|Dimensions||76.2 × 55.88 × 2.54 cm|
HSL (High Speed Launch) 128
Builder British Powerboats
Gross 21.5 Tons
Length 63 feet (19.2 m)
Beam 17 feet, 6 inches (5.33 m)
Draught 3 feet, 9 inches (1.15 m)
Propulsion Three Napier Sea Lions, driving three propellers
A marble plaque in Upper Barrakka Gardens in Malta, is dedicated to those who served in Royal Air Force Air Sea Rescue section in Malta. For most of World War II, HSL 128 was stationed either at Kalafrana or St Paul’s Bay. Between 1940 and 1943 it rescued 123 Allied, 34 German and 212 Italian airmen.
Even the irrepressible ace George “Buzz” Beurling (the most successful Canadian fighter pilot of World War II) was shot down and rescued by HSL 128.
The “Type Two” high-speed launch pictured here was designed in 1937 by Hubert Scott-Paine, founder of the British Power Boat Company. For defence against enemy aircraft, on top of the cabin were two aircraft-style turrets made by Armstrong-Whitworth, each with a single .303 Vickers machine gun.
The Type Two was supplied to RAF marine craft units from the middle of 1940. About 70 of these so-called “Whalebacks” were built for the RAF between 1940 and 1942 and were used throughout the war.
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