FITTING OUT TROOPSHIPS
THE WORK AT PORT CHALMERS.
A CREDIT TO THE CANTRACTORS.
The fitting out of the troopships which were despatched from the Dominion some weeks ago led to a good deal of discussion some of whicn was of an ad- ' verse nature. It is realised that tho safety and comfort of those on board defeud in a great measure on the efficiency of tho workmanship and the quality of the material used in transforming an ordinary passenger vessel or cargo trump into a transport. Frequently the work iias to be niched, and unseasoned limber used, the result being that the men and horses cooped up on a. vessel dealt with in this way ace subjected to discomforts which are not conducive to fitting them for the arduous wane ahead. Were the voyage a short, one, the question of the stability of the fittings and the discomforts oi men and animals might be overlooked, but when tho possibilities of a voyage of seven weeks or mo;o have to ho looked to the conditions are altogether different,. Having the defects of previous transports to guide them, the officials icsponsihlc ret to work to equip future vessels intended fc.r tho tiansport of troops in a manner that would leave Lltle room for complaint. With a view to seeing first baud what had been accomplished in this respect, a ' Star' reporter was shown over the two vessels which were at I'ort Chalmers recently. THE S.S. VEBDALA, A visit to the vessel revealed the fact that excellent nrangeineuts had been made for the comfo.it and convenience of men and horses. 'llls ship, which has been an o.ci'i tramp, and belongs to a Glasgow hue, rs fitted tip to accommodate 539 men and as many horses. The horse Malls ate tilt in length and 2ft- 4m clear in width. 1 hey are conemirtcd of solid Sin x 5m uprights and equally suh.-iant ifd dividing rads. These- dividing rails arc mortised into the uprights, and are so arranged that thev can be removed promptly in the event of a hot so falling. J ho front of each stall is also lernovuble. and this obviates the necessity of a whole section of fit ails, having to he r moved to deal with a tick hor.-o should occasion arise, as was the case on previous transports. Proves,on :s made lor lying each horse on each s:cle of the head by light chains, to prevent him reaching 100 far forward cr too much to cither side and thus stealing his neighbor's feed.. Ample provision is made for the cleaning out of the Malls from the front and tear, and special have been fitted to drain off the liquid from underneath thegratings on mhich the animal stands. The. major portion of the horses will he accommodated on the main deck, and the top of tha hoi;e boxes has been utilised as a promenade dock for the men. Tim boxes have been, covered with t. and g. flooring overhead, and on ton of this is' Mak)n, ; ,T roofing, gnat anted to in: waterproof. On the top of rlio Maltlioal has been spread cocoanut matting, coveting the full width of tho promenade—a matter of 9ft—and on the sides are substantial rail.ngs tor the ptotecliun of the men.
The sleeping avcommoda'tion for the men is an important- matter, and one which has received ... .moat deal of attention at the hands of those responsible for the arrangements. The fo’e’sle hwid has been fitted to accommodate 97 men. The bunks arc the regulation si/o, and there is splendid ventilation tliiough she ports on both sides. On tho bridge shelter dock there is accnnnr.odation for 420 men.
On the bridge deck amidships, mi the port, ami starboa d sides, arc tin; looking galley and bakery. Bo v'- ion i ; -, mad? for loth being used for cooking, shnu'd occa-
sion demand it. The too! ‘Torn here is conveyed by means of lifts to th? moss deck, so that practically no lifting or carrying is required. In the mors looms tlmre arc commodious conveni-eivcs for washing up, plate lacks, etc., so that labor is minced to a minimum. The reemition room is well fitted. Hern .there arc long table? whore the men can read, wtite, or play games. Thoie is also a- double row of wash basins adjacent to this room. A notable feature of th? arrangement of th’ fittings is the provision made for ventii-ition. Direct di.-nights of air are airangcd throughout the ship, in addition to the other artificial means usually Pinplovatl. Other fittings include orderly rooms, splcndidlv arranged, hospital accommodation for eight men. a eii’g-'on'.-: zoom, containing an operating table and a disponrary. an isolation hospital for infectious cases on the after part of the vessel on deck (which is self-contained), a veterinary officer's dispensary, sergeants’ mess, ete.
