BRITISH MERCHANT NAVY CADET TRAINING SHIPS
The Chindwara was launched on 12th May 1949, and she was handed over to B.I. by her builders, Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Limited, Newcastle, on 24th January 1950.
Technical Data on Chindwara indicates that she was a cargo vessel of 7,525 gross tons with a length overall of 484 feet 6 inches. She had a total cargo capacity of 610,670 cubic feet, of which 12,780 cubic feet was available for refrigerated cargo. Her 6 cylinder, 2 cycle, single acting diesel engine gave her a service speed of 14 knots.
The Chindwara was designed to be a cadet training ship, and she operated in this role from January 1950 until June 1963. Originally, accommodation was provided for 31 cadets in 2 dormitories and an adjacent cabin, all situated on the port side of the shelter deck. Each dormitory had 14 bunks, arranged in 7 tiers of 2, and the cabin provided accommodation for the senior cadet, referred to as a Chief Petty Officer, and his 2 deputies, referred to as Petty Officers. The cadets also had their own separate lounge and dining room.
Chindwara carried a full-time cadet instructor officer, who was responsible for ensuring that cadets received structured training, some of which was conducted in a purpose built classroom.
In 1952, cadet numbers were increased to 39 by using cabins originally set aside for seamen, and then, in 1959, Chindwara ceased carrying passengers, and the number of cadets was increased to 52. Chindwara’s role as a cadet training ship came to an end in 1963, but, in 1966, she was given a new role as a “cadet training unit”, carrying 16 cadets, a role in which she continued until she was sold in 1971.
So far, it has not proved possible to obtain a copy of a capacity plan for Chindwara. However, thanks to Terry Lilley and other sources, such as Lloyds Register of Shipping and magazine articles, some technical data on Chindwara is available for download as a pdf.
If anyone has a capacity plan for Chindwara, it would be mostly gratefully received. Once copied, the original would be returned to the owner.
Ask anyone, who served some or all of his apprenticeship on a cadet training ship, if he remembers the Bosun, and the chances are that you will be told a story or two that leave you in no doubt as to the special nature of that particular character. Bertie Miller was the Bosun on Chindwara, and he was most certainly a character who deserves to be remembered. It would therefore seem entirely appropriate to ask those of you who sailed with Bertie to pen your memories of him so that they can be collated into a tribute to him. Sir Robin Knox Johnston, Commander Terry Lilley RD* RNR (Retired), Glenn Baker, Barrie Sanderson and Tom Miller-McCall have kindly contributed their recollections of Bertie Miller, and they are available for download as a pdf here.
John Briggs has very kindly put together a most interesting collection of photographs and reminiscences about the life of a cadet on Chindwara, and it is available for download as a pdf here.
Any anecdotes that you may have of Chindwara would be most gratefully received.