c1940's and 1960's

By Chris Young

These photos show both the first two HSL craft which initiated the Newhaven RAF, ASR/MCS base which ran from 1939 to 1972 there are three post war pictures taken during the 1960's. Just prior to when most of these craft in this service were relocated to Mountbatten, Plymouth, in the 1970's as modern helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR ) capabilities tended to render these craft redundant, but other vessels were retained for target towing duties.

New Photographs added 2 February 2009 from Colin Bateman.

Photo:The original two High Speed Launch(HSL) which opened the base at Newhaven.

The original two High Speed Launch(HSL) which opened the base at Newhaven.

From the private collection of Chris Young.

Photo:Crew members from one of the original HSL's.

Crew members from one of the original HSL's.

From the private collection of Chris Young

Photo:Post war 1960's photo of HSL entering Newhaven harbour.

Post war 1960's photo of HSL entering Newhaven harbour.

From the private collection of Chris Young

Photo:HSL 100 crew including my late father, Tom Young, back row, top left hand.

HSL 100 crew including my late father, Tom Young, back row, top left hand.

From the private collection of Chris Young

Photo:About to pick up the mooring in Newhaven harbour.

About to pick up the mooring in Newhaven harbour.

From the private collection of Chris Young

Photo:About to come alongside to jetty.

About to come alongside to jetty.

From the private collection of Chris Young

Photo:Commendation to HSL 121 an a recently completed operation.

Commendation to HSL 121 an a recently completed operation.

From the private collection of Chris Young

Photo:HSL 121 under Shearlegs at Newhaven. 1940

HSL 121 under Shearlegs at Newhaven. 1940

Colin Bateman

Photo:HSL 121 under Shearlegs at Newhaven. 1940

HSL 121 under Shearlegs at Newhaven. 1940

Colin Bateman

Photo:HSL 121 showing some of the damage. 1940

HSL 121 showing some of the damage. 1940

Colin Bateman

Photo:HSL 121 showing some of the damage. 1940

HSL 121 showing some of the damage. 1940

Colin Bateman

Photo:PO GL Bateman, Master of HSL 121. 1940

PO GL Bateman, Master of HSL 121. 1940

Colin Bateman

Photo:X Ray of PO GL Bateman's right arm

X Ray of PO GL Bateman's right arm

Colin Bateman

Photo:X Ray of PO GL Bateman's right arm

X Ray of PO GL Bateman's right arm

Colin Bateman

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'R.A.F. AIR SEA RESCUE (ASR), MARINE CRAFT SECTION (MCS Unit 1107)' page

Colin Bateman

Photo:Letter from Hendon RAF Museum concerning HSL 121

Letter from Hendon RAF Museum concerning HSL 121

Colin Bateman

Photo:Log card for HSL 121

Log card for HSL 121

Colin Bateman

Photo:HSL 121 being received in the Middle East

HSL 121 being received in the Middle East

Colin Bateman

This page was added by Ginny Smith on 18/01/2009.
Comments about this page

I refer to the above letter of commendation of which I have the original. My father was the "Skipper" of HSL 121 and was wounded in the action. I can tell you a little about the action if you would like and I also have some photographs of 121 under the sheerlegs on Newhaven dock side together with one of some of the damage and one of my father. If you would like copies please advise me of the appropriate email address and I will scan them and send them to you for inclusion.

By Colin Bateman
On 01/02/2009

Hello Colin
Thank you for your comments of this page. We would gladly welcome your images and details to put on this site.
You may create your own page and add words/images and we will publish them for you. Please date them if possible.

Sylvia (editor of Our Newhaven website)

By Sylvia Woolford
On 01/02/2009

Hello Colin, I'm sure any further photos of HSL 121, would add further to this period of Newhaven Harbour history ( RAF / Base etc ) and of course it would lend to the memory of both your own father and mine, together with the other guys shown in these pictures, who are all no longer with us .

By Chris Young
On 01/02/2009

I have been viewing photographs of RAF Newhaven with some interest. I served at 1107MCU Newhaven from Sept 1959 until Feb 1962, and have many happy memories. I was not a crew member but ran the Stores and Fuel side of the Station. I have been unsuccessful in tracing anyone who served at Newhaven at the same time as me, apart from Mike(Greg) Peck who was a wireless operator on the launches and who has kept in touch for nearly fifty years. Is there anyone else out there who remembers those halcyon days?

By Charles (jim) James
On 24/10/2009

Charles James, Did you come across my dad. Can't remember when we lived there just now though...... He was in the engine room.

