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Taking a Liberty No.3 - Genesis

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in 1940 the British Government realised that they would need more ships to get essential materials from the United States than they had the shipyard capacity for, especially due to the continuous bombing of their shipyards from German bombers. As a consequence, a British delegation was formed to go to the U.S. with the sole intention of ordering ships that were being built in America. At that time though, the Americans were themselves busy building there own commercial merchant fleet (they had not yet been drawn into the war) and their yards were full building the 'standard types' of the C-1, C-2 and C-3 designs for private shipping companies. Whilst touring these sites and seeing their designs, the British contingent realised that these ships were large, welded types and they were taking too long to build to meet Britain's urgent needs.

A representative in the delegation, from J.L Thompson Ltd of Sunderland, had taken a set of plans of their own design (which was to become Britain's Empire Ship type), of which was based on the s.s. Dorington Court of 1939. The plans were for the construction of a 10,000 deadweight ton (dwt.) standard, dry cargo steamship with a gross registered tonnage (grt.) of approximately 7,000 tons and providing a speed of 11 knots. The design was presented to the U.S. Maritime Commission with the aim of being able to produce a simpler vessel to build, as compared to the C1 -C-3 types, thereby reducing shipbuilding time in order to meet Britain's urgent requirement. As the months of 1940 progressed, the commission finally authorised the building of sixty vessels from this design and a new shipping syndicate, namely Six Services Incorporated, was set up which consisted of two shipbuilding companies - Todd Shipyard Inc. and Henry J. Kaiser Inc. with each yard delegated to produce thirty of these ships each. Slight modifications were made to the original design and they received the designation 'Ocean Type' with each vessel's name being preceded by the word Ocean; as in the first launched being Ocean Liberty.

Late in 1941 everything changed with the attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the United States into the war. The need for more shipping, both merchant and naval, became as urgent for the U.S. as it did Britain and so, with a few more changes to that original British design, the famous Liberty Ship was conceived but that is a different story.

This build, my third in the 'Taking a Liberty' series will be based on the genesis of all this; converting the Liberty Ship back, to the original design type for a 10,000dwt. standard dry cargo ship originally based on the s.s. Dorrington Court.


This plan shows the original design that was taken to the U.S.A. and which formed the basis of the Ocean type (and subsequently the Forts, Parks and Heads that were built in Canada); however, on initial examination of this plan and that of the Liberty ship you will notice that appear not to have the same shape. The hull dimensions are the same but the upperworks were modified, mainly out of the need to keep building time down and, as such, the Liberty had a centralised midships accommodation block whereas the British vessels had split accommodation structures. Also, the Liberties had bulwarks along their sides whereas the original had chain rails. There were other minor differences which I hope will become evident during the converting of the Liberty Ship kit.

The main work for me on this Liberty Ship kit will be to remove all the bulwarks along the sides, construct a new split-structure and modifiy the poop deck for a British merchantman in wartime. The initial stages of the build will be the same as my other project "Taking a Liberty No.1 - Royal Navy repair ship" therefore I will not take up space repeating those stages here.

Well, that is my cunning plan :unsure: and now I need to get some serious researching done :book: in between continuing with the other two 'Taking a Liberty' WiP's! :frantic:

I hope to be able to post some images soon and also hope that you will find something different and interesting as this build progresses.


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