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Royal Navy harbour taxi?

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Here's a picture of my boat.

What I know: she's a 40' wooden vessel powered by a Ford diesel engine.  She used to have 2 masts but one of these has been removed.  At some point she was full of Italian radio and sonar equipment.

Stuff I'm not able to confirm but seems plausible: built by Thornycroft as a pinnace.  Converted at some point early in her career to a harbour taxi.  Possibly based at HMS Vernon.

Don't know the year she was built - previous owner claimed 1939 but I think this might be just so he could claim she was at Dunkerque (which I doubt).  It was also said she had a Hotchkiss gun mounted at the bow (not convinced about that either).

Would like to know some history - I have asked at Portsmouth museum and they have no records of small craft.  Have also asked at the Thornycroft Archive but no luck.

_20180528_131511.JPG

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Just a cursory look but it does not look like Thornycroft work. Possibly Mitchell, IoW.or Laurence, Leith. Good luck with your project.

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2 minutes ago, john1950 said:

 does not look like Thornycroft work.

That's interesting - what makes you say that then?  Maybe I've been barking up the wrong tree  🙂

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It may just be me but just the hull construction does not look Thornycroft.. There were traditional boat builders building work boats for both harbour transport and warships, when these warships were disposed of  the workboats  were sometimes used on harbour duties. It will have an interesting history.

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8 minutes ago, john1950 said:

 It will have an interesting history.

I reckon so - let's hope I can find some of it  🙂

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Posted (edited)

You probably will have to go bilge diving to find numbers on the keel. There will be some information deep down. Major bulkheads may reveal some information. Boat/shipbuilders, always leave there footprint. Its partly pride in their work. I think early pinnace power after steam was Perkins S6 and Thornycroft db2.

Edited by john1950
addition

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Posted (edited)

May l suggest that launches of this type were not only used by the royal navy but also used by  RASC companies a number been built by PHILIPS ANDERSON & CO of GRANTON /EDINBURGH a place l spent many happy hour when a child from what l know have you looked up in the bow because it was common practise to stamp WD there if you find any details it may be worth contacting the RLC museum at DEEPCUT SURREY who hold the records for rasc water companies

Edited by wally dugan
spelling mistake

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15 hours ago, wally dugan said:

May l suggest 

Thanks,

I haven't managed to find any details or markings anywhere.  The previous owners lived on her full-time so a fair amount of alteration has been done below decks.  I do have some photos from before the restoration (circa 2000) and she was in a rum owd state.  

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You gave the overall length as 40 feet, If you have the measurement for the beam and moulded depth It may be possible to pinpoint the type and builder. I think at 40 feet that rules out a ships workboat.

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Posted (edited)

Thornycroft small vessel construction for the Navy seems to have been concentrated on the Thames at the Hampton Launch Works. Production of the fast and large vessels being at Southampton. Have you tried The Medusa Trust, they may have some information.

Edited by john1950
addition

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I must say she has the elegance of function. Not 'Pretty' but the feeling that you get in ask her to do it, she will.

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