Built principally for service between Europe and India and Australia, this 23,428 ton vessel is the latest addition to the famous P. & O. fleet, and a fine tribute to British shipping. The RMS Strathmore is the largest vessel yet built for the P. and O. Company. She was launched last year, and completed in September. The article was written by Boyd Cable and is the fifth in the series The World’s Largest Ships.
The Special Heavy-Weight Carrier
Shortly after the war of 1914-18 a special fleet of ships was constructed for transporting heavy weights such as railway coaches, barges, lightships and locomotives to all parts of the world. These ships have characteristics not to be found in any other class of vessel. Below is illustrated one of the fleet, the Beljeanne. She is a ship of 414.4 feet length by 67.1 feet beam by 31 feet depth, her deadweight tonnage being 10,170 tons, and her load draught 18 ft 6 in.
As the drawing shows, she has three holds and three large cargo hatches, one forward and two abaft a short, high structure housing the navigating bridge and officers’ quarters. The hatches are strong and have fore-and-aft girders higher than the bulwark of the ship, the width and length being proportioned so that locomotives or carriages can easily be loaded in them. The hatches and the decks are specially strong so that the largest of cargoes may be carried on the deck and not in the holds. No. 1 Hatch is as much as 75 ft 1½ in long, Nos. 2 and 3 Hatches being 75 ft 2½ in long. Each of the hatches is 26 feet wide.
The derrick equipment consists of three main units each capable of lifting a load of no fewer than 100 tons. The derricks are arranged on a stump foremast, on a second mast abaft the bridge structure, and on a third mast at the break of the poop. The 100-tons derricks from the mast abaft the bridge structure have a length of 76 feet; so has the derrick at the break of the poop. In addition there are twelve 5-tons-derricks, arranged as shown. This indicates that the Beljeanne is equal to lifting the heaviest weight that a ship is likely to be asked to carry. One of her record loads was twenty-four railway coaches, twenty locomotives, two tugs and one motor tank barge. The coaches were carried in two tiers above the bridge, the tugs and the tanker forward. These were carried from a British port to the River Plate. All the derricks are served by powerful steam winches taking their steam from a boiler in the engine-room aft.
The engine-room contains the two main propulsion units, which are of Armstrong-Sulzer diesel type, having a total power of 2,750 bhp on twin screws, and each having four cylinders. Most of the accommodation for the engineers and crew is arranged aft in the poop and in a house on the poop itself. The hull of the ship is exceptionally strong; at the same time ample arrangement has to be made for ballasting when the ship is running light. Hence there are a big fore peak, water ballast tank and big tanks aft. Water ballast can be carried also in the double bottom fore and aft and under the engine-room.
The Beljeanne was completed on the Tyne in August, 1926, and she has a speed of about 11 knots. Since her completion she has carried heavy loads to all parts of the world. She flies the Norwegian flag and is officered and manned by a Norwegian crew, who are all specialists in the handling of heavy weights. It is no unusual thing when the Beljeanne is loading cargo for her to heel over in the harbour until her gunwale is almost touching the water.
Click on the small picture to see a British Pathe newsreel clip “A Stupendous Shipment” showing the Beljeanne with a (then) record load of 52 locomotives and coaches bound for India. (1927).
The Top Deck of the Strathmore
THE TOP DECK of the Strathmore, showing some of the fine modern lifeboats carried by this liner. The twenty-four lifeboats include six “nested” and two power-driven by four-cylinder diesel engines. All boats have 31 feet length, 10 feet beam, and four feet depth. The power-driven boats can take sixty persons and the others eighty-five, giving a total of 1,990, or nearly 400 in excess of a full ship’s company. The boat-lowering gear consists of eighteen sets of gravity davits each driven by an electric motor.
Click on the small image to see a British Pathe newsreel clip “Tilbury” showing the Strathmore coming into dock. (1936).
The Salvage of the Troopship Onward
During the War of 1914-18, a cross-channel steamer, the Onward, converted to a troopship, caught fire in Folkestone Harbour. She was sunk and rolled over on her side. The task of salvage included the righting of the vessel. Because of the difficult position in which the ship lay five railway engines - shown in the picture above - were used to help to haul her upright. This novel salvage method succeeded.
The Cruiser Gladiator: A Salvage Triumph
A SALVAGE TRIUMPH. The cruiser Gladiator, supported by salvage tugs, is shown after her arrival in Portsmouth Dockyard. The cruiser was rammed and sunk by an American liner, the St Paul, in the Solent on April 25 1908. For five months the cruiser lay on her side before the salvage experts succeeded in righting and refloating her.
In Calm Water
A splendid illustration of the new P. & O. Liner Strathmore. Built by Vickers-Armstrong Ltd, at Barrow-in-Furness, this ship was launched on April 4 1935. Her overall length is 665 feet, breadth 84 feet, and draught 30 feet, and she is of 23,428 tons gross. On her maiden voyage to Bombay, the Strathmore captured the Blue Riband of the passage from Mediterranean ports to India.
The North Atlantic Ice Peril
In the North Atlantic Ocean the International Ice Patrol keeps a vigilant look-out for one of the the mariner’s greatest foes - the iceberg - and earns the gratitude of the shipping world. This patrol, which came into existence shortly after the tragedy of the Titanic in April 1912, is typical of the co-operative spirit of seafarers. Although the patrol is under the command of the US Coast Guard Service, its expenses are defrayed by fourteen nations, Great Britain among them. The article is by Sidney Howard.
The North Atlantic Ice Peril:
The photogravure supplement shows three icebergs, two of which are illustrated here.
A GLISTENING MASS OF ICE. (Left) The iceberg is easily detected by the look-out man of the International Ice Patrol cutter on a fine day. In fog or at night the cold mass chills the atmosphere near and so gives warning of its presence. In rough weather there is also an audible warning, for the sea can be heard breaking upon the berg. Because of their great size, icebergs are often affected by currents below the surface of the ocean which are running counter to surface currents; and so the drift of a berg, even when once sighted, has to be carefully observed.
The Vast Proportions of the Berg
THE VAST PROPORTIONS of the berg (right) may be fairly appreciated by comparing it with the sailing vessel seen close to the opposite side of it. Icebergs are avoided to-day by confining ships to specially charted tracks which vary according to the season. Wireless enables vessels to receive warnings broadcast by the International ice patrol of the position and course of he drifting ice.
Ships in Miniature
Building ships’ models is a fine art reaching back to long-past ages - an international art that will never lose its appeal while men love ships and the sea. In this chapter, Lieut-Com. E. Keble Chatterton describes some of the most famous ship models in existence and considers little-known aspects of the fine art of model-making. There is a complementary article on Marine Models in part 35.
(Left) A beautiful model of Columbus’s ship the Santa Maria, made by Mr E. V. Michael. This model has been constructed to scale, and the details of her rigging and other features are as near perfect as possible.
Click on the small picture to see a British Pathe newsreel clip “Miniature Ships” showing an exhibition of model ships at the Parker Gallery. (1960).
A Trinity of Dramatic Exploits
The raising of three ships sunk in unusual circumstances provided the salvage experts with difficult problems that were surmounted by many ingenious devices. This part describes the salvage of the troopship Onwardat Folkestone, and of the cruiser HMS Gladiator in the Solent. You can read more in chapter XII of David Masters’ book The Wonders of Salvage. This is the third article in the series Dramas of Salvage. It was written by David Masters and is concluded in part 10.