Hovercraft Poole/Weymouth?

rebbonk
23rd August 2009, 05:46
Hi all,

I seem to remember a small hovercraft operating around the Poole/Weymouth area in the late 60's, early 70's. From memory it was used as a passenger ferry. Possibly from Swannage?

Does anyone remember this or can provide information/pictures or even an operator or type number?

O.M.Bugge
3rd September 2009, 10:26
If you go to this link you will find some info on early Hoover Crafts:
http://www.captainsvoyage-forum.com/showthread.php?t=680&highlight=Hoovercraft

billyboy
3rd September 2009, 11:09
Welcome aboard from the Philippines. Enjoy all this great site has to offer

dennyson
3rd September 2009, 11:53
Don't know of any civilian operators, but in the early 70's the RN Hovercraft Trials Unit from Lee-on-Solent would operate around that area. (In '75 I took an SRN-6 to Portland for various trials and operations with the AUWE)

rebbonk
4th September 2009, 05:12
If you go to this link you will find some info on early Hoover Crafts:
http://www.captainsvoyage-forum.com/showthread.php?t=680&highlight=Hoovercraft

Many thanks, I'll follow that up.:)

rebbonk
4th September 2009, 05:14
Don't know of any civilian operators, but in the early 70's the RN Hovercraft Trials Unit from Lee-on-Solent would operate around that area. (In '75 I took an SRN-6 to Portland for various trials and operations with the AUWE)

Thanks for the info. I do vaguely remember the military in the area at the time, particularly with landing craft. But I'm almost certain this unit was a civvy one.

wigger
4th September 2009, 21:47
Hi Rebbonk, welcome to the site!

Weymouth in the late 60's/early 70's was a bit before my time (only just though) but my Dad spent a lot of time around the harbour from the 60's through to the 80's and we were talking about this thread. Neither of us can remember a civilian hovercraft service from Weymouth, and there isn't really any suitable place to run one from. We have come up with 2 or 3 Hovercraft stories from the area though.

As Dennyson has said, the RN sent hovercraft to Portland quite regularly, Dad remembers the SRN-6 but I can only remember the later BH-7 and VT-2 visiting. I am sure I read a story years ago about one of the later sort having to make an emergency stop for fuel on one of the Dorset beaches whilst travelling to or from Lee-On-Solent, I'm sure it was Swanage Beach.

There was a plan to run a hovercraft service to France or the Channel Islands at one point, using Newtons Cove as a Hover Port, like a lot of Weymouths plans, it came to nothing and was soon forgotten.

The last related story is causing a bit of friendly argument between myself and my Dad, I swear he told me that one of the big cross channel hovercraft paid a visit to Portland for some reason or another in the 70's. The trouble is he says he doesn't remember any such event, and if it did happen, its not the sort of thing he would forget.

Kind regards
Craig.

rebbonk
5th September 2009, 04:44
Cheers Wigger.

Time does funny things to the old grey matter, perhaps I'm mistaken. :)

Spence15
7th September 2009, 05:03
Cheers Wigger.

Time does funny things to the old grey matter, perhaps I'm mistaken. :)
Hi

I came across your comments about hovercraft operating from Weymouth while I was researching the same info myself. I have vivid memories as a child standing watching a huge hovercraft coming into Weymouth. Would have been the early 70's. I was going on holiday with my family to France and I'm sure we made a Weymouth to Cherbourg ferry crossing. Having looked at the links in this thread the SRN6 looks exactly like the hovercraft images stuck in my head. Can still hear the noise and the feel the adrenaline watching it come closer. Would be good to hear from others with any memories of the same as I've found nothing about hovercraft of that size operating from Weymouth!

rebbonk
8th September 2009, 04:21
Hi

I came across your comments about hovercraft operating from Weymouth while I was researching the same info myself. I have vivid memories as a child standing watching a huge hovercraft coming into Weymouth. Would have been the early 70's. I was going on holiday with my family to France and I'm sure we made a Weymouth to Cherbourg ferry crossing. Having looked at the links in this thread the SRN6 looks exactly like the hovercraft images stuck in my head. Can still hear the noise and the feel the adrenaline watching it come closer. Would be good to hear from others with any memories of the same as I've found nothing about hovercraft of that size operating from Weymouth!

