BRITISH MERCHANT NAVY CADET TRAINING SHIPS
The Diomed was built in 1956 by the Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited in Dundee.
Technical Data on Diomed indicates that she was a cargo vessel of 7,980 gross tons with a length overall of 491 feet 6 inches and a cargo capacity of 551,341 cubic feet. Her 6 cylinder, 2 cycle, single-acting diesel engine was turbocharged, and it gave her a service speed of 15 knots.
From her first voyage in 1956, Diomed replaced Calchas as the Company’s designated training ship, and she operated in this role until 1963. The 22 midshipmen carried in Diomed were accommodated in the seamen’s house at the after end of the centrecastle, abaft No. 4 hatch. Training was planned so that, on any one voyage, half the midshipmen were on their first trip on her, and the other half were on their second. There were only 2 professional seamen on board, the Bosun and the Carpenter, and so the midshipmen were responsible for undertaking all the other duties of a normal deck crew. Senior deck crew positions such as Bosun’s Mate, Carpenter’s Mate and Lamptrimmer were allocated to senior midshipmen on merit.
Diomed was not equipped with a schoolroom, nor did she carry a dedicated schoolmaster. Whilst on board Diomed, midshipmen continued to study through a correspondence course, which was designed, administered and assessed by the Company’s training department, and the ship’s officers would offer advice and help if requested to do so.
Any material that you would like to display would be most gratefully received.
Technical data on Diomed taken from a copy of her capacity plan, dated October 1956, are available for download as a pdf. This capacity plan was obtained from Dundee City Archives, and it is far too large to scan for download purposes. If anyone has a small-scale version that could be scanned, it would be mostly gratefully received. Once scanned, the original would be returned to the owner. The Diomed Data sheets are incomplete, and, if anyone has some or all of the missing data, it would be much appreciated.
Details of Diomed’s main engine together with what is believed to be a photograph of it in the manufacturer’s assembly shop are available for download as a pdf here.
Alfred Holt and Company produced a brochure to celebrate Diomed’s entry into operational service in September 1956. Ian Thomson has kindly provided a copy of this brochure, which has been digitally recompiled so that it can be downloaded as a pdf here.
As a midshipman nearing the end of his apprenticeship, Ian Thomson was appointed Bosun’s Mate on Diomed’s maiden voyage. In accordance with Alfred Holt and Company’s policy, Ian maintained a Log Book, which was used to record the daily work schedule of the midshipmen throughout that voyage. It has been digitally reproduced and enhanced with a selection of Ian’s photographs of the voyage, and it is available for download as a pdf here.
Any anecdotes that you may have of Diomed would be most gratefully received.