An Army Workboat

On display during the Jubilee celebrations was this work boat

Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant - Army Work Boat "Mistral"
Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant – Army Work Boat “Mistral”

I hadn’t seen one of these before but from another forum;

51 sqn,17 port and maritime, one of four workboats. Storm, Diablo and Sirocco are the others

They were built in Liverpool by Warbreck Engineering under a sub contract from VT Halmatic in 2007. At 48 tonnes gross weight the first is numbered AWB41.

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x
x
July 21, 2012 12:03 pm

Shame on you TD, Mr Logistics, not to know about these little boats.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 21, 2012 12:17 pm

In America,also in the army, they make everything bigger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Frank_S._Besson,_Jr._class_Logistics_Support_Vessel

Mike W
July 21, 2012 12:22 pm

TD

It’s a very good shot of a vessel that I didn’t know was in service. I knew that 17 Port and Maritime Regiment had some workboats but I thought they were of the older kind. What is their main purpose, to act as tugs or are they more general-purpose vessels?

Incidentally, I read a report a short while ago, suggesting that 17 Port and Maritime were to lose their Ramped Craft Logistic and LCVPs and that the Rigid Raiders had already gone! Not a very good move unless they get replacements, I would have thought. With the British Army “shifting its focus from campaigns to contingency” (the words of my M.P.), a well-equipped port facility suach as Marchwood will be of the utmost importance.

Anixtu
Anixtu
July 21, 2012 3:22 pm

I don’t know the full spectrum of Army workboat capabilities and uses, but at least one is in towing unpowered Mexeflote rafts. LSLs would carry a workboat if they had a Mexe Ramp Support Pontoon (RSP) in order to position the RSP.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 21, 2012 3:47 pm

This is not a sarcastic question; what do they do? Are they designed for harbour operations or something?

Anixtu
Anixtu
July 21, 2012 3:48 pm

The weight mentioned is suspiciously high. The old workboats were under 20t in order to be carried on the deck of an LSL.

Mike
Mike
July 21, 2012 6:00 pm

shhh! the RN doesn’t know they exist… ;D

Another asset we dont read/see much of, curious at how the Army got away with having them.

x
x
July 21, 2012 7:00 pm

@ Mike

The Army has a long history of own its own watercraft. Think of it this way. Marines are sea-soldiers who, traditionally, have the ship and shore as their base of operations; they are light and don’t have much stores. The soldier, despite what many seem to believe here, traditionally, travelled across the water with all his stores; he has lots and lots of stores. Who better to off load those stores at t’other end, load, and despatch them? Some RN Jack Dusty? No it is a soldier’s job. :)

And then we have troop ships both ocean and river going. Google, British troops ships.

The Sir Class LSL weren’t originally RFA but built for the Ministry of Transport for the Army Board vessels and run by a the shipping company British India. They weren’t even grey originally but were resplendent in the traditional trooping colour scheme of white with a blue band,

http://www.merchantnavyofficers.com/BritishIndia2/geraintb.jpg

http://www.merchantnavyofficers.com/BritishIndia2/tristram.jpg

dan
dan
July 21, 2012 10:01 pm

Hey gents first post for me, I recently served at 17 port although not as a mariner as they are called now, the workboats are used mainly as a tug for mexes or barges or the RE fuel pipeline equipment, they also have a fire fighting capability which I suppose is handy when towing ammo or fuel!!! Also the weight quoted is wrong as they are just about able to be lifted by the cranes on the LSDA’s which I believe are rated at about 35 tonnes.

When I left all the LCVPs apart from the one down the falklands were being replaced with combat support boats, the RCL’s are slowly being taken out of service at a rate of one a year and im not sure about a replacement, the rigid raiders went ages ago and got replaced with RhIBs.

Hope you all found that useful
Dan

Mike W
July 22, 2012 9:46 am

Very useful indeed. Thanks dan. Hope they do get a replacement for the RCLs. Years ago, they (or their predecessors – the RPLs, can’t remember which now) acted as supplementary vessels to the Royal Marines Landing Craft on exercises.

