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MANXMAN HMS M-70

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MANXMAN HMS M-70

Postby D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:03 pm

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Built in 1939-'41 by Alexander Stephen & Sons, Govan, Glasgow, for the Royal Navy, laid down 24-04-1939, launched 05-09-1940, commissioned 20-06-1941.
Minelayer of the 'Abdiel' class, diplacement:2693/3470 tons, Loa:127m. (418') Lbpp:122,07m. (400' 6") B:12m,20m. (40') Draft:3,43/4,50m. (11' 3"/14' 9") 4 Admiralty 3-drum water tube boilers, Parsons geared steam turbines:72.000 hp. 2 shafts, 38 kn. range:1000 nm/38 kn. complement:242, armament:6 × QF 4 in (100 mm) L/45 Mark XVI guns on twin mounts HA/LA Mk.XIX, 4 × QF 2 pdr L/39 Mk.VIII on quadruple mount Mk.VII, 8 × Vickers .50 machine guns on quadruple mount Mk.I (later up to 12 × 20 mm Oerlikons on single mounts P Mk.III or twin mounts Mk.V) 156 mines.

Commissioned on 7 June 1941, her first mission was the delivery of mines to Murmansk. Manxman then transferred to the Mediterranean, where she was employed on relief runs to Malta. In August she took part in Operation Mincemeat, which involved mine-laying in the Gulf of Genoa while disguised as the French vessel Leopard. From October 1941 to February 1942, Manxman was returned to the Home Fleet and took part in a number of mine-laying operations in the North Sea and the English Channel. In March, she joined the Eastern Fleet at Kilindini in the Indian Ocean. After escort and patrol duties, on 8 October she participated in the assault and capture of the island of Nosy Be on the north west coat of Madagascar, which was occupied by Vichy French forces.
Transferring to the Mediterranean again, Manxman was sent with supplies to Malta followed by mine-laying in the Sicilian Channel. On 1 December, whilst in transit from Algiers to Gibraltar, she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-375 and severely damaged on the position 36°39′N 0°15′E. Following emergency repairs at Oran and Gibraltar, she returned to Newcastle-upon-Tyne for extensive repair work.
Manxman re-commissioned on 10 April 1945 and made ready to join the British Pacific Fleet. She arrived at Geelong shortly after VJ Day and she was used for repatriation and supply operations.
Returning to the UK in June 1946, she had a further spell with the Pacific Fleet before joining the Reserve Fleet at Sheerness. Following a refit, Manxman joined the Mediterranean Fleet in 1951. In 1953, she appeared in the film Sailor of the King as the German cruiser Essen. She was fitted for the film with enlarged funnels and mock-up triple-gun turrets over her 4" guns. The 'torpedo damage' which forces her delay at 'Resolution Island' was painted on the side of her port bow. The scenes when she is holed up for repairs were filmed in the semi-circular Dwejra bay, guarded by Fungus Rock on the west coast of Gozo Island in Malta. In 1953 she also took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1956, she was deployed for headquarters duties during the Suez operation. A story - or legend - has grown that, during the Suez Crisis of 1956, Manxman outran an American Carrier Group. Manxman reportedly shadowed them; the US Admiral increased speed, eventually to over thirty knots - and then Manxman swept past at full speed, showing the signal "See you in Egypt". It is far from clear whether this episode happened; 'knowledge' about it was common in the Merchant Navy of the 1970s. This story was often told in the Royal Navy (not the Merchant Navy which is not technically an organisation), long before 1956; it was supposed to have happened in the Pacific at the end of World War II.
After a spell in reserve at Malta and two refits, she was commissioned in 1963 as a support ship for minesweepers and was stationed at Singapore. Returning to the UK in 1968, Manxman was used for engineering training at Devonport and following a fire, was transferred to the reserve at Chatham Dockyard until broken up at Newport in 1973, by J. Cashmore.

(Somaliland 2011, 2500 a. StG.?)
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D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen
 
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