Please help us - Sir William Reed? - Ships Nostalgia
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Please help us - Sir William Reed?

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  #1  
Old 11th July 2010, 21:51
Rafal Zahorski's Avatar
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Please help us - Sir William Reed?

Sir William Reed - I do not know if this question is suitable to be given here. But for sure "The Old Shipmates" is not good too.

For these guys who do not know him I can give you some brief info:

He was a father of many Whale Catchers, than he designed our THPV Bembridge in 1938 (she was testing a new designed hull for flower class corvettes) than after her he designed three classes of Corvettes: Flower, than Castle and on the end River class. So he was one of the famous naval engineers in UK, he finally received OBE so as British citizen had a right to use Sir title.

He was working in Schlesinger Davis & Company, Wallsend, and Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd. and finally he joined Smith's Dock in 1898. In 1909 he was appointed general manager at the yard at South bank. He was finally a director of of Smith's Dock Co. Ltd. This position he held since 1917. From 1944 until 1946 he was consultant naval architect. He died on the 4th or 5th October 1948 aged 73.

Now why I am asking?

Do not try to find any his picture or biography in internet. No chance. I was trying to find as much as possible but no chance. It looks that his person is fully today forgotten. Why? He was not a guy being present everywhere. He was known as a hard working man and as you see he was working till the last minutes of his fruitful life.

I am looking for all details about this man, any pictures, any written materials , any family ... I intend to memorize him by making his biography and place it together with his pictures on board of his daughter - so our old lady Bembridge. Additionally his full biography will be placed on www.bembridge.pl.

I written many e-mails and I received only these two attached scans.

His children you can find here:

http://www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/r...2575AE005127E6

That is all what I know about him. Please help us to find much more

Best greeting Rafal
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File Type: jpg Mr. William Reed.jpg (97.9 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg William Reed.jpg (287.6 KB, 27 views)
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Old 13th July 2010, 21:49
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Silence?

Come on Guys,

Really nothing?

I can not believe, really!

Somebody should know something more for sure

Best greeting Rafal
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Old 14th July 2010, 12:59
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He was gone by the time I started there, however, I am still trying to contact one of the "old boy's" to see if he knows anything. Big Lenny T would not be old enough to have been there at that time I would think.
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Old 14th July 2010, 14:02
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Is there anything to be found about him in the archives of the Company?

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/n...w.asp?ID=B6606

I'm not knowledgeable about online searches of the NA and have problems in getting to Kew these days, so someone else may be able to help here. There are a couple of locations of repositories listed.

Good luck
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Old 14th July 2010, 16:23
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Hi Rafal

If your man is as senior and as well known in the shipping industry as appears to be the case, there is a good chance there will be something on him in the shipping publications of the time - such as Shipping & Syren magazine, The Motor Ship and even Sea Breezes. I think also there was a publication peculiar to the north east of the UK, though I don't know its name - try Tyne & Wear Archives if you want to pursue that line of enquiry. I do know that Southampton Reference Library (special collections) has copies of these other publications and your best chance lies there. I have seen features on prominent personalities in the shipping world, including obituaries, and these are usually accompanied by a photograph. I will have a look next time I go there, unless other members can beat me to it. I'm sure what you seek exists - just have to find it.

Dave W
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Old 14th July 2010, 19:22
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The publication pecurliar to the Nort East may well have been the journal of The North East Coast Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders, this was disbanded in the late 1980s/early 1990s and the archives placed with Tyne and Wear Archives as Wightspirit says

http://www.tyneandweararchives.org.u...ipbuilding.htm

Seem to recall that South Tyneside College had bound copies of the proceedings also. They also had a collection of publicity material from some of the shipyards, - might be worth a letter.

Duncan

Last edited by Duncan112; 15th July 2010 at 13:42.. Reason: Typo
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Old 15th July 2010, 07:39
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Great THANX!!!!

Thank to all of you for help.

Dear Chadburn, did you work before in Smith's Dock? I understood you well? When?

