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Cox and Danks' floating dock
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Cox and Danks' floating dock

A Tom kent picture of the floating dock employed by Cox and Danks in their salvaging of the sunken German High Seas Fleet.

Date an estimate.
Picture added on 08 February 2005
I just finished a book about cox and the raising of the high seas fleet not five minutes ago. Very interesting read, too!
Added by Len Peters on 19 May 2005
Cox is one of those forgotten great British engineers, I read Gerald Bowman's book about Cox's exploits in raising the German High Seas Fleet from Scapa when I was a boy some 40 years ago. The picture of his floating dock gives some idea of the scale of his achievement
Added by Peter Thoams on 14 September 2007
Local men were employed at the rate of 10 shilings a tide to wind the winches as the tide ebbed and so to bring the smaller ships into shallower water and then salvage them.My Grandfather went to do this as it was good pay in the 1920s.Drifters came into Longhope to pick up as many men as were willing to go I suppose men went from other places as well. John Budge
Added by John Budge on 28 October 2007
i am the great niece of ernest cox i live in wolverhampton i would like to get in touch with any relative of ernest cox i know he had a daughter nick named bunty his wife was named jenny jack miller
Added by Julie Tranter Nee Cox on 01 January 2008
I had the pleasure of the company of two army veterns from Caithness on a train journey to Inverness last week.
Wm Gunn, told me his father was in Lyness working at the raising of the German ships.
An agent needing accommodation for Mr Cox and his engineers asked a landlady if she had room for five men and explained that it would be four without Cox, to which she replied "Oh I know its been an awful war!!"

Added by John Budge on 19 March 2008
I have read this book cover to cover many times it is enthralling. In reply to the relatives query above, his daughter "Bunty" married a JOHN MOORE who lent many photos in the book to its publishers, they might be able to help the questioner.
Added by Brian Perry on 20 April 2008
What is the name of the book by Gerald Bowman please? I would be interested in reading it too. Thanks, Brian.
Added by Brian Robertson. on 21 April 2008
My name is Julie, i am the great niece. Brian the book you are looking for by Gerald Bowman is The Man Who Bought a Navy- I have a copy.
Added by Julie Tranter nee Cox on 21 April 2008
The book seems to be widely available and can be bought new from the Orcadian bookshop for £19.95. It's a good book. The first 45 pages can actually be downloaded from here.
Added by Steven Heddle on 21 April 2008
Thanks very much Julie and Steven.
Added by Brian on 22 April 2008
This photograph seems to be taken at the north end of the Golden Wharfe and if the date is correct then when was the Wharf built. I thought it was later, in or near the outbreak of WW2 does anyone have dates?.
Anonymous comment added on 24 April 2008
In W.S. Hewisons book "This Great Harbour" it says that Admirality HQ moved to Lyness in 1919 from Longhope.
Added by Bob on 26 April 2008
Julie Tranter I see that you are interested in meeting relatives of my grandfather Ernest Cox. His only daughter, my mother had her 100th birthday last week.

There is now a far better book about my grandfather. How can I help.

Jon Moore eldest grandson
Added by Jon Moore on 24 October 2008
Brian Robertson
I am Jon Moore the eldest son of Bunty and John Moore.
Can I Help further
Added by Jon Moore on 24 October 2008
I read (many years ago), the book "the man who bought a navy"; and also "jutland to junkyard" by s.c. George;-absolutely fascinating stuff, it still amazes me that ernest cox achieved what he did with no experience whatever of marine salvage-and nobody to ask either! His technique of making patches for the holes in the various hulls, then pumping in compressed air to float the wrecks was pioneering stuff; he must have been an exceptional man with incredible resolve-sadly largely unsung in present times...
Added by Rodney E.Parkinson on 23 November 2008
Read 'Man Who Bought a Navy' the best part of 30 years ago and loved it and am now looking for a copy for gift for my son. I cannot believe all the comments on this site and the general interest on the subject but am glad to know I am not alone. Merry Christmas Mike Hopkinson
Added by Mike Hopkinson on 21 December 2008
I know its almost a year since my first offering! Scapa and the book by Bowman about Mr. Cox continue to fascinate me so much that i shall be making a 3rd visit to Orkney this summer. Only when you see for yourself Scapa Flow and Lyness can you fully appreciate what Mr Cox did. It is a sad reflection on society that in 2009 only a Graduate would be thought capable and trustworthy to carry out such work. The changeable weather has to be experienced to be believed; how the divers managed what they did 70 years back is truly astounding. If you have the time and interest to visit I can tell you how it can be done without breaking the bank! ( I live south of London). The book can be obtained by ordering from a public library.
Added by Brian Perry on 10 March 2009
Hi I did some diving up in scapa flow some years ago and went on to read The Man Who Bought a Navy Mr Cox was an amazing man. Having seen whats left of the fleet on the bottom to think at the time he devised how to lift somthing so big is just amazing. I was serching for a piece of Cox and Danks memorabilia when I came across this site so if anyone could tell me where I could buy somthing I would be grateful.

