Boiler / Engine rooms

Discussion in 'History' started by Frigate34, Sep 8, 2008.

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  1. Talking to my grandson, 9yrs going on 15. What I did in the Navy as a stoker on watch, had to avoid going ashore dits etc.

    Telling him about watch keeping on the boiler front. Help from the old and bold please, memories not what it was. Picture...pressurised boiler room
    fornoon watch, skipper desided to play destroyers and doing fast turns etc so from a "breakfast cruise" to full ahead etc anyone remember boiler front sprayer routine and sequence in the triangle. Remember it being fast and furious also no smoke tolerated, one of the reasons I went into boats ..but thats another story.
    Nodoubt other branches have their own department dits during this "exercise".
  2. I did a spell in the Admiralty Y class boilers and some others but spent more time on the engines.

    Main thing to cause a shudder was the soot blowing procedure, squeezing high up the back and then between 2 pulsating boilers, where temperatures rose to silly numbers to open leaking steam valves...shat myself!

    The IGEMA water level indicator and the broken gauge drills...

    Better still was the method of initially igniting the things with an oily rag(open vented boilers). Or the Lucas Ignitor for closed boilers (Forced Draft)

    I don't remember the 'punch' routine that well, except that you had to get the injector in, lock it off, was there another tube..air? Then switch on fuel.
    Never saw any coal though, apparently it kept blocking the fuel strainer :w00t:


    I attended a BSSC/ISSC as part of a course last year and one of the instructors working for Flagship said she used to be a stoker! (totally unawares of my past)

    I asked what steam ships she had worked on,
    'They're ancient, I never worked on those'
    'Then you wasn't a stoker' I said.
  3. Sprayer in, air on, then fuel on slowly to stop the furnace bricks bouncing off. Wheel spanners flying through the air when you got too fast / slow.

    Leanders had 5 full and a half sprayers - most exciting time was fast back downs for RASing or playing the enemy for our below water friends (the Perisher course for their skippers) - just turn round and hammer at them.

    I furkin loved being a boiler front stoker :w00t:

    If you ever visit the (former) Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh - ask nicely and if there's a spare maintenance bod around ask if you can see the boiler room - its off the tourist route and not maintained, but its all still there. There's even a Lucas Torch Igniter if you hunt for it. Not sure if their are any steam stokers working on her now though.
  4. One of the hurdles to clear, for new lads, on a steaming boiler, was to use the air-lock correctly......some nasty moments....with the fire on the outside....and a lot of unhappy vibes on the plates
  5. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    In = Sprayer - Flaps - Fuel.

    Out = Fuel - Flaps - Sprayer.

  6. God that brings back memories of my time on the GMDs and Fearless. Now I remember why I preferred gas turbine ships, no more 24hr flash ups or cool down watches, and much easier to go up and down in power quickly than putting in or taking out boiler sprayers.
  7. Boiler front in the Bristol. If you got it wrong the PO through a wheel spanner at you. We decided it was part of the POMEMQC to learn to accurately throw spanners at lads. First few watches I had bruises downn my left hand side.

    Senior Watchkeeper in Fearless. Remember well flashing up with a lucas. Having the balls to carry on turning that handle as fuel was dripping into the furnace.

    I was EOOD when we shut down for the final time. Fwd economiser was redders. Had to bleed steam from aft and run feed oggin round the pipework to cool it all down. The Boiler POM back aft sat in the control room all day so he could be the one who pulled the flame. Eventually shut down about 14 hours after hitting the wall.

    Happy days.
  8. Leanders ?, GMD's ?...MODERN ships, Forth was 250 psi sat steam, sprayer in, fuel on, in out shuffle of flaps. To pass BWK ticket, Po stokers could only blow pilots twice manouvering to buoys in Singapore harbour, no telegraph comms between engine room and blr rooms so could not take his eye off pressure gauge, one hand on FD fan valve the other on oil pressure valve, occasionaly letting one hand go to give us one finger up or down......REAL stokers. :thumright:
  9. Stirling did not mention all Forths boiler feed and oil pumps were Weirs, the FD fans were rotary recips -- all as old as the ancient of days.
    In one week while at anchor & shut down to auxiliary we had two main steam failures -- when the main and then the standby feed pumps failed. The power went off the board as the Turbo gens tripped .Manic hour or so getting diesel gens running & sorting everthing out.
  10. Thanks for the update nobby.