By Daughter of ALEX SWAN (SWANNY)
On 10/01/2010

Following these entries regarding these 'Veteran little ships' there has just been a report on BBC TV, that the restored HSL 104, will be located at Portsmouth historic dockyard, together with a naval MTB, to extend the already extensive display of historic craft at this location the difference being these craft are now actually capable of showing off their turn of speed. This was used to great effect during their active service period not to mention the exception restoration, which is a great credit to all concerned .

By Chris Young
On 14/02/2010

I went on a boat to Brighton and back similar to these. It must have been in the fifties.

By Terry Howard
On 23/02/2010

Newhaven harbour has just been visited by Seaplane Tender 206, on her final journey from Lymington, to Shepperton Marina, where she will be lifted and transported to the RAF Museum Hendon, to form part of a static display of RAF / ASR Craft for posterity, I recall this craft visiting Newhaven, back some years ago just after her restoration had been completed, she will certainly add to the other exhibits being drawn together to recall RAF / ASR units such as Newhaven, and many other such bases service provided during WWII and post war period.

By Chris Young
On 18/05/2010

Hi Terry. The boat you went to Brighton on was probably the "Anzio". She was of similar construction and one of the crew was a local character, Nobber Allen. On Christmas Day he would walk down Gibbon Road, calling in many of the houses, with a bottle of Scotch in his pocket and you just had to have a "drink with Nobber". I'm sure many would remember this.

By Colin Brandon
On 24/06/2010

Yes that would be the one, I think we did it a couple of times. Don't remember Nobber Allen though. Thanks Colin.

By Terry Howard
On 03/10/2010

My father Don Saunders is still alive and was at Newhaven and has lots of stories to tell - he has been on 72,181,2581,2618,2546,2606,2540 and 2606. He was on one of the boats at the test of the Vampire I believe, or maybe Meteor - I'm so sorry I know it was one of them. He was at Gibraltar and Brindis and VE day he was at Leghorn. Should anyone wish to get in touch send me an email pls. Editors Note: You can contact Carol by emailing us at the website and we will pass the message on.

By Carol Johansen
On 03/03/2014

Having just found your web site, I served in the ASR from 1955 to 1957 at Newhaven, Pembrook dock and on Tenby pier. At some point I hope to come to your site with some photos to add to your collection. very intresting web site. Regards, Bob Kidd.

Thank you for your interest Bob, we look forward to your input to the website.

John -- Editor.

By Charles Kidd
On 05/04/2014

Interesting to see the comment from Bob Kidd, I was at Tenby when he was the engineer on 1345, a sickbay pinnace. Flt Sgt Bob Horton was in charge and was known to the local boatmen as "Southeast Bill" as he got a bit paranoid when the wind blew from that direction! I too went to Newhaven but spent the last few months of my service in the rigging shop (which was only a short walk to the pub!).

By Sam Samuells
On 16/07/2014

My dad Ernest Shone R.A.F served on the HSL100 firstly based in Guernsey then transferred to Newhaven he is 93 year old now and has told me lots of stories about the rescues.. has anyone got any information as to what happened to the HSL100? ...and anymore pictures of the boat?

By lorraine doe
On 23/11/2014

It has been a time since I checked the website, good to see Sam Samuels comments, I remember him well! He had a redwing sail boat on site that we took around Caldey Island. I will be in Suffolk in October, is your Flixton Museum still operating? as I wish to drop in some photos as promised. Bob Kidd.

By Bob Kidd
On 07/03/2015


My father, William Knight was radio operator/mechanic on HSL 121 in Port Said, Egypt. I wonder if anyone has any info on the operations there. I know that the boat was towed down the red sea with the intention of joining the americans in the far east; but this was aborted and the boats returned to Egypt where the crews were reassigned.

Jeff Knight

By Jeff Knight
On 22/04/2015


with reference to my post dated 24/6/2010 concerning "that old sea dog", Nobber Allen. I was at Newhaven recently and was told that he can often be found in the Ark, although I did not get to see him.

Have one for me Nobber !!!!!.


By Colin Brandon
On 23/04/2015

My husband Christopher Morgan was at RAF Newhaven 1107 MCU from 1956- 57 after which he was posted to RAF Mount Batten. He had previously been in the Merchant Navy and joining the RAF in 1956 the RAF decided that he would be useful as a deckhand on the marine craft.

By Wendy Morgan
On 09/11/2016

I lived at Newhaven from 1939 to 1956. I remember ASR crew members were billeted at our neighbours house at Evelyn Ave at the start of the war. I had several trips out on the ASR boats whilst a  member of the ATC, which was attached to the ASR on the keyside at the time the crew were billlited up the fort. I did my N/S in the RAF and a member of the National Service Assoc and of all the thousands of members none appear to have served in the ASR.     

