British Valour and British Courage ...special ships

30th July 2007, 13:03
For those BP Tanker specialists (A) .... what was special about the Valour and the Courage ???? ... I know but do you??

Barnsey (==D)

30th July 2007, 16:01

I took the Valour as 2M to layup in the Kyles of Bute in April 72. She was built to government (RFA) standards and had a top speed, according to the 2E who had experienced test runs, of 21 kts. Apparently she was capable of outrunning P&O liners, something he had also witnessed when leaving Suez homeward-bound. Because she was fairly knackered by the time I joined her in Antwerp, we never opened her up as required (once a month?). Had a great time partying both on board as well as ashore in Rothesay with a skeleton crew. Pictures of her in my gallery. Apart from the layup not altogether a close-knit ship.
Master Nigel Packard.
P.S. the Top Ten hit at the time was Elton John's 'Rocket Man'....grab that!

30th July 2007, 20:33
I think Paul has said it all. There is a thread (or two) on the Valour & the Courage somewhere on this site but not too sure where.......
Kind regards,

Graham Wallace
31st July 2007, 01:18
I always thought they 'were' something special. I always fancied a trip on them but never made it.I'm sure I have an email from someone sailing on one in their latter years when all and sundry prayed when they were opened up.

Anyone any idea what the boilers were? Stupid question as I look up my LLoyds,both 685 psi @ 850 Superheat
Would be interested to know if anyone has anymore details on their 'special' specs


31st July 2007, 20:01
A 3/E I sailed with whilst a cadet (John Bryson - smashing chap) had spent some time on these - aparrently the Admiralty nozzles admitted full pressure superheated steam into the third stage of the ahead turbine, rather than increasing the admission area of the sirts stage as was Stal practise. This would give a good kick - mind the blades must have been of fancy steel.


1st August 2007, 04:05
Yup you are all nearly right .... cant let you get away with too many Kudos .. that would not be correct!!! (Smoke)

They had an Admiralty subsidy so that they could be used as fleet bulk supply vessels. The "Normal" 33 to 37's Quite a bunch of variations ) had what seemed a standard fit of 15,500 shp turbines but, these particular two had 25,000 shp turbines and it seems the Boilers were suitably endorsed to supply the ergs for that extra grunt they had. I always had it in my mind they had a third boiler but that really wouldn't make a lot of sense I suppose? Our resident Engineer's will no doubt comment on that aspect???

Lovely era of designs ....powerfull and purposefull. (K)


3rd August 2007, 12:01
For the technically minded, the following details were gleaned from my "Engineer Apprentices' Sea Service Guide"

Main Engine:

Parsons Pametrada cross compounded H.P. impulse, L.P. impulse reaction double flow, double reduction and helical articulared gearing. Made by Wallsend Slipway.

S.H.P. = 14,000/25,000 at 108/130rpm


Two oil fired Babcock and Wilcox Marins selectable superheat rated at 685 psi and 850° F superheat. giving 600psi at the superheater outlet.

Fuel consumption 87 tons/day at 14,000 S.H.P.

She was also fitted with two steam turbine driven forced draught fans, located in the funnel, to provide combustion air when steaming at full power.

I sailed on her in 1960 and we never ran at full power during that time. Sadly my memory fails me now as to what the arrangements there were for running at full power.


david freeman
16th September 2007, 17:04
Hi In 1963 as an apprentice engineer, on my second trip which was the courage, which I joined in Drydock (Smiths North Sheilds) Sept-Oct? On the first voyage out light passage to Mina-Al-Ah madhi just passed gib after entering the Med, Engine trials where held and recorded for 24 hours at full rated steaming. The full consumption was horrific (170/180 Tons for the period) all auxilaies operating at full out put. I belive the average speed for the period was some 17 to 18Knots. Quite an experience for an apprentice.

