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WW2 ship drawings anyone know what this is?


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Hi all, 

My Grandad served in the Royal Navy aboard a minesweeper during the 2nd World War, i used to love, as a child, listening to his tales of life at sea. Sadly he passed away 14 years ago, recently my Mum gave me a pack containing loads of old photos he took during the war. 

It also contained two things that I find particularly interesting and would love to know more about if anyone has any ideas about them I would be most grateful!

I will attach some photos.

The first is what I believe is something called a blood chit, it is a piece of silk with the union Jack on and asking to assist the service person in many different languages. Did all military personnel get issued these i thought it was just aircrew?

Second is a huge plan of a ship it has the name Genova with the date 9/11/28 in the bottom corner, it appears to have had many lines drawn on it, im guessing representing some kind of electric cable. Does anyone have an idea what the plan was used for and why he had it?

My guess is some kind of training aid maybe? To add he was also a wireless operator sending and receiving morse code messages.

Many thanks Dean

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What good pieces of history, you must be happy to know they are in safe hands. It is possible the 'GENOVA' in the text of the plans refers to the city of that name, but I don't speak Italian so someone else will have to comment on that.

There was a ship named GENOVA but at a glance the dates don't line up:

"Empire Swan

Empire Swan was a 7,965 GRT cargo ship which was built by Merchant Shipbuilding Corp, Chester, Pennsylvania. Completed in June 1925 as Missourian for American Hawaiian Steamship Co. To MoWT in 1940 and renamed Empire Swan. Allocated in 1942 to the Belgian Government and renamed Belgian Freighter. Sold in 1946 to Compagnie Maritime Belge and renamed Capitaine Potie. Sold in 1948 to Compagnia Genovese di Navigazione a Vapore SA, Genoa and renamed Genova. Sold in 1955 to Compagnia Genovese di Armamento and renamed Flaminia. Now 8,791 GRT. Sold in 1963 to Compra Vendita Covena, Genoa. Sold in 1965 to Bakhashab Mohammed Abubakur, Saudi Arabia and renamed King Abdelaziz. Arrived on 23 April 1970 at Kaohsiung, Taiwan for scrapping. "

 

HTH,

Bruce

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Thanks Bruce, I am trying to looking after them best I can all though it is in a bit of a poor state!

Yes it does seem it could just be the italian city of Geneva It refers to rather than a ships name.

Dean

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The plan (your last photo and the second photo are the clues) is a electronic wiring diagram.  As far as I can tell, it's not all the wiring as in a schematic but more of one to show the runs of the cables.  Now whether or not "Genova" is the name of the ship, I have no idea.   Was he a ship's electrician?  Or maybe damage control?

 

The "chit" might similar to what many of carried in Vietnam.  What we had was a "Geneva Convention Card" which stated military person and some info.  I'm thinking that was similar so if he ended up (maybe if the ship sank?) and he was rescued by locals, it would help get him back to the allied lines/forces.  I hope someone with the answer will pop in.  

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, bruce d said:

What good pieces of history, you must be happy to know they are in safe hands. It is possible the 'GENOVA' in the text of the plans refers to the city of that name, but I don't speak Italian so someone else will have to comment on that.

There was a ship named GENOVA but at a glance the dates don't line up:

"Empire Swan

Empire Swan was a 7,965 GRT cargo ship which was built by Merchant Shipbuilding Corp, Chester, Pennsylvania. Completed in June 1925 as Missourian for American Hawaiian Steamship Co. To MoWT in 1940 and renamed Empire Swan. Allocated in 1942 to the Belgian Government and renamed Belgian Freighter. Sold in 1946 to Compagnie Maritime Belge and renamed Capitaine Potie. Sold in 1948 to Compagnia Genovese di Navigazione a Vapore SA, Genoa and renamed Genova. Sold in 1955 to Compagnia Genovese di Armamento and renamed Flaminia. Now 8,791 GRT. Sold in 1963 to Compra Vendita Covena, Genoa. Sold in 1965 to Bakhashab Mohammed Abubakur, Saudi Arabia and renamed King Abdelaziz. Arrived on 23 April 1970 at Kaohsiung, Taiwan for scrapping. "

 

HTH,

Bruce

The date on the legend for the drawing does not allow this to be that ship Genova.  It is dated 1928.  The plan looks to be from the Society of Electromechanical Foundries Liguria, which is the region where Genoa is located.  The legend at the top shows that this is schematic diagram for the electric cable runs to some cabins and to the machinery spaces on the secondo ponte (second deck).  Also looking at the legend for the side elevation drawing she had cabins for first, second, and third class passengers.  Under dimensioni principali (principal dimensions) it looks like her length p/p was 87.6 m and her maximum beam was 12.2 m. The height of the covered deck is 6.5 m and that of the second deck is 4.1 m.  Maximum draft(?) is 4.5 m.

 

Looks like a passenger ship to me.

 

Was he assigned as a radio operator on a convoy ship?

