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Memorial Plaque - H.M.T.S. Alert.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member MeerRescue
N 51° 21.550 E 001° 26.719
31U E 391756 N 5690914
Quick Description: A Memorial Plaque at Broadstairs Harbour,Kent, in memory of the crew of H.M.T.S. Alert, a cable laying ship, torpedoed in the English Channel in 1945 with the loss of all of her 59 crew and 1 civilian.
Location: United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/20/2012 7:59:20 AM
Waymark Code: WMENRK
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member GT.US
Views: 1

Long Description:

This Memorial Plaque is to the crew of H.M.T.S. Alert, a cable laying ship, torpedoed in the English Channel in 1945 with the loss of all of her 59 crew and 1 civilian. The memorial plaque was unveiled in a ceremony held on February 24th 2012 at Broadstairs Harbour, Kent. The prefix of H.M.T.S. stood for His Majesty's Telegraph Ship - This prefix was used for ships owned by the General Post Office before it ceased to be a Government department in 1969. The memorial plaque, which can be found attached to the former Lifeboat Station in Harbour Street, Broadstairs, Kent, reads;

In memory of / Cable Ship Alert / and her gallant crew / lost off this coast / 24th February 1945 / May they never be forgotten

The following is taken from the Kent Fallen website: The entry below can be viewed here.

Built by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson of Wallsend on the Tyne in 1918, the 941 ton vessel H.M.T.S. Alert was working off the Dodman, North Goodwin Sands in the Straits of Dover, undertaking repairs to the Dumpton Gap, Kent to La Panne, Belgium undersea telegraph cable, when she was torpedoed by a German submarine and sunk with the loss of all of her 59 hands.

It was not one of the large ocean going type of submarines which sank the Alert, but a Seehund (Seal) type. These submarines had a displacement of 17 tons when submerged, a crew of only two and carried two underslung G7e type torpedoes. The Seehund had the range of 300 kilometres at 7 knots, and could attack on the surface in weather up to 4 on the Beufort Scale, but had to be almost literally stationary for undertaking submerged torpedo attacks. About fifty Seehund submarines were built which had an additional fuel storage that gave them a range of 300 miles at 7 knots surfaced and 63 miles at 3 knots submerged. These types of midget German submarines were involved in a number of limited actions off Dungeness Point on the south Kent coast. On the morning of 24 February 1945 the two man crew of the U-5330, Oberleutnant zur See, Klaus Sparbrodt, and Masch Mt. Günter Jahnke claimed to have sunk a corvette northeast of the South Falls. Initially it was assumed by the Kriegsmarine that they had sunk the 1,050 ton French destroyer La Combattante, but this ship had been mined off the Humber estuary on the night of 23/24 February, by a mine laid on 16 February 1945 by German Motor Torpedo Boats (Schnellboots or E-boats), and the real victim of U-5330 was in fact the British G.P.O. cable layer ‘Alert.’

Arguably one of the Post Office cable laying ship Alert’s most important contributions to the Allied war effort took place surrounded in secrecy in Kent during May 1942. It had been realised that with her shallow draft and the crews’ expertise gained over many years cable laying for the General Post Office, that the vessel would be an ideal choice to take part in the embryonic Pipeline Under the Ocean (PLUTO) experiments. Resulting from the decision to use the Alert, she laid a fuel pipe across the river Medway, Kent, and fuel was pumped
successfully at a pressure of 600lbs. per square inch. From observations and data collected the programme of experimentation and modification continued, and by the next month the system was ready for deep water trials which were conducted by another larger
vessel in the Clyde estuary, and of course in June 1944 PLUTO proved to be invaluable.

Date of Dedication: 2/24/2012

Property Permission: Public

Access instructions: Attached to former Lifeboat Station building.

Website for Waymark: [Web Link]

Location of waymark:
Old Lifeboat House
Harbour Street
Broadstairs, Kent England
CT10 1EU

Commemoration: Crew of H.M.T.S. Alert - sunk with all hands 24th February 1945

Access times: Not listed

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