Previous names

  • 1942 - 1946 RML 526
  • 1946 - 1949 Anbrijo
  • 1950 - 2011 Western Lady IV
Certificate no 308
Status Archived
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Details

Function Fighting Vessel
Subfunction Launch
Location NONE
Vessel type Fairmile B
Archive reason Sunk
Current use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No

Construction

Builder Solent Shipyard Ltd, Lower Swanick
Built in 1942
Hull material Wood
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None

Dimensions

Breadth: Beam
18.30 feet (5.58 m)
Depth
4.59 feet (1.40 m)
Length: Overall
111.93 feet (34.14 m)
Tonnage: Gross
135.00
Air Draft
To be confirmed

History

RML 526 had originally been ordered for the Royal Navy on 27 August 1941 from Solent Shipyard Ltd, Lower Swanwick, on the River Hamble, and was completed on 27 August 1942. She was built to a revolutionary 'flat pack' design incorporating an early use of plywood in a naval context to form the hull frames. The boats were built as kits at the Fairmile Company's factory in Surrey and delivered to small yacht builders and shipyards in the UK, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and Singapore.

The Fairmile B Motor Launches were an invaluable part of Britain's coastal defences during the Second World War used to patrol areas, on convoy protection duties, mine clearance and mine laying, troop and supply transportation and rescue missions.  The Rescue Motor Launches (RML) were more normally tasked to air sea rescue and were responsible for the recovery of many downed air crew in the seas around Britain.

Out of a total of 650 Fairmiles built during the war, she was one of only five remaining vessels of her class still in UK waters until 2019.

She joined the 63rd ML Flotilla at Falmouth and later transferred to the 61st ML Flotilla in the Portsmouth Command as an ambulance launch operating between Dover and Dartmouth. For this work, she was based at Newhaven, until 1946, when she transferred to Plymouth.

She was decommissioned and sold in March 1946, converted for use as a yacht and renamed ANBRIJO.

Between 1947 and 1949, she ran between Gibraltar and Tangier, where she was arrested by the Admiralty Marshal in 1949, reasons unknown, and subsequently sold at Fowey.  She was converted at Milbay Docks In Plymouth, re-engined and fitted with seating both above and below decks being licensed to carry 175 passengers.  She became WESTERN LADY IV, operating between Brixham and Torquay for the Western Lady Ferries company.

She was sold in 2007 to private owners and, in September of that year, sailed to Plymouth Sound to be berthed at Southdown Quay, Millbrook, Cornwall. A refit and restoration followed, in which the afterdeck saloon was removed, and she became a 'live-aboard' seagoing vessel. Her hull was repainted in dark blue.

As of March 2019 it was reported that the vessel had sunk on her mooring in Rye Harbour, East Sussex and in May of that year it was reported she had been disposed.

 

 

 

 

Sources

World Ship Society British Armed Forces Small Craft Historical Society, Survivors Register, 1998 
Armstrong, S A, The Fair (Few) Miles: The History of the Western Lady Ferry Service, Western Lady Ferry Service, 1993
Hamer, Geoffrey, Trip Out 1995/6 - A Guide to the Passenger Boat Services of the British Isles, G P Hamer, 1995
Motor Boat and Yachting: Model Boats, pp62-5, October 1993 
Hobbs, John, Old Glory: Western Ladiespp14-18, May Edition 63, 1995 
Armstrong, S A, Ships Monthly: The Western Ladies of Torbay, pp12-16, August 1993 
Fricker, David, Warship World: Fairmile MLs - some survivors still seagoing, pp15, 18, Winter 1988   

Key dates

  • May 2019

    Vessel disposed

Grants

  • September 2011

    A Sustainability Grant of £1000 towards the cost of remedial work on the wheelhouse was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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