Added by Paul Thompson on 24 April 2009
I am in contact with Mr Coxs grandson and we are trying to get a blue plate to his memory at Lyness. I have communicated with the three naval Princes and been told this is with his Lord Lt for Orkney. I have also been in touch with the Orkney MP, the CE of the Highland Council and a RN Captain in Whitehall who has the ear of the senior Sea Lord. No names allowed.
Mr Moore the grandson emails me and if you wish I will pass your enquiry to him
I wont divulge his email without his consent.

I shall be in the Lyness area in July to see who I can stir up!!

I also know Mr Moore will be in London at the end of July, near Trafalgar Square
but I cannot say more without his consent.

If any of you have "friends in high places" please bring this to their attention!
Added by Brian Perry on 26 April 2009
I served my time with Fawcett, Prestons who were in the Metal Industries Group along with Cox and Danks and others.
It was a fantastic time because you were given a blank canvas. Fawcetts did some of the first tower cranes in the country in the early 1950s, and the first of the modern compressed refuse lorries.
Like Cox the engineers had amazing tales to tell.
Added by Joe Douglas on 26 April 2009
Paul Thompson- As I am sure you know memorabilia of my Grandfathers work at Lyness are like hens teeth but if you snoop about Kirkwall and Stromness antique dealers you will find some trinkets. Don't think that you will get a bargain though - they are Scots you know!

Jon Moore Cox's eldest grandson
Added by Jon Moore on 27 April 2009
Hi fellow enthusiasts, I had a copy of a book which I lent to a fellow diver, called I Bought a Fleet, it was written by Ernest G Cox, himself, it was a hardback and had many photos I have tried many sources to locate this book over a number of years. I would be very grateful for any help.
Added by David J Puttock on 10 July 2009
I can remember my Dad (sadly no longer with us), buying "The man who bought a Navy" in the mid-sixties, since he had been a clearance diver in the Royal Navy, and had a natural interest in marine salvage. I read the book many years later, and to this day remain impressed by the achievements of this great man and his team. I agree that official recognition is long overdue; In an age when it's possible to pick up a Knighthood for warbling a few mediocre pop songs, surely pressure can be brought to bear in the right quarters........
Added by Andy Irving on 11 March 2010
I am the great niece of earnest cox and i hope one day he will get the recognition that he deserves. I never knew him he died before i was born but my dad as told us all about him i feel so proud that he was my great uncle julie tranter nee COX
Added by Julie Cox on 21 March 2010
My grandfather was Ernest Cox's brother and my mother (COX) told me about him i would like to talk to any relatives chas rogers
Added by Charles Rogers on 01 April 2010
hi charles im julie ernest coxs great niece i would like to now more about you please e mail me so we could talk
Added by Julie Cox on 01 April 2010
Hello Charles
My name is Mary and I am also related to Ernest Cox. My great-grandfather was William - Ernests eldest brother. I grew up with the tales of Scapa Flow, Thetis and the other exploits - watched Scapa coal burn on grandads fire. I would really like to share what knowledge I have and learn more about the other brothers who cared for grandad and their families. Who was your grandfather? Please get in touch.
Added by Mary Rutter on 05 April 2010
Mary good day I am Jon Moore, Ernest Cox's eldest Grandson. Can I help

