Sunday, 6 October 2013

Lightship Cormorant and/or Lady Dixon? Chapter 6

Well I am now convinced (sort of) that the photograph of the Belfast Pilot Station taken by Wil Smith in 1954 is not the same vessel as my son's ship in Hoo. There are some similarities, but there are too many differences.

1. The ratio of the overall length to the length of the superstructure on Cormorant is 1.54
On the Pilot vessel it is 1.88 (the red and yellow lines).

2. The angle of the bow on Cormorant is 60° and on the Pilot it is 74°

3. The angle of the stern on Cormorant is 52° and on the Pilot 78°

4.  The lantern on Cormorant moved up and down the mast like the old Gull lightship below and the Pilot was definitely fixed.

5. The securing points for the main mast shrouds are still there. When their line is extended upwards ….

… the lines meet at where the main mast was and at a height of 51 ft above the deck – much too high for the fixed lamp of the Pilot.

So where do we go from here?  I have three lines of enquiry at the moment:-

a. In the National Archives at Kew they have a letter from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners asking in 1943 for a registration survey and tonnage measurement to be done in Dublin. I have requested a copy hoping it will shed some light on the ship.

b. The Public Records Office in N Ireland has some documentation reference wireless traffic between the Belfast Harbour office and the Lady Dixon. I may have to go over there to dig these out.

c. I have registered at four likely websites where naval matters are discussed -  World Naval Ships Forums;  Ships Nostalgia;; and The Association of Lighthouse Keepers. I am also writing this blog.   Someone out there might have some information.‼

STOP PRESS:  The National Archives also has a document from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners referring to the Lady Dixon being used as a Pilot Station complete with accommodation, and the document has apparently got plans attached!  I have asked for a copy…….