Hmy Britannia

20th May 2004, 21:19
The ultimate RN ship taken in 1988.

16th July 2005, 00:10
Nice picture of the Britania! she overtook me in the solent one day back in the early 60's, Awesome! I still think she is the nicest ship I have ever seen. Thanks

Ngaio 62
16th July 2005, 03:00
I'm glad they didn't send her to scrap. She does have a certain charm.


Alan Blair
16th July 2005, 11:00
She's an impressive looking ship-------Alan

David Worth
16th July 2005, 11:36
I well remember HMY Britannia visiting the River Dart in about 1954 and what an impessivesight she made, of course, when Her Majesty named her when launched the RN College at Dartmouth was known as Britannai Royal Naval College, which incidently is celkebratimg being 100 years old this year and replaced the floating ex RN wooded walled vessels Hindoustan and Britannia. It would have been wonderful if she had been moored in the River Thames next to HMS Belfast. HMY was designed as a 2 purpose vessel, 1/. as HM's Royal Yacht and 2/. as a Hospital ship. One of the problems with the vessel was the main electrical system on board was 110 volts Dc and many other non standard for he 1950s equipment which made maintenance very expensive and the obtaining of replacement parts - mechanical and electrical was non exsisitent and had to be made to order, although when built Britannia was the pride of British engineering, shipbuilding, fitting out with furniture, etc., and was during her service life an ambassador for Great Britain's industrial capability which sadly really no longer exsists.

16th July 2005, 13:29
my dad spent 13 years working on the yacht. I remember doing a father and son trip on it from Aberdeen to Pompey. I spent the whole time working watches in the boiler room and engine room, that was what made me sure I wanted to be an engineer on ships! Although the official line was she would be a hospital ship, it was never going to happen. The only available space for wards would be the royal apartments, hence the reason merchant ships were requisitioned for the Falklands conflict.

Doug H
18th July 2005, 07:06
HMY Britannia in Melbourne at the time of the Olmpics in 1956

Doug Rogers
18th July 2005, 07:35
Nice shots O.D. - a spring chicken in those days!!

18th July 2005, 07:55
Moaf ! you lucky man. I would have given anything to have worked in "the Royal" engine room. I have so often stood staring in awe at the Britania when unloading at twyford wharf in Pompey. (early 60's). I salute you Chief.

18th July 2005, 16:52
I was on the middle watch in the boiler room and the chargehand came down with some spuds, chucked them in a bucket of water, disconnected a steam gauge line and put it in the bucket. Hey presto an hour later, lovely warm spuds! Genius!!
The next day, we drifted for a while and the gangway was lowered and we all went swimming. The water was freezing! There was this old bloke struggling to get out of the water, who I thought must have been one of the Dads. I grabbed his hand saying "alright mate!" and helped him up the ladder. When we got to the top, he was handed an Admirals reefer jacket - Doh! It sunk in a few moments later!!

Alan Hill
18th July 2005, 19:20
When I was US Naval Port Operations Officer Naples early '80s she came in; Queen was flying in to join her and then sail/depart. At the Anglican church we went to we met the shipboard (RN) head chef in relation to the head chef ashore in England and he took us on a tour of the ship. All I can say is WOW. Even the Bentley garage on board was amazing. He said the Queen wasn't exactly a sailor (although her mother was) and she, the Queen, used to sit at the bottom of the staircase and just stare in higher seas, pointing to the place where she sat/sits. A very memorable event. Alan Hll Bridgeport, Pa. USA

william dillon
19th September 2005, 23:41
The "Royal Yacht Britannia" should be on the "River Clyde", where she was born, not in Leith, it is a disgrace that we have no "Clyde Built" ships on the Clyde when we have such a history of building the best ships that sailed and served the trade routes and formed the back bone of "The Royal Navy" throughout the years.

20th September 2005, 07:16
Ha Ha! you even got to hold the admirals hand too!