We are creating a small museum on Bembridge and certain space will be dedicated to a history and activity of Smith's Dock. So we are collecting all things related to Smith's Dock. I was visiting with my colleague Kamil this year all facilities where were Smith's Dock. So I am naturally looking for a contact with anybody who can help with this subject. Please look at here:

http://www.bembridge.pl - you can see a history of SD, some scanned documents and books related to Smith's Dock and us keeping in hands original Smith's Dock flag from 30'

Thank you Ron, Dave and Duncan - I will trace that places and I will let you know here what I was able to find.

Anyway If anybody will find anything will be nice to have it and we can make his biography just here and publish here his pictures. So will be one place in interent where he will be near his vessels.

Once again many thanks for your kind help.

Best greeting Rafal
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Old 16th July 2010, 12:54
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My contact started at Smith's in 1939 as an Apprentice Marine Fitter and then went to sea in 1945/46. Although he knew the name as far as he remembered he had never met him which is not unusual in the old shipyard culture as Senior Management never directly spoke to the "worker's", anything that had to be said to them was passed through the pecking order down to the Foreman who then passed it on to the man/men concerned, even if the "Boss" was in the same place as the Worker he would tell the Manager or Foreman but would not walk over and talk directly to the worker/s concerned (it still happened when I was there in the mid 1950's). His other comment was that as far as he was aware Sir William did not design the Corvette's but of course was involved in their production. It does seem strange that there is no info about him readily available (bearing in mind his credits) so it is a matter of member's looking through old Journal's and hopefully finding something, which is what I will be doing.
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Old 16th July 2010, 18:23
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Chadburn, were you at Smiths when they boiled the dock to remove a cargo of asphalt from a Shell tanker? it was about 13-15000 tons I think, although it could have been smaller.
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Old 16th July 2010, 18:31
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There should be some data available on his nomination for the OBE.

John.
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Old 16th July 2010, 21:26
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Dear Chadburn, it looks you started to work just one year after THPV Bembridge was born - she is 1938 - so one year before you started.

wow, you started when you were ...15??? So you remember all flower class corvettes? You were toughing Gladiolus??? It is incredible. It will be a great pleasure to shake you hand really.

Yes you are right - it is strange. But... we have in Poland a certain theory. He was hidden by British Admiralty during WWII but specially after a war. It looks it was done in such a way to forget about him especially. Anyway it is really a strange story.

I have a very important question: are you able to find him on the picture showing any launching in Smith's Dock.

Thank you very much in advance for your help in you searching/

Dear John - I had the same suggestion from Poland. Some journalists told me that in an application for OBE there is a biography and a lot of arguments proving an ability to achieve that honor. But do you have any idea where I can find such a data? Where I can sent any mail or letter?

Once again many thanks for all help. I am now checking all posted "arrows" - if any I will place it here.

Great thanks Rafal
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Old 17th July 2010, 18:18
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Looks like we have a communictions interface malfunction going on here, it was an old friend (86yrs old) I contacted who started in 1939 and he worked through the War at Smith's and then went to sea. My App started in 1955, my claim to fame (if you could call it that) is that as an Apprentice I assisted on the last VTE+T Smith's ever built, my initials were "popped" on to the underside of the LP Crosshead. Working on this engine assisted me greatly in later years when working on other's and I was the "Geordie 4th" on the Ardrossan.
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Old 17th July 2010, 19:18
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Rafal,I would think there would be a OBE association somewhere in the UK and they may shed some light on his Bio, making contact with a British MP could help if you lived in the UK,but living in Poland that could be difficult unless you have friends in the UK.

John.
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Old 18th July 2010, 21:22
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Some new in our searching

Hello everybody, I am continuing my searching. I found interesting link: http://www.archive.org/stream/navals...kuoft_djvu.txt

Here you can find a full text of NAVAL SERVICE OF CANADA. It looks it is ocr of original book. I have already corrected some mistakes.

