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oldhasbeen

WW1 Navy - Requisitioned Ship as a sea plane carried

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oldhasbeen

Hi

 

I've been researching what my two grandfathers did in WW1. Family legend was that my paternal grandfather, James Charles Brooks (1887-1933), was at the battle of Jutland. 

 

I have discovered that this is true - he served on the  "Manxman" (March 1916 to March 1917 & April 1917 to March 1918), which was as an Isle of Man  turbine steamer that was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1915 and converted to a low grade sea plane carrier at Chatham Dockyard. I attach a photo of it I found on the Web.

 

This surprised me in two ways 

- I'd read about passenger ships being requisitioned in WW2 but not in WW1 - how common was the practice in WW1?

- I'd never heard of "sea plane carriers" in WW1 -they sound like primitive aircraft carriers, does anyone know more about them?

 

Lastly, is there any way of finding what the ship actually did in the Battle of Jutland, and afterwards?

 

All help gratefully received!

 

 

 

Manxman.PNG

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horatio2
2 minutes ago, oldhasbeen said:

I'd read about passenger ships being requisitioned in WW2 but not in WW1 - how common was the practice in WW1?

3 minutes ago, oldhasbeen said:

I'd never heard of "sea plane carriers" in WW1 -they sound like primitive aircraft carriers, does anyone know more about them?

The Royal navy led the world in operating aircraft at sea. Some operated from fighting warships. Seaplane carriers included HM Ships ARK ROYAL, BEN MYCHREE, CAMPANIA, EMPRESS, ENGADINE, MANXMAN, NAIRANA, PEGASUS, RIVIERA and VINDEX. There were two aircraft carriers - HMS FURIOU and VINDICTIVE.

An internet search of these names will give more detail of the ships and there WW1 service. Search also for "Royal Naval Air Service".

14 minutes ago, oldhasbeen said:

is there any way of finding what the ship actually did in the Battle of Jutland

MANXMAN was not in the Jutland order of battle.

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KizmeRD
24 minutes ago, oldhasbeen said:

 

- I'd read about passenger ships being requisitioned in WW2 but not in WW1 - how common was the practice in WW1?

Welcome to the forum, but not sure why this should be much of a surprise to you as Britain needed to get her soldiers overseas, and in order to keep them there they also needed to be supplied. At the start of the war, the Admiralty quickly requisitioned more than 1,000 ships totalling 4 million tons (rising to 6 million tons by end of 1915). Some 250 ships were needed just to get the BEF to France. They were used in a wide variety of roles, from naval aviation, armed merchant cruisers, troop carriers, minesweepers etc.). Not just passenger vessels but also large numbers of cargo ships and fishing boats too.

Michael

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oldhasbeen
1 hour ago, horatio2 said:

The Royal navy led the world in operating aircraft at sea. Some operated from fighting warships. Seaplane carriers included HM Ships ARK ROYAL, BEN MYCHREE, CAMPANIA, EMPRESS, ENGADINE, MANXMAN, NAIRANA, PEGASUS, RIVIERA and VINDEX. There were two aircraft carriers - HMS FURIOU and VINDICTIVE.

An internet search of these names will give more detail of the ships and there WW1 service. Search also for "Royal Naval Air Service".

MANXMAN was not in the Jutland order of battle.

Thanks for this Horatio. Very interesting info about the seaplanes & aircraft carriers. 

I've read that  HMS Manxman served with the Grand Fleet from April 1916 until October 1917, so if she wasn't at the Battle of Jutland, what was she doing?

My long-dead father told both me and my sister that he was absolutely sure his father was at the Battle of Jutland but didn't know much else about his naval service - my grandfather died when my father was 12 dod dad had never really asked his father about details.

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horatio2
19 minutes ago, oldhasbeen said:

I've read that  HMS Manxman served with the Grand Fleet from April 1916 until October 1917, so if she wasn't at the Battle of Jutland, what was she doing?

If she had joined the Grand Fleet aby the time of Jutland (she had only first commissioned in April 1916) she was left behind for the battle. HMS ENGADINE was the only seaplane carrier in the order of battle. MANXMAN was eventually marked as being much too slow for operations with the Grand Fleet.

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seaJane

I cannot find a James Charles Brooks born 1887, but I have one born in Finsbury Park on 18 January 1888 (apparently the only James Charles Brooks in the RN in the GW period).

 

His service record reads (as far as I can make out through the preview option) 

PRESIDENT II (Calshot)  - 8 Feb '16 to 27 Oct 16

(Crystal Palace) - 28 Oct 16 to [unreadable] 16

MANXMAN - 1 [unreadable] 16 to 14 Mch 17

PRESIDENT II (Crystal Palace) - 15 Mch 17 to 13 Apl 17

MANXMAN RNAS - 14 Apl 17 to 31 Mch 18 - Transf to RAF.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6809612

 

This appears to be his AIR record, available via FMP https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12254194

 

 

 

 

 

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oldhasbeen
On 30/12/2019 at 11:54, KizmeRD said:

Welcome to the forum, but not sure why this should be much of a surprise to you as Britain needed to get her soldiers overseas, and in order to keep them there they also needed to be supplied. At the start of the war, the Admiralty quickly requisitioned more than 1,000 ships totalling 4 million tons (rising to 6 million tons by end of 1915). Some 250 ships were needed just to get the BEF to France. They were used in a wide variety of roles, from naval aviation, armed merchant cruisers, troop carriers, minesweepers etc.). Not just passenger vessels but also large numbers of cargo ships and fishing boats too.

