British Oak and British Renown

I always enjoy reading articles in Sea Breezes that I can relate to and the Jim Pottinger item in the November 2017 issue regarding the British Chivalry is one in question.

The 16,000 ton class of tankers he refers to have some great memories for me as I spent a year and a half on ships of this type during my apprenticeship. Jim states that there were eight built (referring to the first batch ordered) and a total of 20 were built between 1948 and 1957 shared between ten British shipyards. This class evolved as the building program progressed and there were improvements in accommodation and navigational equipment as time went on, but the profile of these ships remained much the same apart from the last two - the British Vigilance and British Renown – which, for some reason, were given a modern tapered funnel which didn’t look quite right on a ship with no other streamlined features.

I served on the British Oak and British Renown (the last of the class to be launched) and when you joined these product carriers, you sometimes did not know where you were going and certainly did not know when you would return home – I suppose that was part of the mystery of going to sea. As I have said, improvements were made to this class and in addition to the streamlined funnel, the last two had partial air conditioning (not in the apprentices cabin) and a permanent swimming pool situated forward of the funnel – a precursor to the “Bird” class that followed.

I have attached two pictures taken while on the Renown & Oak.

PETER SOMMERVILLE
E-Mail: peter. sommerville83@ntlworld. com

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