Video: Launch of Royal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror, 1969

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British naval expenditure 1900-1905

British expenditure on the Royal Navy between 1900 and 1905.[1]

1900-01 £32,131,062 7s 3d
1901-02 £33,726,491 10s 11d
1902-03 £34,201,994 4s 8d
1903-04 £39,221,000
1904-05 £42,001,400

This represents a remarkable 31 percent (£9,870,338) increase in the naval budget over the five year period.

[1] HC Deb 29 February 1904 vol 130 c124.

Fracking the Kaiser? Royal Navy experiments with shale oil in 1914.

Shale oil in 1914? There’s nowt new under the sun.

Mr. EDGAR JONES asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has caused any experiments to be conducted for the extraction of oil fuel from coal or shale, or caused any inquiries to be made as to the comparative cost of oil extraction by any of the processes now being adopted by commercial concerns?

Mr. CHURCHILL The Admiralty have made some experimental extractions on a small scale of oil from certain shales in the United Kingdom, and the various commercial processes for extracting oil from coal and shale are being watched with the keenest interest. It is not practicable to give any comparative details, as much experimental work is still being done.

Source: United Kingdom. Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 5th ser., vol 58, cc920-1 (1914).

Sgt. Norman Finch, V.C.

Sergeant Norman Finch, Royal Marine Artillery, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action during the Zeebrugge Raid of 23 April, 1918. The citation in The London Gazette for 23 July 1918 reads:

Sergeant Norman Augustus Finch, R.M.A., No. R.M.A./12150.
For most conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant Finch was second in command of the pompoms and Lewis guns in the foretop of Vindictive, under Lieutenant Charles N. B. Rigby, R.M.A. At one period the Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, chiefly in the upper works, from which splinters caused many casualties. It was difficult to locate the guns which were doing the most damage, but Lieutenant Rigby, Sergeant Finch and the Marines in the foretop, kept up a continuous fire with pompoms and Lewis guns, changing rapidly from one target to another, and thus keeping the enemy’s fire down to some considerable extent. Unfortunately two heavy shells made direct hits on the foretop, which was completely exposed to enemy concentration of fire. All in the top were killed or disabled except Sergeant Finch, who was, however, severely wounded; nevertheless he showed consummate bravery, remaining in his battered and exposed position. He once more got a Lewis gun into action, and kept up a continuous fire, harassing the enemy on the mole, until the foretop received another direct hit, the remainder of the armament being then completely put out of action. Before the top was destroyed Sergeant Finch had done invaluable work, and by his bravery undoubtedly saved many lives. This very gallant sergeant of the Royal Marine Artillery was selected by the 4th Battalion of Royal Marines, who were mostly Royal Marine Light Infantry, to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant dated 29th January, 1856.

Finch retired from the Royal Marines as a Quartermaster Sergeant in 1929. During the Second World War, he rejoined at age 49 and served as a Storekeeper Officer (Lieutenant) until 1945.His Victoria Cross is on display at the Royal Marines Museum, Eastney Barracks, Southsea.

Sergeant Norman Finch, VC with the Lewis gun he fired from Vindictive’s foretop.

Royal Navy battleships 1905

Royal Navy battleships in commission with full crews, 1st April, 1905.

There were thirty four battleships in commission. Of these, twenty were assigned to Home waters, eight were with the Mediterranean Fleet, five were on the China Station, and one was employed on trooping service.

Home waters:

Albemarle

Atlantic (at Gibraltar)

Caesar

Cornwallis

Duncan

Exmouth

King Edward VII

Hannibal

Illustrious

Magnificent

Majestic

Mars

Montagu

Prince George

Revenge

Russell

Royal Sovereign

Swiftsure

Triumph

HMS Albemarle, 1903.

Mediterranean:

Bulwark

Formidable

Implacable

Irresistible

London

Prince of Wales

Queen

Venerable

HM Bulwark, IWM Q 21052B.

China:

Albion

Centurion

Glory

Ocean

Vengeance

Other:

Barfleur was also temporarily in commission with full crew in trooping service.

HMS Barfleur, from “The Navy and Army Illustrated” 1897.

Source: United Kingdom. Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 5th ser., vol. 47, col. 635-7W.

Royal Navy survey vessel HMS Echo continues search for MH370

Echo was launched at Appledore Shipbuilders, Bideford on 4 March 2002 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 13 March 2003. Lead vessel in her class (HMS Enterprise is Echo’s sister ship), she was designed to carry out a wide range of survey work, including support to submarine and amphibious operations, through the collection of oceanographic and bathymetric (analysis of the ocean, its salinity and sound profile) data.

The search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

On 20 March, 2014, Echo was operating in the Persian Gulf, midway through an 18-month hydrographic surveying deployment, when she was tasked to assist the Royal Australian Navy search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in a sector of the Indian Ocean 2,400 km (1,295 nmi) southwest of Perth, Australia.

Echo’s Commanding Officer Commander Phillip Newell said his 60 men and women were giving the search their all. “My ship’s company are working 24/7 to find MH370. They are young, bright and enthusiastic and will step up to every challenge in the search for the missing aircraft. I am immensely proud of them.”

The Australian govt is overseeing search operations from its newly created Joint Agency Coordination Centre. Eight countries are involved in the search.

Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo (H87) and Royal Australian Air Force P-3C Orion aircraft in search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Photo: Crown copyright, 2014.

HMS Echo (H87) Royal Navy hydrographic survey ship. Photo: Crown copyright, 2013.

On the bridge of HMS Echo (H87), Royal Navy hydrographic survey ship. Photo: Moshi Anahory, 2012.

HMS Echo (H87), 2012. Photo: SAC Dave Vine , Crown copyright.