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 Author  Topic: PT5 MGB 86 ELCO 375
SIMON EDGECOMBE

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of SIMON EDGECOMBE  Posted on: Dec 30, 2013 - 3:38am
Ref: PTC 5 MGB86, I owned this beautiful vessel many years ago, from memory this would have been around 1975/6. I purchased it from a gentleman who lived in Bexleyheath Kent UK, again I recall he was an ex naval officer. The vessel was in a good state of repair and the orignal engines had been removed and replaced with two Hudson Invader airplane engines, they were of a straight 12 configuration with twin plugs. The starting method was by black shotgun cartridges placed into a round magazine and then the firing pin released, in essence this would have been rather than a compressed air starter system. At the time of purchase only one of the engines had been marinised, the other was just fitted in the bed. The other difference was that propulsion was via a Hotchkiss system, this meant she had two tunnels made from cast metal that took water in and then a small propeller was inserted in the tunnel which effectively pressurised the water and it exited again under the boat and then four large rudders directed the jet. The information from the previous owner was that he had visited the boat show in London and seen this new type of propulsion fitted on a speed boat and commissioned the inventor to manufacture it to be used on the MGB. The vessel was taken to Clifton Slipways at Gravesend to have her bottom cleaned (copper bottom sheathing) and the Hotchkiss system fitted. The remarkable thing with the vessel was the originality of it, even down to tins of food being still on board. These were all a gold colour tins of Corned beef, coffee, condensed milk plus more and all stamped USN in a simple dot pattern on the lids, I also recall some chocolate bars. In the engine room was a small generator which I guess must have been an addition by the UK navy as it was a BSA engined unit. In the wheelhouse it still had switches marked up as things like BATTLE LIGHTS and a few bullet holes here and there. My memory of the little sweetie was before I purchased it was that everyone said it was a Dulux test boat (Dulux being a UK paint company) this would have come from the fact that the previous owner would been painting it on a regular basis, and mainly in white not grey, as such people thought that as it was always gleaming white, it was a test vessel for Dulux the paint company, it never was!! Even though all this was many many years ago, MGB 86 is still fresh in my mind, the layout, the equipment and information. My father who was a great lover of shipping, was a member of the Ship Recognition Corp in Gravesend and did some work for the PLA was also a great painter, he presented me with a painting he did of MGB 86 for a birthday present one year when it was in active service, this I still have, it also has a photograph of her where she was kept in the canal basin at Gravesend stuck on the rear of the painting. If anyone out there has any more information about her prior to me I would be exceptionally interested to here from you, by the same token I am happy to give you more information after she was last known by me on a daily basis as she seemed to stay in touch with me through various means day to day. I do not know where she lays as of today, and I am not sure if she has been ruined by someone by making it into a houseboat I really want to see her, but hopefully she still exists out there older and a little wiser perhaps. My email address is info@mercuryarv.com and would welcome information either way.

Simon

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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Dec 30, 2013 - 6:49am
Simon;
Welcome to the board! If you have any photos of her, please post them here.
Take care,
TED


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rickas

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of rickas   Send Email To rickas Posted on: Dec 30, 2013 - 7:31am
Simon - Your story sounds like the beginning of a wonderful trip. I hope you find her again.

Rick Schaefer
Splinter PT 63
Solomon Islands
Dec 43 - Jan 45

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alross2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of alross2   Send Email To alross2 Posted on: Dec 30, 2013 - 1:55pm
Back in the early 1990s, I corresponded with Bill Rowe, her final owner. I've looked for the letters, but haven't yet found them. However, according to Bill, she was holed by a barge at Gravesend sometime in the mid-1990s and was (I think) burned.

I'll look further for the correspondence and add to this thread if I do.

Al Ross


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SIMON EDGECOMBE

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of SIMON EDGECOMBE  Posted on: Dec 30, 2013 - 3:05pm
Hi again all, I will post all the images as I find them, trouble is at present cannot see how to do it...any clues anyone please??

