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Air sea rescue craft 173
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Air sea rescue craft 173

One of two air sea rescue craft stationed at Balfour Village during WWII.
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Picture added on 30 December 2008
Ican mind us all leaving home one Sunday morning to go to the kirk when a plane went low over our heads. It crashed into the sea between here and Ingale skerry [Inyal to Orcadians]. Our father ran home and got a message sent to Kirkwall and in no time an Air Sea Rescue boat arrived and found both crew. One was dead but the other was ok. I never knew they were stationed in Shapinsay, maybe that explains how they got here so fast
Added by Jim Cooper on 31 December 2008
Can anyone tell me if jim cooper is still around?
Added by William Shearer on 19 June 2012
I would be interested to hear from anyone who can give me any information regarding a high speed air-sea rescue vessel,which was attached to H.M.S. Sparrowhawk at Hatston,and anchored in Kirkwall Harbour Basin,in the very early years of World War 2.
This vessel was manned by mainly Kirkwall men for about one year until R.N.A.S. personnel took over.
This would have been somewhere between 1939 and 1942 approx.
Added by Peter Burges on 20 June 2012
jim cooper stays at cleat cottage stronsay.
Added by Colin Cooper on 21 June 2012
Thought i had changed this long ago but surely not.The rescue boat did not find the navigator , He washed ashore on the holm of Huip on the following Sunday and was found by Jock Seatter and Jock Garson
Anonymous comment added on 22 June 2012
Was sure i added my name but maybe not . There seems to te some doubt whether i am still alive, but yes , I am still here I think
Added by Jim Cooper on 28 June 2012
Boats like this ane were also stationed at Houton. I have heard the older folk say they could be heard starting up from here in Longhope and coming doon the flow and oot roond Cantick Hd.
I believe they were powered by the Rolls Royce Merlin engines same as fitted to the Spitfire Plane .
We had to wait another 70 years before our Lifeboats were powered up to the sort o speeds these boats were making back then.
I read a book written by a man who had been an engineer on this type of craft,he was stationed in ports around the west coast o Scotland and stated they were very cramped and unbearably hot below due to there massive engines.
The engineer sat between the engines as they were not bridge controlled.
Added by John Budge on 01 July 2012
My granddad years ago gave me an old photo of HSL 173, the same photo on this page. I understand from his son, my dad, that he volunteered and served in several places including the Shetlands and Meikle Ferry with the RAF on these ASR craft. He was a trained wheelwright believe these skills led to him being posted to build and repair these timber boats, but assume he served on-board also, it was a long way from his home in Dorset. I don't have any information about specifically when and where he was during those years and the photo of HSL 173 is my only lead but if anyone has any further information I'd like to know more.
Added by Alex Neal on 10 June 2014
I too was shown this photo—— by my father WIlliam Bennett. He served in the RAF from ‘39 to ‘45 and spent most of this time in Scotland as Carpenter and Boat Builder working on ASLs. I believe he was based in Tain. Any information regarding this service would be most welcome
Added by Sheilagh Shipway on 26 November 2021
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