VIDEO: Unique Second World War survivor arrives in Hartlepool

Published Thursday, 31st January 2019

Rescue Motor Launch (RML) 497 has undertaken her most important journey to date, when she was barged approximately 400 nautical miles to the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool. 

The 34-metre long RML 497 has had a varied history. From rescuing fallen airmen in the Second World War to carrying people as a much-loved ferry service in the South West. She was acquired by the Portsmouth-based National Museum of the Royal Navy in 2015 following a grant of £90,600 from the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £5,000 each from the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust and the National Museum. 

She was one of the first mass-produced vessels, likened to the modern-day flat pack. Although this type of craft was very much needed by the Royal Navy as the war progressed it was not possible for them to be built in the Admiralty's very busy shipyards.  The designs were therefore spread around the small boatyards of the UK, which were well capable of undertaking the construction of these wooden hull craft, quickly and easily.