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Monday, 22 March 2010

Airfix RAF Rescue Launch

An Airfix 1/72 scale model kit of an RAF Rescue Launch. This is another example of the "map top box" style artwork introduced by Airfix in the mid 1980's.

The launch depicted on the box, HSL 156, is one of a series of sixty nine so called Type 2 "Whalebacks" built by the British Power Boat Company in Hythe and Poole for the RAF between 1940 and 1942.

It was 63' long with a displacement of 21.5 tons and a maximum speed of 35 knots. The hull was made from African mahogany.

The launches were used by RAF Air Sea Rescue units stationed around the British Coast as well as in the Mediterranean and India later in the war.

They were fitted with two aircraft style gun turrets which each housed a single .303 machine gun. Additional Lewis or Browning machines guns were usually fitted and some launches were armed with a 20 mm Oerlikon cannon.

HSL 156 was commanded by Flying Officer Geoffrey Lockwood, D.S.C. and operated from Newhaven, Sussex as part of the 28th Air Sea Rescue Unit during 1943-44.

Notable amongst the rescues accomplished by HSL 156 was the successful retrieval of two American B-17 crews, a total of nineteen men, from the middle of a minefield in October 1944

An example of this kit is currently for sale on Ebay here.

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