Friday, 3 July 2015

LIGHTSHIP CORMORANT / LADY DIXON - Chapter 103



My enquiries into Cormorant’s brief episode as a prison ship have not got very far. I am exploring three avenues – the Ministry of Defence because they probably ordered the dirty work;  the Royal Navy because they did the dirty work;  and the Irish organisation who celebrate the memory of the rebels, who were the dirty work!  Nothing heard yet from Ireland, but I have had a reply from the National Maritime Museum. However we had crossed wires somehow and I received information about HMS Cormorant and how to find out about her RN crew, so I have gone back with clarification. The other avenue I could try is  the National Archives at Kew.  Annoyingly, last year at a car rally lunch I sat next to a young chap who works there and I did not make a note of his contact details. Long term readers may remember that I obtained from Kew copies of the blueprints which were sent down from Belfast to Dublin in 1942, specifying what was to be done to Cormorant in her transformation from lightship to Pilot Station. So I am quite hopeful that they may have records about this Royal Navy activity in 1916.
   One question has been answered (thank you Jim) – how to get the cutter/lifeboat from inboard the davits to outboard. The sequence is quite straightforward, although the dimensions of the davits and the boat need to be well thought out.  I have even tried out the sequence, albeit on paper (Photos 1031 - 1034).





   Meanwhile, back on the Medway, that second vessel hanging onto Simon’s starboard side was not moved when promised (surprise, surprise!). Excuses included too much wind on Friday and not enough water on Saturday. However, there was movement in that the ‘tug’ was moored alongside ready for action. Now that I see the size of the ‘tug’, I can sympathise with the Marina’s desire for absolutely perfect conditions! (Photo 1035).  


 The latest news is that an attempt was actually made to move her but the hold was full of water and so she did not come far enough out of her mud bed with the tide.  The bilge pump has been working overtime and a bigger ‘tug’ engaged. Watch this space!
David