There are 4 interesting pages where we can find many details about William Reed:

Page 30:

The flower-class corvette, which was to play such a large
role in the history of the Canadian navy during the Second
World War, was originally called the "patrol vessel, whaler
type", and its design had in fact been based on that of a commercial whalecatcher. 24 Its origin may be traced back to the
First World War, when submarine warfare had been inaugurated on a large scale and numerous fishing vessels had been
brought into service for auxiliary anti-submarine duty. Later
in that war the Admiralty had begun to build specialized ships
for this work. These were small merchant or fishing vessels,
and could be constructed by firms not employed on more
complex or highly-skilled naval building. An anti-submarine
vessel of particular interest in connection with the development of the corvette was the "Z"-class whaler built by Smith's
Dock Co. of South Bank near Middlesbrough, Yorkshire. It
was smaller than the corvette, but was similarly based on a
whalecatcher design: indeed it had been camouflaged to look
like an ordinary whalecatcher with a dummy whaling gun on
the bow and a crow's nest on the mast.

Early in 1939, Mr. William Reed, O.B.E., of Smith's Dock
Co., who had designed the "Z"-class whaler, was again called
into consultation by the Admiralty in connection with preparations for an anti-submarine war. The Admiralty's problem,
as outlined by the C.N.S. on January 2, 1939, was to find more
suitable submarine chasers than either sloops, which "cost too
much when we want numbers," or trawlers, which were "too
slow to use as a striking force." Considerations that would
have to be taken into account in addition to cost and speed
were seaworthiness, maneuverability, acceleration, water-tight
subdivision, endurance, asdic efficiency, rapidity of production
in yards not likely to be engaged with other naval work, and
finally, complement. The last was particularly important as
the manning problem would certainly be one of the most
difficult to solve in the event of war.

Mr. Reed's interview with the Director of Naval Construction at the Admiralty in February 1939, was not unlike one he
had had with Lord Fisher in March 1915, when he had told of
his special study of whalecatching beginning with a visit to the
Antarctic whaling regions in 1912, and of how most of the
improvements which he had subsequently made in his whale-
catchers had also made them better for hunting submarines

''^ Information on the origin of the corvette design was obtained from Mr. William Reed, O.B.E., managing director of Smith's Dock Co., Ltd., South Bank, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire.

Page 31

Procurement OF SHIPS -DEFENSE OF CANADA, 1939-41

the same rapid acceleration, maneuverability, and seaworthiness, being required for both purposes. The Smith's Dock
whalecatcher which had interested the D.N.C. particularly in
1939, and on which Mr. Reed based the corvette design that he
brought back to the Admiralty early in April, was the Southern
Pride.

The new drawings embodied a number of changes which
Mr. Reed considered necessary in order to meet war requirements. The hull and machinery still followed commercial
standards, the main engine being, in fact, an exact duplicate
of the reciprocating engine in the Southern Pride. The length
of 190 feet, however, was some 30 feet greater than that of the
Southern Pride, and there were two Scotch marine boilers in
place of one of the water-tube type. Provision was also made
tor extensive water-tight subdivision, and tor the addition of a
4-inch gun and an asdic set as well as other armament and
equipment specified by the Admiralty.

The main objections raised by Admiralty officials were to
the speed of the new design and its added length. The estimated speed of 153^2 to 16 knots compared very unfavorably
with the nearly 20 knots reached by the latest sloops. It was
suggested that by retaining the water-tube boiler an increase
of one knot might have been possible. Mr. Reed explained,
however, that for the sake of rapid production Scotch boilers
would have to be accepted since they could be obtained in
about sixteen weeks, while makers of water-tube boilers would_
not promise any deliveries for at least seven months in view of
the existing emergency. The extra length of the vessel, Mr.
Reed said, was in order to avoid the reduction in speed which
would otherwise have resulted from the increased displacement
caused by adding water-tight bulkheads, another boiler, and
the naval armament and equipment. Under these circumstances the Smith's Dock "patrol vessel, whaler type", was
approved by the Admiralty as the best anti-submarine vessel
for rapid production, and the first order was placed on Julv 25,
1939.

