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RAF Sterling class

Printed From: BMPT Forum
Category: Boats (In alphabetical order)
Forum Name: High Speed Launches
Forum Description: Discussion on High Speed Launches
Printed Date: 23 May 2018 at 3:50am

Topic: RAF Sterling class
Posted By: Rlangham
Subject: RAF Sterling class
Date Posted: 15 August 2005 at 9:25pm
 Hey there, i'm looking for info about the RAF's 4000 Series 'Sterling' class high speed launch, does anyone have any, especially photos? In particular i'm looking for info on 4002 'RAF Sterling'. Cheers, Rob

Posted By: Christian
Date Posted: 28 February 2006 at 11:37pm

HMS Cormorant P256 and Hart P257 in service at Gibraltar (ex HMAFV RTTL MK III 4001 Sunderland and 4002 Stirling),and post service view of Day Raider (ex HMS Hart ex HMAFV Stirling) at Gib 1996,after having served as Malta Patrol Boat.Pics Daniel Ferro,info Phil Simons.

Posted By: Barry
Date Posted: 06 March 2006 at 7:16pm
I am afraid the description 'Sterling Class' is totally wrong.  These were officially Mk.3 RTTL's and the first one was HMAFV Spitfire, easily recognizable as she was the only one with funnels.  Built at James and Stone in Brightlingsea I was a marine fitter sent with the trials crew to put her through her paces.  As befits a number of problems when boat designs are overseen my landlubbers Spitfire was a very wet ship. The design crew after several months decided to extend her by some 10 feet and increase the height of the forward bulwarks.  Whilst this did decrease slightly the amount of spray in even very calm seas the crews were never over impressed. Once again like the LRSSC's she was powered by the very dirty Paxman engine. I served on Spitfire for nearly two years and later on Stirling (yes spelt with a i), not bad sea boats and certainly a lot better than the ones that replaced the class.  

Posted By: matt
Date Posted: 02 April 2006 at 8:10pm

In 2004 I purchased RSC Petard from the MOD ,Petard is now operated as a charter vessel from Maryport Cumbria, Petard is one of two vessels built at the same time as the Spitfire class by James and Stone, these two vessels (Petard and Falconet) are classed as the Honours class and were built for range safety (RSC) they are nearly identical as the eight RTTL'S . There is some information on the Richard Carrs Paxman history web page and I have quite a few photo's of both the RTTL'S and the RSC's , I also have the original drawings and manuals/handbooks for Petard if these are any interest to you .If you click on the www button there is a pdf file of the full specs of RSC Petard


Posted By: PERCY
Date Posted: 08 June 2006 at 7:53am

Hi, I think that one of these carft is in the water at Eastbourne. I saw it a few weeks ago whilst visting the area.

Posted By: matt
Date Posted: 13 June 2006 at 9:49am

Hi Percy, can you remember the name ? or what letter the name started with ?



Posted By: Christian
Date Posted: 13 June 2006 at 1:18pm

Lancaster at Ostend November 2005 

Two boats at Portland Harbour late 2004 (Is the blue hull Petard?)

Posted By: matt
Date Posted: 13 June 2006 at 6:00pm

Hi , yes the blue hull is definately Petard , the other is one of the rttl's but I cant see which one , the tug in front of petard is RMAS Fiona and the fleet tender on the port side of Fiona is Ironbridge, all these were for sale through Babcock Disposals who have now moved to Southampton , Ironbridge was used as target practice by the mod and blown up and sunk



Posted By: Christian
Date Posted: 13 June 2006 at 6:47pm

Another shot of Cormorant at Gibraltar for Rob,Matt-which is the black and grey boat you've inserted next to Petard above? 

Posted By: matt
Date Posted: 13 June 2006 at 9:17pm

Hi christian, I'm not sure (it could be the vessel at eastbourne), it was taken somewhere on the south coast , a mate of mine found the pic on a web site ,I think I know which ones its not , its not Wellington , Lancaster ,  or Spitfire , these were all in Southampton when I bought Petard , its not Falconet as she went abroad and Hampden was in Scotland , it could be Hurricane

Could you email me the pic at Portland please -





Posted By: Malcolm
Date Posted: 20 July 2006 at 7:37pm

it could be the Halifax... she was still operating for the RAF well after alll the other Mk3's had been removed from service.



Posted By: matt
Date Posted: 20 July 2006 at 8:22pm

Hi Malcolm , it could be Halifax , I'm not sure what happened to Halifax , she was for sale at the same tim as Petard as we looked at quite a few at the same time at Southampton but I don't know where Halifax ended up



Posted By: Malcolm
Date Posted: 20 July 2006 at 8:55pm
yes, im not sure what happened to her either, she was here at Holyhead and i remember her being taken away by a transit crew... not a clue what happened to her after that..

Posted By: cofrada
Date Posted: 29 September 2006 at 2:47am

Its not Hurricane, Hurricane was kept up at Invergordon and operated by the civilian contactors that took over the task of the RAF Marine Branch. i did make guest appearances on Hurricane as both Senior and second fitter whilst it was still operated by he RAF Marine Branch, that was in between running the unit workshop, and going as a watchkeeping engineer on Seal & Seagull.

