Former Naval Rescue Motor Launch 497 Begins Her Conservation Journey

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Artelia is once again working with the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) to preserve the nation’s maritime history. NMRN’s latest conservation project is Rescue Motor Launch (RML) 497. Built in 1941, she served with the Coastal Forces during World War II where she was involved in everything from air-sea rescue to minesweeping and anti-submarine operations. Her original, double-diagonal mahogany hull is a rare survivor of the period, with a story to tell which spans the UK’s home effort during the War.

Artelia’s Heritage team has built up quite a track record of moving historic ships, so relocating RML 497 400 miles North, from her current location on the River Itchen near Southampton, to NMRN’s base in Hartlepool, is all in a day’s work for our project managers. Yesterday, saw Ross Macaskill and Steve Prowse on site to manage the first part of this operation – a short tow along the River Itchen and the start of preparation work for her voyage, which includes ballast removal and the installation of internal bracing to reinforce the fragile hull. On Saturday she will be loaded onto a semi-submersible barge, the Terra Marique, and sea-fastened ready to commence her journey North on Sunday. She is due to arrive in Hartlepool next Wednesday and will then be moved by road, using self-propelled transporters, to NMRN Hartlepool, where a partially complete building is ready for her. Once in place, she will be jacked down to car park level and the final gable end of the building will then be erected. NMRN can then begin their conservation work.