Gibbons Engineering Group Limited recently got the chance to help the restoration efforts of the UK’s last World War II Destroyer – the HMS Cavalier; read more about her service, and how we got her radar spinning for the first time in 49 years.
Life During Service
The HMS Cavalier was a destroyer in the UK’s home fleet. Her purpose was to protect the supply lanes into Britain and defend against attacking ships. She spent a lot of her time in the Arctic and the North Sea in the sub-zero temperatures – fighting Nazi ships in the battle for the domination of the Atlantic Ocean.
The HMS Cavalier would escort convoys of ships through dangerous territories. She was chosen to bring thousands of American soldiers to the battlefields due to her speed. This was a time-critical mission, as the Allies desperately needed backup. She was the fastest battleship in the Royal Navy, reaching speeds of 32 knots, affectionally being known as the ‘Fastest of the Greyhounds’.
Once the Second World War had finished, the HMS Cavalier was repurposed and sent to the Far East Fleet in Singapore. Here, she protected and fought until 1971 – working far longer than the average lifespan of the standard Royal Navy vessel.
After 27 years in service, the HMS Cavalier reached the end of her life in action and was then decommissioned in 1972.
Unless a warship is culturally or historically significant when it is decommissioned it is usually dismantled for scrap. But the HMS Cavalier had been in the home fleet and fought to protect critical missions, so Lord Louis Mountbatten campaigned for the HMS Cavalier to be saved from scrap.
She moved around the UK before ending up in the Chatham Historic Dockyard, where she remains to this day as a museum.
The restoration efforts by an incredible crew of volunteers are astounding. They work tirelessly to restore the ship back to its former glory, so the public can learn what life was like during its varied past.
This is where Gibbons Engineering Group Limited was pleased to help.
We were approached about how to repair the HMS Cavalier’s radar. Radar is used to detect if land or other ships are nearby; they revolutionised safety at sea and, contrastingly, how war was fought on the waves.
We recommended a single-phase motor, which we then engineered a new mounting flange for, as well as boring the existing shaft to press fit and pinned in a new shaft so it would fit correctly into the gearbox of the radar.
After it was installed at Chatham, the Radar started spinning for the first time in 49 years.
We were delighted to be able to assist in the restoration of such an important part of British Naval history.
If you need assistance with a specialist task, then contact us on 01621 868 138 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will be happy to help.