Yes Bill Rowe... he purchased it after I sold it to a man from Barrow in Furness (northern England) The man who bought it from me from Barrow, said he was going to 'Pop down' at weekends and get her going properly and sail her back to Barrow, if I did not say he was mad, I sure thought it. I have a feeling I strongly advised him against this course of action, 'Pop down' on the odd weekend was no where near enough effort to sail a WW2 boat all that way through some of the worst waters around the UK. Still the man came from the North so would not have taken the slightest notice of me, and nor did he. I understand he did try to sail her back, and with only the one engine connected (what a fool) he managed to get around 3 miles down the Thames towards the North Sea from Gravesend Canal Basin and the engine failed, she then drifted onto the sea wall by the Isolation Hospital there and holed the side and partially sunk.

Bill Rowe contacted me ironically as I had connections with Hoo Marina (I ran a company from there) to ask me what I knew of her (silly man, that tied him up for a couple of weeks of conversation) he then asked if he could bring it to Hoo Marina!!! I recall him telling me he purchased it from the PLA as salvage for a 1, now I do not know if that was true as Bill had less money than the guy who was going to navigate her to Barrow had brains, or should that be fear? He I understand nailed some wood planks over the hole in her side, pumped her out and had her towed to Hoo Marina.

Sadly after a short period with Bill and his wife and children living on her at Hoo, she caught fire one evening due to a chip pan fat fire. Sadly also Bills wife and children died in the fire I think through smoke inhalation, Bill was OK as he was not with them. I never knew what happened to 86 after that, I think I was upset by the incident, yes sad because of the deaths, but sad also due to dear old 86. I am sure she survived as I think the fire was put out, however I moved my business and was exceptionally busy and lost touch with old 86......Where are you now? I know Bill Rowe told me he was writing to the US Navy trying to get money to turn her into a museum, I recall him telling me also that Mr Kennedy served on her, however I do not think that was correct, he may have walked across her deck to get to his own. I would be interested to know what Bill had said in his communications with you, but most of all 86's history prior to me and where is she now?

Simon

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cdsc123

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jan 5, 2014 - 9:32am
I think this is your old boat;

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/186961/title/mtb-gravesend-1963-3f/cat/500

You will see my 2009 post correctly identifying her, and a subsequent post from "Pensioner", who needed some correction but I really didn't know where to start..........!

Regards, Christian.


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SIMON EDGECOMBE

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of SIMON EDGECOMBE  Posted on: Jan 6, 2014 - 1:10am
Hi Christian, Many thanks for your message, that is her where I kept her as well, ironically many things keep cropping up that make me think I should have kept her, the picture in Gravesend Basin was taken on 21st July 1963, she was decommissioned on the 21st July and my birthday is.......21st July, how spooky!! I have posted a message on this forum as well just in case someone knows where she is now or can provide any more information. Any clues any one as to how I can post a picture on this page, I can then take a picture of the painting my late father did for me and copy the picture I have of her lying at Gravesend. Does anyone know how the man in Bexleyheath I got her from acquired her in the first place?? I hope she is out there somewhere still and I can see her again before I leave this world. I must assume that none of the original crew are still with us, but who knows? Kindest regards, Simon

Simon

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SIMON EDGECOMBE

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of SIMON EDGECOMBE  Posted on: Jan 7, 2014 - 3:22pm
Good evening all, I am posting below a copy of an email sent to another forum member about an MGB I owned some years ago, perhaps one of you out there have some memory of her, the crew or her history, as well as WHERE IS SHE NOW? Look forward to getting any information you may have. Kindest regards, Simon

