Royal Naval Dockyard At Sheerness. - Ships Nostalgia
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Royal Naval Dockyard At Sheerness.

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  #1  
Old 12th January 2014, 12:46
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Royal Naval Dockyard At Sheerness.

Like most of You We can recall the Royal Naval Dockyards at Devonport, Portsmouth, Chatham, Rosyth, Portland, The clyde etc and seen many photographs of said Dockyards but We or perhaps I should say I have scarcely heard anything about the Royal Dockyard or maybe just Base at Sheerness. I have never seen any pictures of RN Sheerness was it large, small or indifferent?. Did it have a Drydock or Drydocks?. I guess any vessel that needed Repair or Refit would've ultimately gone up to Chatham. But to Me Sheerness still remains a mystery. Is there anyone on SN who might have been employed at Sheerness or even served on vessels that were based there. Did it have Naval Barracks attached apart from HMS Pembroke at Chatham if so what was the name HMS ?????? and best of all does anyone have any photographs or diagrams of the lay-out at Sheerness??.
As a footnote I believe Harwich also had a Naval Base but like the above I have scarcely heard anything about that one. I know about HMS Ganges nearby. Would've probably gone there Myself if I did'nt plump for the RFA during My TS Arethusa days.

Any thoughts on this one Lads or even better PICS.?
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  #2  
Old 12th January 2014, 12:58
R396040 R396040 is offline  
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Recall a visit to the RN base at Sheerness back in mid 1950s. The reason was to actuaaly fire a Bofors gun at a Tiger Moth type aircraft towing a drone target. Very cold weather Irecall on the river banks there, There was a group of us doing a MN defence course at HMS President on the thames in London and obviously not possible there. Did a couple of these back in those days whilst waiting ships on Dock St Pool, got home every night,travel pai so almost like being on leave
Stuartd
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  #3  
Old 12th January 2014, 13:57
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Thanks Stuart. I guess it was finally closed during the mid 50's or there abouts.
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  #4  
Old 12th January 2014, 18:13
senior pilot senior pilot is offline  
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have a look at wikipedia just type sheerness
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  #5  
Old 12th January 2014, 20:42
BUGGINS BUGGINS is offline
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Sheerness was a complete dockyard started in Samuel Pepys time and built naval vessels up to 1908 after which it concentrated on refit and repair until it was closed in 1960. In 1939 it had the old tugs Advice, Flamer, Cracker, Firm, Robust, St.Clears and West Creek.

In 1950 the submarine Truculent was sunk in collision in the Thames when on trials from the yard and when raised was taken back there.

During the East Coast floods of1953 the frigate Berkeley Castle and submarine Sirdar were damaged when the dock caissons were overwhelmed.

HMS Wildfire was the RN base name.
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  #6  
Old 13th January 2014, 10:16
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Thanks very much Buggins. I did think it closed much earlier than that.
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Old 13th January 2014, 16:51
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Red face Sheerness

During the Second War in 1942/43, my mother and I journeyed from Aberdeen to join my Chief Petty Officer father who was then serving in depot ship HMS St Tudno, Nore minesweeping division. She was moored in the Medway at Queenborough where we found digs provided by a Mr Fairbrass.

My main childhood memory, retained over the years, but which I recently discovered could be false is of, “The naval barracks at Sheerness being machine-gunned by enemy aircraft.” However, an article I have since read on wartime Sheerness held that it had never been attacked.
Another memory, apart from locals telling us of watching fleets of German bombers passing overhead on their way to London, is of how taken aback my mother was upon seeing women allowed to enter public houses on the Isle of Sheppey!

Next time I visited the area was in Nov 1964 when, in the MacAndrews vessel MV Palomares, we called at Sheerness to discharge consignments loaded at Spanish and Moroccan ports. From memory, I think the only seaborne activity before our arrival was modest coastal trade from as far afield as the Channel Islands so we may well have carried the first significant shipment to the fledgling commercial port. The stevedoring boss, a man named McDermott, offered me a job but I was not then ready to come ashore.

