NAVY NEWS, DECEMBER 2011
mythical speed Manxman’s
A MOST interesting letter (November) from Vic Everest about HMS Manxman
but 44 knots – never! Yet again we have the speed of
the Abdiel-class Fast Minelayers brought into the realms of myth and folklore. Truly preposterous speeds have been accredited to this class of minelayer, some as high as 49 knots and 44 knots.
work on this class appeared in the November 1973 edition of Profile Warship no 38, written by Tom Burton, Abdiel-Class Fast Minelayers. The
Manxman is given as 35.59 knots (mean speed) on a displacement of 3450 tons, mean draught 13 feet 3.5 inches, shaft horse power at 72,970 SHP, revolutions 332.9. Sister ship
achieved 36.08 knots on a lesser displacement of 3300 tons. HMS Ariadne and Apollo
achieved 34.7 knots and 35.3 knots respectively on displacements of 3795 tones and 3715 tons. Whilst it is accepted that these minelayers on a lighter displacement could certainly achieve higher speeds than those recorded on trials,
knots could never be achieved with the type of displacement hull, SHP of 72,000 that the Abdiel Minesweepers possessed,
44 trial speed of HMS The best and most informative
even if the boilers were pressed. I am sure I am not the only
achieving 44 knots. No doubt Manxman was fast,
person to try to put the record straight as to the top speed of these wonderful Minelayers of World War 2. Trial
speeds depend on
displacement, type of hull, state of fouling of hull, shaft horse power, temperature of the sea, atmospheric pressure, tidal stream, sea state and the depth of the sea, not forgetting the efficiency of the engineers and the helmsman who should steer a straight course as directed by the captain! The
navigator must record the
finish of the measured mile or whatever distance the trial is to take place. Several runs need to be taken
and mean speeds recorded with, and against, the sea current. – Charles Fisher, Honiton, Devon
E photo of the Fast Minelayer HMS Manxman (Letters, October) brought to mind the time, as an 18-year- old, I took passage onboard from Sydney to Hong Kong. I think it would be during May
1946, and I wondered if any other readers were also onboard and could remember the heads we had to use?
They hung out over the stern of the starboard exit of the minelaying passage. Bowel evacuation was quite an experience! I understood the passage to
Hong Kong would be a very quick one, but due to engine trouble it took about a couple of weeks. On the ship’s return to the UK
I did hear that it had made the quickest voyage ever from Hong Kong.
– W G ‘Mick’ Ellis, Goole, East Yorkshire
...I WAS serving in HMS Undine in the 6th Frigate Squadron in 1956 and we were ordered to chase the Egyptian
tied up on the trot ahead of us in Grand Harbour with orders to detain or sink her; we lost her around the Greek islands, then joined the Fleet as A/S escort to Suez.
On leaving Grand Harbour
and well out to sea, the Admiral ordered the fleet to form line abreast.
At this time I was on bridge lookout, and the sight of that Mediterranean Fleet stretched in either direction, all with a good bone in their teeth, is still vivid in my memory.
The next order was “Full
Speed to Gibraltar” – the last one in stands the cocktail party, within an hour or so Manxman was closing on the horizon and of course was the first to reach Gibraltar, a destroyer was second, and Undine came in third, which meant we had an extra day’s shore leave than the stragglers who came in a day or so later. Christopher Roddis, ex L/S, Antequera, Spain
Send in the Marines
THE STATEMENT by the Prime Minister that the Somali pirates should be met with force is long overdue.
His remarks that a force of security men be recruited by the shipping lines is of course unnecessary.
We already have the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines stationed at Faslane on the Clyde – a highly trained body of the finest troops in the world.
When and ‘if ’ our fighting forces are brought home, instead of deciding that we no longer require an armed force at our disposal and reducing our country’s defences even more, would not the sensible thing to do be to strengthen the present Fleet Protection Group instead of making redundancies in the Royal Marines?
We could rename part of it as the Maritime Protection Group Royal Marines and pass the cost of maintaining it on to the shipping companies.
There need be no recruiting. Their base is already established. They would be paid outside the
Armed Forces’ budget and the pirates would soon realise that they were up against a force much more efficient than theirs.
The shipping companies themselves
would welcome the idea. And I know the capabilities of the
Each month Pusser’s Rum are offering to courier a bottle of their finest tipple to the writer of our top letter. This month’s winner is Bernard Hallas.
Royal Marines. – Bernard Hallas,
Publicity and Recruiting Officer, RN and RM Association, York, aged 93
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