Mimi & Tou-Tou

2nd March 2008, 17:17
The twins were originally proposed to be named HMS Cat & HMS Dog, by Geoffrey Spicer-Simson RN,
however, the Admiralty not being greatly enamoured, they accepted the equally bizarre, but not so obvious,
HMS MIMI and HMS TOU-TOU, the fact of that being the French equivalent of Meeow and Woof-woof, having
escaped most of them. Having recently been introduced by Bud Shortridge to this story, I became interested
in the launches themselves (the story having been related in the book by Giles Foden in 2005).
There are conflicting reports (official and otherwise) that the vessels were 60 feet and 40 feet in length,
that they were armed with 3 pound or 6 pound guns, that they were built especially for the mission to Lake
Tanganyika, that they were built for the Greek Royal Air Force originally, and that they were commandeered
from the Thames River Patrol. A South African Govt report indicates they were armed with 3 pound Hotchkkiss.
Were they powered by Thorneycroft engines? Were they just 4.5 tons?
Their speed is given between 15 and 19 knots?
The whole story of the 1915 expedition across land, and of the battle on the lake goes beyond the world of
reality into one of the greatest Boy's Own gung-ho adventures; the book Africa Queen being based around the events.
Please does anyone know of anything about these two, as there are no records indicated at the National Archives,
and Geoffrey Spicer Simson only appears in one early document, as far as I can see,
Best Wishes, Raymond