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British Power Boats as working boats and houseboats.

Cover of BPB Brochure

Cover of British Power Boat's own publication and history.
see 'British Power Boat Co'

These boats made very comfortable homes after the war and my own childhood included living on ex MTB 451, later converted to a Houseboat
(see MTB451 link below).

Houseboat Linnette
"Linnette", at Lymington 1952, formerly
British Power Boat MGB 132 re-classed as MTB 451and built at the Hythe yard.

Houseboat Freelance
"Freelance" on the River Medway 2003

Freelance Wheelhouse

"Freelance" Wheelhouse 2003

Freelanc Engine Room
"Freelance" Engine Room 2003

Since going on-line with this site, I have received information of others and in particular the following photographs from Gordon Cavell who now owns ex Motor Gunboat (MGB) 45 which, he says, was attached to the Polish Navy at Ramsgate and now bears the name "Freelance".
The deck shape of Freelance, illustrating the pronounced sheer, was originally built under the description "Power" Class and was used in the early MTB and MGBs and kept in the Air/Sea version for the Royal Air Force but reduced on later naval vessels.

My thanks go to him for allowing me to include
them on my site.

Over the years there has been a great interest in preserving and restoring many of these vessels. Power Boat Restorations, based in Keyhaven, near Lymington in Hampshire, have been restoring and using boats built in the middle to late 1930s, for hire and day trips. Phil Clabburn has three craft which he uses for charter these are RAF 206, HSL(High Speed Launch - RAF) 102 and MGB 81
Built 1931
RAF 206 would have been designed and built as a General Service Tender, a 37ft. 6in. 200 h.p. boat offered to the Air Ministry, who after trials placed orders for a number of boats, including No. 261 which is illustrated in the company's brochure shown on the first BPB page.
Built 1936
HSL 102 was one of the 60 ft. Ocean Rescue Launches built for the RAF( No. 100 being illustrated in the company's brochure), as well as new classes of general service and target towing vessels for the Army.
The undermentioned wartime photographs depict British Power Boat Gun Boats and Torpedo Boats and are taken from books in my possession.

Lt.Cmmdr. R Hitchens Flotilla-uncensored photo
The MGB Flotilla of Coastal Forces legend Lt. Commander R. P. Hitchens RNVR. This photograph was censored... the boat numbers were erased from the bows.... before being used in Gordon Holman's book "The Little Ships" printed by Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., London
October 1943.opp. page 112. Bought by my father in Poole, Dorset, on 8th April 1944.
Price unknown

Lt.Cmmdr R. Hitchens censored photo
The MGB Flotilla of Lt. Commander R. P. Hitchens RNVR. This photograph, the same as opposite is uncensored and shows the boats numbers. The photo was taken from "Hitch's" own boat MGB 64, and shows MGB 67 (Lt. Campbell RNVR) and astern MGB 63 (Lt. Bailey RNVP). Purnell's History of the Second World War, Weapons Book, No. 13 "The Buccaneers" by Brian Cooper 1970, pp 68 and 69.Price 8/6
MTB 476 was originally built as an MGB but was re-classed as an MTB (the same as MTB451). This boat was stationed in Felixstowe, where the 35th Flotilla - of which MTB451 was a part - was situated Her armament was the same at 451 but the latter was also fitted with two depth charge racks on each side at the stern (these were still in place when my parents bought her in 1947). The Imperial War Museum photograph opposite appears on page 22 of"Warships of World War II, Part Seven: Coastal Forces by H.T.Lenton and J.J. Colledge and published by Ian Allen, London 1963. Price 3'6 (three shillings and six pence!)

After the War the company advertised in various publications, one of which was Brassey's Annual in the 57th year of publication in 1946.


The advert is reproduced opposite and shows both the original "Whaleback", which had the very pronounced sheer, as a gunboat and the later more conventional 71 foot 6 inch torpedo boat.

British Power Boat Company
British Power Boat Company
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