Roy Grant
14th October 2007, 18:40
I sailed as 2/E on the Courage in the late 70's. At that time she was running between Gulf ports & Durban. We did attempt a high speed run on oen trip but only for about 16 hours! We did not achieve anything like her design speed on 21/22 knots (I believe she was faster than the Valour on original trials.

We normally steamed with only 4 of the 5 burners in use (Size 26 tips I think) with the electric FD fans. For high speed all 5 burners were fitted (size 36 tips!) using the turbo fd fans and opening up extra nozzles on the HP turbine. Fuel consumption then rose from about 90 tpd to 165 tpd. On our failed attempt to carry out this run the extra nozzle valve was seizes and we sheared the v/v spindle trying to open it! We only managed to raise our steaming speed from our normall 11 knots to about 15 knots! With huge fuel consumption.

Regardlsess of the above she was a good ship - old and falling apart but a good social life!

offcumdum sanddancer
17th October 2007, 20:12
Hello Roy,
You see, good site! I visited one of these ships and thought that the bottom plates were very crowded. Did they have uprated boiler feed pumps as well, or were there the usual unused and unusable 'harbour' feed pump?

20th November 2007, 15:37
British Valour had a difficult time prior to being re-tubed at Palermo. I joined her as 2/O at Grain towards the end of May 1968 and finished discharge at Aarhus (where she sank at her moorings) and Copenhagen (where 2 x crew members were held on suspicion of attempted burglary of the gold exchange).
Having signed on another seaman from the Hamburg Pool we left ostensibly for Milazzo to load feedstock for Immingham. En route approx 6 hrs short of Gib we virtually ran out of boiler water necessitating a trip alonside where 250tons were purchased. Within hours of leaving Gib the precious water had all but gone. We made it into Palermo and about a week later into a floating dry dock. Engineroom and deck interpreters were appointed. The deck guy was a character by the name of Pietro Saporito a relict of the early SAS mountain fighters in Greece during 1943. Don McKenzie was Mate, Phil ? 2/E (from the NE), myself Mike Alexander, and Electrician ? and wife from Falmouth were left on board the remaining crew signed off and repatriated. The vessel lay until late September before leaving and resuming trade. There are a wealth of stories surrounding this period re 1. the degaussing cable ,2.contents of medical locker,3. chilled stores 4. bonded stores nothing illegal but hilarious non the less. (Thumb)

7th December 2007, 00:30
Joined the Valour as first trip cadet in November 1967 whilst she was in dry-dock in Birkenhead. Left her in the I.O.G. in mid April '68.
Joined the Courage as first trip U3/O in Dunkirk in September 1969 and left her 6 months later in March'70 at Nynashamn.
Joined the Valour as 3/O in KGV dry-dock in April 1971 and left 7months later in December '71 at RAK.
All were eventful trips in their own way I was about to say they were all good trips and enjoyable but then you stop and remember the arguments with C/O's, the fights in the crew's accommodation and there you and the C/O are in amongst the metal bars and the flying knives armed with a pair of handcuffs trying to sort it out, the Old Man was locked in his cabin not wanting to know. Same port I am out on deck on cargo watch and they have run out of beer in the crew bar and the Chief Steward has got some tucked away in the laundry locker mid-ships, no way am I going to be able to stop them and stay in one piece but I can't make it too easy.
I could probably get a book out of my two trips on the Valour but wouldn't swap it for anything, a good ship to sail and I liked them both for cargo handling never had any problems with the double shut-offs!!!
The second time on the Valour we managed to arrive in the I.O.G. with just enough food on board to give the Super a meal and he would have been wasting his breath asking for a drink unless he got it in the Old Man's or Chief Stewards cabins. I have never seen a ship apparently store so much but have nothing on board. We had even stopped off in Las Palmas to store on the way up from Cape Town, where we had also stored.
I won't even mention the tea reliefs, though sometimes it was to my benefit, or the Old Man enquiring into the colour of your urine.
Cheers George

7th December 2007, 11:37
Er George ..... you must have left lots out ???? Pray continue .... fascinating stuff ... never had anything like this on my ships...... sounds a bit like John Cleese trying to keep lots of manuels at bay......


