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Summary: The efficiency of any flying boat squadron is governed by the efficiency of the Marine Craft Section. The film illustrates the requirement for good organisation together with good seamanship from the motor boat crews.
Description: Film opens with an RAF motor boat speeding across the water to meet an incoming Sunderland aircraft. The efficiency of the Marine Craft Section depends mainly on two factors, good organisation and good seamanship. Organisation is the task of others, good seamanship is expected from the Coxswain and crew. Most common daily tasks are the ferrying of aircraft and marine personnel and the towing and refuelling of aircraft. Attention to detail is essential for smooth working and seamanship. The Pier Master controls all movement of marine craft, and is seen signalling by Aldis lamp as the crew of motor boat FT 476 report to him for duty. The crew are told to board the motor boat, stow any loose gear, complete form 1524A, and crew not needed to sail the boat go below out of the way and await instructions. The boat departs with orders given as orders and not requests, ensuring clarity, and proceeds to its harbour station and waits there for instructions: to refuel a Sunderland.
Boat FT 476 approaches the refuelling craft, 1080, mooring broadside with fenders. The crew of 1080, wearing non studded boots to prevent sparks, transfer from FT 476 and cast off, check fuel tank levels and that no water is present in them. Mooring lines are prepared as they approach the Sunderland down tide, manoeuvring until both vessels are at a common mooring buoy. “All lights out” orders the Coxswain, heaving lines are thrown to the aircrew and the fuel hose is pulled aboard the Sunderland. A bonding wire from the hose nozzle to the fuelling point prevents the build up of static electricity. The transfer of fuel is monitored by a meter, but the tank levels of the Sunderland are always checked with a dip stick. Meanwhile, other events are taking place and the camera pans over to one of them.
At all times when aircraft are flying or taxying, the Standby boat 421, identified by its blue pennant, keeps slowly under way, ready to assist any emergency, and is dispatched to meet a Sunderland taxying on one engine only, not to be recommended at the best of times. Aircraft on the water are more prone to wind induced erratic movements than marine craft, so the Coxswain of 421 approaches the Sunderland down wind and secures a towline. He requests the Captain to switch off the engine and deploy drogues to stabilise the tow, and they proceed to the designated mooring buoy.
The camera returns to the refuelling craft, 1080, preparing to get under way, as lines and fuel hoses are carefully stowed. The job has been well done by paying attention to detail, and we return to the opening mantra, “good organisation and good seamanship” makes for an efficient flying boat squadron.
Production Country: GB
Production Details: Air Ministry (Production sponsor)