Floating Crane no. 1 was built by Cowan & Sheldon in Carlisle in 1924, with her pontoon base built by the Furness Shipyard, Stockton.
She was towed to Southampton, where she was based in the docks from 1924 to 1943.
The early war years showed that the south coast ports were vulnerable to enemy air attack, and many cranes were dismantled and re-erected in safer ports, with 22 alone from Southampton being put into service at Faslane port on the Clyde.
Floating Crane no. 1 also made the journey north, presumably being towed to the Clyde during 1943, which must have been quite an undertaking in itself.
The crane had three separate hoisting gears, the largest of which had a lifting capacity of 150 tons.
She was not self-propelled and was either reliant on the services of port tugs or used her steam powered capstans to manoeuvre.
The log book does not state where the crane was operating, but clues derived from the ships that she was working on, identify that she was based at Faslane on the Gareloch.
Due to its deep water, suitable ground for development and existing transport connections, Faslane on the eastern side of the Gareloch had been chosen, along with Cairnryan on Loch Ryan, for development as a Military Port in the early years of world war two, and was designated Military Port no.1.
The port was completed by December 1942, with a deep water wharf of 3000 feet, six large ship berths, two smaller wharves and and a 400 foot long heavy crane berth.
The log book commences on November 28th 1943, and the work for very single day from then until May 17th 1946 is recorded.
Unsurprisingly not many ships in the port are identified during the war years, but a few are, including HMS Malaya, and the names of tugs in attendance are also recorded.
More ship names are revealed in the latter part of 1945 and during 1946.
In addition to work at Faslane, Floating Crane no. 1 was also towed from the Gareloch to work on troop and cargo ships moored off Greenock at the Tail of the Bank, including the Cunard liners Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Franconia.
With the cessation of hostilities, Floating Crane No.1 was towed up river to Clydebank on August 23rd 1945, where she worked on the new battleship HMS Vanguard, being built at John Brown’s shipyard.
She returned to Faslane on September 20th, and remained on station till the end of April 1946, with another brief return to the upper Clyde preceding her return to Southampton, where she continued working through till 1985.
The attached images illustrate some of the daily entries. The varied lifts included submarines, X-Craft, motor transports, ships’ guns and gun turrets, etc., etc
. A unique document and a rare and important record of the day-to-day work at one of Britain’s least known, but vital world war two naval ports.
Faslane is of course more widely known these days, as the home port for much of Britain’s submarine fleet, including the Vanguard Class ballistic missile submarines.
20x13cm. 354 pages.
the original cheap notebook binding is worn. internally clean and fresh