MVS Appleby - History
Appleby was ordered on 24th January 1963 as part of the PAS (port Auxilary Service) renewal programme of the early 1960’s. Fleet tender duties had been undertaken post war by many types of craft, but the war built MFV’s had borne the brunt of the work and were now reaching the end of their days. This initial order for six 75ft steel tenders was placed with Isaac Pimblotts yard at Northwich in Cheshire, while a second order for six was placed with Doig of Grimsby on 5th January 1963. The twelve vessels became the Aberdovey class, after the lead craft built at Northwich. The class had an overall length of 79ft 3ins, 75ft between perpendiculars, an 18ft beam, draft of 5ft 3ins, and depth of 8ft 3ins. The introduction of this class continued the standardization of propulsion in PAS vessels by using Lister Blackstone diesel engines, in this case an ER4 unit developing 225 BHP at 750 RPM and giving a service speed of around 10 knots and an endurance of some 700 miles. The class was intended to carry a cargo of 25 tons or 2 21” torpedoes. The class was built under Lloyds regulations but was withdrawn from class on entry into the PAS.
Appleby was launched at 11.13hrs on 3rd February 1965, although the original completion date was expected to be 24th May 1964. It was envisaged that Appleby would replace MFV1144 which was being used for the calibration of MF/DF equipment and it was proposed to fit an additional generator in the new tender. Appleby was completed and handed over on 25th March 1965 and sailed from Northwich the following day uner the escort of the ocean tug Typhoon; the pair arrived at Portsmouth on 29th March. On 17th August Appleby was duly withdrawn from Lloyds class and a month later was fitted with a 2.5 kilowatt generator which had been removed from HMS Torquay. Between 25th November 1965 and 2nd March 1966 Appleby underwent conversion to the MF/DF Calibration role with the relevant equipment being transferred from MFV 1144. After the refit it was found necessary to add pig iron ballast to correct the asymmetric moment caused by the new generator set.
The tender carried out calibration duties at Portsmouth throughout the 1970’s with regular refits and maintenance periods. In 1975 a MOD UK instruction was issued regarding the application of new criteria regarding the passenger-carrying capacity of the 1964-design of fleet tender. This reduced the capacity to 130 ‘category A’ passengers, 64 of whom could be carried in the hold and 66 on the main deck; alternatively, 88 ‘category B’ passengers could be accommodated, 42 in the hold and 43 on the main deck. Passenger carrying limitations were drastically reduced following the Marchioness disaster on the Thames, a move that led to the withdrawal of most of the fleet tenders.
According to Portsmouth Dockyard Docking Record, Appleby completed an 8-week DED on the 31st July 1975, which entailed being docked down. She was further docked for a refit lasting 11-weeks, completing on the 7th January 1977. She was also engaged on ferry duties from ships assembled for the Spithead Review on the 24th June 1977.
In 1978 Appleby was transferred from Portsmouth to the Clyde, leaving on 14th January and arriving on the Clyde 5 days later, despite electrical defects which were repaired at Falmouth.
Appleby remained on the Clyde until she was transferred to the jurisdiction of CINC Naval Home Command and became Sea Cadet Tender at Avonmouth. She left the Clyde on 23rd January 1987 and was later modified to increase the accommodation for Sea Cadets on training cruises. She continued on these duties until she paid off on 29 October 1998 and was put up for sale by MOD at Portsmouth.