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Hull Colours

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    Posted: 05 February 2005 at 4:10pm
I have been studying a series of photographs of this class, obtained from the World Ship Society. Most are shown with black hulls and white pennant numbers but Dark Avenger and Dark Aggressor have light grey hulls with black pennant numbers. Dark Biter is shown with light grey forward and black aft. Can anybody provide dates of these changes and did they apply to all craft? Or were some vessels simply painted a different colour to the others?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pioneer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 February 2005 at 8:28pm

I understand that all the RN Dark class, as delivered from the various builders, originally had the 'all over' light grey hull paint scheme. The stains from the exhausts began to cause major problems with the boats appearance in service after a very short main engine run time, while the experiment with the 'half black' hull on HMS Dark Biter evidently did not find favour with the powers that be. The 'all black' hull began to appear in early 1956, before the class had even completed its building run. I understood that the names, on the windbreak etc, and Pennent No's were in Red (not white) on both Grey and Black hulls.

As for accurate dates of the re-paintings- I'm sure someone out there will enlighten us. However, there is photgraphic evidence that a lone Gay class boat, Gay Charioteer, had the 'all black' hull (and Red No's)late in its career during the early '60s with the Target Squadron's.

    



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Explosion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 February 2005 at 11:13am
Many thanks for the data on hull colours but one more question. Does anybody know the transom colour when the boats were painted grey forward and black aft? was the black continued across the transom or was black only painted on the sides?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Explosion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 April 2005 at 3:59pm

Image of Dark Gladiator

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mprints Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 November 2010 at 7:30pm
The dark paint job appears to be on the transoms too. The twin Napier Deltics were two-stroke 18 cylinder engines. This would probably be why the exhausts were dirty and the hull became stained. The all black hull would look better than a part paint job and would likely appeal to the 'Dark' mystique too. See my latest Dark Class photos just added this weekend to www.mprints.co.uk under the Dark Class page.
An experimantal hydrofoil named "Bras d'Or" was also built in Beaumaris for the Canadian Navy. This is on page "SARO other products". Happy browsingWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Christian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 November 2010 at 8:06pm

Red numbers with white border;

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pioneer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 November 2010 at 9:33pm
The rare image shown above by 'mprints' shows an early Transome exit for the exhaust. The models when accepted for RN service were believed to have all had side exit exhaust. The Black Hull paint scheme was adopted after they had first entered RN service.
There is photo graphic evidence that during trials at least one had a half Black Hull - P1104 Dark Biter - http://www.bmpt.org.uk/other_boats_history/Dark%20Class/index2.htm (scroll down a little)
Other colour differences from the norm were that the water line was painted Red as was the name and number painted on the Bridge structure.
 (The 'Gay' class, which these craft superseded, had at least two members painted with Black Hulls (during the 1960s), but normal White numbering and Black for the Bridge ID - P1051 Gay Fencer, shown here, and P1049 Gay Charioteer)
 
 


Edited by Pioneer - 11 November 2010 at 8:38am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Danny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 November 2010 at 12:19am

Hi,

Some  dates  to  go  with  the  information  mentioned  above.

 Regards

 Danny

  

Letter  dated  27th  June  1956  from  the  Captain  Coastal  Forces,  HMS  Hornet.

 

Dark  Class  Fast  Patrol  Boats  -  Painting  of  Hull

 

Experience  has  shown  that  it  is  impracticable  to  keep  the  hulls  of  ‘Dark”  Class  Patrol  Boats  in  good  smart  state  with  light  grey  paint  owing  to  the  effects  of  diesel  exhaust.  Trials  have  been  carried  out  with  the  after  part  of  the  hull  painted  black  but  it  has  been  found  that  the  exhaust  fumes  are  liable  to  spread  further  forward  and  that  the  part  coloured  hull  is  somewhat  unsightly.

 

2.  It  is  intended  to  paint  the  hulls  of  the  ‘Dark’  Class  boats  of  the  First  Fast  Patrol  Boat  Squadron  entirely  black,  with  pendant  number  in  white,  for  the  next  three  months  at  least  for  trial.

 

 

 

Letter  dated  9th  November  1956  from  the  Captain  Coastal  Forces,  HMS  Hornet.

 

Dark  Class  Fast  Patrol  Boats  -  Painting  of  Hull

 

The  painting  of  the  hulls  of  the  Dark  class  Fast  Patrol  Boats  of  the  First  Fast  Patrol  Boat  Squadron  entirely  black  has  proven  satisfactory.  It  is  proposed  that  all  Dark  class  Fast  Patrol  Boats  commissioning  in  future  at  HMS  Hornet  should  adopt  the  same  colour  scheme.

 

2.  If  this  is  approved  it  is  submitted  that  Commodore  Superintendent  Contract  Built  Ships  should  be  requested  to  arrange  for  Dark  class  craft  still  under  construction  to  be  painted  similarly  :-

 

Hulls  -  Entirely  black. ( synthetic  black  paint,  patt.  5340)

Pendant  Number  -  Red,  edged  with  white

 

 

Admiralty  Fleet  Order  1289  dated  17th  May  contains  the  9th  November  information  plus  “Note – Boot  Topping  is  to  be  red  on  vessels  with  black  topsides  and  black  on  vessels  with  grey  topsides”

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mprints Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 November 2010 at 8:58pm
P1101 Dark Adventurer looking a bit rough around the stem. It may have been this one that rammed Beaumaris Pier about 1 mile west of the Saunders-Roe factory (Minesweeper on the right)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mprints Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2011 at 4:45pm
We now know the transom exhaust Dark Class was P1120 Dark Scout. This was a unique all-welded aluminium version with modified exhaust arrangements and a simplified box-like bridge. It can be spotted easily in photographs as it didn't have the usual flared spray deflectors around the bridge structure. It may have been built in this simplified form to same weight, cost, time of construction and increase rigidity of the hull and reduce maintenance compared with a mahogany hull. It was also the last Dark Class built by Saunders-Roe for the Royal Navy before the cancellation of the remaining boats. 
I recently heard that a side exhaust Dark had shipped seawater during some rough weather into one of the side exhausts while she was moored one night at Menai Bridge pier. When they came to start the engines the following day a pair of pistons came together one of the Napier Deltic engines and smashed it. The starting procedure changed to include a hand cranking of each engine through one revolution to ensure no water had entered any of the eighteen cylinders. The early Deltics had also suffered cooling water to cylinder leaks and could also cause catastrophic damage when started.
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