Ships Monthly Magazine


August's mystery ship

mystery ship

Cyril Jones, of Seahouses, Northumberland, sent the accompanying photo and said: ‘I would like to learn anything I could about
this ship, which I photographed in Yokohama in 2007. Can anyone help?’ So over to our readers . . . what is the
exact identity of the ship? Where and when was she built? Is she still in existence, and, if so, where is she operating?

June’s Mystery Ship Answer

mystery reply

The submarine pictured is HMS Aurochs, an A class submarine built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow in Furness. She was launched on 28 July 1945 and commissioned on 7 February 1947, too late for service in World War Ii.

A Class submarines were designed for service in the Pacific, with air conditioning for greater comfort and endurance, although those of us who served on A Class boats might not agree about the level of comfort! Their all-welded hull and pre-fabrication construction allowed speedy build times. They were manned by a crew of about 60.

Apart from HMS Affray, which was lost with all hands in the English Channel in 1951, Aurochs was the only A class not to be modernised during the late 1950s.

While serving in the Far East, Aurochs was attacked, while surfaced, by an unidentified aircraft. There were no casualties on the submarine. HMS Aurochs was decommissioned in 1966.

Steve Buttle, Hythe, Hampshire


May’s Mystery Ship Answer

May’s mystery reply

The vessel in the centre of the picture is Luymes. She was launched at the Gusto Shipyard in Schiedam, Rotterdam in 1951 as a hydrographic research ship for the Royal Dutch Navy. She arrived at Southampton in November 1973 and was intended for conversion to a yacht at the Willments Shipyard. In April 2005 she was sold to shipbreakers at New Holland. I photographed her there on 3 May 2005. The vessel on the right looks like the dredger Mersey No.41, which would date the photo to pre-April 1989, when she was broken up at Garston.

Simon Smith
South Ferriby, Barton Upon Humber, North Lincolnshire


July's mystery ship

mystery ship

This month’s mystery was supplied by Paul Green, who seeks help in identifying the ships in the photo, which was taken at Newhaven about 40 or so years ago and was scanned from original Agfa transparencies. He says: ‘I would love to know their original identities. Some look very much ex-Union Castle’. So can any reader supply more information about the exact identity of the ships? Where and when were they built? How long were their careers?

June's mystery ship

mystery shipThis month’s mystery is a submarine, which is pictured at Weymouth in 1947. Or is it Portland? Can any reader supply more information about the exact identity of the boat? Where and when was she built? How long was her service career? Did she serve during World War II and in what capacity? And what was her eventual fate?

April’s Mystery Ship Answer

April’s mystery

Several readers correctly identified the April mystery ship as the motor vessel Photinia. Ray Hedley (3rd Mate Photinia 1969) of Sudbury, Suffolk supplied the following information: Photinia was built by John Readhead & Sons, South Shields for Stag Line Ltd, North Shields, and was delivered in 1961. The 7,665gt vessel measured 480ft by 60ft and had an average speed of 13 knots.

She was a 10,500dwt bulk carrier, with four holds separating the aft and midship accommodation/bridge, and a further two holds forward of the bridge. She was a tramp ship, and was used to carry any type of bulk cargo. Like most of the Stag Line vessels, she often traded in the Great Lakes when they were ice-free.

In 1965 she had a career change when she was converted by Readheads into a cable layer, and Harry Pollitt’s photograph was taken while she was loading cable in Manchester, at BICC’s (Glovers) submarine cable loading gantry on Trafford Wharf, Manchester Docks, prior to sailing to New Zealand, where the cable was laid in the Cook Strait. The job was completed in May 1965, and for a while she remained on charter to BICC, laying a further cable between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

March’s Mystery Ship Answer

maymystreplyThe two Mystery Ships in March jumped out at me as soon as I saw them. One is Kye Torrent, the former RMAS torpedo recovery vessel Torrent A127, which I helped build during the summer of 1971 at the Clelands Shipyard, a small yard which was part of the Swan Hunter Shipbuilding conglomerate in Howden, Northumberland. Her sistership, which was built almost simultaneously, was Torrid A128.

These were torpedo recovery vessels with a centerline stern ramp to pull the torpedoes up to the main deck for return to the submarine base. A small boom was mounted from a foremast and a hydraulic crane was mounted aft. Two tracks carried the torpedoes along the sides of the main deck. Both participated in the Falkland Islands campaign as minesweepers. Only these two were built in this class.

May's mystery ship

mystery shipJohn Burling sent the accompanying picture of three old ships laid up in the river Itchen at Southampton. It was taken a few years ago and all have now gone, but he has been unable to find out their names. At least one appears to be an old tug. But can any reader supply the names of any or all of the ships, and maybe also supply information about their careers. Where and when were they originally built, and by whom? What were they used for during their lives? And when exactly were they dismantled?

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