Rosyth Royal Dockyard

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Rosyth Royal Dockyard was built shortly before the outbreak of the Great War.

Contruction and Nature

In 1903, it was decided that a large dockyard on the East Coast of Scotland capable of docking any ship in the Navy was required. In pursuit of this mandate, 1,182 acres of land on the north side of the Firth of Forth was purchased, just inshore of the Forth Bridge. Changes in policy confined the scope of work to preparatory steps. A plan for the work was published in early 1908, with costs amounting to £3m, exclusive of machinery,[1] and a construction contract for two stages of construction was signed on 1 March 1909.[2]

Intially, the yard was to include a 52.5 acre basin with a depth of 38ft 8in with a projecting pier offering 7,108 feet of wharfage. An entrance lock 850ft long and 110ft wide at the entrances could serve as a dock to augment the dedicated drydock of 750ft long and 100ft wide at the entrances. Basin depth would be 38ft 8in. The plan included a second, external basin for submarines.

By the beginning of the war, none of the elements in the first stage of construction were yet fully developed. The tidal basin, for instance, was complete, but its entrance stopped by a clay dam and therefore not ready for practical use. A pragmatic and abbreviated course was undertaken to prepare the dockyard for the handling of small ships and destroyers. Accordingly, the clay dam was breached on 25 August, 1914 and the first ship, H.M.S. Aquarius was berthed within the basin on 2 October.[3]

Accelerated plans were undertaken to bring the yard to fuller utility while the war raged. The basin's full depth was realized on 16 Serptember 1915, and the clay dam for the emergency opening was cut on 20 December, with three caissons being installed. The first class protected cruiser H.M.S. Crescent was the first ship to enter via the emergency opening, on 17 March 1916. After several failures of the basin and locks, Zealandia entered the main basin through the entrance lock on 27 March 1916 and became the first ship to be drydocked at the yard at No. 1 Dock.[4]

This level of readiness was timely, as on 1-2 June 1916, Warspite, Princess Royal, Tiger and Southampton entered the basin. On 5 June, Lion entered. All received refits and repairs within the basin and docks.[5]

Nonetheless, work on the yard was continuous, and the specifications for what was required, and when, was also somewhat fluid:[6]

Structure Dimensions (ft) Started Construction Completed Construction
Smithery 420 x 180 Oct 1914 Dec 1916
Boiler Shop 100 x 180 Apr 1915 Apr 1917
Engineering Shop 370 x 320 x 44 Apr 1915 Apr 1917
Foundry Apr 1915 Jan 1917
Zincing Shop 100 x 25 x 23 Jan 1915 May 1918
Dockside Sheds 1-3 505 x 31 x 20.75 1915/1916 #1: 21 Apr 1916,
#2: 4 Nov 1916,
#3: 6 Apr 1916

It is curious that the location of the emergency opening was apparently altered at some point in the planning.

A 250 ton cantilever crane was added in 1917, and a 100 ton model in 1920.[7]

Shipbuilding

Rosyth was primarily a repair and refit yard, rather than a centre of warship construction.

Admirals Superintendent

Dates of appointment given:

Captains

King's Harbour Master

Assistant King's Harbour Master

See Also

Footnotes

  1. "Rosyth Naval Establishment." The Times (London, England), 10 Mar. 1908, p. 12.
  2. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 6, Part 47. p. 2.
  3. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 6, Part 47. p. 3.
  4. Brown. The Grand Fleet. p. 11.
  5. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 6, Part 47. p. 3.
  6. The Technical History and Index, Vol. 6, Part 47. p. 19.
  7. Johnston; Buxton. The Battleship Builders. p. 149.
  8. Supplement to the Monthly Navy List. (July, 1919). p. 3.
  9. Bruce Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 85.
  10. Green Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 260.
  11. Green Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 260.
  12. "Naval and Military" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times. Monday, 27 March, 1922. Issue 42990, col A, p. 23.
  13. Cowan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. p. 249.
  14. Cowan Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/43. p. 249.
  15. Cantlie Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/263. f. 278.
  16. Cantlie Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/263. f. 278.
  17. Bovell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/55/28. f. 28.
  18. Bovell Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/55/28. f. 28.
  19. Moubray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 277.
  20. Moubray Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 277.
  21. Slayter Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/445. f. 210.
  22. The Navy List. (November, 1917). p. 395w.
  23. Slayter Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42/445. f. 210.
  24. Henderson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 335.
  25. Henderson Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/42. f. 335.
  26. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/225. f. 225.
  27. Kerr Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/44/225. f. 225.
  28. Superseded that day. Walker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/73. f. 79.
  29. Walker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/73. f. 79.
  30. Walker Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/73. f. 79.
  31. Landon Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/35. f. 18.
  32. Landon Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/35. f. 18.
  33. Landon Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/35. f. 18.
  34. Boxer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/50/83 f. 214.
  35. Boxer Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/50/83 f. 214.
  36. Kekewich Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/340. f. 343.
  37. Kekewich Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/51/340. f. 343.