she appears to have reverted to the red ensign by that time. This is partially confirmed by an article in the 'Pacific Stars and Stripes' newspaper dated 17 March 1946 which states that "Started as a morale boosting, war time enterprise, the Menestheus is continuing her peacetime activities under joint control of Captain P. Purkis, Merchant Navy, and Commander J.M.D Hunter, Royal Navy."

There is a very short account of Menestheus by the first lieutenant of her embarked naval party, the appropriately-named Lt John Haddock, in Eadon, Stuart (ed.), Kamikaze: The Story of the British Pacific Fleet (Crecy Books 1995), pp. 556-7.

astraltrader
14-04-2011, 19:53
The nearest I got to finding that out was in post #18 - so IMO late 1942 or early 1943 would be the time they decided to change her usage from minelaying.

mandrake079
16-04-2011, 07:19
The nearest I got to finding that out was in post #18 - so IMO late 1942 or early 1943 would be the time they decided to change her usage from minelaying.

Thank you Terry, and to Stan for the original posting. I hadn't heard of Menestheus or the 'recreation ship' concept before. It's very interesting that effort was put into converting her in 1943, when there was still considerable pressure on shipyard capacity. Is she a 'one-off' or does anyone know of any other British examples?

Ted.

astraltrader
16-04-2011, 13:06
As far as I know she was the only floating brewery to have been commissioned in the Royal Navy!

weecountyman
22-06-2011, 09:26
As far as I know she was the only floating brewery to have been commissioned in the Royal Navy!

Another ship was earmarked for this role I believe, but never fully converted or operational.

I read somewhere that the brewing apparatus from Menestheus was purchased by John J.Calder the well known Scottish brewer who had an eye for a bargain of pre-owned equipment.

mandrake079
25-06-2011, 07:50
Another ship was earmarked for this role I believe, but never fully converted or operational.

The other ship intended for recreational duties was Menestheus's sister Agamemnon, already mentioned in this thread. According to John Winton's Forgotten Fleet the conversion was stopped (presumably incomplete) at the end of the war, although the Merchant Navy Association site at http://www.red-duster.co.uk/BLUEFUN15.htm explicitly states that she 'was converted'. Geoffrey Mason's Service Histories at http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-08ML-Agamemnon.htm also indicates that the conversion was abandoned in August 1945, and that Agamemnon remained a commissioned warship (unlike Menestheus) and was subsequently used for returning PoWs from the Far East until paying-off in April 1947.

johnny07
26-06-2011, 21:36
A Royal Navy floating brewery, well we live and we learn. That would have been an interesting draft. This has been an interesting thread. :)

kathleens
30-08-2013, 06:30
My father (Bill Mulhearn) was an Electrical Engineer on the Menestheus during the time it was refit in Vancouver and sailed with her to Japan for the signing of the surrender. Here is a photo of a woven insignia from the Menestheus.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/85ckracv7r6wt06/12_NZ_USATrip%20395.JPG

And a photo of he and some of the other ship's officers in Hiroshima.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qpmm1biv7j1j1j5/Scan20014a.jpg

He could tell you a lot more about the refitting and the brewery. Let me know and I will give you contact details.

Kathleen

mandrake079
30-08-2013, 08:45
My father (Bill Mulhearn) was an Electrical Engineer on the Menestheus during the time it was refit in Vancouver and sailed with her to Japan for the signing of the surrender. Here is a photo of a woven insignia from the Menestheus.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/85ckracv7r6wt06/12_NZ_USATrip%20395.JPG

And a photo of he and some of the other ship's officers in Hiroshima.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/qpmm1biv7j1j1j5/Scan20014a.jpg

He could tell you a lot more about the refitting and the brewery. Let me know and I will give you contact details.

Kathleen

Thank you for posting these very interesting pictures. I would very much like to hear from your father about his time in Menestheus if he is willing. Could you please let me have his contact details. A private message would probably be the best way of doing this.

Ted