Wednesday, 27 January 2010

HMS Conway

This photo of Uncle Eric’s can be dated exactly. It was taken on 21st May 1941. I know that because the ship is easily identified as the HMS Conway and she was moved from the Mersey to Menai on May 21 - 22 1941.

HMS Conway was a navy training ship. After an Abandon Ship incident in 1941, the Conway Committee decided that training clearly needed to be carried on in more peaceful surroundings than the Mersey- a prime bombing target. They decided that the 102 year old wooden vessel should be moved to the Menai Strait in North Wales. It would be her first sea passage for 65 years. Eric was obviously on leave at the time and took the opportunity of being in Liverpool to get this photo of the Conway being towed out of the Mersey.

She was towed by the Rea tugs Langworth and Dongarth to Glyn Garth Mooring on the Menai Straits, Anglesey, West of Bangor Pier and close to the Anglesey shore - the mooring is still marked on charts. She arrived of Bangor late in the evening.

At 8.15am on Wed 14th April 1953 HMS Conway slipped her mooring off Plas Newydd in the Menai Strait and was taken under tow on the first stage of her return to Birkenhead for a refit. A little over two hours later, under the fearful gaze of the thousands who waited to cheer her through Menai Suspension Bridge, she would be driven ashore by an unexpectedly powerful tide, and as that tide fell it would reduce Britain’s last commissioned, massively built floating wooden walled Ship-of-the-Line to a total constructive loss within a matter of hours. For over three years her flooded, broken hull would haunt the banks of the Strait until, in a last fitting blaze of glory, she caught fire in unexplained circumstances and burned to the waterline.


  1. What a sad end to an old lady of the seas.

  2. Keep the historical stuff coming! There is magic to scanning old photos and telling their history. I'm hooked.

  3. Oh no! All the care and service and then nature changed all that. I do like the photos.

  4. How interesting -- and how sad. Another casualty of WWII I guess.
    Canadian Chickadee

  5. OH I LOVE this story! How absolutely wonderful to have this in your possession! Please continue looking through photos, I can't wait to beck tomorrow to see more history! I am such a romantic when it comes to our ancestors! My grandfather (dad's dad) was a builder of ships in Amsterdam Holland. My father would swell with pride when he would tell us that. He even recounted a story at one time when his father was working and had to jump into the sea to save the life of a friend while working. He told the story tearfully. He was so proud of his father. Sadly there are not too many photos of my grandparents....please tell us more!!!!! hugs....

  6. I feel like I am stepping back in time...oh I love good photography - and the rich history that is captured by a simple photo - it's intoxicating!

  7. My father was at school on this ship & was a member of the Conway Trust, his name was also Eric. At his funeral last year we read the HMS Conway School song.


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