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  #1  
Old 16-10-2009, 17:00
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Default Admiralty Floating Docks

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 7˝ 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.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg FloatingDockSouthampton_1.jpg (1.56 MB, 135 views)
File Type: jpg FloatingDockSouthampton_2.jpg (1.30 MB, 99 views)
File Type: jpg FloatingDockSouthampton_3.jpg (1.76 MB, 144 views)
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Old 16-10-2009, 17:05
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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
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File Type: jpg FloatingDockPortsmouth_1.jpg (1.55 MB, 107 views)
File Type: jpg FloatingDockPortsmouth_2.jpg (1.69 MB, 144 views)
File Type: jpg afd_plan.jpg (308.5 KB, 106 views)
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Old 16-10-2009, 17:16
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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?
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File Type: jpg FD1912.jpg (987.6 KB, 49 views)
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Old 20-10-2009, 10:59
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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
Attached Images
File Type: jpg AFD35.jpg (334.5 KB, 124 views)
File Type: jpg AFDMalta_1.jpg (58.4 KB, 157 views)
File Type: jpg AFD_newspaper3.jpg (1.58 MB, 107 views)
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Clive Sweetingham

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Old 20-10-2009, 14:56
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

clive

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

Well done lad

Mik
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Old 20-10-2009, 16:32
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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!!

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Old 20-10-2009, 16:51
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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
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Old 20-10-2009, 17:32
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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
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Old 21-10-2009, 20:09
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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.
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Old 21-10-2009, 21:51
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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.

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Old 22-10-2009, 01:15
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

Just a quick question - do any of the AFDs survive today??
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Old 22-10-2009, 01:24
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

Quote:
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
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Old 22-10-2009, 09:01
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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.
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Old 22-10-2009, 09:36
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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

Last edited by tinduck : 22-10-2009 at 09:59. Reason: more info
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Old 22-10-2009, 14:19
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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Originally Posted by astraltrader View Post
Just a quick question - do any of the AFDs survive today??
Cant anybody answer this question??
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Old 22-10-2009, 19:08
SCRG1970 SCRG1970 is offline
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Post Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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.

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Gerry
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Old 22-10-2009, 19:14
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

Many thanks for the heads up Gerry.

Do you happen to know if any of the surviving examples are still in the UK??
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Old 22-10-2009, 19:14
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Post Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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.

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Old 22-10-2009, 19:23
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Post Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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" !!!!

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Gerry
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Old 23-10-2009, 07:07
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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.
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Old 29-10-2009, 19:55
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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.
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Old 29-10-2009, 22:36
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

Thanks for that info Al.
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Old 29-10-2009, 23:01
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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
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Old 30-10-2009, 16:41
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

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.???

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Old 30-10-2009, 21:42
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Default Re: Admiralty Floating Docks

Harry,
It was if memory serves me right to support the shafts when the props were removed for replacement /cleaning.
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