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PMN1 4th July 2010 14:44

1923 British Aircraft Carrying Mail Steamer
Originally posted on another board I am on...

This originally is suppose to have come from the publication “Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects” Mar 1923 and was proposed by Eustace d’Eyncourt who was the British “Director of Naval Construction” from 1912 to 1923. According to Friedman’s “US Aircraft Carriers” there was a somewhat similar US proposal in 1928 for a 980-foot high speed North Atlantic liner.

The British proposal was for a 600/80/28 foot, 24 knot mail packet capable of carrying 80% of the first and second class and 40% of the third class passengers of the Mauritania for such routes as the

GB to NY with aircraft delivering mail to Canada on route

GB to Australia with aircraft delivering mail to Egypt and India on route

Vancouver to Hong Kong or Australia.

No armament was mentioned though it did say it could carry either 18 Sopwith Cuckoos or 21 Parnall Panthers or 21 Nieuport Night Hawks.

The mast was said to be not a problem because aircraft took off quickly but if it did become a problem an alternate folding mast and derrick was proposed. Bulges were fitted to protect against “icebergs”. The boilers being exhausted out the stern would probably be a problem since it ran right above the First Class lounge and I doubt that people would pay to get overheated. If you notice the B deck amidships is dedicated to lifeboats so I am wondering if during war time the deck could be removed and combined with C deck to create a midship hanger to double the amount of aircraft carried?

I am guessing that as long as the British did not put any armament on them in peacetime they would not legally be considered warships and would not come under the Washington limits. Having said that, at least other countries with similar ideas put a proper superstructure on their designs rather than a flat-top....

chadburn 4th July 2010 18:20

The proposed vessel concerned would have been 600ft long (between perpendiculars), a Beam at the water-line of 80ft and a mean draught of 28ft. Her fully laden displacement (2,500tns Oil Fuel plus 1,500tns Cargo) would be around 24,000tns, her water tube Boiler's would be capable of generating steam of around 50,000HP, this along with her geared steam turbines of around 40,000 to 45,000HP would push her along at 24 kts with an expected "service" speed of 22kts which equates to 60% of max. Crew of 460, Pass 1,250. Especially added (for those who "drive the ship") were side bulges with a view to offering some protection if a collision occurs or she HITS AN ICEBERG. Her aircraft complement was more or less as previously described. The Passenger carrying "concept" was taken from HM ships "Argus" and "Eagle" At the time this was proposed there were no diesel engines considered powerful enough for this "concept" despite concerns of numerous turbine blade failure's on other less powerful vessel's which aided and abetted the changeover by many Shipowners to diesels in the early 1920's.

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