Richard M Montgomery

Discussion in 'History' started by seafarer1939, Aug 22, 2009.

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  1. Early Chatham days this D.Day ammo ship hit a mine at harbour entrance loaded to the limit with ammo,shells, mines and dangerous equipment including a few CPO Gi's!
    Anyway a few divers were on the Dunc Head[as was I] and said the ammo had chrystalised and may cause a spark so it was too dangerous to offload and these divers would not do it.
    I had just joined up['56] and I wondered what happened to it as they said if it blew it would take half of Chatham with it.
    A few years ago I spoke to a ret.sea Captain who said it was still there.
    I know there was questions in Parliament re. this ship it so what happened?
    Can't surely be still there?
     
  2. You must have missed this episode of Coast on BBC TV last December.

     
  3. We used to dive and survey the wreck about twice a year, the hull itself has sunk into the mud and it's this mud that is protecting the vessel from falling apart. Theorectically, the amount of explosives on board, if detonated could cause problems, however, the chances of that happening are so ferkin slim it ain't worth considering, unless you apply the Hysterical Daily Mail principle to all things.

    The main problem with recovering the explosives is the tide, the op would have to be conducted by divers and not remote submersibles, and the tidal windows in that area are about 1-2 hours per day, given that the vis underwater, ranges from nil to crap, it would be a very difficult op.

    The problem with "difficult" is not that it's impossible...more that it's expensive...very very expensive and as such no one is willing to fund the clearance.

    Several options have been put forward by various EOD companies to facilitate the de ammunitioning of the ship, and some of us ( :wink: )are just waiting for the day they allow the Goose to start laying the golden egg, cos it will keep a lot of us in local work well past our retiring age. 8) 8)
     
  4. An ex-diver oppo of mine, once told me there had been an idea to put a coffer dam round it, pump it dry then remove thw ammo. It was considered far to dangerous with the ammo drying out.
     
  5. That was one of the ideas, mainly to stop any of the ammo drifting off with the tide. The drying out aspect could be covered by misty hoses, but it was the sheer cost that stopped that idea.
     
  6. 2 articles of interest - SUBACQUA SCENE May 1984, and THE TIMES September 18th 1989.
    Load was as follows (2nd figure is tonnage remaining on board after salvage operations abandoned).

    Loose GP bombs - 3045 - 1667
    Loose SAP bombs - 2564 - 1435
    Cased cluster frag bombs 629 - 173
    Cased WP bombs 107 - 107
    Cased other explosives 253 - 36
    Cased non explosives 264 - 134
    So there's enough explosives on board to make a considerable bang, and I believe that explosives become more volatile with age, so it would seem that any sort of salvage would be risky. Any major detonation would be capable of creating a tidal wave which, given the convergence of the Thames and Medway, could cause untold damage, reaching all the way into the centre of London and beyond.
     
  7. So you reckon you'd make a bomb out of it spid do you :) 8O :wink:
     

  8. Although these figures do seem impressive, the actual Net Explosive Content (NEC) is some where in the region of 30-50% of these figures, ie a 1000lb bomb doesn't contain 1000lb of HE.
    HE can deteriorate with age and become more sensitive (Don't we all), however, these explosives have been kept at a pretty constant temperature for the last 60 odd years and should be in a stable condition.

    The tidal wave theory is not valid, given the depth of water and the likely crater size, there would not be enough mass of water to cause any snags to London or beyond, although it would be nice to think that Canvey Island could be washed over to Holland. ( Better put a smiley there to placate the Swamp Monsters of Canvey... :lol: )

    The Daily Mail School of hysteria concerning a full order detonation of the ship is ludicious, anyone who has any demolition of explosive stores experience will know just how hard it is to sustain a sympathetic detonation wave through service stores on land, let alone ones underwater encased and protected by, mud bulkheads and water. I loved the "single spark" could set it off hysteria....WTF are you gonna get a single spark to remain alight 30 foot under the cocking water...Iriots !!!
     
  9. Thanks for the replies,no I don't watch Coast although it seems good[I watch The Wire,Prison Break and the great Deadwood now being repeated,why do the Yanks make such great TV programmes and we get Spooks! PC rubbish]anyway I digress.
    I could have Googled it but I wanted to see if any divers replied with info.Done that so thanks again.
     
  10. Did not hit mine otherwise would be no wreck....
    have a look at
    http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com

    for more info and links about the wreck
     
  11. Fascinating input there guys and some good links :) Great reading
     

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