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Good morning, Len, I’m afraid almost 48 hours have gone by but at last I’ve found a little time to go into the history of the Aberystwyth boat. Based on your search suggestion in Post #13 (better to type in “TS Thunderer Aberystwyth”; if not, Google comes up with the BHF posting and an avalanche of irrelevant references), I’ve re-read the article written by the nostalgic sea cadet in which he initially states "I was a member of TS Thunderer - a retired wartime Fairmile B or C Class motor launch ......". He goes on to write “the two big American petrol engines had been removed”. Wikipedia informs me that the Fairmile C motor gun boat was powered by three, 850 hp (630 kW) supercharged Hall-Scott (a Berkeley, California-based US manufacturing company) petrol engines. The Fairmile B motor launch, on the other hand, had two 650 bhp (480 kW) Hall-Scott Defender petrol engines. Having read that two engines were removed from Thunderer, she must have been a Class B boat, described by Wikipedia as a ‘motor launch’.
This paragraph I have “lifted” from Wikipedia: “All (B Class;approximately 650 were built between 1940 and 1945 ) boats were essentially the same, although they could be adapted to serve in several roles by the expedient of having pre-drilled rails on their decks spaced to allow fitment of various types of armaments. Many were later converted to Rescue Motor Launches with small sickbays aft of the funnel, and several more were converted to use as War Department Ambulance Launches with larger sickbays” ....... "Some boats were configured as Motor Torpedo Boats."
For further, more-detailed information please see :
I haven’t come across how Thunderer sank – or, more probably, how she was sunk – in Cardigan Bay. I’m working on a letter to the Cambrian News, mid-Wales’s equivalent to the Birmingham Post/Mail. Will report back as soon as I hear something. David
Torbay (South Devon, England for those living beyond our shores) was fortunate that Fairmile 'B's and an HDML were operating here after WW2 until recent times on a regular basis as Ferry services and short cruise vessels.
In my estimation these ships are the most elegant looking of ships and I only wish that I had enough money to restore and own one. They have been replaced by newer vessels but I have only made one sailing.
I knew most of the skippers and was always able to go 'up top' with them and take in a better view of the ships movements. These ships were very well used and before the relaxation of pub opening hours it was one of the few places that you could obtain alcoholic drinks 'out of hours'. In fact many took the Ferries just for that purpose. I recall on group of American tourists, not realizing that they had only crossed a bay, asked when the ship returned to the mainland. Wide smiles by those who overheard this.
One vessel has recently (Western Lady III) returned to the Port of Brixham much to the pleasure of many who remember the 'good days' of the Ferry Service to Torquay which was a much more pleasurable experience than by road during the holiday season.
Hello, I'm new on here. TS Thunderer was the former MTB 624 - a WWII Type D Fairmile motor torpedo boat with 4 American Packard marinised 1250 hp petrol engines. There were four screws. I think that she had a Viking funeral in Aberystwyth harbour. When she was sold in 1965, the wooden hull had rotted through and the people who bought her set her on fire at low tide at the centre of the harbour thinking that fire was the easiest way to separate the scrap metal from the wood. She had a distinguished wartime career and was formative in the lives of so many young people in Aberystwyth from 1946/47 to 1964. A long time ago, I was one of those young people.