Lawrence of Arabia launch sold to RAF Hendon

Nicolle Associates made another historic sale recently when they sold a 1930’s RAF Seaplane Tender, devoloped by TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), to the RAF museum.

Lawrence of Arabia launch sold to RAF Hendon

Lawrence of Arabia launch sold to RAF Hendon

ST206 was used by the RAF to ferry passengers and crew to and from the giant flying boats of the 1930s, and was used as a fire tender and rescue launch during World War II.

The boat – the last to fly the Service ensign on water – made its final trip around the south coast and up the Thames in May.

It will be laid up at the RAF Museum, Hendon, North London as part of a permanent exhibition.

The launch was developed by TE Lawrence in his little-known career after his famous desert exploits in World War I.

He entered the RAF’s Marine Section in 1925 under the pseudonym TE Shaw and worked with the British Power Boat Company to develop faster and more effective rescue boats after witnessing a fatal seaplane crash in 1931.

Lawrence was a long time friend of Wing Commander Sydney Smith, the CO of RAF Cattewater (later RAF Mountbatten), who gave him the role of working with Hubert Scott-Paine, the British Power Boat Company chief designer, to develop new, faster boats for the RAF.

ST 206 is one of the boats on which Lawrence performed the sea trials, broke the speed record, and created the hard chine planing boats that became the British Power Boat Company Series 200.

The project made a vital contribution to speed boat design and ensured that the new generation of boats specially designed to rescue pilots during World War II were faster and more effective.

The RAF used them as transport and long-range escort bomber aircraft in Coastal Command.

ST206 was built to service the Short Sunderland and will join the RAF Museum’s Sunderland on display at Hendon.

A museum spokesman said: “Nearly every major port in England was used as a rescue base and ST206 visited many former seaplane bases on her journey where the RNLI had offered their facilities.”

The RAF Marine Section was formed in 1918 under the motto: ‘The Sea Shall Not Have Them’ and the service saved 13,000 lives during World War II.