Regarding the earlier posting by Barry, regarding Spitfire, (the MK 111 RTTL was classified as 'Spitfire Class', not Stirling), If its the Barry I think it is, were you on Spitfire when it was on delivery from Brightlingsea to Mount Batten, with a stop-over at Newhaven. I was fitter on the Newhaven pinnace at the time 1373 if I remember correctly.


for 1373 read 1389, small brainstorm

Posted By: Christian
Date Posted: 29 September 2006 at 8:54am

Hi Cofrada

To confirm your suspicion Hurricane (together with Wellington) was sold to Ghana in 2004 for Customs service, see -

Also, I found a couple more interesting pictures on the net;


Petard as Alfred Herring




Posted By: cofrada
Date Posted: 29 September 2006 at 6:24pm

I've got some photo's of Spitfire on her delivery run to Mount Batten, taken in Newhaven. When I've got my scanner working again I'll post them. At the time Spitfire had not been extended, the reason why she did not match her predicted performance.


Posted By: matt
Date Posted: 01 October 2006 at 2:43pm


Hi Christian , I've just returned from a few weeks at sea with RSC Petard and spotted the picture of Petard as Alfred Herring , what a fantastic picture ! If I may I will print a copy and put it on board .



Posted By: matt
Date Posted: 01 October 2006 at 5:53pm

Spitfire is for sale , she is advertised in this months boats and yachts for sale magazine , I think she is located on the south coast



Posted By: d-zine
Date Posted: 21 October 2006 at 2:54pm

Spitfire (RTTL MkIII) is for sale through BABCOCK DISPOSAL SERVICES at Southampton for 125,000.


WEB LINK - s/BabcockSupportServices/Products/SPITFIRE


Advance - Runaway Quickly , Runaway Quickly

Posted By: tonclass
Date Posted: 14 December 2006 at 9:33am

Wellington in her new role.

Posted By: Christian
Date Posted: 14 December 2006 at 10:40am

Hi tonclass

Lax uniform requirements in Ghana apparently! What is she (and Hurricane) called now?


Posted By: tonclass
Date Posted: 14 December 2006 at 10:46am

The full-sized photo shows her nameplate still as WELLINGTON.

No idea about HURRICANE


Posted By: cofrada
Date Posted: 30 December 2006 at 6:50pm

HMAFV Spitfire, on delivery to RAF Mountbatten. Photographed at Newhaven by me, I was, at the time, the Marine tech on Pinnace 1389.

Note the length of Spitfires bow compared to previous pictures on this thread. She had to go back to Brightlingsea to have a few feet added.

Posted By: dgray
Date Posted: 20 January 2007 at 10:14am

Spitfire now priced at for 105,000


Only a number, not even a name. How shall posterity hear of thy fame?

Posted By: cofrada
Date Posted: 03 February 2007 at 7:45am

We were returning to Invergordon, after dampening some aircrew at Burghead, as we came through the Cromarty Firth one of the crew noticed a small boat, about 18ft, the occupant frantically waving. He was adrift having lost his engine, we offered a tow, he accepted; we had travelled about 100yds, the occupant of the boat was leaping up and down again. At one engine slow ahead we had pulled the propshaft couplings and reduction gear off the back of his gearbox.

I believe this was the last "rescue" performed by Lancaster whilst flying the RAF Ensign



Posted By: Leon__xx
Date Posted: 05 January 2010 at 9:09am
Hiya there seems to be some confusion over the new roles of Wellington and Hurricane. On a number of websites they are listed as going to Ghana. This is incorrect. Myself and 3 guys delivered the vessels from Rosyth Dockyard to Guinea Bissau and not Ghana. Note I am the person on the left in the NEW LIFE photo along with Tony Byrne and the flag flying on the mast is the Guinea Bissau national flag. Our understanding wss that the vessels would be used for Fishery protection type duties.
The photo, although I do not specifically remember it being taken, must have been taken on the final transit into Guinea Bissau and probably by John on the Hurricane.
Note the extended range fuel tank on the back, we had to each take an additional 3 tons to syphon into the tanks on the route from Tenerife to Cape Verde.
Hopefully this clarifies some incorrect information.
Happy to answer any questions etc any of you may have.

Posted By: capt jim martin
Date Posted: 09 March 2011 at 4:39pm
Hi there - recently joined. Have not long ago posted a query re "Petard" elsewhere on this site, regarding finding photos of her. I usezd to do delivery work for Babcocks Disposals and took "Petard" to Portland from Pembroke Dock in May 2002. At one time there was talk of me taking her to Maryport - perhaps that was for you as new owner? Had a pretty hairy delivery voyage and would be the first to admit after a career in MN in larger vessels I was scared sh*tless by her performance in mod/heavy following seas!

Capt Jim Martin

Posted By: 2vlu
Date Posted: 08 September 2011 at 1:04pm
hello all  re  barry s   question   boat  in eastbourne  some years  ago , well   its  was the ASC RTTL   Hampden  call  sign  2VLU , as  i brought  it   from MOD   "babcocks"   in scotland then  brought  her  to  eastbourne  habour  non stop run  used 8 tonne  of fuel   but  performed   well   in rough   seas  then i used  it  as  a  training   vessel  but before  that   i had viewed  lanchaster   hurricane  petard  spitfire  and there big bothers   seal  and  seagull, but i felt  only  fault  was the  paxman engines in my  oppinion  re  petard   was  told   she  was a  army  boat  hence  named   after  birds  and  could  be  controled  from  fly bridge and the  RAF  propeller  class  eg  spitfire  / hampden  ect   could  not  as there was  a  accident  so had  all  there  fly bridge contols    removed    

rick c

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