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Home > SHIPS > Album S6: "NEW" TANKERS


From the MCDOA website - "Conventional methods of placing explosives alongside the hull, using boats and divers were impractical in the heavy swell. Lieutenant Commander Braidwood, the Far East Clearance Diving Officer, working with Lieutenant Kenworthy, the senior pilot detached from 847 Naval Air Squadron, devised a method whereby 3 mortar bombs placed on a pallet could be lowered into position on the wreck from a helicopter, the cordtex fuse then being ignited by the crew inside the helicopter. With ENNERDALE lying on her starboard side, and using a Wessex HU Mk. 5 helicopter, this method successfully breached the port tanks, releasing about 12,000 tons of oil.
To reach the starboard side tanks another demolition charge was constructed. To place the charge in the correct position divers secured a 45 foot wire pennant to the top of the wreck and, using a gemini dinghy, joined it to a similar wire lowered from the helicopter. The dinghy raced clear, the helicopter crew fit the cordtex fuse and released the bomb tray which, on its ninety foot pennant, sank down alongside the vents on the lower tanks.
Later in the operation when H.M.S. CACHALOT was unable to fire torpedoes into the wreckage to free oil trapped in the hull, the warheads were taken off the torpedoes, and towed and detonated in the same way. When some of the warheads failed to explode, Lieutenant Commander Braidwood dived to investigate the reason. At this stage short pre-cut delay fuses were added and Lieutenant Commander Braidwood ignited the fuses on the surface of the sea, while suspended on the helicopter's winch wire. There was always a swell, often heavy, and diving was dangerous. Faced with a difficult and unusual situation, Lieutenant Commander Braidwood showed remarkable ingenuity and courage."

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