Saturday, 9 January 2016

LIGHTSHIP CORMORANT / LADY DIXON - Chapter 130



In my last post I forgot to mention the 1916 Easter Rising episode when Cormorant was requisitioned by the Royal Navy on 1 May to house prisoners and handed back on 3 May. The Kingstown Naval Base Commander was Capt H.F. Aplin RN and the Irish Lights Superintendent was F.R.Foot.  I have copies of the correspondence between Mr Foot and Capt Aplin. I also have a copy of the entry in Capt Aplin’s service record showing he was brought out of retirement and posted to Kingstown on 28 Dec 1915.
 
   For some time now Simon has been flying a skull & crossbones flag on the ship. For Christmas I bought him something more appropriate. After all, she is registered as an historic vessel with National Historic Ships UK. From them I obtained a ‘Defaced Ensign’, which is a normal red ensign with their logo added (Photo 1301).  Such defacement sounds illegal but it is approved and even comes with a certificate.

   You may remember a little puzzle I was investigating back in late August last year. Two smart doors in a photograph sent to me by Tony Lane (Photo 1302), turned out to be elaborate windows and the question was where they were/are located on the ship. The photo was taken by him in 2002.

   I tried to match the walkway structure visible through the right hand window, but even with an on the spot inspection in October, I could not find anything similar. The clear view across to that blue boat should have given me a clue, as there has long been a boat moored opposite Simon on the other side of the walkway, which would obstruct the view. Well recently I have been toying with the idea of writing a proper history of Cormorant, putting things in chronological order, with appropriate photos. Whilst putting some of these photos into a special file, I came across one taken in 1997, when she first arrived at Hoo (Photo 1303).    

At that time she was moored right at the end of the walkway, at least a ship’s length from her current mooring. As you can see, there was nothing moored next to her and there would have been a clear view across the marina. More significantly the structure of the walkway at this point is so similar to that seen through the window, that I am sure it is the same (Photo 1304).  

   The windows therefore must be on the port side and as there are no triangular ceiling fillets in the kitchen and there are two in the photo, the windows must be the ones in the living room/ salon/ wardroom. They are now plain double glazed modern windows unfortunately.
   Not an earth shattering discovery, but somehow a satisfying little bit of detective work!
David