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SimonBrown

More SS Thistlegorm Cargo

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Following on from the work in holds 1 & 2, Alex and I are starting to look at what might have been carried in holds 4 and 5.

Hold 4 has sustained the most damage, to the point that around 30m of the ship is now missing. We have identified 3 Universal Carriers, plus some very shattered remains of other vehicles that may be beyond ID - just diffs, wheels, tyres etc plus an engine block. The bomb  landed in this hold and the subsequent fire ensured the ammo functioned. We will return to this area of the ship later.

Hold 5 has fared better. I have generated a high resolution image of the hold and its contents. To say things are jumbled is an understatement:

A view of hold 5

Which has triggered a few questions that the forum may be able to assist with:

Does anyone recognise the small 4 wheeled trolley to the right of the image in the link above? The front and rear wheels appear to be differing sizes, and I have put some measurements on to assist. Note the top of the trolley has a distinctive circular feature? We do know there are aircraft starter trollies in the cargo plus fuel tankers and aircraft spares. This trolley may be airfield related.

There are boxes of shell cases lying in the hold, plus individual shells around the wreck. They are marked on the base plate "4in Mk V" along with a plethora of stamps and one is dated 1927. Does anyone have an idea what sort of gun these shells would have been intended for?

Finally, one of the wheels is fitted with a tyre that looks very rounded - like an aircraft wheel perhaps? Any thoughts or clues on this would be welcome...I do realise there isn't much to go on, but you never know.

If anyone needs a measurement to assist then just ask. The main/master image is at a scale of 1mm per pixel and is GPS referenced, so anything can be directly measured with confidence.

Look forward to hearing what the forum thinks. Best of luck...some of the stuff has 70+ years of marine growth...

 

Edited by SimonBrown

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I think that the circular feature on the trolley in the image above is actually the turntable that allows the front axle to turn on a vertical axis for steering but not to move in any other direction. It would have been of very simple construction with sliding contact (no rollers or actual bearings) and lubricated by grease occasionally. The apparent different diameters of the front / back wheels is possibly due to the smaller one having gone flat and the bigger one not. My lawn mower tyres are noticably bigger when properly pumped up. I have an ex-MOD trolley with a flat wood top. It is slightly smaller than this one but otherwise very similar construction. Any workshop or warehouse facility would have used these trolleys as fork lift trucks were not universal in those days.

Also there is a structure across the top of the image to the right of centre which may well be a torsion bar suspension axle assy from a Brockhouse trailer. These commonly had a refueling tanker body used by the RAF but there were also other bodies on the same chassis. It is possible that the other pneumatic tyred wheels and the section of chassis could be from the same trailer.

This research that you are doing is great - the more images that you can share the better !

David

Edited by David Herbert

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David - I think you are right. Worked at 43 Command Workshops in the past and yes we had those very things. Now convinced I was 'over thinking' what the trolley could be...its...a...trolly!

I will have a deeper look at the structure you refer to - that would be amazing (but not impossible) if we can ID another vehicle from a torsion bar covered in marine growth. Many thanks for this.

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12 hours ago, SimonBrown said:

 

There are boxes of shell cases lying in the hold, plus individual shells around the wreck. They are marked on the base plate "4in Mk V" along with a plethora of stamps and one is dated 1927. Does anyone have an idea what sort of gun these shells would have been intended for?

 

 

Strangely enough, the 4" Mk V naval gun is a likely candidate. A first war gun using separate loading ammunition but by WW2 was used as a high angle AA gun with fixed ammunition.

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Some more images of hold number 4. First up, an overview of the contents. Note the crates of 4in shells on the right hand side...there is a lot of bang left on this wreck:

Hold 5 overview

Note that originally this hold would have been rectangular. The force of the explosion is apparent.

Now some detail. I have expanded the image to show the suspect torsion bar:

Hold 5 Centre

The trolly is in the lower right corner.

At the forward end, there is another pile of possible torsion bar/axle remains. A view of these would be most welcome:

Hold 5 Forward

Any opinion or thoughts on these would be, as ever,  most welcome.

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5 minutes ago, Adrian Barrell said:

Strangely enough, the 4" Mk V naval gun is a likely candidate. A first war gun using separate loading ammunition but by WW2 was used as a high angle AA gun with fixed ammunition.

Well that is not as daft as it seems! Naval guns we know something of, but knowing they were repurposed as high angle AA makes a lot of sense.

Many thanks for this - much appreciated.

 

Edited by SimonBrown

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The next object for ID are some very large calibre shells. They are encrusted with some marine growth so the dimensions (340mm/13.385" dia x 1630mm/64.17" long) indicated in the images should be taken as approximate. The driving band near the base of one of the shells is visible - just to the right of the top image measurement.

Any guidance as to the type of shell and artillery piece these bad boys would be fired from would be most welcome.

ThistlegormCargoShells.jpg

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3 hours ago, Adrian Barrell said:

14" Naval gun, one presumes.

Its certainly the closest match in terms of size.

But was there any land-based artillery used in Egypt around that time that would match this size/type of shell?

I think not, based on the massive size...but would prefer evidence rather than gut feeling!

Edited by SimonBrown

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