Engines

These wooden vessels were 112 feet long and 18 feet wide and were powered by gasoline engines. HMC ML050 to HMC ML111 inclusive, of the early program had two 635 HP Hall Scott engines and were capable of up to twenty knots. HMC ML112 to HMC ML129 inclusive had two 850 HP Sterling Admiral Engines which were capable of up to twenty-four knots. Commander McKee claims 20 or 21 maybe, but not more. That is the official version.

HMC ML095 had V12 Supercharged Rolls Royce engines. The Rolls Royce Merlin engine was a V12 supercharged gasoline aircraft engine that won the battle of Britain. It was fitted in Spitfires, Hurricanes and the American P-51 Mustang aircraft. The Packard Company was given a license to build Rolls Royce Merlin engines in the United States. HMC ML095 was supposed to be able to do twenty-six knots with those engines but it is not known if she managed to go that fast. I do not know why HMC ML095 was fitted with these engines and I do not know if they were Merlin engines. It was probably a case that the engines were available and put to use in that vessel. The Rolls Royce was a popular engine in the smaller Motor Torpedo Boat and its sister the Air Force Crash Boat that gave those boats a speed of over forty knots. The first American made Merlin engine was on test with the 1500 HP Packard marine engine, at the Packard factory in Detroit, May 1941, This according to the book The Royal Canadian Air Force Marine Squadrons, volume two on page 167, by Geoff D. Pilborough. HMC ML095 was launched in May 1943 two years later.

All eighty-eight Fairmiles were known as the “B Class” Fairmile. The B class or type had the habit of setting their exhaust stack on fire when run at full speed for extended periods. Each Fairmile had a fuel capacity of 2,320 imperial gallons of high octane gasoline. This gave them a range of between 400 and 1,000 miles depending on speed. Each vessel displaced seventy-one tons.

According to the James Davies article, the Fairmile was to be fitted with three marine diesel engines. These engines were impossible to find so they settled on the American Hall Scott gasoline engine. The Hall Scott engines could not be produced to meet this high demand so it was decided to fit the Fairmiles with just two engines. This was found to be sufficient.

All eighty-eight Fairmiles were known as the “B Class” Fairmile. The B class or type had the habit of setting their exhaust stack on fire when run at full speed for extended periods. Each Fairmile had a fuel capacity of 2,320 imperial gallons of high octane gasoline. This gave them a range of between 400 and 1,000 miles depending on speed. Each vessel displaced seventy-one tons.

Spud Roscoe – The Fairmiles- Canada’s Little Ships – www. http://jproc.ca/rrp/fairmile2.html

Cost

Each Canadian Fairmile cost from eighty to eighty-one thousand 1942 Canadian dollars and a couple of the original bids were less at just over seventy-five thousand, but most were much higher, and some nearly one hundred and twenty nine thousand dollars. Apparently the higher bids were to cover the cost of a shed sufficient to build these vessels under cover. But as near as I can tell from the records I found they leveled off at around eighty thousand each. One wonders if we could get two of them today for the amount paid for all eighty-eight back then.

Spud Roscoe – The Fairmiles- Canada’s Little Ships – www. http://jproc.ca/rrp/fairmile2.html

Assembly

Some parts for the Fairmiles were built from a kit. The kits for the Canadian built boats were manufactured in Canada. These kits were shipped to Weymouth by the railroad. He and I used to talk about these little ships quite often.

Spud Roscoe – The Fairmiles- Canada’s Little Ships – www. http://jproc.ca/rrp/fairmile2.html

Armament

Armament varied, but a typical Canadian Fairmile had three twenty millimeter Oerlikon guns, one nine millimeter Sten gun, two .303 machine-guns, two .303 rifles, three .45 revolvers, and twenty depth charges of 300 pounds each.

Spud Roscoe – The Fairmiles- Canada’s Little Ships – www. http://jproc.ca/rrp/fairmile2.html