Michael

Thanks for this. I know quite a lot about WW1, having been on many battlefield tours and read a lot, but my knowledge of the war at sea, beyond Jutland and Gallipoli, is very limited. Is there a good short-ish book you could recommend?

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KizmeRD
Hello 'oldhasbeed' (aren't we all). There are plenty of good books written about the war at sea during the Great War. Many written immediately after the conflict were somewhat jingoistic and simple accounts, but there have also been many books published mre recently that make good reads. As a starter, giving a general overview, you might try something like Richard Hough's, The Great War at Sea 1914-1918 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1983). Once you move beyond Jutland and Gallipoli, there are many interesting aspects waiting to be discovered ranging from submarine warfare, convoys, the trade blockade, naval mines, the RND defence of Antwerp, the Zeebrugge raid, the work of the RNAS (including armoured cars!), Room 40 and much more beside. A lot of good stuff already on the forum, so have fun getting to grips with it all.
Michael
 

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MikB

Massie's 'Castles Of Steel' is a readable account without being oversimplified.

Edited by MikB

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pete-c
On ‎30‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 11:07, oldhasbeen said:

 

 

 

- I'd read about passenger ships being requisitioned in WW2 but not in WW1 - how common was the practice in WW1?

- I'd never heard of "sea plane carriers" in WW1 -they sound like primitive aircraft carriers, does anyone know more about them?

 

 

 

 

 

Manxman.PNG

 

With regard to seaplane carriers and - as we now recognise them - aircraft carriers, a good introduction would be the Osprey New Vanguard publication, World War 1 Seaplane and Aircraft Carriers by Mark Lardas.

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The Dark

Manxman wasn't commissioned until December of 1916 (conversion took from April until almost the end of the year). Admiral Beatty considered the ship too slow for Grand Fleet operations, as her conversion had reduced her top speed from 21 knots to 18. She carried eight planes, which were at various times the Baby, Pup, Camel, and Short 184. The planes were float-equipped, and launched from the deck with recovery via crane from the water. By April 1917 she was operating in the North Sea as a Zeppelin hunter ("Rutland of Jutland" was one of the pilots aboard at that time). In October 1917 she was transferred to the Mediterranean and, along with Ark Royal launched an aerial attack on the battlecruiser Yavuz (ex-Goeben) on 20 January 1918.

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oldhasbeen
On 30/12/2019 at 22:47, seaJane said:

I cannot find a James Charles Brooks born 1887, but I have one born in Finsbury Park on 18 January 1888 (apparently the only James Charles Brooks in the RN in the GW period).

 

His service record reads (as far as I can make out through the preview option) 

PRESIDENT II (Calshot)  - 8 Feb '16 to 27 Oct 16

(Crystal Palace) - 28 Oct 16 to [unreadable] 16

MANXMAN - 1 [unreadable] 16 to 14 Mch 17

PRESIDENT II (Crystal Palace) - 15 Mch 17 to 13 Apl 17

MANXMAN RNAS - 14 Apl 17 to 31 Mch 18 - Transf to RAF.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D6809612

 

This appears to be his AIR record, available via FMP https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12254194

 

On 30/12/2019 at 22:47, seaJane said:

A belated thank you. This is indeed my grandfather's record & correct birth date. I thought it was 1887 from the age stated on his marriage certificate

 

 

 

 

 

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oldhasbeen
On 05/01/2020 at 00:20, The Dark said:

Manxman wasn't commissioned until December of 1916 (conversion took from April until almost the end of the year). Admiral Beatty considered the ship too slow for Grand Fleet operations, as her conversion had reduced her top speed from 21 knots to 18. She carried eight planes, which were at various times the Baby, Pup, Camel, and Short 184. The planes were float-equipped, and launched from the deck with recovery via crane from the water. By April 1917 she was operating in the North Sea as a Zeppelin hunter ("Rutland of Jutland" was one of the pilots aboard at that time). In October 1917 she was transferred to the Mediterranean and, along with Ark Royal launched an aerial attack on the battlecruiser Yavuz (ex-Goeben) on 20 January 1918.

Hi Mr Dark

 

Thanks for this

 

 

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pete-c
21 hours ago, oldhasbeen said:

Hi Mr Dark

 

Thanks for this

 

 

 

HMS Manxman actually arrived at Mudros (Lemnos) from Otranto, Italy, early on the 25th of January 1918.  The two seaplanes she brought with her - Short 320s (310-A4) - capable of carrying 18 inch torpedoes, might have had the opportunity to launch their weapons against Goeben (Yavuz) had there not been an unaccountable delay in getting them away on the day of the ship's arrival.

By the following day the weather had deteriorated to such an extent that the aircraft were unable to take off.  By that time though, Goeben had been freed from the clutches of the sand-bank and was, once more, on her way back to Constantinople!

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