The rather devious way in which information regarding
this new whalecatcher or corvette design reached N.S.H.(^.
exemplifies the fortuitous character of many events in those
I first days of war. At its annual meeting in the spring of 1^>39,
the Canadian Manufacturers Association had decided to send
a mission to the United Kingdom to study war production.
The mission sailed on July 29.

Page 61

PROCUREMENT OF SHIPS- DEFENCE OF CANADA, 1939-41

The corvettes in this new programme were ordered earlv
in 1941,122 and were the first of the revised class to be built in
Canada. Even before 1940 Mr. William Reed, the designer of
the original vessel, had expressed concern at its bow-heaviness
caused by greater weight forward than he had anticipated.
The Admiralty had been anxious at that time to avoid anv
change which might delay production; but when it became
necessary the following winter to use corvettes for ocean
convoy work, and bitter complaints came in regarding their
behaviour in North Atlantic seas, Mr. Reed's revisions were
accepted. The two most important of these were an increase
in the sheer and flare of the hull forward in order to give
greater buoyancy there, and a lengthening of the forecastle,
partly for the same purpose and partly to give more adequate
accommodation for the crew, which had been greatly aug-
mented. ^-^ Plans incorporating these changes arrived in
Canada in April, 1941, too late for any but the last ten ships
to be altered. All of this group were built in eastern Canada,
because of the exceptionally high tender prices offered by
west-coast firms on this occasion. A few were completed by
the end of 1941; the rest by the spring or early summer of
1942. Contracts for the twelv^e M.L.'s had not been let until
about the middle of July, 1941, ^-^ because of delays in connec-
tion with the first M.L. order, and for the same reason com-
missioning did not take place until May and June 1942.

In the fall of 1940 the Royal Canadian Navy obtained
eight destroyers which did not form part of any naval pro-
gramme. One was the river-class destroyer H.M.C.S. Mar-
garee, purchased from the Admiralty to replace the Fraser
which had been lost in June.^" This vessel, formerly H.M.S.
Diana, had been built' in the early 1930's and was almost
identical with Fraser.

^"^^ Information obtained from Mr. William Reed, O.B.E.
>^ P.C. 5428, July 22, 1941.
i= P.C. 3943, Aug. 15, 1940.

Page 66


Discussions concerning a new type of ocean escort vessel
had begun in the United Kingdom in November 194(), at the same time as plans were being made for a makeshift revision
of the corvette. Mr. Reed of Smith's Dock Co., who was again
consulted, proposed a twin-screw vessel with two corvette
engines and two water-tube boilers. He suggested that its
length should be 320 ft. so that it would ride more smoothly
in the long Atlantic waves. His recommendations were
approved, except that the length was reduced to 301 ft.,
over-all, to allow for the limited size of the building slips in
certain yards. The first twin-screw corvettes, soon afterwards
renamed frigates,- were ordered in the United Kingdom in
February 1941. ^

Word of the frigate design reached Ottawa in December
1940; and by the following April, shortly after the first order
had been placed in the United Kingdom, enough information
was available for the Naval Service to begin investigating the
practicability of building frigates instead of corvettes in
Canada.'' Many difficulties would arise in making such a
change. Output would be retarded, partly because the frigate,
being a larger vessel and containing more elaborate fittings,
would take a longer time to build. The greater expense of the
frigate and the increased personnel needed to man it raised
still other problems. The most serious objection, however, was
that the vessel would be too long to pass through the St. Lawrence canals, and consequently could not be built in Great
Lakes yards. ^ The extent to which this would restrict building
may be judged from the fact that a third of the corvettes and
Bangors already built or on order at that time were from
yards in that region. In spite of these impediments, the
advantages of the frigate were so great as to be decisive. She
had a speed of 19 knots as compared with the corvette's 16
knots, and an endurance of 7,200 miles at 12 knots about
' twice that of the smaller vessel. She also had better accommodation for the crew, and improved armament and equipment. By May 1941, therefore, the Naval Staff had decided
that while the existing corvette program should be completed, all future orders should be for frigates.

This type-name was suggested by the C.N.S., and accepted by the Admiralty. In the days of sail, frigates were vessels of the class next in size and equipment to ships of the line;
but the name as applied to any contemporary type of vessel had gone out of use.

