The 63ft Pinnace was the workhorse of the post war RAF Marine Craft fleet, widely used at UK and overseas bases, for lifting and laying of marine and aircraft moorings, the recovery of torpedos, sonar buoys and other practice weapons dropped on exercise, towing and cargo carrying duties, and assisting with aircrew sea survival exercises and helicopter rescue crew training.
This example built at Cowes, Isle of Wight by Groves & Guttridge as yard no.556; Ordered 1955 under contract no. DO/6/MC/899/CB21 (a)
Taken on charge September 1955; Following details from Allotment Registers;
1 Oct 55
Allotted from Groves and Guttridge – Taken on charge To No.1102MCU Falmouth
1 Jul 57
Allotted from No 1102MCU to No. 238MU RAF Calshot For Survey and report
2 Sept 57
Returned from No. 238MU to No.1102MCU, Falmouth To replace Pinnace 1262
10 Sept 58
1102MCU – 238MU, Calshot For Fitting of Modifications and painting into overseas colours
13 Dec 58
Shipped from No 238MU – To Gan island. New Establishment. First of her type to serve at Gan.
(on 1 March 1960, 1374, which was used as the regular means of transport between Gan and Hittadu was involved in the night-time rescue of the crew of RAF Transport Command Handley Page Hastings Mk.1 TG579 flew into the sea during a raging storm on approach 1.5 miles short of the runway on Gan.1374 rescued five of the six aircrew, plus the Station Commander of RAF Katunayake, W/Cdr G C Atherton.)
Gan – Mount Batten Repair Flight For Cat.4 Repairs, being shipped back to the UK on board a cargo ship. Photo – Holtham/Smith 2007. Replaced at Gan by Pinnce 1382.
14 Feb 69
Allotted from Mount Batten – 1102MCU, Falmouth for survey and repair. Replaced Pinnace 1372.
Allotted from No. 1102MCU, Falmouth – Royal Navy Gunboat Yard at Haslar, Gosport. For storage (alongside three other Pinnaces) upon closure of the Falmouth facility
31 Sept 77
Completed 10-week refit in No.1 Dock at Portsmouth Naval Base
25 Nov 77
Allotted from RN Haslar-Mount Batten for further storage
6 Mar 78
Allotted Mount Batten – 1113MCU Holyhead After derrick mast modifications. Served alongside Pinnace 1392.
On 1 April 1986 the RAF’s Marine Branch was disbanded, but this vessel and others continued in service with MoD (Air), but manned by a civilian crew, initially provided by James Fisher & Sons, Barrow Ltd; retained RAF colour scheme, with number and roundel. Transferred from DDMC (RAF) to Director Marine Services (Navy) 1st February 1991. Latterly one of two vessels operated out of Holyhead by civilian management company Vosper Thorneycroft (V.T.) Marine Services, under contract for the RAF. Lost its RAF roundels and RAF ‘Pennant Number’. Named ‘MV Pinnace’ and operated in conjunction with the SARTU at RAF Valley and No 22 Squadron (Sea King unit) for helicopter SAR Rescue training, particularly deck winching training. Photo- RAF Yearbook 1999 p.43.
Operated until c.March 2002 being withdrawn 1 April 2002 ; removed from the water into storage at V T Marine Services boatyard, Holyhead, being ‘blocked off’ and put back into the water later.
22 April 2003
Delivered in disassembled state by road from Holyhead to RAFM Hendon and later reassembled for external display adjacent to RTTL 2757, with the wheelhouse re-attached on 27 August 2003.
Registered with National Register of Historic Vessels of the United Kingdom 2 November 2010.