Death of a warrior

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Demolition underway - superstructure, deck and most of her topsides torn off

Visitors to Strand Quay in the last week will have noticed activity around the old RML (Rescue Motor Launch) that has been left by its owners for the last few years to slowly rot.

Part of the quay closed off as the breakers’ machine carries out its work

Some weeks ago, the end was signalled when the old boat refused to rise with the incoming tide and sat on the mud as the water flooded in through her rotted planks and the Harbour Master had to take action by announcing, through a notice secured, as law and tradition dictates, to the mast, that she was now a danger to other vessels and would shortly be removed or broken up.

That time has now come and last week she was moved to the opposite side of the quay to allow access for a demolition machine to begin the process of dismantling.

RML526 as she looked a few years ago when the original attempt at restoration was made

Engine oil and any fuel needed to be carefully removed but after that the machine began, quite literally, to tear the ship apart.

It is always sad to see something, particularly a ship, that has been designed and constructed with care being reduced to little more than rubble. This applies even more to a vessel such as RML526 that has served her country well in the past and made her contribution in the second world war.

However, neglect contributed to deterioration of her structure and was finally too severe for any hope of viable repair and her end became inevitable and just a question of time.

She had a varied career during her post-war life and for those interested, more information can be found on the Historic Ships website and also in the knowledgeable comment made by our reader Roy Kennedy to our earlier article.

Image Credits: John Minter.

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