 

Regards,

 

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9 hours ago, Dean77 said:

something called a blood chit

Dean,

The blood chit is in good condition compared to many I have seen, They came in many forms depending on where they were needed. Here is one:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30081074

... and judging from the number of languages on yours the user was expecteing to travel a lot!

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Hi Dean,

 

The 945/94S is the plan number, it looks to me to be a builders plan, if so somewhere on the sheet there would have been either the ships name or hull number, hopefully it's still there, along with the 'Society of Electromechanical Foundries Liguria' it might give you a lead. I came up empty with a search for that Society but perhaps there's a member from Genoa who can shed some light on it or contact the Genoa Maritime Museum.

 

If you're near a maritime museum it might be worth taking that plan to them and ask their advice on preservation.

 

Good luck.

 

Mark

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Many, many thanks for the help so far!

The blood chit is in great condition has a few holes in and creases from being folded.

As far as I'm aware he was a wireless operator on a fishing trawler converted to a minesweeper.

I'm hoping I can make some kind of display along side my HMS Beagle when I finish it.

I think a museum is a great idea and thank you for the link to the Genoa maritime museum.

 

Below is a frame we've had made of his medals, picture, hat ribbon etc.20200531_152315.thumb.jpg.23f62e3c5a5f10b85efefd8d2ed673fb.jpg

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3 hours ago, popeye2sea said:

Another interesting point is that most of the languages on the blood chit are from the indonesia area.

 

Regards,

Thanks, that is interesting and I never noticed that! I wonder if he acquired it at some point during or after the war then.

From what I know he spent much of the war in the Mediterranean. I have lots of photos he took that were taken on and around various Greek Islands, Malta and Tripoli.

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Hi Dean, to my eye, those schematics look like a hydraulic or valve plan - i.e, shows the default configuration of valves (open or closed), where the manual and powered valves are.  By hydraulic this could be water, fuel or oil.

 

cheers

 

Pat

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No, definitely electrical. The Legend includes "emergency circuit", "Signal circuit" "Marconi (radio) circuit" "220V lamps" and "commutator". It has "valves", but they are bound to be electrical valves (diodes, triodes etc). I'd say he received it as part of his training and kept it as a reference, as he'd be certain to need to know not just the wireless circuit, but all the electrical circuits on a ship.

 

Regarding "Genova", it's pretty certain it's not the ship's name. The rubber stamp at the bottom is SEL - Societa Ellettromeccanica Ligure Fonderie - Genova = "Electromechanical Society of Liguria Foundries - Genoa", and to me that simply says that the headquarters of the SEL was in Genoa.

 

Yes, the blood chit was obviously intended for South-east Asia. It includes Thai and Vietnamese as well as Malay and Indonesian, and even Tamil (Sri Lanka and southern India).

 

By the way, do you know the name of the minesweeper he served on? There's probably a record of where she served.

 

Steven

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Thank you for all the replies, been very helpful!

We believe his ship was HMT Mousa, ive googled it have a bit of information but not a lot to be honest. Found one archive photo of it.

20200602_111214.jpg.f5b5fbee62019dea24b1550dcbfa3f8e.jpg

He also has a medal for Arctic Campaign, nothing seems to hint he went to the far East and I can't remember him ever talking about being out that way.

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31 minutes ago, Louie da fly said:

Hmm . .  maybe worth making a model of it?

 

I don't know - would the Navy have records of her service?

 

Steven

https://www.klueser.de/kit.php?index=5137&language=en

 

Sadly, it appears no logs of Mousa survived, nor is she mentioned in damage reports. Small craft logbooks are rare in The National Archives UK because most were destroyed (without proper consultation from Records Branch) to free up shelf space in the 1950's. If she is mentioned in records it will probably be as a participant in events rather than as the main subject herself.

Dean, perhaps you have already applied for your grandfather's service record? It will include not only the ships on which he served but under what command, flotilla etc. This may prove worthwhile because it can reveal involvement in historic events.

HTH

Bruce

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looks like a medium-sized freighter of 1930s design, maybe around 2500T? Due to Genoa, maybe worth checking ships built by Ansaldo as a start.

 As why he had the drawing, better ask someone who knew him. I like drawings myself, I could have kept it as a keepsake, or to make a model, or - had I been an electrical engineer/electrician - for reference.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, the blood chits were area specific. I had one similar to the one you show on silk, when I was stationed in SEA. My unit kept t when I rotated back to the States. Later on, we had them for the Middle East, with languages appropriate for that region on the chit. I still have it, since it's stiched into the back of my flying jacket.

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  • 2 months later...

Interesting...

For what I understand, it is possible the following:

-The drawings plans are belonging to one generic class of passenger ship projected for the passengers transport between the "minor lines", which means probably routes where less passengers are imbarked (ships for less crowded routes).

In these years can means as an example the regular communications between Italy and its own Islands, and Tripoli (Libya) or Italy and Tunisia.

These were rather common ships.

-The S.E.L.F was a company of Genova (Italian town) and was probably a subsupplier in the ship construction.

