Report of Drifters off Cape Helles 22 January 1919
S.O. 9th Div of Drifters
D “Northesk” II No 2022
Jan 22nd 1919
I have the honour to enclose herewith copy of a letter I sent to S.N.O. (H) H.M.S. “Pelorus” regarding vessels in my Division. To this letter I have received a reply that the S.N.O. will come to Helles on Friday and discuss the subject.
Since reporting to you on January 3rd the following vessels have been blown down in turn and cleaned their boilers: –
“Northern Scot” No. 2425.
“Comely” No. 2387
& since advising the new S.N.O. I understand “Ebenezer” No. 2294 has commenced.
It is difficult to clean boilers successfully at Chanak owing to having no proper tools and in some cases the boilers are bad due to being considerably overdue.
Knowing the quantity of vessels requiring boiler-cleaning at Mudros I am anxious that the vessels in my Division shall clean their own boilers and make good defects whenever it is possible, but I feel it my duty to advise you of defects which require immediate attention and which cannot be done by the enginemen.
With the exception of Drifters “Ten” No 1052 and “Victoria II” No 766 – who have been to Mudros for boiler cleaning and defects – my Division have had no opportunity of getting necessary defects done or engines overhauled and since Oct 24th they have been running continuously.
All vessels are continuing to carry-on with their duty but these defects are now giving trouble and demand “little stand-offs” which have hitherto never been necessary.
There is no defect which could not be made good in 2 or 3 days at the most & if arrangements could be made for one vessel at a time to go to Mudros or Aquarius (Ismud) and have their defects done I feel safe in saying the Division will be able to carry on as a whole as long as they are required.
The list of more or less important defects as given me by the Enginemen are appended, but the principle defects which are known to me are as follows: –
“Northesk II” No. 2022. Last Boiler cleaning Oct 20. (now nearly 2 months overdue).
Defects: – Flange of Main Steam pipe cracked. This was cracked by H.M.S. “Abercrombie” while grinding in the seat & valve of Engine Stop valve.
This crack is getting worse and is almost sure to break in time and will probably do serious injury (if not fatal) to the engineman working the lever.
L.P. Piston to be drawn for examination – has not been drawn for 15 months. M.P. Slide Valve and Spindle Bracket – the bracket is knocking & wearing valve.
“Northern Scot” No. 2425. Defects: – Capstan requires new pinion wheels, as difficult to anchor.
Two or three small grinding-in jobs.
“Prime” No. 2289. Last Boiler cleaning Sept 24th 1918.
Defects: – Main & Intermediate stop valves leaking badly; joints gone, rapidly becoming worse and requires urgent attention.
Several other small defects.
“Ten” No. 1052. Has boiler cleaned & has no defects.
“Hopeful” No. 2386. Last Boiler cleaning Oct 20th 1918.
Defects; – nothing important, but has three or four small jobs requiring attention.
“Comely” No. 2387. Defects: – Capstan, 2 new pinion wheels required; this vessel can now only use her capstan by hand power and cannot anchor in bad weather.
The nature of present duty & the exposed anchorages makes it important this capstan should be attended to.
No engine defects.
“Ebenezer” No, 2294. Now boiler-cleaning; this vessel should be boiler cleaned every six weeks without fail as she carried no fresh water boiler tank; until she blew down yesterday (Jan 21) she had been running on salt water since Oct 24th last & her boiler is in very bad condition.
Defects: – several minor defects as per list; has had no overhaul since 1917 (May.)
“Victoria II” No. 766. Has boiler cleaned & has no serious defects.
“Northesk II” & “Prime” have the defects which may be dangerous to the enginemen & as both require boiler cleaning, I suggest they may receive first attention.
I have given particulars at length as I am anxious to keep the Division going as long as they be required.
I have the honour to be
Your obedient servant
Reginald H. Palmer.
S.O. of Div.