Can We Identify The Launch
The above Bay of Islands photo comes to us via Diane Keene’s post on fb and is from the photo album of her grandmother – Joyce Simpson. The grandmother’s diaries indicate that the photo was taken on 6th Feb 1963, and the primary focus of the photo was the submarine. Diane has checked with the RNZN & they have informed her it is either the submarine HMS Andrew which attended the 1960 Waitangi Day ceremonies, or of the submarine HMS Tapir which was present in 1963 when HM Queen Elizabeth was in attendance aboard HMY Britannia.
Putting subs to one side, Dianne enquired about the identity of the launch on the left – if my life depended on it I would say – Menai, the 1937 built Sam Ford launch, but there is no mast and she seems to have always sported one, as a second option I would say – Ian Gavin’s family launch – Florence Dawn, built in 1947 by Richard Hartley. Anyone agree or have another suggestion?
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The launch is definitely not Menai. As a former owner of Menai I am very familiar with her although this one looks to have similar lines. But Menai has, and has always had, an old fashioned curved meat/vegetable safe at the rear other bridge deck which is quite prominent and distinctive. Menai also has two low portholes that provide light in the engine room. Both of these features are absent here. She has the Sam Ford twin curved main cabin ports though so is probably a Sam Ford boat but not Menai. Menai’s mast is set further forward (on the fordeck) as well because she flew a stabilising jib from the mast.
I think this launch is Matatahi.
Looks Menai ish but I cant be sure if Im seeinmarkg ths telltail Ford food safe on the back window area.
There is no doubt in my mind she is the MATATAHI.
I have cross referenced an image* I have of her & they cross check perfectly, including the bridgedeck coming forward to a position over the middle porthole in the flare, the raked short mast, popular in boats of that era, & the window style & position of, all the windows & the porthole, in the coamings. She was built by Sam Ford, & had 2x 4 cyl Ford Diesels, with a singe side exhaust, with both engines exhausting through that single outlet, on the starboard side– KEN R
*Photo added below. Alan H
The launch in question is not Florence Dawn. The 3 portholes are too far back and Florence Dawn does not have a window in the bridgedeck side doors. Bow and forward deck configuration are different too.
The white ship to the right of the photo may well be H.M.N.Z.S. Lachlan, the RNZN survey vessel, a River class frigate built in Cockatoo Dock in Sydney on 1944, and my first sea draft when I joined the Navy in Jan ’64.
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