Do you know anything about the plan to sell Marchwood to a private company? (I have heard the name SERCO among others). If it is SERCO perhaps they could provide a few vessels!

Sir_Humphrey
July 22, 2012 5:52 pm

Mike – the plan is to continue to use Marchwood for seamounting, although probably in a more relevant way. The site is a bit of a legacy site right now and we can probably do things in a slightly better way.

dan
dan
July 22, 2012 8:52 pm

Mike
The latest news I heard was that the smc was being kept as it will still be needed for the drawdown from afghan, that and the fact that finding another place to takeover the role of the smc and relocating of 17 port along with all the related infrastructure would be significantly more expensive than what we would get if we sold it.

With regards to the RCL’s I saw quite a few RM LCU there last year not too sure if that was just for maintanance or a trial (wrong trade sorry). They did used to deploy up to norway sometimes to support the marines annual exercise in that neck of the woods and when we had a lot more money they used to get loaded onto a semisubmersible ship and sent across to the states on exercise, interestingly enough they cannot dock with the LSDA’s as they are about 2 inches too big in either height or beam!!!!

tweckyspat
tweckyspat
July 22, 2012 9:09 pm

hi all a few years ago I was at 51 Sqn and had to go through the original User Requirement for the replacement WB — so glad to see them actually built (the previous ones were genuine museum pieces) The writing has been on the wall for the RCLs for a long time 0 frankly we’d be better off with LCU 10s as mentioned above for LSDA interoperability

One unusual anomaly (certainly when iw as there) was that the Army were still training marine engineers to work on these, the LCVPs and the RCLs. The bootnecks on the other hand had to grovel to pusser for the loan of a stoker for their LCUs. Not very green machine !

Mike W
July 22, 2012 9:49 pm

@Sir Humphrey, dan and tweckyspat

Thanks for the information, all three of you.

Maybe 17 Port and Maritime wiil eventually get some of the LCU 10s, possibly when the Royals get the new PACSCAT high-speed landing craft (Mind you, with money this tight, I’ll believe that when I see it!)

x
x
July 22, 2012 9:50 pm

Interesting pic,

http://pgmodels.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/img_4148a.jpg

There aren’t many decent pictures of Marchwood on the internet. I have only ever seen the port from the water.

x
x
July 22, 2012 10:16 pm

Yes it is one of the old ones. There is interesting stuff lurking in the back ground too. If memory serves there is a substantial amount of railway sidings to the east of the port for staging.

Anixtu
Anixtu
July 22, 2012 10:44 pm

One of the ‘old’ workboats was a prototype for a new class that was never built. WB 08 as illustrated on the relevant Army webpage: http://www.army.mod.uk/rlc/equipment/761.aspx

Sidings are to the west of the jetties, to the east is a bit damp. Marchwood used to be the home of the Army’s railway unit, but it sounds like it was disbanded earlier this year.

There is plenty of satellite and aerial imagery of Marchwood on Google Earth/Maps and Bing Maps.

dan
dan
July 22, 2012 10:45 pm

TD
Yes that is one of the old ones, not too long ago they were listed for sale on the government edisposals website not too sure if they are still there.

X
the only stuff in the background that I could see was an RCL being worked on at the shipyard workshop, that bit of rail in the picture leads up to the ammo sidings and further than that to the railway exit.
There are not too many photos of the smc floating around on the t’interweb but google earth is pretty good and not too out of date.

Twecky chances are we were there together then at some point, such a small world isnt it?

twecky
twecky
July 25, 2012 1:09 pm

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&_trksid=p4340.l2557&rt=nc&nma=true&item=160713856999&si=AaOjYWzJ%252FA%252FxdjgTK%252F4o1oUEUzc%253D&viewitem=&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

the old WBs were on sale on ebay earlier in the year !

