AIR-SEA RESCUE BOATS
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY
The design for the Air Sea Rescue boats was based on an American anti-submarine boat which had been modified for rescue operations. They were mainly used to rescue crews from Allied aircraft which ditched in the sea. All Air Sea Rescue boats had a sick bay at the rear of the boat. They were mostly stationed in northern Australian waters or in New Guinea.
Twenty Air Sea Rescue Boats were ordered through Admiralty Requisition Number BAD (Aust) 2714, Authority ACNB. 270611 dated 4th March 1944 signed by R. Millar. They arrived as deck cargo on 5 ships eventually to Sydney June/July 1944.
|ASR Boat||Commissioned||US Hull No.||Maker||From USA on ship||Arrived Australia||Area of Service|
|HMAS Air Bird 915||28 Mar 45||C26670||Harbor Boat Building Co., Terminal Beach, California||MV Kookaburra||SWPA - Madang, Wewak|
|HMAS Air Chief 918||12 Aug 44||C26688||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||SS Parrakoola||Jun/July 1944||N.G. Madang|
|HMAS Air Clan 922||11 Dec 44||C26697||Harbor Boat Building Co., Terminal Beach, California||MV Laponia||SWPA Labuan, Kuching|
|HMAS Air Cloud 924||20 Oct 44||C26671||Harbor Boat Building Co., Terminal Beach, California||SS Mirrabooka||Darwin/West Bay|
|HMAS Air Faith 909||8 Feb 45||C26647||South Coast Co., Newport Beach, California||Cecil G. Sellars||N.G. Jacquinot Bay, Torokina|
|HMAS Air Foam 912||20 Sep 44||C26648||South Coast Co., Newport Beach, California||MV Kookaburra||N.G. Jacquinot Bay, Torokina|
|HMAS Air Guide 913||20 Oct 44||C26677||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||?||SWPA Tarakan NEI|
|HMAS Air Hope 908||13 Feb 45||C26646||South Coast Co., Newport Beach, California||Cecil G. Sellars||N.G. Port Moresby|
|HMAS Air Hope 913
renamed HMAS Air Guide
|20 Oct 44||MV Kookaburra||Tarakan, Morotai NEI|
|HMAS Air Master 919||31 Aug 44||C26689||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||SS Parrakoola||Jun/July 1944||Balikpapan, Borneo NEI|
|HMAS Air Mercy 925||C26691||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||SS Mirrabooka||Biak, Dutch New Guinea|
|HMAS Air Mist 917||20 Sep 44||C26687||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||MV Kookaburra||Jun/July 1944||Balikpapan, Borneo NEI|
|HMAS Air Rest 921||20 Sep 44||C26696||Harbor Boat Building Co., Terminal Beach, California||SS Parrakoola||Jun/July 1944||SWPA, Tarakan, Balikpapan|
|HMAS Air Sailor 926||8 Nov 44||C26692||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||SS Mirrabooka||Darwin/West Bay - Kimberleys|
|HMAS Air Save 920||20 Sep 44||C26690||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||SS Parrakoola||Morotai, Halmaheras NEI|
|HMAS Air Sense 914||1 Mar 45||C26669||Harbor Boat Building Co., Terminal Beach, California||MV Kookaburra||Townsville/Thursday Island|
|HMAS Air Speed 910||20 Feb 45||C26678||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||Cecil G. Sellars||Madang/Jacquinot Bay|
|HMAS Air Spray 911||13 Feb 45||C26668||Harbor Boat Building Co., Terminal Beach, California||Cecil G. Sellars||Thursday Island, Red Island Point|
|HMAS Air Trail 916||8 Feb 45||C26686||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||MV Kookaburra||Biak, Dutch New Guinea|
|HMAS Air View 923||20 Nov 44||C26683||Fellows & Stewart, Wilmington, California||MV Laponia||Jun 1944||Darwin/West Bay|
|HMAS Air Watch 927||27 Nov 44||C26698||Harbor Boat Building Co., Terminal Beach, California||SS Mirrabooka||Madang, Aitape, Morotai, Labuan|
|HMAS Air Wave 912
renamed HMAS Air Foam
|20 Sep 44||Manus/Biak/Rabaul|
Typical Navy crew comprised (7 or 8 personnel)
|Lieutenant or Sub Lieutenant||Commanding Officer|
|Leading Stoker or Stoker or Petty Officer||Engine Room Artificer (1)|
|Leading Stoker or Stoker or Petty Officer||Engine Room Artificer (2)|
|Able Bodied Seamen||2 Seamen|
|Sergeant (WAG)||2 RAAF Signaller or 1 RAN Telegraphist|
Specifications for ASR Boats:-
Displacement 23 tons
Dimensions OA Length 63 feet Beam 15.3 feet
Draft 4 feet
Engines Two Hall Scott Defender 630 HP, V 12 Motors (petrol)
Speed 33.5 knots
Range 14.5 hours
Fuel 1200 gallons.
20 knots 56 gal @ 1500 revs.
33 knots 110 gal @ 2100 revs.
Armament Two 0.5 inch MGs ( 2 x 2)
Design ARB Aircraft Rescue Boats.
All ASR Boats were painted with a black hull on the sides with dark red below the water line and a white water line if needed. The decks, all superstructure sides and roof were painted yellow.
|915 Air Bird||918 Air Chief (Y252)||922 Air Clan|
|924 Air Cloud||902 Air Faith (Y258)||912 Air Foam|
|913 Air Guide (Y260)||908 Air Hope||913 Air Host|
|919 Air Master||925 Air Mercy||917 Air Mist|
|Air Nymph (Y257)||921 Air Rest||926 Air Sailor|
|920 Air Save||914 Air Sense||910 Air Speed|
|911 Air Spray (Y259)||916 Air Trail||923 Air View|
|927 Air Watch||912 Air Wave|
In 1946 a proposal was announced to transfer 15 ASR Boats to the RAAF. At the stage 19 boats had been commissioned. One boat Air Mist had been wrecked by that time. 13 ASR Boats were finally transferred to the RAAF in about 1949. After WW2 the remaining RAN boats were redesignated as Search and Rescue vessels.
I'd like to thank Hubert Davis for his assistance with this web page. Hubert Davis served on HMAS Air Save and Air Chief for 2 years (September 1944 to October 1946)
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 23 February 2008
This page last updated 02 September 2018