Author Topic: TID 97 and her loss in Chatham Dockyard  (Read 105 times)

Offline shoot999

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 351
Re: TID 97 and her loss in Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2021, 02:33:27 PM »
I served on most tugs at Chatham including both remaining TIDs. Awful tugs. Flat bottomed so they flopped from side to side and had very little power to get themselves out of trouble.
Pic taken in the 60s of both TIDs  alongside the Expeller  where I also served some time as a cabin boy.


Out of the two survivors only Harry Shrimplin (Shrimpo) remained in the job and became a close friend (as most of us were in this close knit community). We lost touch when I transferred to the Plymouth tugs, and Harry went to Portland
Pic of Harry on the  Chatham tugs.

Offline stuartwaters

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 661
TID 97 and her loss in Chatham Dockyard
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2021, 12:58:09 PM »

Recovered from the old Forum using the Wayback Machine
TID-97 was one of over 180 small tugs built towards the end of the Second World War. The TID (Tug, Inshore and Dock) was designed to be built rapidly, using a large amount of pre-fabrication. Powered by a 2 cylinder compound steam engine with a coal-fired boiler they were designed to be simple and cheap to run. The TIDs were 65ft long, 17ft wide across the beam and displaced 124 tons. Each hull only took a week to build.


TID 164 at Chatham Historic Dockyard. TID 97 was identical:





TID-97 was built at the yard of C D Holmes in Hull and was launched on 22nd June 1944. She was completed on 12th September that year and was taken into the Admiralty Yard Craft Service. After service in Rouen, Ostende and Dover, she was transferred to Sheerness on 16th March 1945 and again to Chatham in November, where she remained for the rest of her service career.


On 29th December 1962, TID-97 was on duty in No 3 basin at Chatham, assisting in the berthing of RFA Hebe, an 8,000 ton Stores Transport ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The Hebe had entered the Dockyard in a strong and blustery NE wind and TID-97 with a couple of other tugs were struggling to manoeuvre the ship into her berth. In an effort to assist the tugs, Hebe's Master ordered her engines to go slightly ahead. The sudden pull of the ship together with the wash from the propellers caused TID-97 to capsize. The tug's 2 deck-hands jumped for their lives and managed to swim to safety. Tragically, her master Leslie Savage, Mechanic George Osbourne and Stoker William Gell were trapped inside and drowned. The tug's two deck-hands, Shrimplin and Woollard together with sailors from the destroyer HMS Diamond and the frigate HMS Chichester made heroic attempts to rescue the rest of the crew, but to no avail.


At about 5pm that day, Admiralty Police officers called at the home of diver Mr R Willing and asked him to attend a sinking tug in No3 basin and on arrival at the scene, Willing found the tug to have been secured underwater to dock-side capstans, suspended on wire hawsers. They were stuck and could neither lift nor lower the vessel. Willing was asked to swim under the tug and assess the situation. Willing considered that the hawsers were about to break and refused to go under the tug, but instead entered the water and searched around the upper parts. On surfacing, he asked that the wires be cut to allow the vessel to settle to the bottom of the basin. No further action was taken at the time, but during the night, the cables broke and the tug sank to the bottom of the basin anyway.


The following day, Willing dived on the tug again. He entered the vessel by breaking one of the wheelhouse windows and found the body of TID-97's master there. The body was recovered to a waiting ambulance. A week later, the coastal salvage ship RFA Swin arrived from Dover and TID-97 was lifted from the bottom of No 3 basin on 4th January 1963. The wreck was then searched and the bodies of the other two crew-men were recovered, one from the engine room and the other from the crew's mess.


TID-97 being lifted by RFA Swin





RFA Hebe





TID-97 was sold to R.F. Horlock of Mistley in Essex and was broken up. A sister-tug, TID-164 is still in existence and is currently at Anchor Wharf, in Chatham Historic Dockyard.
"I did not say the French would not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Admiral Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent.