SAS Somerset WWII Boom Defence Vessel

SAS Somerset

SAS Somerset WWII Boom Defence Vessel

SAS Somerset - WWII Boom Defence Vessel Photos and Report

Report      Photos      History      Technical      Interesting Facts

Inspection of SAS Somerset 14-11-2006

On 14-11-2006 I went aboard the SAS Somerset to conduct an inspection of her interior.  Closed to the public since 2002 and locked up since then the vessel is in need of a repaint, but is structurally sound. Most brass and copper fittings are intact and an alarm system is also installed.

We inspected her mess decks, for'ard accommodation, aft accommodation, tiller flat, emergency steerage, no1 & 2 holds, 1st Lieutenant cabin, WO cabins, Engineering cabins, heads, bridge, monkey bridge, stores, boiler rooms, engine compartments and galley. All sound and in good condition.

12 pounder gun and life-rafts still fitted.

She may well be dry-docked next year for a scrape and paint.

As to her future "watch this space"!!

Dylan Knott 14-11-2006

SAS Somerset stern - Photo Dylan Knott 2006

SAS Somerset - Bar Class - CT - LM SAS Somerset - Bar Class - CT - LM SAS Somerset - Bar Class - Cape Town - DW

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Above Decks and Below Decks

SAS Somerset Superstructure - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Superstructure
SAS Somerset bow - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Bow
SAS Somerset bow - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Bow
SAS Somerset bow - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Bow
SAS Somerset bridge - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Bridge
SAS Somerset stern - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Stern
SAS Somerset smokestack - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Smoke stack
SAS Somerset starboard - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Starboard side
SAS Somerset fore - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
Fore
SAS Somerset 12 pounder AA - Photo Dylan Knott 2006
12 Pounder
Winch
Winch
Captains Cabin
Captains Cabin
OC's Cabin
OC's Cabin
WO's Cabin
WO's Cabin
Rating's bunks
Rating's bunks
Emergency Steering
Emergency Steering
For'ard quarters
For'ard quarters
Galley
Galley
Emergency valves
Emergency valves
Bunks
Bunks
aft_accomodation_dk06.JPG
Aft quarters
paint_store_dk06.JPG
Paint store
No 1 hold
No 1 hold
Engine room hatch
Engine room hatch
Boiler hatch
Boiler hatch
Fire equipment
Fire equipment
Hatch
Hatch
  Shaft Machinery
Shaft Machinery
Tiller spanner
Tiller spanner

History

1941-April-15th Ship # 280's keel was laid at the Blythe Shipyard, engined by Messrs Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Tyneside
1941-Oct-21st Launched for the first time.
1942-April-8th Commissioned as HMS Barcross.  76 of this class were built during the war.
1942-April-14th Lt. V. Sutherland RNR takes command.
1942 Sailed with her sister ship HMS Barbrake to South Africa under command of Lt. V.Sutherland RNR.  Docked at the Selborne dry dock, Simonstown, before commencing duties, laying and servicing boom defence equipment, in Saldanha Bay.
1943-Jan-21st Lt. R. Souter RNR takes command.
1943-Jan-23rd Renamed HMSAS Barcross.
1943-July-13th Lt. J.C.Walters SAN takes command. Became Chief of the SA Navy [Vice Admiral] on the 1st October 1977.
1946 Purchased by the SA Government and engaged in ammunition dumping off the coasts of Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
1947 Laid up at Salisbury Island Navel Base, Durban
1952 Re-named SAS Somerset
1953 Re-floats the HMSAS Skilpad (pre- HMSAS Spindrift pre- Polaris), with the help of her  sister ship *SAS Fleur  (pre- HMS Barbrake)
*Not the Torpedo recovery vessel SAS Fleur which was built in 1969.
1955-June-1st Lt. Cdr. D.C.M. Germishuys SAN takes over command.
1955 Re-commissioned as the SAS Somerset - named after Lt Dick King's horse 'Somerset' which carried him from Durban to Grahamstown in 1842.
1955 Salvaged 2 Harvards after a mid-air collision over Table Bay, a third Harvard was recovered 6 weeks later after it crashed into the sea off Bok Point.
1959 Laid oil pipe off Mossel Bay harbour to serve the offshore oil terminal.
Coal fired boilers were replaced with oil fired ones during a refit.
1961-Feb-18th Re-floats the trawler Mossel (pre- HMSAS Grimwood) which sank off Port Elizabeth.
1963-April-3rd Re-floats the 620 ton SAR&H tug F Schermbrucker in East London.  The tug was damaged maneuvering the liner City of Port Elizabeth through the harbour entrance in rough conditions.
1965-Oct-1st Command handed over to Lt. Cdr. B. Duncum SAN
1967- Reconditioned main engine and new boilers fitted.
1968- Assisted the cable ship John W Mackay in the raising and repairing of undersea telephone cables in the shallow waters at Melkbosstrand.
1969-Mar Re-floated the 101 ton Wagter II (tug/whaler) at Saldanha Bay and towed her back to Simonstown.
Salvaged a floating crane which sank after capsizing in Port Elizabeth.
1970-Sept-14th Lt. Cdr. D. Mallalieu SAN takes command.
1973-Mar-18th Lt. Cdr. S.B. Claydon-Fink SAN takes command.
1974-July-24th Called out to Struisbaai to assist in the salvage of the 59 000 ton, Liberian registered, bulk carrier Oriental Pioneer, bad weather and luck hampered their efforts and they were unsuccessful, the resultant spillage of 200 tons of fuel oil affected several thousand seabirds.  The wreck is now a popular dive site.
1980-Mar-31st Lt. Cdr. R.A. Hind SAN takes over command.
1981 Raised the 87 ton fishing vessel Aldabaran which had sunk at the Port Elizabeth quayside in October 1978.
1983 Assisted in the salvaging and consequent dumping or the cut up remains of 1 barge and 2 whalers from Salamander Bay (Saldanha Bay).
Laid 24 mooring blocks in Gans Bay's new fishing harbour.
1986-Mar-21st After 44 years of service she sails for the last time in False Bay before being de-commissioned.
1988-May-24th Towed from Simonstown to Table Bay, subsequently repainted and refurbished.
1988-Sept-2nd Officially handed over to the S A Maritime Museum, by the Chief of the SA Navy, Vice-Admiral G. Syndercombe, as a floating exhibit.
2006-Nov-14th Vessel is inspected by D Knott and others.
2006-Nov-15th I spent hours doing this web page.

Technical

Type - Boom Defence Vessel
Class - Bar
Penant - Z 185
Propulsion - 850 Hp Triple Expansion Reciprocating Engine
Speed - 12 knots
Length - 59 metres
Displacement - 960 tons
Complement - 1 Officer, 37 crew
Armament - 12 Pound AA Gun

Interesting Facts

SAS Somerset is the only Boom Defence Vessel remaining in the world.
Her RN badge (HMS Barcross) can be seen displayed on the side of the Selborne dry dock.
Her duties included deep sea diving training, recovery of torpedoes and providing support
as a stand-by vessel during during submarine shallow water diving operations, as well as the recovery and laying of buoys and targets and the renewal of heavy moorings.

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