Help keep the site going

Sunday, 31 October 2010

PIONEER

MV PIONEER
Ship No 515


Was an order from the Scottish Transport Group as it was called at the time, prior to reverting to Cal-Mac, for a vehicle and passenger ferry for work on the Scottish West coast routes to the outlying islands, the motor vessel PIONEER was a very popular ship on the routes which she was used.

The 1071 grt ferry was used on most of the Scottish Isle routes at some point or other, before being sold to West African interests in the early 1990’s. PIONEER under her new name is managed by a Gibraltar company.

She had a length between perpendiculars of 61 metres, with a beam of 13.42 metres and a design draught of 4 metres.

She was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon on 7th of August 1974.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

HMS POCHARD

HMS POCHARD
Ship No 514


POCHARD was the third ship on the stocks from the order from the Ministry of Defence, she was the sister ship to GOOSANDER another Boom Defence Vessel of 923 grt. She was one of the Wild Duck Class vessels for the Royal Navy.



She had a length between perpendiculars of 48.8 metres (The ministry had now gone over to the new metric system) and she had a breadth across the beam of 12.2 metres moulded, with a design draught of 5.5 metres.



This much specialised vessel built for purpose was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon on 7th of December 1973.


Fourth Force Fourth Force
Set up in August 1905, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary was originally a logistic support organization, part of the Navy proper but run on civilian lines, comprising a miscellaneous and very unglamorous collection of colliers, store ships and harbor craft. Just over a century later it has evolved beyond recognition: its ships compare in size, cost and sophistication with all but the largest warships, and the RFA itself has developed into an essential arm of all three Services. It is truly the ‘Fourth Force’ - as it is known to its own personnel - and without it, the current worldwide deployment of British service men and women would be simply impossible.This book charts the veritable revolution that has overtaken the RFA since the end of the Second World War. New technology and techniques reflect the rapid growth in the importance of logistics in modern warfare, while the broadening role of the RFA is to be seen in the history of its operations, many of them little known to the public. Woven together from a combination of technical ship data, official correspondence and personal recollections, it is predominantly about the men and women of the RFA and their stories - an insight into the underreported history of a service whose initials unofficially translate as Ready For Anything.


You will be able to read a lot more about POCHARD and all the other ships, on the new website coming soon.



Sunday, 24 October 2010

HMS GOOSANDER

HMS GOOSANDER

Ship No 513


GOOSANDER was the second ship on the stocks from the order from the Ministry of Defence this time for a Boom Defence Vessel of 923 grt. She was one of the Wild Duck Class vessels for the Royal Navy.

A very welcome order at a time when the British shipbuilding industry was almost on it's knees. At a time when there was the real threat of the yard having to close down.



She had a length between perpendiculars of 48.8 metres (The ministry had now gone over to the new metric system) and she had a breadth across the beam of 12.2 metres moulded, with a design draught of 5.5 metres.



This much specialised vessel built for purpose was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon on 10th of September 1973.



GOOSANDER was also to take part in the Falklands war as a salvage rescue ship; she was capable of lifting 200 tons over her bows.


Ready For Anything Ready For Anything
Set up in August 1905, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary - unofficial motto: Ready for Anything - was originally a logistic support organisation, Admiralty-owned but run on civilian lines, comprising a miscellaneous and very unglamorous collection of colliers, store ships and harbour craft. This book charts its rise in fleet strength, capability and importance, through two world wars and a technical revolution, until the time when naval operations became simply impossible without it. Its earliest tasks were mainly freighting - supplying the Royal Navy’s worldwide network of bases - but in wartime fleets were required to spend much longer at sea and the RFA had to develop techniques of underway replenishment. This did not come to full fruition until the British Pacific Fleet operated alongside the Americans in 1944-45, but by then the RFA had already pioneered many of the procedures involved.This book combines a history of the service, including many little-known wartime operations, with data on the ships, and a portrait of life in the service gleaned from personal accounts and recollections. Half way between a civilian and a military service, the RFA has never received the attention it deserves, but this book throws a long-overdue spotlight on its achievements.


