Vic 56 - Built in 1945

Bob S
14th July 2005, 14:39
A couple of views of VIC 56 on the River Thames. The first during 1984 & the other during 1992.

15th July 2005, 07:00
I seem to remember many years ago reading an article in Ships Monthly about a puffer and it may well have been this one. I wonder if I've still got it..............

16th July 2005, 08:36

Wheelhouse: There are no modern navigational aids, apart form the VHF radio which is essential on the Thames. VIC 56 never posessed radar or an echo sounder. When built the helmsman's position had no weather protection.

Engine Room: The compound steam engine is to the same design as that used on the other VICs. The exhaust steam is cooled in the seawater fed condenser and returned to the boiler and the pumps which effect this are driven off the main engine. There is also a Worthington-Simpson general service pump and a Frank Pearn banjo-type auxiliary boiler feed pump. At one time the engine room also included an oil fired cast iron boiler to supply the central heating system (to avoid using the coal stoves when carrying ammunition).

There has never been provision for electricity generation on board. The electric lighting system was installed for use with a shore supply when the vessel returned to its normal overnight berth.

Galley: The original stove burned diesel at the time of acquisition, but later boiler waste. Due to damage to the rear plate, it was replaced with a similar stove, which is also operated on boiler waste. This is a generous galley for a ship of this size; the small VICs had only a stove in the fo'c's'le.

Fo'c's'le: Accommodation for 3 seamen and a stoker. The mock wood graining is original. Underneath is the 30 ton water ballast tank which also supplies the boiler feed and domestic tanks. Above is the steam windlass for use in cargo handling and in raising and lowering one of the 4 cwt anchors.

After Cabin: Accomodation for the acting skipper (in PAS days someone of the rank of mate) and engineer (the mechanician who was not necessarily a DOT certificated engineer, although VIC 56 was very lucky to have a qualified engineer Mr R E Drury in charge for much of her working life at Rosyth), the furniture and fittings are original.

Hold: Cargo capacity 120 tons.

16th July 2005, 08:38
I'm going to post some History of the Vics on the Historic section some time soon.


16th July 2005, 08:40
Look forward to it Graeme.

16th July 2005, 23:49
Not a VIC - but should be of interest - the Pibroch website (

(Includes an excerpt 'Clyde Puffers - The Two Pibrochs' from an article in Model Magazine Feb. 2003 by Jim Pottinger.)

17th July 2005, 08:16
I sailed on the MV Pibroch when she was owned by Glenlight Shipping co. A fine little coaster, plying her trade for many years up and down the whole of the west coast of Scotland. She is hopefully going to be restored in time.

Bob S
18th July 2005, 19:57
VIC 56 - Victualling Inshore Craft.
Built as a victualling lighter and used at Rosyth, later became an armament carrier and was disposed of during 1978.
Heard somewhere that she had her oil burning boiler converted so she could burn wood & coal, can anyone confirm this?

19th July 2005, 08:52
For Bob. S

Your right Bob she was converted from oil to coal firing in view of her expensive oil consumption of 23 gallons per hour at 4.5 knots (diesel oil was used as VIC 56 was never equipped with coils or pumps to burn heavier oil).

Here is an interesting website for the VIC 56 that will give you lots of great information on her.

For most of her working life, the VIC 56 was used in Rosyth naval base as an ammunition vessel. She was due to be disposed in September 1978, but was bought for preservation by J. H. Cleary, the present owner.

The Rev

Bob S
19th July 2005, 19:33
Thanks Rev,
Not a bad website. Used to see her quite often moored up on the Thames but can't say I've seen her recently. There's an old trawler where she used to moor.