Leopoldville and Clayoquot


Don Tweed

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Mar 30, 2006
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Watched an interesting Discovery Channel show on these two ships sunk on Christmas Eve during WW2.
One was sunk off the coast of Nova Scotia and the other off the coast of France near Cherbourg. It just seemed kind of ironic that they were thousands of miles apart and sunk near two very famous areas concerning Titanic.
Not much more to add, just found it kind of interesting.
-Don
 

david wilson

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Feb 17, 2004
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Heads up ET,the program Don is refering to is showing on nat geo,it's called the sea hunters,from 10_17 may.I just watched it today,wed.There's more to it than meets the eye regarding the ss leopoldville.She was built for Compagnie Belge Co in 1908 by H&W & her yard # was 402.CAN ANYONE SPOT WHAT'S WRONG HERE?
seven degrees west.
regards.
dw.
 

david wilson

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Feb 17, 2004
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Well spotted Michael,I was quoting from the book by Charles McConnell "ships of H&W".It looks like I will have to drop Charlie a line for clarification.
seven degrees west.
regards.
dw.
 

Bill West

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Dec 14, 2005
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There is an old RN tradition that on Dec 25th, the youngest man on board gets to be Captain for the day. On the Clayoquot that year the winner was a friend of my family. Fortunately he survived this “dubious”￾ honor.
Bill
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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The yard sequence number is wrong.

In fact, the number is right; Leopoldville WAS 402, according to Shipbuilders to the World.
 

david wilson

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Feb 17, 2004
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Mark,does shipbuilders to the world give the year of launch?In "the ship's of H&W" the year is 1908.
seven degrees west.
regards.
dw.
 

Bill West

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Dec 14, 2005
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Yard number sequence could be by proposal/contract date rather than construction start. What's wrong is they've got the wrong ship:

Leopoldville 6,365 grt built 1910 by H&W for Cie Belge Maritime du Congo. Transfered to Elder Dempster Lines 1924 renamed Abinsi, scrapped 1933.Source: http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/Elder_Dempster.html

Leopoldville 11,172 grt bult 1928/29 by Cockerill, Hoboken yard #623 for Compagnie Maritime Belge. Rebuilt 1936/37 11,509grt. Sunk near Cherbourg 1944. Source: Kludas' Great Passenger Ships of the World, vol 3.

Bill
 

Mark Baber

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Mark,does shipbuilders to the world give the year of launch?

8 August 1908.

Yard number sequence could be by proposal/contract date rather than construction start

Given that Leopoldville was launched before either Olympic (16 December 1908) or Titanic (30 March 1909) was laid down, it's clearly not construction start.

What's wrong is they've got the wrong ship

There certainly are two different ships involved here. Although the 1910 date appears to be wrong, and the details in Haws' Merchant Fleets differ in some regards from those on the Ships List site, this Leopoldville, by then named Absini, was scrapped in 1933, and so was long gone by the time World War II started. It was the second ship of that name, for which Bill summarized the information in Kludas, which was the WW II casualty.
 
S

Scott R. Andrews

Guest
"...Yard number sequence could be by proposal/contract date rather than construction start..."

That definitely seems to be the case with the yard numbers assigned by H&W. According to the ledger, the "order to proceed" for both the Olympic and Titanic was signed on 30 April 1907, which appears to be the point at which the initial data was entered into the ledger, resulting in consecutive yard numbers being assigned. Following these entries, we have to go all the way to yard number 415 in order to find a ship that wasn't delivered before the completion of the Titanic, and then all the way to yard number 424 before delivery after the Titanic's completion becomes a regular occurrence. (415 was the RMSPCo's Arlanza, which was laid down and built along side the Titanic in the period between the launch of the Olympic and commencement of construction on the Britannic. This ship was launched 23 November 1911 and delivered 8 June 1912. Her machinery can also be seen under construction in pictures of Titanic's engines in the shops.)

I'm guessing that the reason for these later number appearing to push their way to the head of the queue has to do with the higher level of complexity of the design, and the greater time required for the construction and fitting out of ships the size and scope of the Olympic and Titanic versus what was involved in building cargo ships of 2400-6300 tons, or passenger/cargo liners of between 7500 and 10000 tons, figures which are representative of the majority of ships building at H&W during that period. As an example, most of those ships spent between two and four months fitting out as opposed to the seven months spent fitting out the Olympic, or the year that transpired between the launch of the Titanic and her delivery.