She now spends her time at work in the West Coast of Africa for new private owners.
Look out for the new website which will be online soon and you can read a lot more about the fine ships built at Leith.



Saturday, 23 October 2010

HMS HERALD

HMS HERALD returns from the Falklands
Ship No 512


HMS HERALD was part of a very welcome three ship order from the Admiralty, at a time when the British Merchant Fleet was being reduced to a fraction of it’s size (politics again). And more tough times for shipbuilders in the U.K.

She was to be built as a “Hecla Class” Survey ship to operate as part of the Royal Navy Hydrographic group of five or so such vessels at the time.

She was 2533 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 235 feet (The Royal Navy still used the imperial measurement system) she had a beam of 49 feet and a design draught of 25 feet and 9 inches.

HMS HERALD also had a lot of innovative feature such as a bow thrust door (which was not very successful according to one of her Captains) nothing wrong with the build of the doors they were just not a very practical design.
 The Royal Navy and Falklands War

HMS HERALD was to serve the Royal Navy for many years and was eventually sold for scrap and broken up in 2004. She was used as a Hospital ship in the Falklands war (1982). She also took part in the first Gulf War (1991)

She was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon on 31st of October 1974.


Royal Navy, The Royal Navy, The
Since 1900, the Royal Navy has seen vast operational changes. This book tells the story, not just of victory and defeat, but also of how the Navy has adjusted to a century of rapid technological and social change. The extensive reforms made by Admiral Fisher at the dawn of the twentieth century saw the navy's nineteenth-century wooden fleet replaced with the latest modern technology - battleships (including the iconic dreadnoughts), aircraft carriers and submarines. In World War I and World War II, the navy played a central role, with unrestricted submarine warfare and supply blockades becoming an integral part of combat. However it was the development of nuclear and missile technology during the Cold War era which drastically changed the face of naval warfare - today the navy can launch sea-based strikes across thousands of miles to reach targets deep inland. This book places the wars and battles fought by the navy - from Jutland to the Falklands - within a wider context, looking at political, economic, social and cultural issues, as well as providing a thorough operational history.


 

Friday, 22 October 2010

HERO

M.V.HERO (photo by Reinhard Nerlich)



Ship No 511


Was an order from a combination of a company called Domino Container ships and D.F.D.S. To be managed by Wilson Line.

The order was for a twin screw Ro/Ro (Roll on /Roll of) Ferry.

She was to work on the short North Sea routes, from the U.K. to continental Europe.

She was 3468 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 105 metres, with a beam of 19 metres, and a design draught of 12 metres.

She was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon on 2nd June 1972, and was completed for her owners by the end of that year.

The M.V. HERO was lengthened and had her decks raised in 1976 at a yard in Holland, her gross tonnage was increased by over 1,000 tonnes to give a new registered tonnage of 4493 grt, and she was made longer by around 20 metres (60 feet) .

The M.V.HERO was lost in very heavy weather (One Seaman from the crew of 27 was unfortunately lost) on a voyage between Esbjerg (Denmark) and Grimsby (England), and abandoned on 12/11/1977, she sank the next day on 13/11/1977, and questions were raised in the British houses of Parliament about the sad loss of this vessel.
You will be able to read a lot more about this ship and her unfortunate end, on the new website which will be online soon.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

CARIBBEAN PROGRESS

Ship No 510


The CARIBBEAN PROGRESS was an order from Common Bros for a twin screw RO/RO Container Ship.

She was another large vessel for the yard, at 3822 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 104 metres (length overall of 117 metres) she had a beam of 20.3 metres and a design draught of 12.5 metres.

She was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb on 18th of March 1973.

She was converted in 1986 and her grt changed to 4469.

She was to have several name changes throughout her working life ending up being called Valentino, before going to the breakers yard in 2002.

