RAF Marine Craft-No 1536-on slipway-1946 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

RAF Marine Craft-No 1536-on slipway-1946

RAF Marine Craft-No 1536-on slipway-1946

Location of the slipway is unknown

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Saturday, June 15, 1946


I passed this photo on to a friend who in turn forwarded it to a leading authority on HK's maritime and nautical past, now living in retirement in the U.K., to seek his views. Here is what said authority had to say about the pic: -

Interesting pic. I note that gwulo are fairly definite about when and where the photo was taken, but I don't know what evidence that is based on. If it was taken in June 1945 at Kai Tak then it is definitely not RAF as the place was under Japanese management then. I also note that the vessel is not painted in the standard RAF colours....On the other hand it does look like an RAF seaplane tender, similar to but not of the class that one of the HK Marine Police launches came from in 1948 (she was from the ST 200 series). She sank in 1958 and was replaced by another Marine Police launch, a very similar design built by Thorneycroft in Singapore.

The reason for the wheelhouse being built so far forward on these vessels is that a flying boat's wing could be supported on the cabin top when changing or repairing floats.

Perhaps its later in the 1940's and she's being sold out of service or is halfway through a refit?

So there you have it. Some controversy as to exactly when that photo was taken - and what type of craft she is exactly. Certainly a tender of some type seems very plausible.

Regarding the ‘1945 date’, I think the clue is in the primary title above the picture that says ‘1946’ as do the series of related images of RAF launches at Kai Tak or taken elsewhere in Hong Kong that have been posted on Gwulo.

A typo on my part when filling in the date box. I will attempt to edit the 1945 date to 1946. Typo now corrected

All these launch pictures came from albums of a gentleman who had been at Kai Tak in 1946 attached to the RAF Marine Craft Section.

I visited him about 20 years ago, whilst I was in the UK, and he kindly allowed me to re-photograph with my film-camera a number photographs from several of his Hong Kong photographic albums.

Unfortunately, this was in the days when film/image scanners were generally still a novelty for home users, and if available were not that portable, otherwise I would have scanned more of his pictures. Somewhere in my files I may still have the letters from when he was writing about dates etc, so I’m confident the 1946 dates are OK.

I cannot recall that he indicated the many tasks they were to perform other than Sunderland flying boat servicing and maintenance.

The Imperial War Museum, London has in their photographic archives listed under 'Hong Kong' more images of RAF launches around the Kai Tak area