Alan Hill
20th September 2005, 12:05
Another wee bit of Britannia lore. While I was taking my tour on board I noted crewmen walking the open decks hunched over at times. I learned from our guide, the Chief Chef, that because the seaward windows in for example the dining room were about waist high whenever a crewman passed the window(s) outside he would hunch over and pass under the window so that the Queen didn't see them passing by on the weather deck and marring the view. Interesting. Alan Hill Bridgeport, Pa. USA

31st March 2007, 16:24
She is my favorite of the private yachts. Even though she is now moored in Edinburgh, I still believe that she is one of the most amazing and opulent yachts that ever sailed the seas. Extremely fine workmanship on the builder's behalf.

wee bobby
31st March 2007, 22:56
By-the way PatBaltic, Yi canny moor aShip in EDINBURGH--LEITH-YES but no-EDINBURGH!!!!!!(Thumb)

15th June 2011, 21:01
Here's a nice photo of Britannia off Dundee. The chap in the foreground is my late father.

15th June 2011, 21:58
I toured the Britannia in Leith some years ago, but the crew's accommodation was not open to visitors. There was a mock-up POs' two-berth cabin on the quay which was so spartan that it made me wonder how the crew lived.

15th June 2011, 22:57
Edinburgh, Leith, what does it matter - there was serious consideration being given to scuttling her, so although she ended up in the wrong city, better that fate than Davey Jones !

Many of the features that made her the iconic example of the shipbuilder's skills, some of which were unique in shipbuilding practice, were personally driven and supervised on his many visits by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, and were certainly not included, nor allowed for, in the original specifications, with attendant significant impact on the final cost in materials, manhours and rework.

Similar thing happened with the construction of the fast clipper Cutty Sark, which was largely responsible for the financial collapse of her Dumbarton shipbuilder, Messrs Scott & Linton, due to her Owner and his Representative demanding improvements and modifications, all to the highest, and most costly, standard available.

Jeff Taylor
16th June 2011, 00:25
On the official Britania website there are links to significant documents which detail her engineering specs and go into a good deal of explanation as to why certain systems were specified (i.e. the DC electrical system which was chosen in the interest of speeding construction and cost control). Interesting reading.

16th June 2011, 12:46
It would have been interesting if the D of E's Father-in-Law would have had his first choice of replacement for the old V&A which was the "Aviso Grille", Hitler's old "Yacht", fortunatly the Government of the time talked him out of it.

Vital Sparks
16th June 2011, 13:04
I think the refusal of the establishment to "play the game" made her replacement politically impossible.

In reality she's a royal yacht but lets's pretend she's a hospital ship so that all of her running costs can be allocated to the defence budget. At the same time lets not send her to any actual conflicts because she's not really suitable for use as a hospital ship.

I have no problem with the Royal family having a yacht providing that they fund it for themselves.

Union Jack
16th June 2011, 13:36
I think the refusal of the establishment to "play the game" made her replacement politically impossible.

I rather suspect that it was that fine pillar of the "Establishment", the now nearly invisible MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Mr James Gordon Brown, who sounded the death knell for HM Yacht. She had to go for the sake of a few million pounds and the loss of a virtually priceless symbol of national prestige, but he was quite happy to bring the country to the brink of bankruptcy by increasing public spending by tens of biillions, and wilfully ignoring repeated warnings in the process.

In practical terms, my understanding is that the Yacht was not made more widely available as a hospital ship (on the few post 1953 occasions that one was needed, such as the Falklands conflict) because of her dependence on the use, and availability, of FFO rather than diesel, vide para nine

I knew Paul Greening well, and there was certainly no lack of volition on his part.



16th June 2011, 15:12
The "Royal Yacht Britannia" should be on the "River Clyde", where she was born, not in Leith, it is a disgrace that we have no "Clyde Built" ships on the Clyde when we have such a history of building the best ships that sailed and served the trade routes and formed the back bone of "The Royal Navy" throughout the years.