For more on CARIBBEAN PROGRESS at the LeithShipyards website.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

LLOYDSMAN

LLOYDSMAN
Ship No 509


The tug LLOYDSMAN was one of the most powerful tugs of the time that could be called on by the British.

She was even a major player in what was to become known by the British press as the “Cod War” a dispute between the U.K. Government and Iceland over fishing rights. This was a dispute that was to turn pretty violent at times.

The LLOYDSMAN was ordered by United Towing Company Ltd of Hull.

She had a specially designed rudder system which gave her superb manoeuvrability and pulling power.

Built around just one propulsion system with a single screw, she was 2041 grt, and was a pretty special salvage tug at the time.

She had a length between perpendiculars of 67.21 metres, and a beam of 14.172 metres, with a design draught of 8.5 metres.

The LLOYDSMAN was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb on 19th of September 1971.

You can read a whole lot more about this fine vessel on the new website coming soon.


BRANSFIELD

RSS BRANSFIELD
lowers one of her ships boats at Maggies Ditch Antarctica (photo by Greame Hart)
Ship No 508


The RSS BRANSFIELD was an amazing vessel, built as a merchant ship but with ice strengthened bows to enable her to supply the U.K. Antarctic bases.

She was ordered by NERC and she was at 4816 grt, a large ship for the yard, with a single screw she was well designed for the job of supplying the survey camps in Antarctica.

She had a length between perpendiculars of 90 metres with a beam of 18.3 metres, and a design draught of 9.5 metres.

RRS Bransfield was an ice-strengthened cargo vessel, purpose-built for operation by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). She was launched at Leith Shipyards on 4 September 1970.

Bransfield was BAS's main supply vessel from 1970/71-1998/99, and also had limited facilities for on-board research. She represented NERC in the Review of the Fleet at Spithead in 1977, held to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's jubilee. Following the ship's return to the UK in May 1999, she was sold to Rieber Shipping A/S as part of the contract for the long-term charter of her replacement, RRS Ernest Shackleton.

You will be able to read a lot more about this great ship on the new website which will be online soon, along with some of the stories of the guys who have been there.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

SPEEDWAY

SPEEDWAY
Ship No 507


The SPEEDWAY was a single screw Vehicle Transporter ordered by Elder Dempster.

She was a high sided ship designed to move motor cars around the world on the high seas.

She was 1160 grt, with a L.B.P. of 81 metres (approx 267 feet) and a beam of 16.5 metres (approx 54 feet) with a design draught of 4 metres (approx 13 feet)

She was launched from the Leith Shipyards on 30th of May 1970.

SPEEDWAY now under a different name is still plying the high seas, and you will see more of her on the new website.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

PORT TUDY

Ship No 506


The single screw motor tanker PORT TUDY, was the first ship built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb to be built to the new European Metric symbol which was replacing the old British Imperial measurement system of Feet and Inches. (It would be some years yet before the Royal Navy would adopt the new metric system)

PORT TUDY was ordered from the French shipping line Soflumar, and named after a Port on the North West Coast of France.

She was 3060 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 94 metres (approx 310 feet) with a beam of 15.6 metres (approx 51 feet) with a design draught of 8 metres (approx 26 feet)

She was launched from the yard on 25th of January 1970.

PORT TUDY has had a couple of name changes and was last seen as Ocean Challenger working as a crude oil tanker under unknown Nigerian management.

We will have a lot more about PORT TUDY on the new website coming soon.

HEDWIN

HEDWIN (Grab Hopper Dredger)
 Ship No 505


Was an order from the Tyne Port Authority for a Grab Hopper Dredger of 666 grt, she was to ply the waters of the river Tyne for many years keeping the river open to deep ocean going vessels.

HEDWIN was 146 feet and 6 inches between perpendiculars, with a beam of 58 feet and a design draught of 15 feet and 3 inches.

She was yet another dredger in the long line of such vessels built in the Leith Shipyards.

HEDWIN was launched into the waters of the River Forth on the 20th of March 1969.

