At the onset of World War II, Glasgow Engineering carried out the major refurbishment of the sea going bucket dredger Nanking which was owned by a Dutch Dredging Company. The Nanking had just completed dredging the Mersey Harbor at Devonport and was in need of a complete overhaul. The Nanking was moored close down river from Kings Wharf, this major job started with the removal of the bucket ladder, being unshipped ashore in an area where the Sea Scouts Clubhouse now stands and almost completely rebuilt, with mostly hydraulic and pneumatic riveting behind the method of fastening. The job was unique in that all phases of engineering were utilised. Many steam engines driving the pumps and winches needed renewing so wooden patterns were made from original drawings supplied by the owners. Castings were made locally and machined at Glasgow Engineering, and much of the superstructure was replaced, riveting being extensively used.

The bucket chain links were re-bushed and re-claimed , a large Hexagonal shaped Tumbler made from a manganese casting needed to be built up on all 6 faces to approximately 5/8 “ thickness this was worn through coming in contact with the chain links

Using a stainless steel underlay and then 11-14% manganese electrodes it took approximately six weeks solid welding time to complete the task. The check plates were worn 2 inches, these required wear plates in manganese steel to be riveted to them. As the material was 11-14 % manganese it was too hard to drill and had to be pierced using an oxy-cutting torch. This job was said by many observers to be an almost an impossible task as the material was more than 2 inches thick. It was eventually achieved due to the expertise and fortitude of the boilermaker of Glasgow Engineering Fred Buchanan, a truly great feat (those days) by a great tradesman.

As the Nanking was too long for the Marine Boards floating wooden dock, the dredge steamed to Hobart and was slipped. All the underwater work was carried out by Glasgow Engineering Co. personnel.

The Nanking was being hurriedly finished so it could dredge the Brisbane River to assist in the war effort, but the Dutch Authorities claimed her and she left for Java and was reputedly sunk by enemy aircraft the day of arrival there. Geoff Claridge who had worked at Glasgow Engineering for many years and was foreman of the boilermaker workshop commented that the operation of re-building the Nanking would have to be the most testing, satisfying, memorable experience of his time serving at Glasgow Engineering Co. The total cost of the Nanking refurbishment was £2,497.

The bucket Dredge Nanking
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