Clover - A World War II Veteran
In 1939, Owner Eric Thompson offered Clover to the Admiralty even before the declaration of war in September, but on condition that his skipper Fred Matthews was retained as the sole full time skipper during her use by the Admiralty.
She was assigned to Coastal Command and based in Falmouth, and used as an inspection vessel for the expert assessment of convoy ships coming across the Atlantic as soon as they entered 'safe' water in the Western Approaches. Many of those convoy ships were damaged and the assessor decided where they should be taken for first safest landing so the cargoes could be salvaged. They took off valuable documents and money. Clover was adapted for this work by:
1. removal of all standing and running rigging, mast and spars. A 'stump' mast was installed with a derrick crane attached, for lifting heavy objects aboard, such as a ship's safe.
2. a wide thick fender was installed all around the hull, almost to the waterline. This was removed at the end of the war and the hull was completely unscathed
3. all the interior arrangements, joinery, equipment etc was kept untouched from the original as fitted by Lukes.
4. all her passages were made under motor, using the original National oil engine.
5. she was not used for any heavy work, salvage, detection, diving etc - she was a 'floating office' as Brian called it. She never saw any action.
She seems to have covered a wide area of sea around Britain, from the SW to the NE and through the English Channel. She was used all year round.
Builder: A.R. Luke BrothersDesigner: Albert LukeDate of Launch: May 7, 1938Length: 68’ 00”Beam: 14’ 03”Draft: 9’ 00”Displacement: 100,000 lbs.Hull type: Full keel with attached rudderRig: Gaff Topsail Cutter