google is probably your best bet to start with, i found this site http://www.bmpt.org.uk/boat%20histor...-142/index.htm and from there i expect theres alot more info out there - good luck!
Can anyone out there advise me where I can find details of Air/Sea rescue launches operated by the RAF in WW11.
I am particularly interested in HSL 156 details? (made by British Power Boats)
Around the creeks on my local Essex and Suffolk coasts there used to be many moored up MTB's and Air Sea Rescue vessels in use as houseboats, even one of my sons junior school teachers used to live on one.
Over the years many have dissapeared, I recall one being moored up next to the bridge at Maldon, thats gone.
If you Google RAF air sea rescue launches, you'll find a picture of one moored up as a houseboat at Woodbridge in Suffolk, there's only a photograph of it and no information, judging by the shape of the hull, it could well be an HSL, in considerably better condition too.
There also appears to be another at Leigh on Sea, near Southend, again, pictures, but not much information, this one appears to be still fitted with it's original engines.
I suspect that quite a few of these craft probably survive in whatever condition, I'm always on the look out for them, a good place to investigate old craft is at Pin Mill near Ipswich, there are some wierd and wonderful vessels there including a fantastic admirals launch, thats number one on my purchase when I win the lottery.
I recall going on holiday to Weymouth when I was a kid in the early 60's and the local Sea Scouts had a fantastic motor launch, from memory, I suspect it was an air sea rescue launch rather than an MTB, I went on board for a guided tour and I can't believe that it's been allowed to rot, however it wasn't in Weymouth the last time I went 3 years ago.
It inspired me to get my old man to buy me the Tri-ang RAF rescue launch, clockwork I know, but my clever brother fitted it with an electric motor, unfortunately I converted it into an E-Boat, I reckon its still in my mothers loft.
On this note, I was quite surprised to discover, during my research, that the last surviving German E-boat is preserved in Plymouth, on the water too, not only that, but it took part in the Slapton Sands attack, a truly historic vessel.
As you live in Eastern England, perhaps some of these places are familiar to you and worth investigating, there's a particular creek near St Osyth that looks interesting.
With new technology, I find it fascinating to trawl the creeks on Google Earth and look out the shape of hulls on there, it's quite an interesting exercise.
I hope that this information has been some use to you.
I've done some research into U.S. PT (MTB) boats and I believe some Vosper-designed boats were built in the US and supplied under lend lease.
I understand some ended up as rescue boats.
Sorry I can't be more precise, but there isn't a lot of information out there on the internet.
There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.
According to the NRVH, the last surviving 100 class is HSL 102, currently at Lymington and up for sale, I think what they mean is that it is the only example in restored working condition, as I suspect that the other 2 that I mentioned are members of the 100 class, but I can't find their reporting numbers. HSL 102 looks to have had an interesting history, including being at Dunkirk.
As J Boyle states, trying to find information about such vessels is pretty difficult, but you find the odd gem, like the MTB that was rescued by the Norfolk Scouts.
Incidentally Mr Boyle, unlike the UK, the USA has various preserved battleships and carriers around the country, were these gifted by the USN to the various organisations concerned or did they have to come up with the scrap value.
The last UK WW2 carrier was offered to this country by Brazil only a couple of years ago, at it's scrap value of £1m, surely only one weeks lottery takings, however, no takers and it was sold as scrap to India, what a shame.
Last edited by Pete Truman; 1st April 2008 at 08:49.
I have some detail on various crash boats and HDML operated in South Africa in the Second World War. I think they started off with British boats powered by Merlins, which thereafter were in short supply due to the Battle of Britain. Thorneycroft or The British Power Boat Company come to mind. Thereafter, a contract was placed with an American company for crash boats, using the Brit boats as a model or benchmark. I'll find out tonight and post some info tomorrow...
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