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Thread: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

  1. #11
    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    When I purchased my copy of 'Works', AP3236 from Hendon years ago, I also bought the sister volume 'Maintenance'. Later I was very glad I did, though at the time these two emptied my wallet. Also on sale was a third volume on Air-Sea Rescue. It didn't interest me at the time so I ignored it. Stupid decision. The two fore-mentioned books are available in TNA, I believe this third volume is:

    AIR 10/5553 (AP 3232) MARINE CRAFT (Code No 3/7): Second World War 1939-1945: air-sea rescue (1952)

    I guess it will answer most of our queries.

    Graham

  2. #12
    SuperMod Peter Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    Woo hoo!

    I had Air 10/5553 on my list but it didn't sound like much. It will go up my list of priorities. Thanks Graham.

  3. #13
    Senior Member CornwallPhil's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    A little bit on the wartime history of Fowey MCU

    In June 1942 RAF Mount Batten in Plymouth sent a 60 foot pinnace, No 69, to Fowey. It was used to tow targets which replicated U boats. Originally called an Orepesa float, they were developed and became more sophisticated. Planes from RAF St Eval and RAF Mount Batten trained on the targets off the south Cornish coast. They also used some RAF launches, an old RN steamer "Golden Miller", and then in Feb 1944 seaplane tender ST257 and from April 1944 pinnace No 50.

    P/O Hurn who took command on 5th November 1942 was concerned that while the men were comfortably billeted at the Ship Hotel, the stores were having to be stored on board Pinnace 69 which has hampering the efficency of operations. He then requested permission to rent a storehouse and office ashore but was turned down. He went ahead anyway and negotiated the use of No 4 Lostwithiel Street with its owner Miss S White. The RAF personnel scrounged from the residents of Fowey chairs and carpets etc. The crew made a desk from orange boxes and a workshop bench from the wreckage of an old barge.

    Fowey MCU 4 Lostwithiel Street Pic 1.jpgFowey MCU 4 Lostwithiel Street Pic 2.jpgTwo views of 4 Lostwithiel Street today

  4. #14
    Senior Member CornwallPhil's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    A little bit more on the wartime history of Fowey MCU

    The situation at Fowey was officially sanctioned on 12th March 1943 when a letter was received from 19 Group HQ giving orders to requisition a suitable building and mooring to start building a permanent base. So on 27th April 1943 they took over Nos 8 and 10 Station Road which provided a workshop, office, stores, accomodation for the men and a yard in which to work and where the Pinnace could come alongside to discharge and load suitable equipment. The Harbour Master gave permission for moorings 100 yards from the landing stage of the premises. The living accommodation was ready on 28th September and the airmen moved in.

    Fowey MCU 8 and 10 Station Rd Pic 1.jpgFowey MCU 8 and 10 Station Rd Pic 2.jpgFowey MCU 8 and 10 Station Rd Pic 4.jpgThe front of 8 and 10 Station Road today

    Fowey MCU 8 and 10 Station Rd Pic 5.jpgThe rear of 8 and 10 Station Road today (at low tide)

    The unit became known as RAF Fowey or RAF 1101 Marine Craft Unit from April 1945 and was classed as a dependent unit of RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth. The number of personnel increased from 1 officer and 8 men in September 1943 to 1 officer and 35 other ranks by July 1945.
    For a detailed account of the operations of the MCU during World War Two see "Fowey at War" by Paul Richards and Derek Reynolds (available from Fowey Museum).

    There is little that remains in Fowey to indicate the presence of the MCU. However the Town Hall proudly displays this plaque on its (interior east) wall.

    Fowey MCU plaque in Town Hall.jpg

  5. #15
    Senior Member ianbache's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    Here are a few images of various ASR Launches, no idea of the locations though, some may be in the far east ?
    ASR 191

    ASR 122

    ASR 2626

    ASR 2638

    ASR 149

    ASR 2552

    ASR 2767

  6. #16
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    So when did the RAF start giving its boats names?

  7. #17
    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    Photo No. 1 shows HSL 191, the 1942 prototype Thornycroft 67' Mark I High Speed Launch intended to replace the British Power Boats 64' and 63' HSLs.

    Photo No. 2 shows HSL 122, a 1939 example of the "Whaleback" British Power Boats 63' Type 2 High Speed Launches.
    She served with No. 27 Air Sea Rescue Unit based at the Ferry Dock in Dover.

    Photo No. 3 is HSL 2626, a British Power Boats 68' Type 3 "Hants and Dorset" HSL probably built in 1942-43.

    Photo No. 4 shows HSL 2638, another "Hants and Dorset" HSL.

    I'll cover the others later.

    All the best,
    PB

  8. #18
    Senior Member ianbache's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    Quote Originally Posted by P Bellamy View Post
    Photo No. 1 shows HSL 191, the 1942 prototype Thornycroft 67' Mark I High Speed Launch intended to replace the British Power Boats 64' and 63' HSLs.

    Photo No. 2 shows HSL 122, a 1939 example of the "Whaleback" British Power Boats 63' Type 2 High Speed Launches.
    She served with No. 27 Air Sea Rescue Unit based at the Ferry Dock in Dover.

    Photo No. 3 is HSL 2626, a British Power Boats 68' Type 3 "Hants and Dorset" HSL probably built in 1942-43.

    Photo No. 4 shows HSL 2638, another "Hants and Dorset" HSL.

    I'll cover the others later.

    All the best,
    PB
    Thanks PB quite early models then for some , please do, great info i tried to google them but didnt get much
    Regards Ian

  9. #19
    SuperMod P Bellamy's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    No problem Ian,

    Photo No. 5 is HSL 149, the last of the first batch of British Power Boats 63' Type 2 High Speed Launches. This batch (HSL 141-149) was ordered by the SAAF but was diverted to the RAF.
    By January 1942 she was based at Ramsgate.

    Photo No. 6 is HSL 2552, the first of the BPB 68' Type 3 HSLs and was taken on hand by the RAF at Calshot in October 1942.
    Post-war she was converted to a Rescue and Target Towing Launch (RTTL) and she still survives (just about), as a hulk last seen moored on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

    Photo No. 7 is RTTL 2767, a Vosper 68' RTTL Mk.1B built in the last half of the 1950s.
    She is known to have been used by the RAF Marine Craft Unit based in Aden in the 1960s, and was probably sold out of service in the mid 1970s.

    All the best,
    PB
    Last edited by P Bellamy; 01-01-2012 at 01:06.

  10. #20
    Senior Member ianbache's Avatar
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    Default Re: MCU 1101 at RAF Fowey

    Quote Originally Posted by P Bellamy View Post
    No problem Ian,

    Photo No. 5 is HSL 149, the last of the first batch of British Power Boats 63' Type 2 High Speed Launches. This batch (HSL 141-149) was ordered by the SAAF but was diverted to the RAF.
    By January 1942 she was based at Ramsgate.

    Photo No. 6 is HSL 2552, the first of the BPB 68' Type 3 HSLs and was taken on hand by the RAF at Calshot in October 1942.
    Post-war she was converted to a Rescue and Target Towing Launch (RTTL) and she still survives (just about), as a hulk last seen moored on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

    Photo No. 7 is RTTL 2767, a Vosper 68' RTTL Mk.1B built in the last half of the 1950s.
    She is known to have been used by the RAF Marine Craft Unit based in Aden in the 1960s, and was probably sold out of service in the mid 1970s.

    All the best,
    PB
    Again many thanks PB, interesting reading nice to know the history behind the images
    Regards Ian

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