' Information obtained from Mr. William Reed, O.B.E.

* Admiralty to C.N.S. (signal), Dec. 30, 1940, N.S. 1057-2-3 (1); Naval Staff Minutes, Apr.
25, 1941.

' The extreme length of the frigate was 301' 6"; that of the shortest canal lock only 270'. Corvettes were a little over 200' long.

That's all.

Best greeting Rafal
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Old 18th July 2010, 21:40
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Two interesting links

Just my previous post:

http://www.citizendia.org/Flower_class_corvette

http://www.citizendia.org/List_of_Ca...lass_corvettes

Over there you can find everything about corvettes of Mr. Reed.

Best greeting Rafal
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Old 20th July 2010, 19:13
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Ok, we know how he looked

Hello,

We bought on ebay a nice brochure titled Ships & Man & issued by Smith's Dock in 1949 - so one year after Mr. Reed death.

We were very surprised - we found a picture of Sir William Reed. His name is mentioned on two pages.

I attached both picture and I enlarged his picture too.

So only now we know how he looked.

Best greeting Rafal
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SD1.jpg (234.3 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg SD2.jpg (192.9 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg William Reed_1948.jpg (71.3 KB, 38 views)
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Old 20th July 2010, 22:02
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I can hardly believe all of this-you must be some kind of a genius, Rafal. Who on earth would even dream of looking on E.bay to find such material!!!!
I can only imagine the O.B.E. (Order of British Empire) was awarded for designing the Flower class corvettes, which I can remember seeing escorting convoys, and having a very hard time of it in the North Atlantic in winter.
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Old 20th July 2010, 23:06
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Hello Hugh,

as you see we are trying to rediscover of a man who was responsible for whale catchers, Patricia, Bembridge, Flower & Castle & River class corvettes. What is very, very and very strange for all of us - Sir William Reed is a forgotten person. Nobody knows why but it is true. I've spent many hours trying to find him in internet. But what I am very surprised his biography is not possible to be obtained.

But why we are surprised? Why, if the biggest shipyard (data from 1929-1930) - so Smith's Dock is forgotten too? We were this April as you know in Smith's Dock. There is not even single memory board in a style of" Here was a Smith's Dock, a great shipyard, famous in the World, which saved so many human being during WWI (Kil type) and WWII (all corvettes).

In whole UK you can not find any constant exposition about Smith's Dock. No Museum have it and no institution. All what still exist after a SD you can find in stores of Kirkleatham Museum Redcar, Teesside Archives in Middlesbrough and really a few in NMM in London. And ... that's all.

What we can say? A shame? What words can describe such a story?

I contacted The Royal Institution of Naval Architects. They are trying to help me really. They contacted many people with our "stupid" inquiry. Only a short info arrived - it was just a "replay" of info what we had already.

For me it is impossible that nobody knows more details. Yes we are searching whole internet including e-bay to find anything about Smith's Dock. So we have many different brochures, 3 Smith's Dock Journals - all of them you can find as you know here:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=299
http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=259

Soon will be more - we must only scan it.

I will publish here everything what else we will find about that forgotten hero of WWII.

Best greeting

Rafal
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Old 24th July 2010, 08:51
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We have already published that brochure from 1949

Hello,

I just would like to inform that we published already that brochure from 1949 just here:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=299

To have a max possible size to read please click on the arrows under any page + magnifying glass later on.

Over there you can see other archival books and brochures dedicated to Smith's Dock.

Soon we will publish 2 more Smith's Dock Journals - just arrived to us.

Best greeting Rafal
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Old 24th July 2010, 09:12
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This is the best English history lesson I ever had-and it's coming from Poland!!!
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Old 27th July 2010, 15:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Ferguson View Post
This is the best English history lesson I ever had-and it's coming from Poland!!!
I agree with you Hugh, i think Rafal should get an MBE or OBE for his research
Well done Rafal keep up the good work
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Old 1st August 2010, 20:15
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Dear Hugh and Captain61,

Thank you very much for all your worm words. I have just came back to a civilisation and I have back my internet access.