Friday, 8 October 2010

EIGAMOIYA

EIGAMOIYA Ship No 504
Ship No 504


The M.V.EIGAMOIYA was an order for a large single screw motor cargo ship, from the Nauru local Government Council.

She was a pretty large vessel at 4426 grt, to be built in what was now called the new company of Robb Caledon Shipbuilders Ltd, although to the men of the Leith Shipyards it was, as always referred to as “Robb’s”

EIGAMOIYA had a length between perpendiculars of 335 feet with a beam of 58 feet and a design draught of 15 feet and 3 inches. Launched from the Leith Shipyard on 19th of April 1969.

Launched with a coconut, but this does not tell the real sorry story of this little country whose people were really shafted by the ones that were put into positions of power.

Despite being a fine looking ship she was, according to some of the sailors who worked on the ship,  not a great sea keeping ship due to the large flare on her bow, which resulted in a lot of slamming and rolling in heavy weather.

You will be able to read a lot more about the M.V.EIGAMOIYA and the small state of NAURU on the new website which should be online soon!!!!!

MEDITERRANIAN

Ship No 503


She was to be the final ship to be built from the huge order from Ellerman Wilson Line.

The M.V. MEDITERRANIAN was another single screw diesel cargo vessel with a slightly less gross registered tonnage of 1459, with the same overall dimensions of her sister ship ATHENIAN at an L.B.P. of 280 feet, but she was 2 feet broader in the beam with a breadth of 47 feet and a design draught of 26 feet. This was the boom years for the shipyard owners.

She was launched into the waters of the River Forth on 20th of October 1968.

In what was to mark (unknown at the time) the last of the large ship orders for the Leith shipyards of Henry Robb. The famous Ellerman Line was being re-organised. You will be able to read a whole lot more about all the Ellerman Wilson Line ships built in Leith on the new website, online soon.

It was in this year 1968 that the Henry Robb Shipbuilding and Engineering Company took over the Caledon of Dundee shipbuilders to form an enlarged Company to be called Robb Caledon Shipbuilders Ltd. (Was this a wise move? Only time will tell) this was to give the combined company the largest shipbuilding capacity outside of the Clyde based shipyards in Scotland, employing around 3,200 skilled shipbuilders in its hay day.

ARO

Ship No 502


ARO was a Grab Dredger squeezed in between the large order from Ellerman Wilson and the Admiralty.

She was ordered from the Nigerian Ports Authority and she was one of many such vessels built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb shipbuilders.

The yard indeed specialized in the Work Horses of the maritime world.

ARO was 339 grt, with a length B.P. of 125 feet and a beam of 28 feet and 6 inches, with a design draught of 11 feet and 6 inches.

She was launched into the waters of the River Forth on 10th of October 1967.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

ATHENIAN

ATHENIAN (photo by Les Harris) Ellerman Wilson Line
Ship No 501


The M.V.ATHENIAN was part of the large order from Ellerman Wilson Lines but she differed from the “S” named vessels in the fact that she was slightly heavier than the others at 1587 grt. Although, she had the same scantling dimensions at 280 feet length B.P. with a beam of 45 feet, with a design draught of 26 feet.

She was launched into the waters of the River Forth at Leith on 4th of May 1966.

WILSON LINE: THE HISTORY AND FLEET OF THOS. WILSON, SONS & CO. and ELLERMAN'S WILSON LINE LTD.    For a great read on all the Ellerman Wilson Ships.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

RFA ENGADINE

RFA ENGADINE
Ship No 500


The ENGADINE was another first of type ordered by the Admiralty, for a true Helicopter support ship.

She was one of the largest vessels built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb shipbuilders.

As the shipyard was so busy at the time some of the building of units was sub-contracted out to the Burntisland Shipyard on the other side of the River Forth.

She was built to Merchant Navy standards as she was to operate as an auxiliary and not as a warship, manned by a crew from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) with a permanent staff of Royal Navy on board as well, she was the only ship in the RFA at the time fitted with stabilisers.