-The ship belong to a standardized class of passenger ships, so the name of the ship is not showed.

 

During the second world war, many of these were confiscated from the Italian Reign, armed with guns of various type and arranged as an "armed troop transport ship" or "light convoy escort ship", in anycase "auxiliary ships".

If your parent serviced in the Royal Navy during the second world war, it is possible that fought against Italian convoys that supplied the Italian/German troops between Italy and Lybia.

So the drawings it is possbile that belonged to a ship captured or sunked during the second world war by British Navy.

But the Italian ships were in anycase enemy ships, so it is possibile that this ship was still a civilian ship captured or sunken, and not a "confiscated and converted ship", eventually in a North African harbour.

During the second world war, Italy had garrisons in the African Horn, which means Eritrea, Somalia, Etiopia, so this ship can be captured/sunken in these zones or in the routes between Italy and these zones.

 

 

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The below one is the link to one ship that resemble the plans one.

The size is similar and shape similar, too.

It is just an example, a more carefully research must be done.

Since the drawing is of autumn 1928, it is possible that entered in service in 1929.

That ship entered in service in 1929, as a passenger ship.

Later during world war 2 was converted in Hospital ship and so on.

This was sunked and not captured, so the drawings hardly can belong to it, but eventually can belong to the same class...(the size and shape match your drawings)

 

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Città_di_Trapani_(nave)

 

Below there are the details of this class of passenger ships.

The plans are rather similar.

eight of these were built apparently.

http://www.culturanavale.it/documentazione.php?id=76

 

Below some detail of their destiny:

-Città di Agrigento: destroyed at the port of Marsa Matruth in 20 july 1942

-Città di Alessandria: survived the war

-Città di Bastia: hit by a torpedo by sm Tetrarch, sunk between Pireo and Crete in 27 september 1941

-Città di Livorno: Città di Savona recovered and renamed

-Città di Marsala: survived the war, renamed Città di Trapani to honor the twin ship sunken

-Città di La Spezia: sunken by a torpedo in 27 august 1943 between Brindisi and Valona

-Città di Savona: sunken at Leros in 6 february 1944, recovered and renamed Città di Livorno

-Città di Trapani: sunken by a magnetic mine near Italian coasts

 

Not all of these were made in the same shipyards. the drawings were standardised, but the manufacturing site may vary.

 

 

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On 9/20/2020 at 1:21 PM, Cristiano said:

The below one is the link to one ship that resemble the plans one.

The size is similar and shape similar, too.

It is just an example, a more carefully research must be done.

Since the drawing is of autumn 1928, it is possible that entered in service in 1929.

That ship entered in service in 1929, as a passenger ship.

Later during world war 2 was converted in Hospital ship and so on.

This was sunked and not captured, so the drawings hardly can belong to it, but eventually can belong to the same class...(the size and shape match your drawings)

 

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Città_di_Trapani_(nave)

 

Below there are the details of this class of passenger ships.

The plans are rather similar.

eight of these were built apparently.

http://www.culturanavale.it/documentazione.php?id=76

 

Below some detail of their destiny:

-Città di Agrigento: destroyed at the port of Marsa Matruth in 20 july 1942

-Città di Alessandria: survived the war

-Città di Bastia: hit by a torpedo by sm Tetrarch, sunk between Pireo and Crete in 27 september 1941

-Città di Livorno: Città di Savona recovered and renamed

-Città di Marsala: survived the war, renamed Città di Trapani to honor the twin ship sunken

-Città di La Spezia: sunken by a torpedo in 27 august 1943 between Brindisi and Valona

-Città di Savona: sunken at Leros in 6 february 1944, recovered and renamed Città di Livorno

-Città di Trapani: sunken by a magnetic mine near Italian coasts

 

Not all of these were made in the same shipyards. the drawings were standardised, but the manufacturing site may vary.

 

 

 

Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to write that response very, very interesting. I will show my mum this she will be very interested. 

Again I am so chuffed to have this memorabilia. 

 

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9 hours ago, Egilman said:

I think this might be at least your ship type....

 

http://www.agenziabozzo.it/vecchie_navi/B-Vapore/Navi_1850-1950_B555_Fanny_Brunner_nave_mercantile_costruzione_1925.htm

 

Agenzia_Bozzo_555-B_Fanny_Brunner_costr._1925_Giomar.thumb.jpg.28eeacaef874cbf7b719e16a9cdb201f.jpg

 

Built in the same period, she has the same profile and deck structures....

No, that cannot be.

This is a steam powered ship, the one of the drawing was defined as "motonave", which is an Italian term to define a ship powered with internal combustion engines.

Which for these ships means diesel engines.

In addition, this is a cargo ship, and the one of the drawing is a passenger ship.

I am rather convinced that the drawing belong to the class of ships identified with the names "Città di..." (City of...).

In the drawing the total lenght is expressed as "lunghezza entro i dritti 87,60 m", which means "lenght between perpendicular 87,60 m".

It means that the lenght over all can possibly match the 92 m of the "Città di ...." class ships.

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