Maybe I'm not losing it then ;)

I was asking my brother today, he couldn't remember it; and yes looking at the pics I suspect it was an SRN6. I too remember the noise vividly.

Like I say, it was a very long time ago and time does play funny tricks with memories.

wigger
8th September 2009, 17:57
Maybe there was a visit from one, some sort of demonstration or something, thats a possiblity!
Unfortunately there is just nowhere in Weymouth Harbour to operate a hovercraft from, there is no ramp or slope in the harbour unless one was tied up alongside as opposed to out of the water which is possible but not ideal. The beach would be the best bet I guess, but again not ideal, its just sand or shingle and a few 1000 holiday makers would get in the way. :D
I have found some interesting stuff on Wikipedia which mentions SRN 6's being used for a channel service. "In 1966, two Cross Channel passenger hovercraft services were inaugurated using SR-N6 hovercraft. Hoverlloyd ran services from Ramsgate Harbour, England, to Calais, France, and Townsend Ferries also started a service to Calais from Dover, which was soon superseded by that of Seaspeed."

Kind regards
Craig

snooper
8th September 2009, 18:10
Good afternoon Wigger,lads,
I grew up in the 70s at Portland & kept a weekly diary of all shipping movements,including all visits by Hovercraft on AUWE trials.Not sure if you remember Wigger but they used the now demolished Ramp(Hard) where the Osprey Quay boat-lift has been recently constructed.
Peter

snooper
8th September 2009, 18:37
Craig,regarding your fathers memory and the related question.Indeed,i can confirm he was correct!
In 1976,the RN had a plan to possibly convert a couple of SR-N4s to a mine countermeasures role...
The SR-N4, 'Sir Christopher',did make a very rare trip from Dover Heliport to RNAS Portland,via Lee-on-Solent.
She arrived on 4th,May 1976 & departed two days later on the 6th may.
On my journey home from school in Wyke, I clearly saw her on the concrete apron,complete with her red/black/white Hoverlloyd livery.Unfortunatly,It was not possible to get photos as this area was MOD property then.Sadly I never saw her arrival/departures for her trials but i am sure anyone seeing her will never forget the 'racket' she wold have made..So your Dad was correct Craig,It was the only visit by a SR-N4 ever,I was lucky to spot that as well,but i do wish i had seen her arrival-departure!
Peter

wigger
8th September 2009, 19:09
Brilliant Snooper! I knew I wasn't imagining it, its a shame he can't remember it. At least I can try and remind him with a bit more certainty now! :D
Yep, I remember the ramp at HMS Osprey, but like I said, the only RN hovercraft I can remember visiting for long was the BH7 that was used for MCM trials.

Kind regards
Craig

snooper
8th September 2009, 20:33
Your welcome,Craig with our combined memories of Portland shipping we could write a book.....Yes I also remember that huge black/grey BH-7 thing as well,she was on the Hard on several occassions in late 70s early 80s.The destruction of the concrete ramp upset many people locally as it was also the main D-Day departure point for the Allied invaision forces.
With regard to Weymouth being used or visited by Hovercraft,other than exercises or movements in the Bay or entering North/East ship channels,I cannot remember anything related to Weymouth harbour/beach etc,It would seem unlikely but you never no,there may have been something in the 60-70s?
Peter

wigger
8th September 2009, 21:40
Cheers Snooper, I've just spoken to my Dad and he finally remembers it, as soon as I mentioned the hard it all came flooding back! Here is a photo he posted some time ago which he says was taken there, or at least very close by, he has a few others in his gallery.
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/36836/ppuser/4170
Craig.

snooper
8th September 2009, 22:13
I am pleased you are able to retrieve some interesting memories with your Dad Wigger....
Yes,I can see the two photos were taken looking from the top of the ramp.Those concrete structures in the backgrond were 'Dolphins' moorings,for the D-Day LSTs & Landing craft.They went sometime in the 90s.
Its a shame Craig,they dont situate a commemorative board or plaque on the site to honour the D-day connection & Hovercraft trials.Maybe some enquiries can be made!