Russel Brothers Limited OWEN SOUND, ONTARIO Steelcraft Boat Builders
|CT 48 on her sea trials in Owen Sound Bay, 1943.|
Early in the war the British Ministry of War Transport could foresee the need for a considerable number of small tugs which would be suitable for harbour service in ports of the world. Designs and specifications were accordingly prepared so that construction could be undertaken by organizations with little experience in shipbuilding. As construction developed the tugs were largely built in prefabricated sections, which were assembled at the various yards. The powering of these tugs was revised during the building of the series, being increased from 200 B.H.P to 375 B.H.P.
In view of the general nature of the operations of these vessels, particular attention was paid to the accommodation of the six man crew. Living quarters were all insulated, with mechanical ventilation being arranged in engine room and living quarters. In order to increase the utility of the vessels, fire pumps with a monitor and deck hose connections were fitted. The extent of the service of these vessels - which was world wide and included the invasion of Europe, is proof of the soundness of the design.
A total of 265 CT (Canadian Tug) Tanac tugs were built in Canada for British Ministry of Transport by 5 Canadian shipbuilders, including CT 46-50 in 1943 by Russel Brothers Limited of Owen Sound. RBL also later (1945) built Tanac V-206 to Tanac V-215. (The V stands for Victory). All 14 went overseas. Joe Fossey notes: Tanacs with # V in their designation were powered with Canadian built Vivian diesels from Vancouver. There is a good history written of Will Vivian and his motors in Raincoast Chronicles #9 by Harbour Publishing B.C. The Vivian had different vertical height and the motor mounts and engine room floor had to a different configuration from the Cummins. The last 40 to 50 of the Tanacs were completed after the war had ended and sold as War surplus assets, some to China etc.
|C. T. 46 – Steel Tanac class tug C. T. 46 [British Navy] built for British Ministry of Transport in 1943. Launch story filed in Russel Brothers clipping file. Ivan Brookes Scrapbook, 1943, page 41. David Asprey notes: The Tanac class were 60 foot Navy tugs. ||
|C. T. 48 – Steel Tanac class tug C. T. 48 [British Navy] built for British Ministry of Transport in 1943. David Asprey notes: The Tanac class were 60 foot Navy tugs. ||
|C. T. 49 & C.T. 50 – Steel Tanac class tug C. T. 49 [British Navy] built for British Ministry of Transport in 1943. Steel Tanac class tug C. T. 50 [British Navy] built for British Ministry of Transport in 1943. David Asprey notes: The Tanac class were 60 foot Navy tugs. Tanac 50 was completed by Russel Bros, in 1943 for the Ministry of War Transport. It was managed by J. Hay & Sons Ltd., Glasgow. Served in the U.S. Army from 17 August 1944. Sold French in 1951.||
|Tanac V-206 - Owen Sound Daily Sun-Times, March 22, 1945: Two More Tugs For Royal Navy. Two more vessels to be eventually commissioned as tugs of His Majesty's navy slid down the ways into the water at the plant of Russel Brothers Limited on Wednesday afternoon, ceremonies suitable to the occasion being performed by Mrs. John Klassen, 8th avenue east, and Mrs. William O'Leary, 4th avenue east. The first boat to be launched, Tanac V-208, was released into the water by Mrs. Klassen, honor thus being done her husband, who is foreman of the fitting out department in the company's plant and who has twelve years of efficient and faithful service. Mrs. O'Leary released the second vessel, Tanac V-206, her husband being given due honor on this occasion for having served the company for fifteen years. Mr. O'Leary is at present Gang Foreman in the boat shop. Both these ladies on cutting the ribbons which held the tugs on dry land thus letting them slide into the water, asked for God's blessing on the vessels and on those who serve in them, carrying out their part in the ceremonies with both efficiency and grace. These boats will add two more to the large number already built in the Owen Sound plant for the British Government for service overseas in the Royal Navy.||
Tanac V-207 - Owen Sound Daily Sun-Times, March 21, 1945: New Vessels To Sail Under White Ensign. H. M. C. S. Glendyne, according to information in possession of the company, will in all probability be put into service in Canadian coastal waters where vessels of a similar type have already proved their value during the present war. The second vessel to leave the ways was Tanac V-207, the Launching ceremony in this instance being charmingly performed by Mrs. John Homenuik, honor also being thus paid by the company to her husband, who is foreman of the boat shop with eighteen years of valued and efficient service in the plant to his credit. This vessel, a sixty-footer, was built under contract for the British Government for service in the Royal Navy and be shipped overseas for delivery in the British Admiralty. Vessels of this class are used quite extensively in naval operations overseas and are also equipped with auxiliary fire-fighting apparatus whereby their services can be used in assisting to fight fires. The two launchings on Tuesday were the first since the harbor froze over at the beginning of the winter and a fairly long list of similar ceremonies will take place throughout the season which has now been formally opened.
|Tanac V-208 - See Tanac V-206 above. One of a series of 60' fire-fighting tugs produced in 1945, for the Allied war effort.||
| Tanac V-209 to Tanac V-215 - All went Overseas. Vessels of this class are used quite extensively in naval operations overseas and are also equipped with auxiliary fire-fighting apparatus whereby their services can be used in assisting to fight fires. ||
Below are two Joe Fossey Tanac history articles, the first originally published in the west coast "The Tugs Wake" newsletter. Joe writes: "The 60 foot CT Tanac Tugs are a Canadian WWII tugboat production story unto themselves and their history warrants some clarification." The third article is from Lekko magazine #165 (their Canadian contact is Mac Mackay, who has been VERY helpful to this Russel archive).
Lekko I.T.E.S. (International Tug Enthusiasts Society) is a Dutch concern which hopes to
"unite people interested in tugs, their operations and their history." Vol. 25, 2007.
|Here's some Oct. 2007 photos of Tanac 116, still working salvage in Australia,
many thanks to owner/operator Gordon Simmons.
Length: 60' 1"
Beam: 16' 6"
Depth Molded: 7' 9"
Main Engines: Caterpiller D 334
Auxiliary Engines: 6 Kva 2 Cyl Izusu
1 Lister 18hp 3ycl Air Cooled Diesel, Hydraulics and Single Phase 10Kva.
Survey 2 B
Rego Number 8806QB
Year Built: 1942
Builder: Canadian Bridge Co., Walkerville, ON
For more Russel exhibits visit Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum 1165 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
(519) 371-3333 http://marinerail.com