Previous names

  • 1919 - 1950 HSL 256
Certificate no 2002
Status Registered


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Launch
Location Gloucester
Vessel type Harbour Service
Current use Ongoing conservation
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No
Web address


Builder Crampton, J T, Portsmouth
Built in 1919
Hull material
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Steam compound
Boiler type Scotch Return Tube
Boilermaker Alex Anderson
Boiler year 1942
Boiler fuel coal


Breadth: Beam
12.50 feet (3.81 m)
5.30 feet (1.62 m)
Length: Overall
52.50 feet (16.01 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



Built in 1919 by J T Crampton for the Admiralty, PUFFIN is a Harbour Service Launch. Her hull construction is double diagonal teak planks on pitch pine framing, with steel bulkheads and beams. She retains her original main steam engine by Plenty & Son Ltd, Newbury and auxiliary steam engines by A.G.Mumford, Colchester.

PUFFIN was delivered to the Admiralty as Harbour Service Launch (HSL) no. 256. She would have provided general dockyard duties as part of the Admiralty Yard Craft Service. Her initial deployment is unknown.

During the 1930’s she was deployed on Admiralty survey duties along the south coast of England.

In February 1944, she had her boiler overhauled in Portsmouth Dockyard before making her way to Scotland, where she became the nominated depot ship for the boom defence depot “HMS Pomona” in Scapa Flow, Orkney, until 1947. She remained in Scapa Flow until 1950 under “Care and Maintenance” (i.e. laid up).

In 1950 she was sold out of Admiralty service and became a fishing vessel (LK452) operating out of Lerwick, Shetland, where she acquired her current name PUFFIN and a new wheelhouse.

In 1953 she was acquired for preservation and private pleasure use and moved to Suffolk. In 1985 she was sold and moved to Bristol, where she was fitted with a reconditioned boiler from another Harbour Service Launch. She remained in service until 2003, when she was laid up awaiting further boiler work. Since 2006 she has been undergoing an extensive restoration, which is still ongoing.

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