Motor Launch at Galmpton Creek, Dartmouth

Motor Launches (ML), Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDML) & Rescue Motor Launches (RML)
steve g
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Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:58 pm

Motor Launch at Galmpton Creek, Dartmouth

Postby steve g » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:41 pm

Hi my name is Steve i have recently become interested in the MTB forces of the uk during ww2 ! The reason for my interest comes from a recent holiday in Devon, we were staying at Galmpton creek on the river Dart near Dartmouth the cottage we stayed in was an old boathouse right on the side of the creek ! Moored in the creek was a boat , it was a fair size of a boat and was quite long made of wood and still had the small bridge section this boat facinated me and i had to ask someone what it had been used for ! Luckily i met someone who was working in a boatyard on the creek and he told me the boat was an old MTB and it has been moored there for years rotting away ! How sad for a vessel with so much history to be left to rot ! This boat was one of many that helped defend our coastline during the war and who knows what the boat was involved in what action did it see?? It is sad that the crews of these boats have never really had the same respect as the spitfire pilots ect ! I would imagine that the crews of these boats had seen lots of action during the war most of it in very dangerous conditions ! Unfortunately there were no identification numbers on the boat that i could see but i believe from the size and the shape of the hull and the bridge that it is of the Fairmile class of MTBS looks like a class b ( but i am not an expert ) Lastly i would like to add that having read about these boats and thier crews since finding the boat i have the utmost respect for those who served onboard these vessels ! S Green PS If anyone knows anything about this particular boat could they please let me know thank you
Last edited by Admin on Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title changed to better reflect content and moved to Motor Launches

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Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:48 pm

Re: Motor Launch at Galmpton Creek, Dartmouth

Postby Pioneer » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:31 pm

Hello Steve, welcome aboard.

I think that the boat you are referring to is former RML 535. She was the first of the Western Lady ferry boats situated on the River Dart. There is an image of her on the Simplon Postcards site. Scroll down the page a little to see her very sorry state as seen in 2007. There was a concerted effort to restore her back to a military configuration but it all came to nothing.


steve g
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:58 pm

Re: Motor Launch at Galmpton Creek, Dartmouth

Postby steve g » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:26 pm

Thank you so much for the reply ! It is so sad to see the boat in this condition what a shame it is after she had served the country both as a naval boat during ww2 and then many years as a ferry/ trip boat ! For some reason (dont ask me why ) when i first saw the boat it had a strange attraction for me i had to find out about her history ! I wonder if any of the crews who manned her are still around it would be interesting to hear from them about her history 1

Chief Petty Officer
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:21 am

Re: Motor Launch at Galmpton Creek, Dartmouth

Postby johnk » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:19 pm

Hi there,

Just seen last post, just to add to Pioneer there, indeed the ......497 now operating as per the Simplon cards site Pioneer directed you to, if you look up Greenways site, see latest pictures of her now, we should be grateful to them for rescuing her post Western Lady service, to a venture that failed, then in bankruptcy I think, they have poured a lot of time and money into her. RML 526 is still at Rye harbour I think, not heard anything of late, though visited last year for a look. Yes it is a shame to see her going down, the cost and effort of saving such vessels, but a few still around and individuals and companies still willing.


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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:31 pm

Re: Motor Launch at Galmpton Creek, Dartmouth

Postby mike » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:41 pm

Hi Regarding the motor launch at glampton creek, I was over there yesterday 26th Jan 2015, the boat is broken in two and the decking gone
p1040553 taken 27/01/2015
So sad

Regards Mike
MTB taken 27/01/2015

Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:52 pm

Re: Motor Launch at Galmpton Creek, Dartmouth

Postby sandybc » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:18 am

Hello everybody - A rotting wooden boat is indeed a very sad sight.
You are so right about the need to have have these vessels and their crews recognised properly is long overdue.
However, there is some hope here !
We are restoring RML 526 - a sister ship of RML 535.
The current First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas is our senior Patron along with the grandchildren of Sir Noel Macklin, founder and designer of the Fairmile company.
She will be shortly moving from Rye East Sussex to Portsmouth historic dockyard. Once there the first phase of the restoration work will begin. RML 526 has a very exciting life ahead of her.
A not for profit company will operate her and all proceeds are donated to charities such as Help 4 Heroes and RNRMC
Late March we are holding a Crowd Fund appeal where some very interesting 'reward' are on offer for donors.
I work with a veteran who served on ML 194 - after D Day she was modified and then sent off to Singapore to assist in the surrender of the Japanese - A fascinating story. Again, yet to be told. I am also working with a veteran from Burma, who was a Captain on a Fairmile B - they were involved with the Arakan Campaign - another story waiting to be told in full!
If you are interested please feel free to contact me via this forum or the website below:


P.S The Admiral is holding a Gala Dinner onboard HMS Victory to celebrate the arrival of RML 526. Tickets will be available via the Crowd Funding appeal - to be announced shortly. It is to be a fabulous event.

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