Will probably be moved to London if Mr Salmond gets his wish for independence

17th June 2011, 06:47
To arrive in a foreign port in the company of HMY Britannia made a statement that could not be equalled by any other nation.
If this lot are known as the nasty party then the other lot should be known as the spiteful party after that total act of vandalism, in the disposal of said yacht.

Yours aye,


17th June 2011, 13:23
I was delighted when they got rid of the Britannia. In these hard times why should one family have a bloody great boat like that to swan around in paid for by the taxpayer and manned by the navy, it's ridiculous.(Frogger) (Sad).

17th June 2011, 15:25
She paid off about 15 years ago, how is that connected to the current situation?

17th June 2011, 18:48
She paid off about 15 years ago, how is that connected to the current situation?

You are quite correct but my point is that if the Windsors had their way they would still be swanning around in her with diesels and latterly gas turbines and sod the expense.

26th June 2011, 10:29
I was very much in the camp that she was a very expensive toy. I'd seen her a few times and thought nothing more than "nice ship."

Until the day I was lucky enough to be invited to board her at sea.

Heading out before dawn in a pilot cutter, I wondered if there would be the usual rope boarding ladder. I don't really like ladder transfers, so wasn't looking forward to it. I am a civvy - but from time to time work with the RN. As I was going on the yacht, I wore a suit. Not my first choice of clothing for a trip to sea.

Britannia hoved into view - I'd expected her to be minimum lights like a warship. I was wrong. Her lights were a strange old fashioned yellow hue compared to the white and sodium lights on modern ships (this was 1997 not long before she left service)

The pilot boat came alongside....In the early morning dark, no ladder could be seen on the immaculate shiny hull which was reflecting the lights of the cutter.

Then to my amazement one of her seaboats like a posh Cheverton (Barges I think they called them) was lowered on it's davits to the water. The Pilot cutter put alongside it and I walked onto the seaboat which was then raised to 1 deck level. There a gate in the bulwark was opened and I was saluted by an officer. Quckly whisked to the Royal Chart Room - just below the bridge - where hot bacon sarnies and coffee were ready for me on silver platters. Even the HP sauce and Tomato Ketchup were in silver gravy boats.

I toured this wonderful ship from the stunningly clean machinery spaces through the royal and crew accomodation right to the bridge.

What a truly wonderful thing she was. Ships have spirits and anyone who denies it doesn't understand a ship. This lady was royalty, she felt it, she knew it. Wonderful detail and workmanship everywhere. The funnel for example was designed with drains to the rain wouldn't streak the buff coloured casing with soot. I recall something about the hull being welded in a special way.

The yacht was the only steamer I ever sailed in. The only steamer I ever need to have sailed in.

26th June 2011, 10:56
Wildcat, given her history, I was going to make a smarta*rse comment about your first sentence, but in the light of your articulate post and your obvious affection for the ship, I decided it would be churlish to do so.

I encountered the ship a couple of times, once when she sailed into Brisbane for the Commonwealth Games and later during a Royal visit to Adelaide - immaculate and impressive.

John T

Robert Hilton
28th June 2011, 12:53
Passed her in the Thames one day and pointed out to the Singapore Chinese mate that she bears no name as she is supposed to be known to all. He suggested I call on the VHF in a foreign voice and say, "Ship got no name. Dat against de law!" I couldn't quite bring myself to do so.

Union Jack
29th June 2011, 14:03

Passed her in the Thames one day ......

I do hope that said mate remembered to have your ensign dipped!(Thumb)


29th June 2011, 15:58
Got me curious, as I'd heard about this flush plating too.

The shell plating above the light waterline is worked flush. Below the waterline the
plating is lapped but the plate edges forward have been faired with composition. Butts
of shell plating below the waterline and the shell plating in way of reserve feed tanks
and fresh water tanks are welded. The internal boundaries of oil fuel tanks are also

29th June 2011, 17:08
I saw her in Tauranga (1970?). When the Queen went back to the ship the local speed boats etc couldn't keep up with the Royal Barge......maybe they were being polite, but I don't think so.