H&W also occasionally "recycled" yard numbers, which put them out of chronological sequence. In one of the stranger instances, number 391 was originally assigned in 1907 to the ss Europa, a ship to be built for HAPAG, but the contract was canceled. The number was then reassigned to yet another still-borne ship, the White Star liner Ceric. Following this, the number was again reassigned, this time to the Belgenland for the Red Star Line. Construction on this ship, launched 31 December 1914, was interrupted by more urgent war production, until the ship was requisitioned as a transport. The partially finished ship, with her superstructure abbreviated, and missing her third (dummy) funnel, was finally delivered 21 June 1917, to be operated by the OSNC as the troop transport Belgic. Yard number 391 wasn't actually completed by H&W for Red Star per her intended design until the spring of 1923.

Regards,
Scott Andrews
 

Mark Baber

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Your analysis seems to be right, Scott. Two questions---or, more accurately, a question and an observation---if I might:

the "order to proceed" for both the Olympic and Titanic was signed on 30 April 1907,

The question: Where did you find this date, Scott? It sounds kind of early to me, even before the supposed Pirrie-Ismay dinner in the summer of 1907.

The number was then reassigned to yet another still-borne ship, the White Star liner Ceric.

The observation: As to Ceric, look here.
 
S

Scott R. Andrews

Guest
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the link to the Ceric discussion.

As for the date of the order to proceed, this comes from H&W's own ledgers listing the particulars of each ship. These were, of course, held in the Company archives, though I suspect that they are probably now in the possession of either the UFTM or the PRONI. If you would like to see the relevant portions the ledger, the portions dealing with the Olympic and Titanic were photocopied and conveniently condensed into a few sheets slipped into one of those box sets of tidbits being sold in the wake of Cameron's "Titanic". One of these days I would like to get copies from some of the other entries in that book for some of the other H&W ships I have an interest in.

Regarding the date seeming a bit early, that was my initial reaction, too. However, there are many people -- some of them very credible researchers -- that say that the story of the Olympic-class ships being "borne" at that dinner in summer 1907 is, partly at least, an apocryphal one, and the actual date for the order to proceed as recorded in the H&W records would seem to back this up. I suspect that the new Cunarders, and the potential threat they represented to White Star's top-drawer position on the New York run, was a hot topic at IMM board meetings long before that summer 1907 dinner party.

To me, in respect to the dinner party story, the date H&W recorded for the order to proceed doesn't completely discount this story. Rather, it seems to indicate one of two possibilities: either that we have the date wrong, and dinner party was, in fact, held in the spring of 1907 rather than the summer; or, rather than developing the initial concept, Ismay and Pirrie were discussing Ismay's "wish list", if you will, for the design features and internal layout of the new ships, something which at that time was nearly impossible to do until the basic size and form of the vessel had been decided upon. The basic size and form is something which could have been roughed-out during the several months prior to when this after-dinner discussion was supposed to have taken place.** The "order to proceed", in this case, probably resulted in the initial studies being conducted, rather than addressing any of the hard engineering issues or development of the practical design work, all of which would follow in its wake.

Regards,
Scott Andrews

**Before the era of the modern cruise ship, naval architects and marine engineers worked together and designed a ship from the outside in, and then tried to accommodate the wishes of the interior designers and decorators as best they could, while observing the practicalities of good ship construction. With today's passenger ships, the situation is completely reversed -- the ship is literally designed from within, and the naval architect is nearly subservient to the interior designer -- one of the reasons that we have cruise ships that look like a "Borg cube" painted white!
 

david wilson

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Feb 17, 2004
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Scott,glad to hear from you.If you are looking for information regarding H&W ships,then I suggest you give Charles McConnell an email at [email protected] mail Carmac Books Carrickfergus Co Antrim N Ireland.The book is called "ships of H&W".They are all there.Then,again,this book started this thread,because of the ambiguity regarding the building date & the yard # 402.Or are we talking about two different ships here? I digress!!!
Different subject.The hydraulic riveting machine!!! For those that are interested,type in RMS OLYMPIC.Several photos will appear.One of these is taken from the bow,looking aft,along the tank top.About head height,there is two of these machines,one port & one star'd.These were slung on the creeper cranes of which there were six to each slip,3 port 3 star'd.
seven degrees west.
regards.
dw.
 
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Scott R. Andrews

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Hello David,

And thanks -- I'll have to look up Mr. McConnell.

Regarding these pictures, you say "type in RMS OLYMPIC" -- do you mean here, in the search utility on this site? Or is there another location you have in mind. I believe I've seen the photograph you have in mind, or one similar to it. Looking at pictures of a hydraulic rivet squad at work, I get the impression that even with the creeper crane doing the work of supporting those beasts and moving them around, those machines still must have been a "handful" to operate!

Regards,
Scott Andrews
 

david wilson

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Feb 17, 2004
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Scott,in the google search engine,type in "rms olympic photos".Scroll down to "maritime quest".It's the third photo.Those photos bring back a lot of memories.
seven degrees west.
regards.
dw.