Dan I try and keep my marchwood time on close hold but occasionally I can’t let a good mexeflote debate go by without comment

Mike
Mike
July 28, 2012 3:59 pm
Reply to  x

Cheers x,

Was not aware of the Sir Class LSL’s history; funny to see they were paid for outside the MoD, and now ideas going around that the Foreign aid should cover/part cover for such assets today, that and the DfT paying for Rotary SAR replacement… was almost floored to see they paid for the LSL’s which were then used by the Army, effectively an army naval asset :o
I always thought it was always the Navy (or EIT Co.) were always the one to tranport the army to empires’ hot-spots.

I was jesting at how the junior service had its own sea-rescue craft, much to the chagrin of some. Looked as much out of service remit as this did.

But indeed, a genuine use for the Army (the Navy has its own lads to babysit) though saddened to hear they are being retired, whats the replacemnt?

As with Marchwood, they do have a large rail-yard; probably the main route for rail-hauled Mod kit to a port in the south, weren’t they going to sell the site? I heard it was saved.

Peter Elliott
July 28, 2012 4:47 pm

My understanding with Marchwood is that they are simply looking for a bit of revenue.

By putting a civilian operator in they can look to ship commercial goods through the port when it isn’t being used for military kit and so earn a bit of ready cash. Presumably there will be a clause in the contract saying that whenever the MoD needs it then all other traffic has to stop. Not dissimilar to the arrangement with the Point Class Ro-Ros with the added advantage that a port doesn’t move so can’t end up on the wrong side of the world at a critical moment.

However no-one has yet signed up to be the civvy operator which suggests that either (a) there is an oversupply of port facilites in the UK at the moment or (b) Marchwood needs substantial investment in facilities before it becomes a marketable asset. Maybe both. As always the question will be: who pays?

bob dale
bob dale
October 28, 2012 2:12 pm

HI I SERVED AT MARCHWOOD 1971 UNTIL 1974 ON WORKBOAT PIKE NUMBER 7 THEY ALSO SERVED AS FIRE BOATS THE ENGINEER WAS A MATE CALLED JEFF BULLIVANT BRILLIANT AT HIS JOB BELIEVED HE MADE SGT MAJOR WOULD LIKE TO FIND HIM AND SEE HOW HE IS.
THE WORKBOATS WERE GOOD LITTLE CRAFT THOUGH RPL BUDE WAS A STRANGE LITTLE CRAFT IT WAS SAID SHE LANDED AT NORMANDY ON D DAY THOUGHBIT WAS NEVER CONFIRMED, WE TOOK HER TO BRIDLINGTON FOR AN EXERCISE WITH THE R/MARINES BUT THE WEATHER PROVED TOO MUCH SO WE RETURNED BUT ONLY AFTER SAMPLING THE LOCAL ALE . GOOD DAYS GOOD MEMORIES.

WiseApe
October 28, 2012 3:01 pm

Hello Bob – “THE WEATHER PROVED TOO MUCH” – having lived/worked in Bridlington, I’m not surprised. I got seasick standing on the harbour wall watching their lifeboat towing a trawler back in.

bob dale
bob dale
November 4, 2012 5:28 pm

HI WISEAPE NICE TO HEAR FROM U I MUST ADMIT THE WEATHER THOSE FEW DAYS ON THE EAST COAST WERE QUITE HORRIFIC LOCALS SAID THE WORST FOR MANY YEARS. IN A PREVIOUS LIFE I SAILED FROM MY HOME PORT OF HULL ON DEEP SEA TRAWLERS TOUGH LIFE BUT A GOOD ONE UNTIL THE COD WARS THAT ENDED UP WITH THE DEMISE OF THE FISHING FLEET ON THE HUMBER PORTS. I SERVED IN THE ARMY WITH A BRID GUY NAME OF BRYN CUTSFORTH BIG LUMP ALL BRAWN DECENT GUY THOUGH. STAY LUCKY