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Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
 
     
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1946 to 1984 HMS TYPHOON - Yard No 460 - Diesel Ocean SalvageTug - Admiralty - Built 1958
 
 

Leith Shipyards

 
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HMS TYPHOON - Yard No 460 - Diesel Ocean SalvageTug - Admiralty - Built 1958

Typhoon-Portside 

HMS TYPHOON Ship No 460

 HMS TYPHOON 

(photo credit unknown)

 

 
Owners    Admiralty (MoD)
           
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Ocean salvage/rescue tug Launched    14/10/1958
      Commissioned    June 1960
Ship Details          
Length Overall    196' 8" Launch Details    
Length B.P.    180' 0" Weather    
Beam    38' 6" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     18' 0"      
Draught    13' 1"      
G.R.T.    1,034 tons      
DWT          
Complement     27 Officers and Men      
Engines   Vickers Armstrong (ASRI) x 2 BMP 2750 Propulsion Single controllable pitch propeller      
Props    1      
Speed    16 knots      
           
Other known names   1989-P.Typhoon, 1993-Somalian Glory    
           
Current Status   Deleted from Lloyds 2002    
Content on HMS TYPHOON will be added as and when available. 
 
 H.M.S.Typhoon-A95

HMS TYPHOON A95

(photo credit unknown)

 

Ships History

 

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, in the case of a ship for the Royal Navy this meant she also had to be commissioned as fit for purpose, once commissioned she was then considered ready for action and would take her place in the fleet.

 

HMS TYPHOON was an order from the Admiralty for a replacement class of tug to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb. This powerful modern ocean going rescue tug was a "one-off" vessel that when completed was a more than capable replacement for the ageing wartime BUSTLER CLASS vessels and at her conception it seemed likely that she would be the forerunner of a whole Class of similar vessels, but due to interference by Whitehall and government this opportunity was lost. Her machinery arrangement of two diesel engines geared to a single shaft was an innovation for naval ocean-going tugs. Originally an RFA (Royal Fleet Auxiliary) , she was fitted for fire-fighting, salvage and ocean rescue work with a heavy mainmast and derrick attached. She later transferred to the RMAS and was stationed at naval bases at Singapore, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Portland during her career.

She spent her early career working out of the then busy naval base of Singapore, before returning to the U.K.

On the 28th of  December 1979 while sailing from Plymouth HMS TYPHOON was involved in the rescue of a Spanish Butane tanker MV Butaseis which was on fire and drifting towards the coast at Brixham, Devon. The crew had abandoned ship. A naval fire party and members of the Devon Fire Service eventually extinguished the blaze and she was towed into Plymouth.

Her next major involvement was the Falklands War  when on the 4th of  April 1982 she sailed from Portland for duties involved in the Falklands War with a RMAS crew. HMS TYPHOON was awarded a "Falkland Island 1982" Battle Honour.

The following month on the 27th of May 1982 at South Georgia she was used (in part) to move elements of the Army's 5th Brigade to the Ferry Norland.

The next month HMS TYPHOON had the sad task on the 8th of June 1982 of towing the RFA Sir Galahad from Port Stanley, Falkland Islands to sea to be sunk as a war grave.

 

HMS TYPHOON spent a few more years down in the in-hospitable waters of the South Atlantic before being brought back to Portsmouth for a welcome refit, when she was then laid up during 1989 and offered up for sale, she was purchased for demolition by a Spanish company, but then resold on to Maltese interests and renamed P.Typhoon and she was operating out of Valleta harbour for a few years more before in 1992 she was converted into a Trawler.  

In 1993 she was renamed again to Somalian Glory by her owners and at the start of the New Year of 1993 she was attacked by pirates in three boats and with automatic weapons. They fired at the ship. There were no reported injuries.

She was deleted from Lloyds register in 2002.

So it was that the rescue tug HMS TYPHOON had a working life of more than 40 years. 

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.

Typhoon-Portside

 A portside view of HMS TYPHOON underway.

