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Type: 41½ ft Seaplane Tender
Service: RAF
Builders: British Power Boat Co.
Year Built: 1942
Number Built: 87
Displacement: 5.0 Tons
Length: 41½ ft
Beam: 11¾ ft
Draught: 2¼ ft
Hull: Mahogany
Engines: 2 x Perkins 56M 130hp diesels
Max Speed: 23 knots

September 2015

ST 1502 after 12 years in active service, was removed from the water to the Hornet Joint Services Yacht Club. Her engines were removed, and replaced with ex MoD unused similar Fords, with a slightly uprated 120 hp. The gearboxes were overhauled by ZF, and fitted to the "new" engines. The original props were replaced with new, as were the flexible couplings.

General housekeeping was carried out, and she is now back in the water, awaiting the engines to settle into the hull, and these can then be aligned, secured and connected to the shafts. Trials will follow.


On the 18th July 2009, ST 1502 left Marchwood, her home for many years, en route to her new home in Portsmouth. She was crewed by those members of the BMPT who had given so many years of their lives to restoring her. On arrival she was berthed at the pontoon just inside the Historic Dockyard gate, where she was handed over to the PNBPTrust.


The restoration team

This craft was built in Hlythe by British Power Boats in 1942. It saw wartime service in various part of the U. K. during and after WWII. It came out of RAF service in the mid 1950s and went into private hands to be converted to a pleasure craft. It gave some fine service in this capacity but eventually fell into disrepair. It was taken on by British Military Powerboat Trust in the late 1990s to he restored to its former glory.

This task was given to a party of ex RAF sailors from the Air Sea Rescue & Marine Craft Sections Club, (Hants & Dorset Branch). This task started with the complete strip down of the craft to its bare bones. From there you would be hard push to say this craft was not so much restored, but rebuilt.

Along the way the original party grew to the fine bunch of chaps you see here. They come from the local area and are people with an interest in this field. All are volunteers and, as can be seen from the picture, take a great pride in what they do.

The Party in the picture, taken April 2004, are from the left are; Terry Ford, Phil Sexton, Rodger Woodhams, Fred Gale, Tony Humphries, Jim Baker, Tom Copland, Frank Miners, George Shelton, Dave Watson and Fred Welch.

If you have a few hours to spare and fancy a chance to join this happy bunch, contact the British Military Powerboat Trust at Marchwood. It is projected to launch this craft Easter 2005.

Designed by the master of fast craft marine architects, George Selman, some 54 of this type were built as Mid craft by British Power Boats between 1940 & 1943, and 27 were later built to the slightly improved MkIA specification. Eight of the Mk1 craft, including both craft on display at Marchwood, were subsequently converted to the MkIA specification. Post war a further 6 craft were built by Thornycroft to plans supplied by the Air Ministry, obtained from British Power Boat when they closed down. Like his larger 68ft HSL (the Hants & Dorset), Selman's ST was to become the standard craft of its type post war. The 41½ ft ST's were also known as the "Broad Beam" type and they were redesignated as Range Safety Launches (RSLs) in later service.

The construction and indeed the layout of the 41½ Ft BPB Seaplane Tenders was not far different from that of the 37Y2 Ft type (ST 206), described earlier. The hull was of wood, designed on the hard chine principle with single diagonal mahogany side planking and double diagonal bottom planking, also of mahogany, on frames. The superstructure was fabricated from wood and extended aft from the wheelhouse to the cockpit. The superstructure roof was of Flexopy, covered with canvas and supported by mahogany beams. All the craft were powered by twin Perkins S6M diesels, Meadows gearboxes and direct drive to Nickel Aluminium propellers. Later craft had a fuel capacity of 130 gallons, a range of 150 miles and could attain a maximum speed of 23 knots, with a continuous cruising speed of 20 knots. During the early part of the war, a few of this type were armed and fitted out for Air Sea Rescue duties. ST 1502 was thus fitted, however ST 15 10 was not. Craft of this type were in RAF service until around 1964. They were eventually replaced by the 43ft Range Safety Launches (See RSL 1664).




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