The TID Story - Page Two

A TID on duty at the Mulberry Harbour, June 1944

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The tugs were numbered 1 to 12 and 14 to 183. TID tug orders summarised:

50 coal burners (10 changed to oil)
132 oil burners (for tropical service)

Tug Invasion Duties

TID tugs were used in the D-Day landings at Normandy, France, for the invasion of Europe in 1944. They towed the floating roadways which linked the Mulberry Harbour to the beaches and were kept very busy servicing ships anchored in deep water. Some tugs were allocated to the US Army. For a personal history of commanding a TID during the invasion period, please click here.

Port activity at Aromanche - find the TID!

An overview of the Mulberry Harbour

Many were allocated to naval work and a number of them were shipped to Eastern waters as deck cargo aboard heavy-lift vessels. Such voyages can be exemplified by the departure from Liverpool on 22 May 1945 of the Empire Byng, with TIDS Nos 125, 126, 131, 132 and 133 as deck cargo. She arrived at Bombay on 19 June.

Empire Byng

Similarly, TIDS Nos. 122, 123, 124, 129 and 130 were shipped to the Pacific and, in June 1945, joined the British Pacific Fleet at Manus, in the Admiralty Islands. The islands had been established as a forward base in the previous January, enabling the Royal Navy and its associated Fleet Train of supply vessels to operate successfully thousands of miles north of its main bases in Australia. A total of more than 800 ships - naval and merchant - were assigned to these operations, but the sudden end to hostilities in August 1945 caused many of the vessels to be diverted or dispersed.


Peace Time Duties

Although owned initially by the Ministry of War Transport, the affairs of TID tugs were managed by Stanley Tottle of Hull. Several were given to established towage companies such as F.T Everard of Greenhithe, some went to army units, both British and American; many went into a Navy Pool in Portsmouth Harbour, while others were sent to the Far East to support the British Pacific Fleet and ultimately to help re-establish our bases at Singapore and Hong Kong.

By October 1945 a number of the TIDs had reached Hong Kong aboard the Empire Charmian, whilst others (TIDs Nos. 127, 128, 144-149 and 151) were despatched there from the U.K., as under-deck cargo on the Empire Marshal, on her maiden voyage in November 1945.

Earlier, in July, a further batch of TID tugs, still in the U.K., were to have been refitted and tropicalised for Eastern service, although in the event these plans were not carried out.

Click here to read article 'TID class tugs at Portsmouth in the 1960s', by Dave Russell.

TID 151 in Hong Kong

TID 108 working in Cork Harbour


Foreign Service

When the war ended some of the TID tugs engaged on naval work were given a permanent transfer to the Admiralty, for continued service at navy bases throughout the world. Most of those which had served with the Army reverted to Ministry of Transport jurisdiction before post-war disposal, with a number allocated to various dock and harbour authorities and others to towage and literage companies. In addition, a considerable number were sold to continental buyers in France, Belgium Holland, Finland, Norway and Sweden - and even one as far away as Uraguay. However, it has not proved possible to trace the entire subsequent history of a number of them.

The fourteen TID tugs sold to Finland made the passage in three 'convoys', eight of them (see TID 1) sailing in October 1945, three (see TID 69) sailing from Great Yarmouth on 25 April 1947 and three (see TID 19) sailing from Dover two days later.

A batch of eleven went to the French Government in December 1945, then passed to the civilian administrators of various Channel ports. In 1948 one of them (TID 20), was shipped to French Indo-China and three years later five more followed, still retaining their TID prefix but renumbered TIDs I to V and by 1947-1948 another ten or so had also passed into French ownership.


TIDs 61 and 83 attend a Navy Day, Chatham Dockyard, 1955

What does T.I.D. stand for?

The origin of the letters "TID" remains unresolved.
When purchasing TID 164, Martin Stevens was given access to the Ministry of Defence records at Bath, Somerset, relating to TIDs. He came across several 'official' versions to explain the letters T.I.D.
and many others since:-
Towing Invasion Duties
Tug Invasion Duty
Tug Inshore Defence
Tug Inshore Duties
Tug Inshore and Dock
Tug In Dock
Tug Intermediate Design
Tug Inland Distribution
Temporary Invasion Design
- or just nicknamed "Tiddler" in the shipyard.
T.Y.P .... Take Your Pick !


TID Crews

Some examples of how TID's were crewed are as follows: TID 52, a coal burning tug based at Chatham for internal Dockyard duties, was crewed by one Mate in charge, one Stoker, two Riggers and one Skilled labourer. Crew were drawn from the Port Auxiliary Service (PAS) pool as required.

TID 57, a coal burning tug based at Rosyth Dockyard was crewed by one Mate in charge, one Mechanician, two Stokers, one Able seaman and one Ordinary Seaman.

TID 164, an oil fuelled tug based at HMS Lochinvar, a Royal Navy Minesweeping and Minelaying Base on the Firth of Forth, was crewed by one Bosun in charge, one Chief Stoker, one Stoker, and two Seamen.

While in Ministry service, it should be noted that the vessels were not significant enough to justify a Skipper or Engineer.