(photo credit unknown)

 

 
Typhoon_s

RFA TYPHOON

(photo by Mike Fishwick from rfa plymouth)

 

Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

RFA TYPHOON

Short tale as told by
J.Harrison

The merchant seaman life was
totally different from that of the Royal Navy and although discipline was
maintained, it seemed like a pleasure cruise for me, our frequent trips in and
out of the river Foyle were memorable, the skipper lowering a boat for us to
spend a great night either north or south of the border depending on the price
of beer and fags, I remember lending a couple of quid to one of the seaman and
when I was eventually recalled to Pompey thought I'd seen the last of it,
imagine my surprise (and that of the seaman) when I was on an old mine sweeper
waiting for a tow from Chatham to Pompey dockyard when who should turn up but
the old Typhoon to tow us, the tow was very quickly attached and although the
two of us could shout to each other, I never got my two quid. Enjoyed the time
though, sorry nothing eventful happened; I would have looked forward to another
few months on Typhoon though. It seemed to have a very interesting last few
years before finally being scrapped. Thanks for the memories.

 



Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.

 

 Typhoon

 

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Comments   

 
0 #7 Brian Allen 2016-11-10 02:07
Looking for some information on a family member if anybody can help. His name was Walter "Wally" Wilson and he was the Bosun on the Typhoon and at sea in March 1967. The cooks name was Jerry and I used to have breakfast with Wally when he was docked in Portsmouth. I believe he also served on the HMS Abeille 1V and was involved in the rescue of the Submarine "Seraph" off Lands End on the 11th May 1944. I have photographs to this effect. Wally died on the 15th may 1972. Thanks in advance and fingers crossed, Brian.
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0 #6 Stephen Sutcliffe 2016-07-08 18:31
I sailed on Typhoon a number of times while stationed with the RNPTA unit at HMS Terror in Singapore. She was our regular operations ship for target operations in the Far East. The longest trip we did was to sail down to Australia during one of the ANZUC excercises
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0 #5 John Knubley 2016-04-09 13:58
She had a vibration problem with the 3 bladed propeller and her relatively high speed Admiralty Standard range twin diesels 9I believe they were submarine engines) on her trials which almost shook her back end off. She lay in leith before it was decided to take her and restrict the engine speed to 900 rpm. at the time it was said that she should have been fitted with a 4 bladed prop
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0 #4 ted tonner 2014-10-24 13:28
Did she not have trouble with the after engine room bulkhead? whilst serving my time as an apprentice shipwright, she seemed to lie up in Leith for quite a while .I think the bulkhead was vibrating too much if my memory serves me correctly
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0 #3 Paul Derbyshire 2014-02-20 21:37
Happy memories of this boat in the Falklands, it was tied up next to Sir Tristam and my father Jack Cranny had me on board a few times a great friendly crew and a fantastic boat.
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+4 #2 Gary White 2013-01-06 12:10
Hi I sailed on Typhoon to the Falklands and the bit you have about refiting in Portsmouth is wrong. When she came back from down South her variable pitch prop needed the seals replacing sa she was leaking oil, this took place at the same time as the Mary Rose was being moved. After this event we returned to Portland and then had a eight month refit in Devonport returning to Portland in 1993.
The final picture of Typhoon with the gangway out was actually taken on the night she sailed from Devonport to Portland, the two people on the gangway was actually the Chief Vitaling officer R Court and 2nd Engineer Woody Woodruff.
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+1 #1 Jim Harrison 2012-11-02 20:15
As a RN radio op, I was seconded to the Typhoon in the 60s, we were towing targets for the NATO fleet, can't remember the skippers name but if any shells got too close he would lose the tow, I would send a radio report and we would head for Derry up the Foyle, weekends I would jump off near a town with a railway station up the Clyde and Monday morning he would come back down river and pick me back up after I had enjoyed a weekend down south with my family. I also got four pence a day extra for 'Hard Layers', even though I was in a bunk which made a change from hammocks, enjoyed the experience, great time great memories.
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