7th December 2007, 17:00
Being Indian crewed certainly had advantages sometimes......
C'mon......lets hear the rest of it, like Barnsey said.

Kind regards,

Sarky Cut
7th December 2007, 17:12
I was on one like that, there was always fights down aft of a weekend, either over to much or not enough beer, usually if the crew were from the same pool. old arguements and scores to settle.

The white crew where they all came from different parts of the country always worked better. There was the usual our team is better than your team but mostly banter not batter.

The Southampton crews on the Dart Boats were something else though.
They could really kick off of a weekend at sea. But all appeared on the Monday battered and bruised but happy with it.

Cheap wine in the states was the main cause of it. It would take a brave mate to stop it being brought onboard as well and there were none!

Oh what have I missed!!!!

8th December 2007, 10:17
I joined as 2/M in Antwerp Jan 72 just after you'd left. Can't remember much about the crowd but I do recall having big personal problems at times with the very fussy, pompous Mate. Not a fun ship till he left during lay-up in the Kyles of Bute.
Do you remember who relieved you as 3/M? Any other names that spring to mind? Nigel Packard was Master.

9th December 2007, 13:36
Hi Paul,
Nigel Packard was Old Man when I left,sailed with him on the Sergeant the following year he was the one with the urine concerns. C/O was Paul somebody or other, afraid I can't remember his last name but we kept falling out. I did tea reliefs for him and was lucky if I got down for my meal before 5:40 and there was nothing left, luckily the 2nd steward would at times take pity on me and knock-up something fresh for me. We had not gotten of to a good start as on arrival at our first port after he and Trevor joined; they had been setting lines for loading and I came out on deck and said they were doing it wrong which he would not accept and so we had a bit of a fall-out. He thought the double shut-offs were crossovers and what did I know, it was my first cargo as well, but not my first trip on the ship. I'm still waiting for an apology or something but we carried on like that till I left.
I can't remember the 2nd Mate as I think Trevor Bellis had left before me. Sparks had been Dick Lodge a good guy, I wonder if he ever did set up his own shipping line. Chief steward was the never to be forgotten Len Bloor, good at somethings but not at keeping food in the fridges or beer in the beer store.
Engineers are a blank apart from Dick Wilkinson 4/E but he left much the same time as me.
Cheers George

9th December 2007, 13:39
Hi again,
the little picture is of me as a cadet on the wheel of the Valour.

25th August 2013, 01:18
Hi Paul

I relieved George in RAK as 3rd Mate (first trip) Paid off Kyles of Bute with Nigel Packard who lives not far from me.


25th August 2013, 06:26
I did 5 voyages as an 18 year old fireman/greaser on the British Valour from 14 October 1959 until 15 May 1960. My discharge book alleges the horsepower was 22500 SHP. My understanding was the shafts were on an angle. Big step up in the boiler room from my previous ship a 800 ton steam recip with two scotch boilers and change of tips every watch. Tips changed weekly on the Valour. I must have been on the 12 to 4 as I recall tube blowing by the gingerbeers every night. That watch would have suited me with time for plenty of bronzy and use of the pool. Two cans of beer twice a week so not much chance of the crowd going beserk on that though a couple of old timer ABs drank their laundry biprox once in mistake for their whisky bottle. Captain Flamstead was master and his wife was sailing with him. I later did 3 trips on the Br Aviator and like the Valour she was a good feeder.

25th August 2013, 17:03
Chief steward was the never to be forgotten Len Bloor, good at somethings but not at keeping food in the fridges or beer in the beer store.

Aye I sailed with Len on the Resolution in 83, He made a 'Call My Bluff' sort of game thing up out ouf old hard board and it would generally come out on social nights. Well it made a change from darts, only thing was you could'nt do 1001 for the case of beer on it.(==D)