Yes, I stand corrected it is an RAF rescue craft. 63’ High Speed Launch
The hull of the 63ft HSL was hard chine, with skin constructed in double diagonal African mahogany, 4in x Vim planks with a layer of proofed canvas between. Planks were through fastened by clenched copper rivets and attached to frames by brass screws. Hull sides, transom, bottom and decking were all of similar construction. Frames were African mahogany with rock elm facings. The stem was spruce, shaped and fastened to the keel by spruce deadwood. All bulkheads were of special light weight fabrication to a Power Boat patent. The wheelhouse and cabin were prefabricated synthetic resin bonded plywood with spruce frames and stiffeners. The hull was sub-divided into six watertight compartments by five bulkheads.
Under the wide foredeck and abaft the forepeak was the crew's mess, with bunks and a galley fitted with a pressurised paraffin oven. Forward of the mess against the fore peak bulkhead was the crew's Baby Blake toilet and washbasin to port with a chain locker and a ladder leading up to a hatch to starboard. Aft of the crew's mess on the starboard side, steps led up to the wheelhouse and a level deck led aft under the conning position to a chart room and sick bay. The latter could accommodate five stretchers. Leading off from the chart room on the starboard side was a small wireless cabin aft of which was a double berth cabin for NCO's, whereas on the port side of the chart room was a single cabin for the Captain. Access to the forward turret, offset to port, was also in the chart room. The main engine fuel tanks were situated underneath the deck of the sick bay. Stretcher access to the sick bay was via a wide hatch on the port side of the casing. The aft turret access was also right aft in the sick bay section.
Entrance to the engine room was via a small hatch behind the turret The engine room contained the three main engines, the auxiliary engine for battery charging and bilge pumping and all the controls. The two wing engines drove the propellers through direct gear boxes, whereas the centre engine faced forward and drove the centre propeller through a V-drive gearbox. The engineer of the HSL controlled the engines via large levers from a position between the wing engines, facing the centre engine. Communications to the wheelhouse was via a visual telegraphic display on the forward engine bulkhead, however the throttles were controlled directly from the wheelhouse by hydraulic controls. All the engine room instrumentation was on the port bulkhead. Abaft the engine room was an aft peak which contained the batteries but which also served as a stowage for ropes and fenders.
The fore deck was relatively clear of equipment, which not only gave the crew good visibility from the wheelhouse windows, but also ample space upon which to work when coming up to a wrecked aircraft, ditched airman or a mooring buoy. The 63ft HSL was equipped with W/T as well as an aircraft style intercom which linked the Captain with the Coxswain, gunners, and wireless operator. Some launches were later fitted with IFF and a radio direction loop which was either of the open type or enclosed pattern VHF was also fitted to some launches.
The guns were mounted in two Boulton and Paul aircraft type turrets, each comprising a single Vickers .303 machine gun. Additional weapons in the form of twin Lewis machine guns were often positioned on free standing mountings each side of the wheelhouse. Some of the 63ft HSL's carried a 20mm Oerlikon cannon on a specially strengthened rear deck. Anti-shrapnel padding covered the top sides of the wheelhouse, chart room and sick bay, as well as the radio room. Armour plating was installed behind the coxswain's position and behind the engineer's seat in the engine room.
Further, from Clive is this former email:
I am simply the archivist for the British Military
Powerboat Trust and in fact I was a Marine Fitter crewing the RAF
launches after 1955 for 12 years.
There are several things wrong with all the models, according to my
informants, members of the Marine Craft Sections and Air Sea Rescue club
who did crew the Whalebacks the scheme I sent you is the correct one.
The four wire antenna was the correct one as this was matched to the
1083 HF radio.
The models that you have sent are incorrectly armed. They were only
fitted with the two Anson aircraft turrets with .303 Machine guns. The
Machine gun at the side of the bridge (if they had one) was something
that the crew had "scrounged". The 20mm on the stern were never fitted
to the Whaleback as the hull at that point was not strong enough and the
area could not be suitably re-enforced. They were however fitted to the
"Hants and Dorset's".
There was no metal decks on board any of the RAF Launches as they were
Powered by petrol engines burning high octane fuel, just out of interest
the crews only wore rubber soled shoes for the same reason.
The number painted on the foredeck was the boats callsign number ie.
I hope this gives you all the info you need.
23 March 2004 - 20 July 2010 Clive Frampton worked as a Director (RETIRED) in BRITISH MILITARY POWERBOAT TRUST LIMITED