By Mr David Brady
On 06/03/2017

Air Sea Rescue Research help needed. Please!

I am currently researching paintings in what were the recreation rooms of the Air Sea Rescue units for an MA at Brighton University.

They were apparently painted in 1946 for a Christmas party, one of the service men involved was Fred Gale, sadly now deceased. Newhaven Fort held an exhibition on them some years ago. I am hoping someone out there might have photos from 1946 or pre dereliction, have been to social gatherings there, have stories on the relationship between the servicemen and Newhaven locals, were stationed there in 1946 or have connections with any of the following HSL craft that feature in the paintings. I cannot read all the numbers sadly.










I hope this is the right place for this. These paintings are fast disappearing and I'm hoping my research can, if not attract money to preserve what's left, at least document and preserve their memory.



By Harriet Parry
On 04/08/2017

I find this very interesting. My dads cousin was in the ASR based at Newhaven, Joseph Ian Morrison during WW2, he would to turn up at our house at Patcham dressed in his uniform. I dont know what boat he was on and at some stage he was based somewhere in Africa.

If anyone has any imformation about him our his boat I would be Interested.

By Ian A. Watson
On 14/06/2019

Harriet, the second boat on your list may well turn out to be HSL145, as she was stationed at Newhaven during the war for some of the time. I would be interested in seeing pictures of the paintings and finding out where they are kept for maybe a visit.

John - editor please pass my email details and this message on to Harriet Perry, thank you

Your email has been forwarded Denis.

John - Editor

By Denis Harvey
On 04/10/2021

I am trying to find any possible information regarding a boat called WARRIOR which is said to have been based at both Shoreham and Newhaven before being used at HMS King Alfred in or around 1944. 

It went to Dunkirk in 1940 as one of the little ship fleet and then was kept by the RN for the duration.   Its service history is somewhat confused but perhaps someone might have a image of a non HSL boat with RAF or RN crew alongside the HSL.  

Requisitioned boats did serve as ASR vessels but seem not to have been photographed as much as the HSL. 

Any help would be useful.

By Andy Smerdon
On 17/01/2022

Hi to all, 

I am trying to get some information on my late fathers MTB that was assigned to the RAF in Gibraltar post WW2, I think it was a marine safety boat called the Linger or Lingar.

I lived on this vessel in Gibraltar as a boy, due to a family feud I’ve had all my late fathers photos taken and I’m trying to track down the boats history and Hull number so I can make a replica.

Any help would be much appreciated 


By Michael Day
On 06/04/2023


I have been researching a matter to do with Operation Dynamo for some years, which has to do with Cdr. J. Campbell Clouston who died on 2 June and who, in 1935 married a good friend of my parents Gwyneth Lilian Vanderump. I recently came across your interesting website by chance and am especially interested in the MTBs role at Dunkirk such as MTB 102 which was used as R-A Wake-Walker's flagship during the evacuation ... and also MTB 120 of the 100-series. The picture of the two side by side MTBs is exceptional!

Here’s my question:

About a year ago I came across an intriguing RAF-MCS article posted on August 27, 2016 at https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2016/08/27/marine-craft-section-mcs-at-dunkirk-1940/ titled Marine Craft Section (MCS) at Dunkirk 1940. Luckily I downloaded and saved it at the time, as the website seems to have disappeared and is no longer accessible. The article is fascinating as it makes some unique statements that do not follow the Navy’s line at all. There is unfortunately no reference as to who may have written or contributed to it, perhaps more than one author?

I wonder if you might know. I will look forward to your reply and thank you.

Best wishes

Nicholas Herten-Greaven, MBBS (London) RET.

31 Longhope Place

Toronto, ON M2J 1Y1


By Nicholas Herten-Greaven
On 06/04/2023


I have been trying to find more on my fathers time on Air Sea rescue boats in WW2 1940 t0 42 His one time skipper was Jasper Greengrass I believe a Norfolk man we met up with Mr Greengrass when we were on the Broads on holiday in the 50's, I think he had a boatyard. My father was on the boats out of Northern Ireland and Stornaway .

Steve Cross

By Steve Cross
On 24/09/2023

Hi - I would really like to contact Colin Bateman if you could kindly forward my message and ask if he might contact me. This is in connection with an update of the 1980 book 'Battle of Britain Then & Now' which I am editing. Many thanks! Andy Saunders

I have emailed Colin Bateman for you via his email address registered  on our website.

John  --  Editor

By Andy Saunders
On 18/04/2024

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