Wartime rescue boat, HSL102, to get new engines

HSL102, one of two historic World War II rescue boats owned by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT), is to be given a new lease of life with the installation of new engines.

HSL102, a former air-sea rescue launch is to get new engines Pic - PNBPT

HSL102, a former air-sea rescue launch is to get new engines Pic - PNBPT

The former air-sea rescue launch, which saved the lives of many downed pilots during the Battle of Britain, was acquired in 2009 with the aid of a £580,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

She had been used for target towing and latterly as a houseboat.

It was built by the British Power Boat Company at Hythe in 1936.

HSL 102 was designed by Fred Cooper, who also designed Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebirds.

It is one of only twenty two 100-Class High Speed Launches which were used by the RAF to rescue World War II airmen from the seas.

HSL 102 is known to have operated from Blyth in the north-east and also from Newhaven on the south coast.

Improved fuel consumption

With support from Gunwharf Quays Marina, PNBPT has carried out extensive work to enable her to be used for public use, but she now needs new engines.

The work will be carried out by Mermaid Marine of Poole. They will supply and fit the engines, refit the boat’s drive train, and other associated works.

According to PNBPT this should improve HSL102’s reliability, fuel consumption and emissions.

Peter Goodship, Chief Executive of PNBPT, said: ‘In these challenging times it is never easy to commit large sums of money, especially when they are un-budgeted. However, HSL102 is a truly unique boat which we hold in trust for the nation.

“The Trustees wished to see her remain afloat and operational for the benefit, enjoyment and use of future generations”.

It is anticipated that HSL102 will re-enter service in the spring of 2012.

More information

BBC News – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/8505534.stm

HSL 102 history  – http://www.bmpt.co.uk/forum_posts.asp?TID=749

Coastal Motorboat Heritage Trust – HSL 102

National Heritage Memorial Fund- HSL 102

National Historic Ships – HSL 102

Update – 22 January 2012

Thanks to John Cook from the Coastal Motorboat Heritage Trust ,we have corrected what appears to be an error on this page.

This indicated that the boats were purchased with the help of a £1.8m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

This £1.8m figure was used in good faith and was from a National Heritage Memorial Fund – HSL 102 webpage that said:

Project Title: Purchase of Motor Gunboat 81 and High Speed Launch 102
Applicant: Portsmouth Naval Base property Trust
Location: Temple Newsam House, Temple Newsam House, Temple Newsam House, LEEDS, West Yorkshire, LS15 0AE
Grant awarded: £1,832,000

Further research appears to indicate that the grant awarded figure shown above  maybe wrong in this context.  The NHMF’s own accounts say on page eight –

Motor Gunboat 81 (MGB 81) and High-Speed Launch 102 (HSL 102)
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust

We will be approaching the National Heritage Memorial Fund over the next few days and ask for clarification as to the grant awarded figure of £1,832,000 as shown on their website.

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