Hi, Irony struck here, the photo has a date of 21st July, she was decommissioned from Royal Naval service on the 21st July, and my birthday is the 21st July, how odd! From my memory I purchased her from an ex naval man who lived in Bexleyheath Kent, I am not sure how long he had owned it but I can assure you she was in exceptional condition, truly exceptional and very original in all respects, even down to on the bridge was various switches from WW2 days such as one marked BATTLE LIGHTS. I found on board the emergency rations which among other things consisted of tins of coffee, tins of condensed milk (does anyone like condensed milk really?) biscuits and chocolate, bully beef (corned beef) matches & cigarettes. The lids of the gold coloured tins had USN stamped in them in a dot matrix pattern, I did sample some and they were OK, not bad for 1940. I think I purchased it around the 1980's and sold it to a man from Barrow who said he was going to come down at weekends and sail it back (totally MAD) when you consider she had not been at sea to my knowledge since the early 1960's I thought this was a disaster waiting to happen. Needless to say it was, he got just off the old PLA Isolation Hospital at Higham/Shorne and had an engine problem, she drifted onto the sea wall and she was holed and partially sunk. A man called Bill Rowe purchased her for 1 from the PLA I think, nailed some wood over the hole, pumped her out and she was towed to Hoo Marina. Mr Rowe lived on board for a while and used to ask me all about her history, he said he was getting in touch with the USA to try and get some funding to turn her into a museum, but never thought that would happen. After some time there was a chip pan fire on board and Mr Rowes wife and children died on board through smoke inhalation, Bill Rowe was not on board so survived. I know nothing of what happened to HM MGB 86 after this, I do not recall her being burnt out so I hope she survived and is around somewhere, just where I do not know. The Naval officer who had her before me had visited the Boat Show one year I think in the seventies and saw the Hotchkiss Propulsion system which is a tunnel into the hull, a small coarse prop in the tunnel which them exited through the exit of the tunnel to the rear and then a pair of large rudders mounted on the stern which directed the water flow. This system was on a small speed boat when he first saw it, he commissioned the inventor Mr Hotchkiss to make it for the MGB. The engines were I thought straight 12 cylinder units (pair) with twin plugs per cylinder and a starting system using blank shotgun cartridges in a chamber, the gas from firing the cartridge was then used to turn the engine over. I understand the engines were originally destined for a American flying boat and were purchased by the previous owner new in crates as ex WW2 surplus from the USA. I recall they were Hudson Invaders of around 28,000cc each, although when I research now on the internet Hudson Invaders seem to be V12's and these were not V12's, so perhaps something is wrong somewhere. The generator on board in the engine room was either a later fitment or fitted by the UK Navy as it had a BSA engine to drive the genset, and it was BLOODY noisy, mind you with the engines running I am sure you would never have heard the genset!! The galley on board was fairly comprehensive and complete, 120v electric hob and oven and a big fridge as well. I recall two toilet fitted midships and a forward head as well with shower room, and running through the centre of the ship a HUGE what seemed to be Oak spine. In my ownership I never recall having to use the bilge pumps at any time, she was so well made. I know she had been to Clifton Slipways in Gravesend to have her bottom scraped, I think she was copper bottomed as well, I think she also went here to have the propulsion system fitted. The people of Gravesend always thought she was a DULUX test boat, and the reason why? She was always painted white and was always clean, but she never was to my knowledge just general rumours. My late father did me a painting of her during the war which he presented me with for a birthday present, he was a very good painter and very interested in ships and a member of what used to be The Ship Recognition Corp at Gravesend, always strange this as he was in the RAF, but he did like aircraft as well. In conclusion, when I owned her she was basically as she was when decommissioned, just most of the wartime items had been removed I presume by the Navy. If I can tell you anymore or you me I would be most pleased, I am sure there are people out there with more pictures of her over her long life, just need to find them!! Kindest regards, Simon

Simon

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Juedu2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Apr 12, 2014 - 10:22am
I think I have found the location of MGB86...

Swanscome Peninnsular.. I am local to Gravesend and remember her as a kid, gleaming white.

I have made some inquiriies at the peninnsular and have been given a name for a guy that would know the story from the canal basin to her final days at swanscombe.

I was told today that she was burnt a little while ago..

more info to follow if i can

I found this too...

http://www.warshipsww2.eu/gb/mtb/img/ship-mgb86.jpg



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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Apr 12, 2014 - 3:20pm
Welcome to the board.
You say you know her location? Does a portion of her still exist today?
Take care,
TED


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