Messrs. Building Developments Ltd. assumed control of the dockyard on 31st March 1960. Subsequently it was run by Medway Ports as a commercial harbour and then taken over by Peel Ports who operated Medway, Sheerness and Liverpool commercial ports and is now a flourishing port handling timber products, fruit and vehicles

Much of interest can be found in the site of the Sheerness Heritage Centre at:

http://www.sheernessheritagecentre.c...aldockyard.htm

Keith

Last edited by Aberdonian; 13th January 2014 at 17:53..
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  #8  
Old 13th January 2014, 17:07
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Excellent Keith brilliant information. Many thanks.
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Old 14th January 2014, 07:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R396040 View Post
Recall a visit to the RN base at Sheerness back in mid 1950s. The reason was to actuaaly fire a Bofors gun at a Tiger Moth type aircraft towing a drone target. Very cold weather Irecall on the river banks there, There was a group of us doing a MN defence course at HMS President on the thames in London and obviously not possible there. Did a couple of these back in those days whilst waiting ships on Dock St Pool, got home every night,travel pai so almost like being on leave
Stuartd
Me too - 1959 - except the target was either a Spitfire, or Hurricane. The gun was loaded with special plastic break apart shells with enough resistance to re-cock the gun. Don't remember too much else other than I got royal sh1t for not hearing the order to cease fire -- think I got to fire 5 rounds instead of the allowable four. Do remember the gun had been automated to track targets with the gyroscopic? sights.
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Old 14th January 2014, 14:34
JohnGrace JohnGrace is offline  
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There used to be, and I think still is, a small museum at the Guildhall on Queenborough High Street which has an interesting collection of material on HMS Wildfire. I also understand that certain occasions are marked by ceremonial gatherings when I believe people who served at Wildfire gather at the small park by the seafront to show their respects. Swale Borough Council may be able to give further information, see also :-http://www.swale.gov.uk/heritage-history-museums/#Guildhall-Museum. I hope you find this helpful.
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  #11  
Old 14th January 2014, 15:12
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Buggins. Very interested in the PAS vessels that served there. Thanks again.

Tugs "Firm" "Robust" Were "Robust" Class Paddlers.

Tugs "Advice""Cracker" Were "Dromedary" Class Paddlers.

Tug " West Creek" Is a "West Class" Single screw Tug.

Tug "St Clears" Is a "saint" Class Single screw Tug.
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REGARDS.TONY. (OLD STRAWBS.)(DISCHARGE BOOK No R691311) CAREER (1956-1958) T S ARETHUSA(215, QDST, 21 MESS)/ (1958-1963)/ RFA/ (1964-1965) AUWE / (1965/1973) SHORESIDE/ (1973-1995)PAS/RMAS (PORTLAND NAVAL BASE)/ (1996-2002) RFA/ (2002-2005) HMP WEARE.
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Old 16th January 2014, 15:31
Brian Smither Brian Smither is offline  
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I remember that a 'trot' boat used to run from Chatham Dockyard to Sheerness dockyard. Once a buddy & I went on the boat to visit the pubs in Sheerness, we missed the last boat back so went into 'Wildfire' and asked for a bed for the night. We were directed to large block, similar to the blocks at 'Pembroke', being pitch black and not wanting to disturb anyone we found a couple of bunks near the door and 'crashed'. To our amazement when we awoke in the daylight we found we were the only two in the whole block. That was in early '50's when in 'Diamond'
I suppose 'Wildfire' has disappeared now. I did visit 'Pembroke' a few years back, then used as a University, no one challenged me when I drove in so had a good wander around even found the old steps up to 'Collingwood' block. Memories of climbing those steps carrying Kit Bag & Hammock! on several occasions.
Does anyone rember 'St Mary's barracks? I once did archery in one of the old 'Tunnels' Bet that no longer exists either. Must have been one of the oldest Naval buildings in the area.
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Old 16th January 2014, 16:05
vickentallen vickentallen is offline  
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Seem to remember de-amunitioning ship at Sheerness before going up to Chatham for short refit and again taking on same on the way out 1958..
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Old 16th January 2014, 17:29
jeffuk13 jeffuk13 is offline  
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I work for swale borough council if i can be of any help
Jeff
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  #15  
Old 16th January 2014, 18:42
stan mayes stan mayes is offline  
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Hi Tony,
As mentioned it was HMS Wildfire and was always a busy RN base up to to its closing.I had courses there early in the war for a Merchant Seamans Gunnery Certificate also four days in London on HMS Chrysanthemum.
Many minesweepers were based there during the war.
Also mentioned is Queenborough nearby..Myself and members of Gravesend MNA attend a memorial service every year at HMS Wildfire II held in Queenborough Park.
Regards,
Stan
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Old 16th January 2014, 18:45
Brian Smither Brian Smither is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vickentallen View Post
Seem to remember de-amunitioning ship at Sheerness before going up to Chatham for short refit and again taking on same on the way out 1958..
Me too, I'm sure we did too. What ship were you on? We're you a Chatham rating? Have lots of memories of Chatham. Went back in '60's in HMS Forth as refit crew when she was being converted to nuclear depot ship.
Happy days.
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Old 16th January 2014, 19:02
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Hi Tony,
As mentioned it was HMS Wildfire and was always a busy RN base up to to its closing.I had courses there early in the war for a Merchant Seamans Gunnery Certificate also four days in London on HMS Chrysanthemum.
Many minesweepers were based there during the war.
Also mentioned is Queenborough nearby..Myself and members of Gravesend MNA attend a memorial service every year at HMS Wildfire II held in Queenborough Park.
Regards,
Stan
Pretty much old stamplng ground for you Stan during Your Barge days. Whilst at lower Upnor in the TS Arethusa I remember the old Barges passing by everyday with the Crescent Moon on the red sails. Also remember a trip up in the Motor Boat to see the old Cruisers laid up on our way up to the Isle of Grain and back.
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Old 16th January 2014, 19:32
vickentallen vickentallen is offline  
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Quote:
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Me too, I'm sure we did too. What ship were you on? We're you a Chatham rating? Have lots of memories of Chatham. Went back in '60's in HMS Forth as refit crew when she was being converted to nuclear depot ship.
Happy days.
Hi Brian, was on HMS Jutland, 7th Destroyer Squadron, she was a Chatham ship, commish started at Pompy in 57 ended Chat's 59 (like most Jocks) I was a Chatham rating till they closed Chat's then went to Pompey. 1960 I was on the Adamant at Faselane

