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Remembered Today:

Flesh Sweepers {Gallipoli}, what were they?


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  I am currently reading the war diary of 31st Division, and there is mention on 5th of August of 'Flesh Sweepers', which appear to be a kind of boat.   https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/60380/images/42871_625537_11828-00003?backlabel=ReturnSearchResults&queryId=dabf1e65e7ac16801a0e96f18703c597&pId=8384  

  Can anyone provide any more information on these boats?

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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Could it be a soldier’s joke nickname for a fleet sweeper being used for medical evacuation of wounded from the beaches out to the hospital ships?

Edited by KizmeRD
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Alf,

If you can arrow through to the next page on your Ancestry link you will see a manual alteration to 'fleet' and a list of the ships. one of them was HMS Honeysuckle which was an Acacia class sloop used for minesweeping duties.

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Thanks Tom,

    I hadn't got as far as the next page, since I had already got all the information I needed on the guy I was researching. Thanks also for the information on Honeysuckle.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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  • 4 weeks later...

A "flesh sweeper"? 

 

post-55476-0-14556100-1377622132.jpg

 

iirc Grafton was modernised in the Med (Malta?) for service in the Dardanelles. 

 

Is "Flesh Sweeper" Jacks nick-name for these vessels and their net before the bow? 

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On 15/12/2020 at 11:45, Tom Wales said:

Alf,

If you can arrow through to the next page on your Ancestry link you will see a manual alteration to 'fleet' and a list of the ships. one of them was HMS Honeysuckle which was an Acacia class sloop used for minesweeping duties.

 

As Tom pointed out, Flesh was written in error and was later corrected to Fleet.

Exactly what that contraption on the Grafton was supposed to do, I have no idea,

but I doubt that it was ever called a Flesh Sweeper

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42 minutes ago, TeeCeeCee said:

A "flesh sweeper"? 

 

post-55476-0-14556100-1377622132.jpg

 

iirc Grafton was modernised in the Med (Malta?) for service in the Dardanelles. 

 

Is "Flesh Sweeper" Jacks nick-name for these vessels and their net before the bow? 

 

Thanks TeeCeeCee,

   It's an interesting photograph.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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It could be a device to explode or deflect free floating mines which appear to have been used in the Dardanelles.

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On 11/01/2021 at 11:56, TeeCeeCee said:

Grafton was modernised in the Med (Malta?) for service in the Dardanelles. 

 

 

If this picture caption is correct and refers to 1915 operations, then this particular piece of modernisation predates the introduction of the paravane

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The picture of Grafton clearly shows the Titanic dry dock and pump house, Belfast - so that’s where the conversion work must have been undertaken (not the Med).

 

Also it is stated in Norman Friedman’s book British Cruisers of the Victorian Era, that EDGAR, ENDYMION, GRAFTON and THESEUS were given monitor-style bulges (the only cruisers thus modified), timber stiffening, and prominent bow gallows for paravanes." p. 287.

 

MB

 

Addl.info. According to ship’s logbook, HMS Grafton was re-commissioned in Belfast on 29th June 1915.

And according to Cope Cornford’s book The Paravane Adventure, ‘In June 1915, the Admiralty approved of the ordering of a number of sets of Burney's new gear’ p.67 (the descriptive term ‘Paravane’ not yet in use’).

 

Edited by KizmeRD
Addl. info. added.
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HMS Grafton's Log book makes the following references to a mine catching gear, which I believe is device fitted to the bow.
"Altered course South to secure mine catcher gear" (11th July, 1915);
Divers "reeving the bow defence out hauls" (23rd July, 1915);
"Secured bow defence" (24th July, 1915);
"Divers inspecting mine catching gear" (30th August, 1915)

The log book can be viewed here
https://naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-05-HMS_Grafton.htm

 

Sepoy

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Talesofaseadog

In 1911 the RN tested bow mine catchers, this is an extract from the document I found.

"bow mine-catchers had been tested on two torpedo-gunboats, seemingly  effective in ‘fine weather up to 12 knots’, although less so in moderate conditions. 
Consequently, a strengthened version was to be fitted to one, with the eventual  intention of issue to the rest of the fleet-sweepers."

The arrangement shown in the photograph would seem very suitable for this purpose.

Later in the same document it says "Ellison bow-catcher", I believe it being named after the man who developed it, he was probably a Naval Officer based at HMS Vernon where much of the anti mine systems were developed.

Tony.

Edited by Talesofaseadog
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Here are some further photographs of HMS Grafton, taken whilst it was being refitted at Belfast during the spring 1915. They clearly show the bow mounted Mine Catching Gear and the Anti-Torpedo bulges.

Sepoy

 

BOW MINE CATCHER.jpg

MINE CATCHER.jpg

HMS GRAFTONS BLISTER.jpg

GRAFTONS BULGE.jpg

Edited by Sepoy
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On 14/01/2021 at 00:15, Talesofaseadog said:

Later in the same document it says "Ellison bow-catcher", I believe it being named after the man who developed it, he was probably a Naval Officer based at HMS Vernon where much of the anti mine systems were developed.

Tony.

Captain Alfred Astley Ellison CB RN, Commanding Officer HMS Halcyon and Senior Officer East Coast Minesweepers, based at Lowestoft. Later Commodore, retired as Rear Admiral.

It was Lt. Charles (Dennis) Dennistoun Burney RN (later Baronet and an MP) who was the chap based at HMS Vernon.

MB

Edited by KizmeRD
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Mates,

 

Interesting, no wonder they had such trouble clearing mines in March 1915

 

S.B

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