It is a little while ago since this subject was raised but I came across it to day whilst passing my time looking through this continuingly interesting web site
, but for what it is worth I will outline a bit I know about the RAF marine branch.
I was one of the last National Service RAF enlisted men and started my service 5 th April 1960. I was then trained as an Air Wireless Fitter at Yatesbury and on passing the reqired tests was posted to RAF Mountbatten in May 1961, this was sited on the coastline of Plymouth Sound and the marine craft were moored on the Cattewater.
Not long before I got there, the main base for the RAF Marine activities was on the I. of W. at Calshot but the decision had been made, due to the great contraction
of the marine arm, as helicopters had taken over the rescue task and the loss in interest in aircraft
operating from water, the MU ( Maintenance Unit ) was moved to the operational station at Plymouth.
Mountbatten was quite busy with various activities and it was the H.Q. of Coastal Command the other activities was in providing targets for Shackelton training, dingy drill
for aircrew and survival training for aircrew on Dartmoor.
All the useful marine craft were moved to Plymouth and I would imagine things like Fire Floats would have been disposed of prior to the move. All that was at Mountbatten were RTTL's of various standards, RSL's and Pinnance's. The only strange item was an old Rescue Launch which was powered by 3 Napier Lion engine
s, all the later RTTLs had Rolls Royce Merlin derivatives.
This was the only large boat that I ever had a fast ride on, but unfortunately we were only a few miles out of the Sound when one of the engine
s failed and we had to limp home. I never had a fast trip on a RTTL. I used to have lots of trips outside the breakwater on RSL's on RAF crew dingy drill
, when the pilot under training had to jump off the boat with his uninflated dingy
and when the RSL made as many waves as possible he had to inflate it and climb in whilst the launch continued to rough the sea up as much as possible. He then stayed in his dingy
for about 45 minutes which was not very pleasant in winter
It was for us lesser mortals an enjoyable spectator sport to see commissioned officers undergoing sme discomfort.
I think that all the odd marine equipment was lost when Calshot closed.