NAVIGATOR was the second of the 90ft class of Admiralty MFVs, built by Richards Ironworks of Lowestoft . MFVs (Motor Fishing Vessels) were designed to an Admiralty specification and could double Naval duties with a role as a Fishing Vessel.
Completed and inspected on 30 December 1943, she was commissioned on 5 January 1944 as MFV 1502 and it is believed she was allocated to Force S sailing in support of the Normandy Landings.The Flag Office Force S ordered that two MFVs were to accompany each convoy - the first was 4 April 1944 and the MFVs chosen were 1502 and 1503. On completion of this task, she was moved to Portsmouth on 21 July 1944 for a refit, which was completed on 4 August. Further refits followed on 30 October - 10 November.
In March 1945, MFV 1502 was allocated to Wivenhoe Shipyard and was converted to a fireboat. She was earmarked for Army manning on 8 May 1945 and operated around the south coast for the remainder of the year. In 1947 she was transferred to the War Department Fleet and manned by RASC crew. She was attached to the Water Transport Company (WTCoy) 985 and used for navigational training. She was used by the Golden Hill Fort Training School in dual roles as training and Flotilla Leader.
In 1951 she visited Copenhagen as flotilla leader of six to eight Mk 1s and approximately six Mk 2 General Service Launches. The designation of V in MFV was dropped to make her MV 1502, and in 1954 she was still in her grey livery. In the late 1950s she had an enlarged bridge and forward deckhouse fitted during her first major conversion but retained her original masts, funnel, grey livery and number. In 1962 the craft was operating as RASCV YARMOUTH NAVIGATOR. In July 1965, there was a merger of the RASC with the Royal Engineers to form the Royal Corps of Transport and she became RCTV YARMOUTH NAVIGATOR.
By the 1970s, she had completed her second major conversion with a streamline funnel, stump mast and deckhouse further extended forward. Her grey livery was changed to a navy blue hull, white upperworks and buff funnel. By 1976 she had been changed to civilian manning and was attached to the Fleet Squadron 20 Maritime Regiment based at Gunwharf, Portsmouth. Later she was with 18 Maritime Squadron RCT, still used for navigation training.
On 1 October 1988, YARMOUTH NAVIGATOR was officially transferred to the RMAS and became RMAS 1502 and was allocated to range duties (RSG). In April 1990, she was allocated to be the local training tender for the Sea Cadet Corps and was briefly listed as YARMOUTH VOYAGER. On 22 October 1990 following withdrawal from service, she was laid up. In May 1991, she was decommissioned and on 28 August 1991 towed to No 1 basin and offered for disposal. She was subsequently sold and the new owners began a full restoration programme.
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WSS Small Craft Group Journal: Exeter, Brixham and River Dart Trip, pp64-66, April 1994
Vessel built by Richards Ironworks, Lowestoft
Vessel allocated to Force S sailing in support of the Normandy Landings
Vessel allocated to Wivenhoe Shipyard and converted to a fireboat
Vessel transferred to the War Department Fleet and manned by RASC crew
Vessel's gey livery was changed to a navy blue hull, white upperworks and buff funnel
Vessel changed to civilian manning and was attached to the Fleet Squadron 20 Maritime Regiment based at Gunwharf, Portsmouth
1 October 1988
Vessel officially transferred to the RMAS, became RMAS 1502 and was allocated to range duties
Vessel allocated to be the local training tender for the Sea Cadet Corps
22 October 1990
Following withdrawal from service, vessel was laid up
Sold to new owners for restoration
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