SAS Somerset

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HMS Barcross 1943.jpg
HMS Barcross
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Barcross
Owner: Royal Navy
Builder: Blyth Harbour and Dock Company Blyth, Northumberland, England
Laid down: 15 April 1941
Launched: 21 October 1941
Decommissioned: 1947
Out of service: Transferred to South African Naval Forces, 21 January 1943
Renamed: HMSAS Somerset in 1943
Identification: Pennant number: Z185
Naval Ensign of South Africa (1951-1952).svgSouth Africa
Name: HMSAS Somerset
Namesake: Dick King's horse[Note 1]
Builder: Blyth Shipyard
Commissioned: 21 January 1943
Renamed: SAS Somerset, 1951
Homeport: Simon's Town
Identification: Pennant number: P285[1]
Badge: SAS Somerset badge.png
South Africa
Name: SAS Somerset
Owner: South African Navy
Decommissioned: 31 March 1986
Homeport: Simon's Town
Identification: Pennant number: P285[1]
Fate: Moored at Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Table Bay Harbour, Cape Town, since 2 September 1988 as part of Iziko Museum[2]
General characteristics
Class and type: Bar-class boom defence vessel
Displacement: 750 tons standard, 960 tons maximum
Length: 45.72 m (150.0 ft)
Beam: 9.76 m (32.0 ft)
Draught: 3.37 m (11.1 ft)
Propulsion: One vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
Speed: 11.75 kn (21.76 km/h)
Range: 3000 mi
Complement: 32
Armament: 1 × 12-pounder gun

SAS Somerset was a Bar-class boom defence vessel of the South African Navy, now preserved as a museum ship in Cape Town.


Somerset was originally built in Blyth, Northumberland, by Blyth Shipbuilding Company[3] and commissioned as HMS Barcross in 1941.[4]

She is now used as a museum ship, has been moored on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town since 2 September 1988,[5] and is the only boom defence vessel remaining in the world.[6]



  1. ^ The ship was named after famous horse that carried Dick King from Durban to Grahamstown in 1842. The connection is perpetuated in the seahorse on the ship’s crest.


External image
Photos of the exterior and interior of SAS Somerset at
  1. ^ a b Pennant Numbers in the SA Navy
  2. ^ Iziko - Museums of Cape Town (SAS Somerset)
  3. ^ "SAS Somerset". National Historic Ships. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Du Toit, Allan (1992). South Africa's Fighting Ships: Past and Present. Ashanti. pp. 139–144. ISBN 1-874800-50-2. 
  5. ^ Du Toit, Allan (1992). South Africa's Fighting Ships: Past and Present. Ashanti. p. 144. ISBN 1-874800-50-2. 
  6. ^ "SAS Somerset". Transport in South Africa. Retrieved 24 September 2010.