63ft General Purpose Pinnace Mk. 1 1955 — 1985
The 63ft General Purpose Pinnace Mk.1 was the workhorse of the post-second world war RAF Marine Craft fleet, and saw extensive service with the RAF overseas at Gibraltar, Cyprus, Malta, Singapore and Gan (Indian Ocean), as well as many United Kingdom bases.
At the time of its introduction flying boats were still in service with the RAF. Towing flying boats and the laying and recovery of their moorings was an everyday task, as was the recovery of air-dropped stores such as torpedos and sonobuoys from practice ranges.
In total seventeen were built between 1955 and 1962. All but one survived their RAF service to be disposed of during the 1970s and 80s. Some were transferred to other UK departments or to foreign governments while others were simply sold off.
Type General Purpose Pinnace
In Service 1955-1985 (with RAF)
Cargo capacity 5080kg (5 tons)
Length 63ft (19.2m)
Beam (width) 4.72m (15ft 6in)
Hull Double diagonal mahogany planking
Gross Weight 48,578kg (47.8 tons)
Engines Two 190bhp Rolls Royce C6SFLM diesels
Speed 14 knots (16mph -26km/h)
Range 1220km (660 nautical miles - 759 statute miles)
1955 Built by Groves &
Gutteridge at Cowes, Isle of Wight.
1 Oct 55 No.1102MCU (Marine Craft Unit) Falmouth, Cornwall.
1 Jul 57 To 238MU RAF Calshot for Survey and report.
2 Sep 57 Returned from 238MU to No.1102MCU to replace pinnace 1262.
10 Sep 58 To 238MU (Maintenance Unit), Calshot, Hampshire for fitting of modifications and repainting in overseas colours.
3 Dec 58 Shipped from No 238MU to Gan island (Maldives). New Establishment. First of her type to serve at Gan.
1 Mar 60 1374, the regular means of transport between Gan and Hittadu, was involved in the night-time rescue of the crew and passengers of a Hastings transport aircraft which, during a raging storm, ditched in the sea 1 ½ miles short of Gan's runway. Between them, 1374 and a Gan-based HTTL rescued all the occupants of the Hastings, including Wing Commander Geoffrey Atherton, Station Commander of RAF Katunayake (now Bandaranaika International Airport, Sri Lanka).
Nov 65 To Mount Batten Repair Flight (Plymouth, Devon) for Cat.4 Repairs, shipped back to the UK aboard a cargo ship. Replaced at Gan by Pinnace 1382.
14 Feb 69 1102MCU, Falmouth for survey and repair. Replaced Pinnace 1372.
Sep 74 To Royal Navy Gunboat Yard at Haslar, Gosport, for storage (alongside three other pinnaces) upon closure of the Falmouth facility.
6 Mar 78 1113MCU Holyhead After derrick mast modifications. Served alongside Pinnace 1392.
1 Apr 1986 RAFS Marine Branch was disbanded, but this vessel and others continued in service with MoD (Air), manned by a civilian crew initially provided by James Fisher & Sons, Barrow Ltd; retained RAF colour scheme, with number and roundel.
Feb 91 Transferred to Director Marine Services (Navy). Latterly one of two vessels operated from Holyhead by civilian management company Vosper Thorneycroft (VT) Marine Services, under contract for the RAF. Lost its RAF roundels and RAF pennant number. Named 'MV Pinnace' and operated in conjunction with the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley and No. 22 Squadron (Sea King unit) for helicopter SAR Rescue training, particularly deck winching training.
1 Apr 2002 Withdrawn From Use. Removed from the water into storage at VT Marine Services boatyard, Holyhead.
22 Apr 03 Delivered to RAF Museum, Hendon.