A special RAF reunion party was held recently (Saturday May 21) at Lyme Regis Museum. Organised by museum trustee Ken Gollop, the event brought together 25 veterans and their families for a trip down memory lane, aided by a slide show of photographs from the museum archives.
The veterans were all part of the Marine Craft Unit which operated from 1937 to 1964, performing a range of safety and air sea rescue duties. The Boat Building Academy at the Cobb now occupies the barracks and workshops where the boats were maintained.
During the evening two small brass wheels were presented to the museum by Mike Poupard, former Lyme Regis harbourmaster, who found them in 2009. Also present was Brian ‘Dusty’ Miller, the person responsible for them falling into the harbour. The wheels were originally built into the hull of the RAF motor dinghies to make them easy to drag up the slipway. Dusty damaged the boat when taking a short-cut across the rocks in 1957 and the wheels were knocked off into the water. When Mike Poupard found them among seaweed he didn’t know what they were: ‘I had been digging out the harbour mouth and was looking for anything nasty that could hurt our beach-goers. I found the wheels and thought that they might have been off an Elizabethan man o'war rather than a RAF boat ferrying crews to and from the boats moored outside the harbour. When Dusty Miller came forward to admit his guilt the mystery was solved!’
The wheels are now on display in Lyme Regis Museum in the ‘New to the Museum’ showcase.