Whilst the USA have preserved the Jeremiah O'Brien and John W Brown, it is sad that in the UK where the Liberty story began we have nothing to remind present and future generations of the immeasurable contribution that these ships of British design origin made in WW2.
The hull and machinery of the Libertys, Oceans, Forts, Parks and RN Head/Point/Mull maintenance ships derived from the Dorington Court designed and built in 1939 by J.L.Thompson & Sons Ltd, Sunderland, engined by North Eastern Marine (NEM)- steam triple expansion of 2,500ihp. It was representatives of Thompson and NEM who took the plans to the USA as the British Merchant Shipbuilding Mission in 1940 that kicked the programme off.
The last hull of the above extended family that I am aware of in UK waters is HMS Rame Head hulked in Fareham Creek, Portsmouth. She was completed in 1945 in Canada and has the same NEM designed 2500ihp triple expansion engine. Rame Head almost qualifies now as an historic ship!
I believe it would be appropriate for at least the engine from Rame Head to be preserved and displayed as part of the Liberty story.
( Nostalgic steam engineer brought up on the same NEM designed engine built by Allis Chalmers (of tractor fame!) in a Canadian built Fort class)
It would be nice to see such a ship preserved for the British Maritime heritage. Unfortunately you have to form an organisation and start shouting as loud as you can before anyone takes notice of what we are losing rapidly.
We have been lucky with the DA as we have made the right noises in the right quarters to achieve what we have today.
If funding towards Heritage projects was less complicated, we here in the Uk could have the best Maritime Museum in the world, with exhibits to match.
As an officer cadet (midshipman) I and about 40 others were billetted aboard HMCS Cape Breton (ex_HMS Flamborough Head) and later in my career we used her as a shore office when we were in refit. In the earlier and much more carefree time we pretty much had the run of the ship and visited most of the accessible spaces from the monkey island to the shaft tunnel. We all had rather a soft spot for the old girl which we referred to as "Fred".
She is now an artificial reef off Nanaimo British Columbia, resting not far from my first ship as Supply Officer, HMCS Saskatchewan. Efforts at preservation failed through lack of funding and the monumental amount of work it would have taken to restore her. Her stern and engine were removed prior and are (or will be) prominent in a museum being set up in the former North Vancouver Shipbuilders yard. I saw Rame Head when I was last in Portsmouth (2004) and she looked better than Fred did toward the end.
It's great to hear that Canada is preserving part of her great WW2 shipbuilding heritage, keep us posted on what happens with the "3 legs & a pump".
Rame Head had a lot of money spent on her modernisation in the 1960s, luckily they kept the engine. Cape Breton didn't change much in appearance from her 1945 days but Rame Head had quite a transformation.
Spent 10 months on a liberty ship her original name was Samlister basic but fairly reliable all the crew lived midships .There was no Masters day-room so the main wheel-house was used as his day-room,a wheelhouse was built on the monkey island, no heating summer was ok but freezing in the winter.We wre running light from NY to Baltimore via the Delaware canal when the US pilot came aboard he refused to pilot the ship from the monkey island as it was freezing so big panic stations moving some of the Masters things out in the alley way,even had to get the Third Eng to get the compass lights to work.That was the only time in ten months I ever saw the crew use the main wheelhouse.In the late forties early fifties quite a few Brits had a liberty ship in their fleet Federal line Harrisons /Liverpool,Headlams/Whitby, Ellerman City Line I think Royal mail and others.The Russians ran them a bit longer than the Brits remember still seeing one or two of them in the early sixties.The Greeks had a couple with a extra hatch built in them giving them four hatches forward,even saw one with her back broken right at the bridge line,cannot remember her name but she was US flagged,We had the body and soul band riveted around us
Thank you for the link to Cape Breton. Read with great interest. Gone a long wayon Phase 1 with a modest fund. Time we did something over here with this other product of Burrard Dry Dock.
I posted a colour photo of the O`Brien in the Gallery showing her in 33 yrs
rusted condition when under way for first time after the long layup. If anyone
knows how to transfer a copy of that photo to this thread, I would really appreciate it. I will post the 2007 sailing schedule early in January... not
going deepsea next year as have to do a drydock inspection. Took her to San
Diego for Fleet Week last Sep/Oct. Snowy.
Sailed as 4th engineer on Kronviken a Norwegian Liberty tramp ship.Photo in my gallery.A proper bridge & chart room was built above the original wheelhouse which became the captains quarters.Very nice too.The ship when berthed with other Libertys certainly looked a picture & was acredit to her owners.Kiwi
"Jeremiah O`Brien" 2007 Cruise Schedule:-
Feb 4 "Queen Mary 2" Welcoming Cruise... leave Pier 45 (SF) 1300hrs
return Pier 45 at 1600hrs
Apr 14 Sacramento Inland Waterway......... leave Pier 45 (SF) 0900hrs
arrive Sacramento 1800hrs
Apr 15 Sacramento to San Francisco Cruise..leave Sacramento 0900hrs
arrive San francisco 1700hrs
(Passengers return to embarcation point by bus)
May 19 Bridge to Bridge Maritime Day Cruise..Leave Pier 45 at 1000hrs
Return at 1700hrs
Jun 16 Fathers`Day Cruise ( Jazz on the Bay)..probably 1000 to 1700hrs
Aug 18 Fortress San Francisco Cruise.............Leave Pier 96 SF 1000hrs
Return by 1700hrs
Oct 6/7 Fleet Week Cruises.........................Floating platform "Blue Angels"
( Sat 6th is best day as go outside GG Bridge to lead Fleet in to SF Bay)
Trust I am allowed to post this... non-profit all volunteer ship... if not
I apologise and will not do it again. Snowy.
A couple of years ago she did a tour of the Great Lakes ports and the line ups (ques) were too long for me to wait. (When in Toronto).
Just nostalgia as sailed on them in 1950's I do't suppose they changed