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Old 16th January 2014, 19:38
vickentallen vickentallen is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Smither View Post
Me too, I'm sure we did too. What ship were you on? We're you a Chatham rating? Have lots of memories of Chatham. Went back in '60's in HMS Forth as refit crew when she was being converted to nuclear depot ship.
Happy days.
Hi Brian, was on HMS Jutland, 7th Destroyer Squadron, she was a Chatham ship, commish started at Pompy in 57 ended Chat's 59 (like most Jocks) I was a Chatham rating till they closed Chat's then went to Pompey. Do you remember a pub called the Fountain by any chance ??

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Old 16th January 2014, 20:18
stan mayes stan mayes is offline  
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Hi Tony,
Yes many memories for me around the Medway and Swale.
The barges you mention with a Crescent Moon on their sails were owned by the
London Rochester Co who later owned a big fleet of coasters -Crescent Shipping.
Prewar it was a wonderful sight to see three or four battleships plus cruisers on buoys up river from Sheerness off Isle of Grain which was called Port Victoria.
There was a ferry service from there to Ostend.
There was a pub in Queenborough -Castle Inn -and the daughter Eileen was my girl friend -until the RN arrived and one of the matelots married her.
Regards,
Stan
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Old 16th January 2014, 20:31
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Bad lot, them Matelots, Stan...
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Old 17th January 2014, 12:46
Aberdonian Aberdonian is offline  
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Ridham Dock

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Originally Posted by jeffuk13 View Post
I work for swale borough council if i can be of any help
Jeff
I see online that Ridham Dock appears to be prospering well enough these days.

In 66 I went up the Swale in the GSNC MV Heron with a consignment of bales wood pulp from Bordeaux for the nearby Kemsley Paper Mill.
At the time it seemed a fairly isolated area. Perhaps, partly for this reason the Admiralty developed the port during the First War for the loading of ammunition.

Keith
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  #23  
Old 17th January 2014, 14:32
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Not sure if I am allowed to do this but I have saved a copy of Sheerness Docks. So the answer to My original question did the Naval Dockyard have Drydocks has been answered.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Sheerness dockyard.jpg (133.8 KB, 29 views)
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Old 17th January 2014, 17:00
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Greetings,

Sheerness Dockyard featured in the 1958 movie "Dunkirk" when the "little ships" were being mustered prior to the crossing to Dunkirk. There are a couple of interesting scenes in the Drill Hall.
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  #25  
Old 17th January 2014, 20:42
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Oh right Pat thanks for that. I have that movie.
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