The refrigerator has boon built of fiiiflicient capacity, separate chambers being provided for b'ef and mutton, fish, and butter. To provide for tills an additional engine had to be installed. Water Ini* been laid on thvongnout the vessel, and electric lights :nc also a feature of the, fittings. The sanitary arrangements are good, both as regards baths and lattines.
One marvels at the completeness of tho equipuinit, but not more w> than at Hie massiveness of the timber employed. Ehe Transport Board, under whose supervision the work was carried out, are delighted with the workmanship, which reflects the greatest, credit on the contractor (Mr Miller. of Part Chalmers) ami those responsible for th? designing or fib? fitting*.
t in visiting the M illr.chra. one would imagine that tome quick-change art Lb had been at work. It only about 14 days ago since tins vessel arrived at I’ort Chalmers to he transformed to carry troops, and in the meantime the work has been completed. Unlike the. Verdala. this steamer has numerous decks, and under ordinary running has large public rooms with carved panels and delicate furniture, elaborately-titted-ont elate rooms, etc. The removing of the delicate furniture and the protecting of panelling, etc., has been quite a big job, not including the fitting of berths for over 1,300 men. with tho necessary mess rooms, etc. On the boat and promenade decks the troops will find ample space for di filing and exercising. W hat was recently kn-.*w n as the fir#l class music, room is now tho officers' mess room. All furniture, including grand piano and organ, litis bent r.movod and the spate, fitted up with plain tables and seats to dine tho notesraty number of officers. A small pantry is also arranged to serve the meals from. The first class lounge ha.s undergone a, similar change, and will bo turd as a reading room for oilicers. The officers arc accommodated at tho forward end of tho fust class accommodation on a shelter deck, mostly in four-berth rooms. largo orderly rooms have been constructed on the promenade dock to oral with the necessary rot,tine clerical and other work. The first class smoke ioo:n. second darn music, room, and second class smoke room, all situated on the promenade deck, have been fitted with berths frr troops, all furniture has been removed, and panelling protected with white millboard, which gives these rooms a very light appearance, and with tho large cottage windows and overhead skylights the ucopers whose berths have been arranged in those quarters will be comfortable in every respect. The men’s berths on the shelter deck have, in general, been placed in the ordinary state rooms, having accommodation for three, five, eix, and nine men in each. The offices for the officer commanding and tho paymaster have also been arranged on tho shelter deck. The petty officers’ accommodation cn the thcltcr deck forward has been allotted to the six naval reserves that are travelling by the steamer. Tho mail room on the shelter deck has been transformed into an ammunition locker or magazine, On the upper decks the first- and second elate dining saloons look splendid with the white walls, which arc formed with millboard protecting tho oak panelling. Tho spaces have been fitted up with sufficient tables and forma to permit the 1,300 men gdinina in two relays.
The cabins on the upper d;ok have been similarly treated t:> those on the shelter deck, and are fitted to accommodate five, six. and nine men, according to size of cabin.
A large number of additional washbasins have been fitted throughout tho vessel. Tho steerage accommodation has all been removed and fitted up with berths. Berths for tho men are also situated on No. 1 and No. 2 main dock ’tween decks.
Hospitals fer infectious and ir u-infec-tious cases have been arranged for about 3 per cent, of the number of troops; also operating room, dispensary, etc. Great attention has also been given to the Ventilation throughout the ship. As in the case of the Vcrdala, the work on this vessel reflects great credit on those responsible. On the Willochra, however, the whole of the a'tetimr ■-■ nd equipping was undertaken by tho Union R.R. Company’s own staff, under the supervision of Air Constable, the company's naval architect, and one and all are to bo congratulated on the results achieved. Captain Post, on the Transport Board, was eels.
the supervisor of the work on both ves
Permanent link to this item
FITTING OUT TROOPSHIPS, Evening Star, Issue 15666, 3 December 1914