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HMS ROCKET
HMS ROCKET

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ThomasJohn



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Registered: April 2015
Location: Caloundra Queensland
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Originally an R class destroyer commissioned in 1943. She was converted to a Type 15 frigate in 1949 and scrapped at Dalmuir in 1967.
· Date: Mon, 29 April 19 · Views: 417
· Filesize: 30.1kb, 165.4kb · Dimensions: 1024 x 750 ·
Additional Info
Keywords: HMS ROCKET
Source of Image, If not your own: RN
Location photo was taken: Unknown
Date photo was taken: 1951
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FG86
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Registered: January 2011
Location: Falmouth UK
Posts: 3,650
Thu, 2 May 19 17:16

I think Rocket was unique in having a rounded full length and glazed bridge (the thinking being a totally sealed bridge to allow operations in NBCD environment). others had flat or partially glazed bridges or had raised 'frigate' style versions.
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Dartskipper

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Registered: January 2015
Location: Bedford
Posts: 4,843
Fri, 3 May 19 15:46

HMS Rocket and her sister Relentless were the first destroyers to be converted to Type 15 anti submarine frigates. Work started in 1949, in Devonport and Portsmouth, and took two years to complete. The conversion was judged to be a success, and other vessels underwent similar work, although the cost of 600,000 per ship (in money values of the early 1950's) eventually proved prohibitive. By 1955, it was decided to fulfil requirements by new construction, so no further conversions were started.

It is interesting to speculate about the visible chine on the port bow of Rocket. Is it a strengthening girder, or does it house a de-gaussing cable, or some other equipment? Photos of other type 15's don't appear to show this feature.

HMS Relentless was virtually identical to Rocket, and Undine, Undaunted and Grenville all had the same semi circular bridge when originally converted. This was to protect the ship from nuclear blast, following tests carried out by the USN. However, complaints about visibility from the low superstructure led to the addition of various designs of an upper bridge, including the shape that became familiar in the Type 12's amongst others.

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Roy Kennedy
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FG86
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Registered: January 2011
Location: Falmouth UK
Posts: 3,650
Sat, 4 May 19 13:16

Hi Dartskipper, the girder was a strengthening device as they anticipated long periods of driving at high speeds into North Atlantic seas. It would be interesting to know what evidence became available to suggest it wasn't needed for the reminder of the conversions.
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Dartskipper

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Registered: January 2015
Location: Bedford
Posts: 4,843
Sat, 4 May 19 17:18

Hi FG86, perhaps the alterations to the hulls by extending the forecastle all the way aft to the quarterdeck gave the necessary added strength, or strengthening strakes were added internally? The extra weight of the conversion reduced top speed to about 31 knots, so the pounding would have been not quite so severe, as well.

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Roy Kennedy
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FG86
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Registered: January 2011
Location: Falmouth UK
Posts: 3,650
Sun, 5 May 19 10:44

Thanks Roy, probably correct bout internal modifications, in those days the admiralty still favoured looks as much as effectiveness.
regarding speed, I thought the opposite was the case, as HMS Troubridge was noted at 36 kts in an engine trial off Malta in 1964 and HMS Rapid even at the end of her life and coastal bound engineering ship peaked at 37 knots (alas boiler valve blew and reduced average down to 36kts) during the race against Cavalier who averaged 37kts during the race.
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Dartskipper

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Registered: January 2015
Location: Bedford
Posts: 4,843
Sun, 5 May 19 11:14

The old destroyers could still give a good impression of a greyhound of the ocean when given the chance.
Checking my info on these conversions, I think the top speed in service may have been "restricted" to 31 kts. This wouldn't have prevented anyone testing the full power of the wartime machinery, though! Displacement was increased to around 2,300 tons, so perhaps the 31 kts limit was arbitrarily set to reduce stress on the power units to extend their life as much as possible. The vessels were equipped with only two Admiralty 3-drum boilers feeding two Parsons turbines giving 40,000shp. Interestingly, range at 20 knots as originally built was 4,675 nautical miles, whereas it had reduced to 2,800 nautical miles after the conversion.


(Info from RN Destroyers since 1945 by Marriot, published 1989.)


Regards.

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Roy Kennedy
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FG86
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Registered: January 2011
Location: Falmouth UK
Posts: 3,650
Mon, 6 May 19 16:48

I have RN frigates 1945 - 1983 also by Marriott, a very good source on the type 15/16 conversions. one of my favourite books, and I have a few!
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