The Royal Navy and Falklands War The Royal Navy and Falklands War
Soldiers and journalists alike wasted no time in telling the story of the campaign to recapture the Falkland Islands after the Argentinian invasion in April, 1982. Almost without exception, however, they are concerned largely on the role of the Army, for it was the part they played which particularly fired the public imagination, and it may be said that the role of the Royal and Merchant Navies, the abiding images of which are for many the pictures of the exploding frigate Antelope, and the burning Atlantic Conveyor, has hitherto been overshadowed by the yomping of the Marines and the exploits of certain gentleman of the press. Yet none of them would have been there at all had the Royal Navy not provided the necessary transport, not to mention air cover and bombardment support. In the book David Brown, head of what was formally the Naval Historical Branch at the Ministry of Defence, tells in full for the first time the extraordinary story of how the fleet was assembeled; of how merchant-ships from luxury liners such as the Canberra to cargo-carriers of every description were 'Taken Up Form Trade' and, in a staggeringly short time, converted to their new role. He describes the stupendous problems presented by the assembling, and stowing, of the thousands of tons of stores and equipment needed by the Expeditionary Forces and the way in which these problems were dealt with.


The ENGADINE was renowned for her high standard of accommodation.

She was in effect a floating helicopter school with room for up to eight helicopters at a push.

She had a deadweight of about 8,000 tons and at 6384 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 385 feet and a beam of 58 feet with a design draught of 35 feet and 4 inches.

She was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb on 16th of September 1966.

She was de-commissioned in 1989 and served as a repair ship for a further seven years.

 Ready For Anything

RFA ENGADINE was to provide service with the fleet for 30 years before being scrapped in 1996.

You will soon be able to read much more about her on the new website.

SANGRO

SANGRO renamed City of Ankara (Ellerman Line)
Ship No 499


The motor vessel SANGRO was the Fifth ship in what was to prove to be the largest single order for ships that Henry Robb shipbuilders were ever to secure.

The M.V.SANGRO was a single screw diesel cargo ship of 1559 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 280 feet and a beam of 45 feet and 6 inches, with a design draught of 26 feet.

Sister ship to SALERNO, SALMO, SORRENTO and SILVIO, she was launched into the waters of the River Forth at Leith on 15th of March 1968.

All named after places in Italy, Sangro being a river in Italy that was the scene of some fierce battles during World War II

She was the final vessel of this type built in the Leith Shipyards at this time, built for the Mediterranean trade routes.

Transferred to Ellerman Lines in 1973 and renamed City of Ankara.

She was finally broken up in 2007 after a working life of almost 40 years, which is a tremendous testament to the shipbuilders of Leith.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

SILVIO

MV SILVIO renamed City of Patras (Ellerman Lines)
Ship No 498


The motor vessel SILVIO was the Fourth ship in what was to prove to be the largest single order for ships that Henry Robb shipbuilders were ever to secure.

The M.V.SILVIO was a single screw diesel cargo ship of 1559 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 280 feet and a beam of 45 feet and 6 inches, with a design draught of 26 feet.

Sister ship to SALERNO, SALMO and SORRENTO she was launched into the waters of the River Forth at Leith on 30th of November 1967.

She was the second ship to bear the name SILVIO, built in the Leith Shipyards for the Ellerman Wilson Line, the first being Ship No 358 from 1947.

Transferred to Ellerman Lines in 1973 and renamed City of Patras.

Friday, 1 October 2010

SORRENTO

M.V.SORRENTO
Ship No 497


The motor vessel SORRENTO was the third ship in what was to prove to be the largest single order for ships that Henry Robb shipbuilders were ever to secure. All for the Ellerman Wilson Line.

The M.V.SORRENTO was a single screw diesel cargo ship of 1559 grt, with a length between perpendiculars of 280 feet and a beam of 45 feet and 6 inches, with a design draught of 26 feet.

Sister ship to SALERNO and SALMO she was launched into the waters of the River Forth at Leith on 25th of May 1967.

Transferred to Ellerman Lines in 1973 and renamed City of Sparta.