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Author Topic: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard  (Read 8752 times)

Edward Pinniger

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Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« on: August 25, 2010, 08:03:52 pm »

Currently moored near Chatham Dockyard (not far from PS Kingswear Castle) is this small minesweeper. A crew member on Kingswear Castle said it was an ex-Belgian vessel, but it looks to me a lot like a British Ham class (http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/ham_class_minesweepers.htm). Can't find any information about any of these craft being transferred to or built for Belgium, though a number went to the French navy.

Anyone know more about this vessel and its history? It certainly looks to be in more or less original condition, with only the gun mount missing.
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pugwash

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2010, 08:18:30 pm »

Edward, This is a Belguim Herstal class inshore minesweeper - this is one of the class built in
USA  It named Ougree and was built in november 1957
I found it in 66/67 Janes

Geoff
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 03:36:47 pm »

Interesting - thanks for the information!

It certainly looks very similar to a RN Ham class; was the latter based on the Belgian design, or vice versa?
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pugwash

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 06:40:11 pm »

Must be a copy of a Ham class, first Ham launched at Whites of Cowes in 1952 pre-dating the
Belgium design by about 5 years.

Geoff
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Netleyned

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2010, 07:51:25 am »

I spent some of my best years of RN life on two of these little ships
HMS Woodlark ex HMS Yaxham was my first  and HMS Echo was my second.
Both these were built at Sam Whites in Cowes
Woodlark had the luxury of an enclosed bridge which kept the crew (and all my electronics!)
nice and dry.
All the others had open bridges great places to work for about ten days a year!
Being wooden they tended to bounce over rough seas rather than go through them
but they were small enough to get into harbours that never saw a warship
Ah Happy days


Ned
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farrow

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2010, 09:08:03 pm »

The only experience I had with this class was on the three Torpedo recovery conversions and the Sandringham when she was a passenger vessel, they where fun boats to drive and very manoeuvrable. The minimum speed was 11.5 knots with about 14 tops, but by christ could they stop, I suppose it was because the props where so clear of any hull resistance. Yes I had some very good memories of them, although living conditions on board where a bit basic!!!!
I would have thought they would have made a good subject for a kit by someone??
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Capt Jack

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 05:25:54 pm »

My old man bought one of the torpedo recovery ham classes from Scotland, she was called the Lasham, ah happy days !!!
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farrow

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2010, 09:09:30 pm »

The Lasham, yes I know her well, spent 6 months temperary acting master on her in 1979. Before that when I was mate on her the old man drove her across the spit below Iverary pier, removed 6 out of 12 prop blades and bent the shaft. A week later a diver surveying the props surfaced holding a half a prop blade and said it must have been floating rocks we hit. But that is another story.
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Capt Jack

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2010, 01:04:46 pm »

Ha Ha, fun and games then, my old man bought her in 81 or 82. we used it as a support vessel for the Velsheda, had some good times.
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farrow

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 11:26:17 pm »

I say one thing about that class, they were built very strong and could take real punishment that would severely damage a steel hull, as TRV's on the Clyde they were harder treated than they would for their original purpose. Have seen them take a severe beating several times in the lower Clyde areas , especilly going around the Mull of Kintyre in heavy weather.
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farrow

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2010, 10:00:52 pm »

I have found a pic of RMAS Fritham, a TRV based at Great Harbour, Greenock. The photo was taken in 1979 at Faslane, after a deliverey run from Arrochar, the fellah driving at the time was me, great fun those days and we had about 4 sub flotillias based there then, so we where always busy. Not the poor excuse the RN is now.
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davidm1945

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2010, 10:48:18 pm »

I spent some of my best years of RN life on two of these little ships
HMS Woodlark ex HMS Yaxham was my first  and HMS Echo was my second.

Ned

I believe that HMS Echo was bought by the Marine Society, renamed The Earl of Romney and was used as a cadet training ship. I think she was scrapped a few years ago when one of her engines packed up and the society (a charity, I think) couldn't afford to replace it. I had a memorable trip on her to the Channel Islands in a force 8 with a Sea Scout group and she did pitch and roll.

Dave

PS. Just been on the Marine Society website and I was delighted to see that she is still going strong!
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 11:05:03 pm by davidm1945 »
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Capt Jack

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2010, 03:57:38 pm »

I have found a pic of RMAS Fritham, a TRV based at Great Harbour, Greenock. The photo was taken in 1979 at Faslane, after a deliverey run from Arrochar, the fellah driving at the time was me, great fun those days and we had about 4 sub flotillias based there then, so we where always busy. Not the poor excuse the RN is now.

She looks just like the Lasham did when we bought her, nice picture
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Netleyned

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2010, 05:17:30 pm »

Ex HMS Echo
Ex Earl of Romney
Last seen in Alexandria ferrying tourists round historic sites.

Ned
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davidm1945

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2010, 06:28:18 pm »

And another....





DAve
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pegleg

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2010, 04:38:21 pm »

With reference to the original post,this is,as has been mentioned,one of the Herstal class at Chatham. Another is on a plinth in Antwerp,Belgium,next to a museum (the name escapes me). They were financed by the US,but Belgian built,to the "Ham" design. 15 or so were transferred from the RN to France,again paid for by the US as part of a military aid package.
I have been trying to find out what the one at Chatham is doing there,but without answer,as yet.She looks in good nick,presumably privately owned now.
HTH
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skenn_ie

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2015, 10:23:28 pm »

The only experience I had with this class was on the three Torpedo recovery conversions and the Sandringham when she was a passenger vessel, they where fun boats to drive and very manoeuvrable. The minimum speed was 11.5 knots with about 14 tops, but by christ could they stop, I suppose it was because the props where so clear of any hull resistance. Yes I had some very good memories of them, although living conditions on board where a bit basic!!!!
I would have thought they would have made a good subject for a kit by someone??
I would say that she is close to identical to the hams, down to the mast, winches, davits too.
I own and live on one in Ireland.  Somewhere, I have lines drawings, if anyone is interested.  3D files may be available when I get her measured.
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furball

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2015, 01:12:14 pm »

She's not at Chatham any more, she wasn't in a very good condition & got moved on a while back. Don't know what happened to her after that.


Lance
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skenn_ie

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2015, 06:07:15 pm »

Re: Reverse.  I reckon they go backwards faster than forwards. Rudders completely useless though, and probably strains the steering system if not centered.
They are quite responsive to steering going ahead though, even under tow.
Portisham: Currently in Balbriggan, Ireland.  Appearance varies from chaotic to a building site.  Work continues, and she remains basically seaworthy.
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Netleyned

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Re: Minesweeper (Ham class?) at Chatham dockyard
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2015, 06:33:12 pm »

The hams used for survey work had Stone Kamewa
Controllable pitch props and the Captain or First Lt
drove the ship with a twin stick setup on the bridge
and fine tuning by two engine exhaust bank temperature
gauges between the sticks
When running survey lines the helsman also had a
Decca track plotter showing how good or bad he was
on the wheel.

Ned
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Up Spirits  Stand fast the Holy Ghost.
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