    Yeah...trick spanner up and down on the feed pumps, stuck solid on the down stroke, '' get some water in this fcuking blr '', happy days.
  11. As a dedicated WAFU. Anything below 2 deck was out of bounds on account of me being scared sh1tless of what stokers get up alone and in the dark. :thefinger:
  12. WHOOOOoooooooooo! ping - ping sound of nuts bouncing off guard rails!
  13. Not forgetting the notorious TWL feed pumps.......what an invention that was???
    Used to worry me doing overspeed trip tests
  14. On Leanders, testing/adjusting safety valves, always emptied my bowels before going below if this was planned during my watch, but full asterns ...good fun
  15. What was the dit about some stoker flaming a row of cars with the fuel sprayer while testing on the jetty?

    Was there ever anything in this?

    Or did I just refuse to bite at the time when being told it, but wondered about all these years, thus confirming that I did bite after all?

    Sorry about the non technical terms, as I'm an ex-Greenie.
    Never was ERs and BRs, but as Internal Comms, I spent many an hour fetching the boiler front PO a new mic after he'd tried walking further than the curly cord would let him.
    You got to realise who the temperamental ones were, and after being called out during the middle yet again, you'd think, "If I had a hammer......!
  16. Or blow down and descale aged evaps, pull chain, close arse and step backwards fast. Actually experienced a blown joint at this "moment of fun".
    A pea souper comes to mind!
  17. I was a waif of a thing when I started down "A" Boiler on HMS Hermes, I used to hate the Fan room door, when we were really steaming the bloody door used to fly open with a vengace due to the suction of the fans or blowers. I used to really struggle to get the bugger shut again.
  18. One of Forths boilers developed a nasty failure of the furnace wall rear brickwork , whilst at sea.Consultation of the engineer officers demanded it was patched. We shut down the boiler room, took off sufficient air casings so a "Volunteer",( I think a Sub Lt), could go inside the furnace dressed in a fearnought suit.Two sprayers had been unshipped & fire hoses rigged to spray water on the poor sod while he hammered in plastic refractory.I think about half hour or so from being lit was allowed before he went in.It worked.
    Down to one boiler room auxiliary at the buoys, the POME used to tie broom sticks to the valve gear of the weir pumps.So from his cosy oil drum seat he could see them waggling about & know the pumps were OK.
    The hell hole on Forth was the auxiliary machinery space.Two evaps, one T/A,auxiliary condenser,& assorted pumps - I had never drunk so much limers & salt tablets.
    Also the Steam Jet Vacuum Refrigeration plant.It was classified as a noise danger,made the most goddam awful off key out of tune whistling noise ever heard.Absolute bugger to flash up.
  19. When those up top in the sunshine were playing with the "limbo`s" remember to gag the TG`s etc and hang on for your life as the big bangs come.
    As I`ve said before as we`ve all shook hands with old Nick we`re exempt all further watchkeeping duties ...Paradise guaranteed when it comes around.
  20. Big Engine Room fire on Charybdis 1975 just after leaving Malta, I was 16 years old and fortunate I was on the flightdeck as Swimmer of the Watch. The fecking flames were shooting out of the engine room exhausts. It seemed to take hours to put it out I remember watching the guys come onto the flightdeck covered iun soot still in Fearnought for a fag and fresh air before the poor feckers went in again, funny old thing you couldn't move on the FD for Wtrs and Stwds, in those days only Stokers did the real firefighting hats off to you boys I was never so glad to be a Dabber - except on the GDP down South in 82 but thats another story!!

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