Added by Jon Moore on 08 April 2010
Hi Jon
Nice to meet you. I am the great grand-daughter of william, ernests eldest brother. Ernest, Walter and my grandfather were very close. As i said i grew up with tales of scapa flow, whales and battleships and to this day have an awe of engineering feats, particularly bridges - all tanks to 'our ernest' as grandad called him. One thing I would really love to know, well 2 actually, where was your grandfather baptised and where did the name Guelph come from? Do you still have any contact with your grandmothers family at all?
best wishes
mary rutter
Added by Mary Rutter on 10 April 2010
Hi glad to see Ernest Cox not forgotten, Good luck with Blue Plaque or something to remember him. Thomas Danks. (namesake of the man who put money trust in Ernest Cox)
Added by Thomas Danks on 11 April 2010
Hi Thomas
Nice to hear from you what would Cox be indeed without Danks. I would love to know more about Mr Danks involvement. Did he have any input into the salvage side of things?
Added by Mary Rutter on 15 April 2010
Hi Mary
Thomas (tommy) did not have any involvement. He was born in 1882 (about same age as ernest)His father was an accountant, but died in 1885 age 28, living Thomas and brother Robert in care of mother,who in turn died in 1915.Thomas was a white-collar worker he was shipbroker & coal agent,died in 1951, brother Robert was Doctor of Medicine in south shields died in 1964. Tom Danks
Added by Thomas Danks on 16 April 2010
Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzuxekGZWQM&NR=1 to see original footage of the raising of the fleet. Pure gold.
Added by W Watters on 14 July 2010
hi i have just watched the videos of scapa flow i am the great niece of ernest cox could you tell me were you got the footage from it was very intersting julie tranter nee cox
Added by Julie Cox on 15 July 2010
Hi all I too watched the videos of the salvage of the scuttled German fleet.I recognize a lot of the images,have been used in various books etc. Pity about the sound track! Still looking for Ernest Cox own account I Bought A Fleet
Added by David Puttock on 17 July 2010
As an addendum to my previous letter (written in 2008,see above);a few years ago, I had occasion to go to Blackpool to look at a horse (don't ask...)- when we arrived at this place ,this chap came out wearing a T shirt with the legend "I have dived the Wrecks at Scapa Flow" on it. I said to him "Have you?" He said "What?" I said "Dived the wrecks" He said "Yes,why,are you interested?" I said "I certainly am" He said "Come with me" He showed me to his garage which was crammed full of stuff that he'd taken off the wrecks; he explained that the majority of the fittings were covered in marine growth and they had to clean it up before selling/displaying it. One piece in particular was a water level gauge off a boiler,which still had water in it from Scapa Flow! I said so whats the technique you use for getting inside the wrecks? He said,"well I try to find one thats not too deep. and depending on how it is lying I find the uppermost part then slide down until I find some kind of access then get inside" I said, "So what happens if you get lost?" He said, "Simple mate,-you die!"
Added by Rodney E.Parkinson on 18 July 2010
David the book is called 'The man that bought a Navy' but I would steer you to another book more recently written 'Cox's Navy' by Tony Booth ISBN 1 84415 1816
Added by Jon Moore on 19 July 2010
The Man Who Bought a Navy is a biography, not an autobiography. Its author, Gerald Bowman, makes no reference in his acknowledgments to any book written by Cox himself, so I fear your quest may be in vain Mr Puttock.
Added by Ian Hourston on 19 July 2010
Hi Jon,
The book you mention is not the one I am looking for. It was written by E Cox, and called I BOUGHT A FLEET. I now think it was a private print run, possibly as a addition to his talks about his salvage adventures at Scapa Flow. Many thanks for your advice and I will get the book Cox's Navy.
best regards David Puttock
Added by David Puttock on 20 July 2010
Hi Ian,
I think you may be right about my search for this book being a lost cause. I have been looking for this book for over twenty years now. It was called I BOUGHT A FLEET, it predates all other books suggested by a number of years. It was given to me as a birthday present in the late fifties. As I said to Julie Tranter the other day it may well have been a limited private print run, many thanks for your interest, the search goes on.
Best Regards David Puttock.
Added by David Puttock on 21 July 2010
Charles Rogers would you please get in contact with me, I would like to know who your grandfather was. I am Ernest Cox's great niece. I have a lot of information on the Cox family and would like to pass it on to you.
Added by Julie Tranter (nee Cox) on 26 August 2010
Readers may wish to know that Ernest Cox's astonishing feat gets a brief mention in my new book FOR A SHILLING A DAY (Bank House Books), a compilation of almost 200 eyewitness accounts of warfare gathered over the past 25 years.

Added by Peter Rhodes on 09 October 2010
What happened to Mr Danks, the silent partner? The cox and danks i remember was on frederick rd in salford.my great grandfather was a formean at the scrapyard.
Added by William Gray. on 20 February 2011
Thomas Danks retired to USA and died there.
Regards Thomas Danks
Added by Thomas Danks on 23 February 2011
Hi I too read the book the "Man Who Bought a Navy" many years ago and was inspired by the amazing feats of Ernest Cox. I was involved with Marine Salvage in Garston Liverpool where we broke up hundreds of vessels, He was a truly gifted man, We operated as Pemberton & Carlyon and my photo's can be seen on flickr photosharing. or just go to "Brian P Carlyon" and click on the plug there are 200 snaps on the site.We did not have to use divers in our work but can appreciate the hard work involved and the enormous risks he undertook.
Added by Brian P Carlyon on 14 March 2013
Jon Moore if you read this message please get in touch
Added by Julie Cox on 18 October 2014
Interestingly my grandfather was called Ernest Cox
He was not the same Ernest Cox in charge of salvage, but he was a diver in the RN involved in the salvaging.
Added by Philip cox on 24 September 2015
I am currently carrying out some research into an old family friend of my grandfather who was a diver with Cox and Danks in 1924/25 on the Hindenburg. Can anyone tell me if there are any records available relating to employees of C&D in that period, and/or where they might be found?

Added by Mike Harfield on 09 November 2016
Jon Moore would you please get in touch with me or any of his family, i am the great niece of Ernest Cox
Added by Julie Cox on 11 March 2017
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