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ST-1510 - 41½ FT SEAPLANE TENDER MkIA

ST 1510 was taken on charge by the RAF on 6th July 1942 and allocated the same day to 62 Maintenance Unit (MU), Dumbarton for use in the unit pool. Probably retained as a spare, she stayed with the unit until allocated to Greenock on 17th February 1943 for use by the Scottish Aviation Ltd, Prestwick. She remained on loan through to 4th April 1944, when she was returned to 62 MU boat poll, based at Greenock, until 31St December 1945. ST 1510 was moved back to Dumbarton (62MU) for repairs and storage post war on 15th February 1946.

A few months later the seaplane tender was re-allocated to 213 MU, but as this unit was also based at Dumbarton, it was only a "paper move", probably to allow for the craft to be continued to be stored ready for use as required. Just over a year later on 1St October 1947 the ST 1510 was assigned for use by Coastal Command and was allocated to the 1110 Marine Craft Unit (MCU) to be based at Immingham. She remained based with 1110 MCU, however, in line with RAF policy she was upgraded to MkIA specification commencing 14th February 1951, under authority of RAF Job No. 833. ST 1510 subsequently emerged and was redesignated as RSL 1510. Still at Immingham on the 21st April 1952 she was taken out of service for Category 3 survey and repairs - these normally carried out every 3 years. The repairs would have been carried out at lmmingham and the craft returned to local service on completion. Subsequently on the 12th March 1953, RSL 1510 was allocated to 238 MU, based at Calshot for repairs and storage.

According to RAF records she remained at Calshot until 6th June 1954, when on authority of issue voucher no. MC2/1 70, RSL 1510 was allocated to Aldergrove, Northern Ireland to replace a much older 40ft Seaplane Tender. The craft she replaced was probably ST 378 which was offered for disposal in September 1954 lying at RAF Aldergrove. RSL 1510 saw out the remainder of her RAF service life based at Aldergrove until she became surplus in late 1957. The craft was officially struck off RAF charge on 6th December that year and formally passed, on voucher no. MC2/5/MC, to the Director of Navy Contracts (DNC) on 6th January 1958, for disposal by sale. The DNC allocated the craft, on disposals instructions authority FDI No. 184, to John Erskine Ltd, Belfast to act as the disposal agents. She was subsequently advertised in the March 1958 edition of Motor Boat & Yachting, incidentally along with sister craft RSL 1505, and according to official sources was sold complete with her engines for £877.

In private hands she was first named FIFINETTE and although her full post service history is not known, she ended up as a river cruiser at Brentford, Middlesex by January 1993 where she was owned for a time by the Brentford Lock keeper on the Grand Union Canal and where she is recorded as being offered for sale, largely unaltered externally (see photo above), complete with a spare engine and a clinker built dinghy, all for £16,950 ono. By the time of her sale she had been repainted with a black hull. She was subsequently renamed MERCURY and was next recorded as being offered for sale through Toughs Shipyard, Teddington for £14,950 ono. The advert included that she was still fitted with twin Perkins S6M diesels, a spare was included, as was a winch.

The MERCURY, as a river cruiser, was then fitted out with two berths, galley, and toilet but still was generally as original. She was also for sighted at Southwold in October 1996. MERCURY was subsequently brought to Marchwood in October 1999 and is currently owned by John Hessletine. ST 1510 has subsequently been the subject of a restoration undertaken by the Museum on behalf of the owner.

 
   

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