We are doing everything what is really required for our project. Simply saying all our searching are realated to Bembridge. As I wrote many time - we are trying to catch a flowing time. Smith's Dock was closed in 1987. Somebody can say - it was yesterday - NO! It was already 23 years ago. But Mr. Reed died in 1948. It was 62 years ago. Who can still remember him? Almost nobody. Retired guys working in Smith's Dock who can remeber him are now min. 80 years old. Hext questions - how many persons are interested to keep alive a history of a Smith's Dock? it is a pitty - not so many. That time many well known UK companies died due to a economical turbulences on British market. Smith's Dock was one of many different companies from a Tees River areas which was forgotten for ever. We have now the same case in our city in Szczecin - very old shipyard colapsed 2 years ago. No mercy. What will remain? Nothing too. So there is a general rule. It is wrong and sad, but ... everywhere in Europe is the same.

One day we will know much more about Mr. Reed and his shipyard and we will publish everything on THPV Bembridge board and on her web site. We are permanently receiving some info and we have more and more contacts. Mainly becouse of this nice place. Some peole are visiting that place and later on we are receiving some fascinating e-mails.

I will publish here everything new about Mr. Reed and his shipyard.

Best greeting Rafal

PS. Nobody form our team expect any privileges - just to get all required info and data will be our the best achievement.
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  #23  
Old 7th August 2010, 08:07
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Rafal Zahorski Rafal Zahorski is offline  
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Some new archives about Smith's Dock Co. Ltd.

Hello to everybody,

As I promissed we just published some new interesting brochures related to Smith's Dock and Mr. William Reed activity.

All of them are here:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=299

You have two new Smith's Dock Journals: July 1927 and October 1931 they are here: http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=pl&gid=36055

And we published 3 nice brochures about Smith's Dock from 1949 (the best in our opinion):
http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=pl&gid=45525

1950
http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=pl&gid=45526

and 1951.
http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=pl&gid=45527

of course there is nothing about Mr. Reed but about corvettes you can find a lot in 1949.

Still no more info about Mr. Reed is available. If any help - always welcome!!!

Best greeting Rafal
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Old 19th September 2010, 20:57
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Rafal Zahorski Rafal Zahorski is offline  
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Once again some new archivees about Smith's Dock Co. Ltd.

Hello,

Last days we completed some new "shelfs" in our archives.

Here you can see what we found in Middlesbrough

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=pl&gid=243

Here documents related to Smith's Dock but we received them from Mr. William R. Pickersgill - a grand grand son of Mr. Richard Pickersgill - they were supplying to Bembridge: electric network, navigational and pilot lights, heating and the used to supply a wooden life boats and motor boats for many SD vessels.

All their documents you can find here:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=pl&gid=45107

Please go to the bottom of this page.

Have a nice studying. There are many treasures in these two places.

A ... Sir William Reed - still no progress. Complete drama.

Best greeting Rafal
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Old 14th November 2010, 08:01
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Rafal Zahorski Rafal Zahorski is offline  
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New published Smith's Dock Journals

Hello,

We are continuing our searching in a subject of Smith's Dock Co. Ltd. and Sir William Reed.

Yesterday we placed on www.bembridge.pl 3 next issues of famous Smith's Dock Journal.

It is very difficult to get any of them. By two years I collected only 6 issues and last 3 are without covers unfortunately.

We are still looking for them - but ... mayby someone from all of you can rent us any issue to be scanned and published - originals we will sent back to you after scanning. Anybody?

Here you can find all our archives related to Smith's Dock

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=299

or in our gallery:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=en&gid=36055

We have already a nice collection - and still only one picture of Sir William Reed. Still we do not have his biography!!! Drama.

So the new issues are:

01.1930 - http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=en&gid=46759

10.1931 - http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=en&gid=46761

01.1932 - http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?lid=en&gid=46760

To see a full pages please click on the cross under each page.

Have a nice reading, Rafal

PS. One day we will enable a pdf download. Still this year.
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