THE MAN WHO BOUGHT A NAVY. THE STORY OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST SALVAGE ACHIEVEMENTS AT SCAPA FLOW.

Bowman, Gerald.


£60.00




1st.ed., 1964. 240 pp., frontis., + 30 other photo-plates, + 5 ills in text. D.j., 21 x 14cm. V.G. With the signature of M. Cobbold, late Salvage Officer, Rosyth. Two typed folio sheets on Bowman and his book, tipped-in. A work of painstaking research, this is the first biography of engineer Ernest Cox, a man who purchased a Navy – the German Navy - scuttled at Scapa Flow in 1919. The top salvage experts of the day came to the conclusion that the work of recovering the ships was a near-impossibility. Ernest Cox defied their predictions. In 1924, he bought the scuttled fleet from the Admiralty, gambling his entire personal fortune on the awesome task of raising the German ships. Although considered a genius in engineering circles, Cox had not even salvaged a rowing boat. During the following eight years he achieved staggering results using unorthodox methods. He lifted ships that were lying upside-down, turned them the right way up, and pumped them dry. When this was not possible he had patches clamped over every opening in the capsized hulls and pumped compressed air into them until they rose to the surface. The salvage operations were not without disasters and fatalities. Oil-vapour explosions occurred while men were working 60 feet down ; chains and heavy-gear broke ; re-floated ships suddenly sank again when corroded bulkheads collapsed. Yet Cox persevered and raised six warships in 14 days - a record - and recovered the battleship HINDENBURG, the largest ship ever raised to that date.


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