Letters and Poems

From Cairo to Calshot
From Colonel in the Desert Army to Airman Second Class. this is the story of  our countries' greatest war hero returning to commence a new life in the  Royal Air Force as a Private T.E. Shaw (his name now changed from T.E Lawrence,)  On arrival at his new barracks, he left his suitcase in the locker room and headed for the officer's mess.  Striding straight to the bar in his private's uniform he ordered a gin and tonic from an astonished barman, then with his elbows pivoted on the Bar, he surveyed  the equally astonished officers seated around  him. There was a thundering silence, his mind went back to Cairo fifteen years earlier but on that occasion the bar erupted into pandemonium when he entered. Fortunately the officer in charge of this RAF officer's mess shook his hand warmly and took him to lunch.  Here started an agreeable chapter in the life of Lawrence of Arabia, here he was to use his bright  intelligence, his contact with the British nobility, but most of all his friendship with Mr. Hubert Scott-Paine of Powerboat, to plunge him headlong into the new life of powerboats and the Royal Air Force - and of course the world of invitations from Princes and Kings.  At the drop of a hat he could be ordered to attend a parade in a far off land, leading it on a great white horse,  he was after all probably the most famous man in the whole world!
Here his vision changed the powerboat design for all time, indeed, look around your coastline today at any craft driven by engine power, you will at once see the mark  of this incredible man.
His achievement is covered in a letter he wrote to his friend the  war poet  Robert Graves, whilst staying at the Ozone Hotel Bridlington, Feb. 4th 1935.
The letter:
"I have been so curiously fortunate as to share in a little revolution we have made in boat design. They have, power for power, three times the speed of their predecessors, less cost, more room, more safety, more seaworthiness.  As their speed increases, they rise out of the water and run over its face.  They cannot roll or pitch, having no pendulum nor period but a subtly moulded planing bottom and sharp edges.  Now I do not claim to have made these boats. They have grown out of the joint experience, skill and imagination of many men.  But I can secretly feel that they owe to me their opportunity and their acceptance. In inventing them we have had to make new engines, new auxiliaries, use new timbers new metals and materials.  It has been five years of intense and coordinated progress.  Nothing now hinders the application of our design to big ships, except the conservation of man, of course."
T.E. Lawrence

Just a few short weeks later, Lawrence was to be killed in a motor cycle accident.

John Cook
Coastal Motorboat Heritage Trust February 2016

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100 years on from the commencement of World War one.
A poem from our Member, Mr Cyril Stubbings aged 87years.

No longer here to tell the tale
Of Loos, the Somme and Paschendale,
Their names inscribed on Bronze and Stone
As loved ones Soldier on alone.

Youthful innocence and unspent life,
Forever lost in Europe's Strife.
Many candles tonight will shine
A century from that Starting Line.

That awful war of Foreign Hate,
Led our Legions to their Fate
And what if Peaceful Treaties Fail,
Surely Goodness will Prevail.
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Another poem from 87 year old Cyril Stubbings.

Aunties / Mabel Rose and Maud,
All are resting with their Lord.
Pinefored and always tidy,
Mondays wash day & fish on Friday.

All remembered War & Peace,
Wondering when bad times would cease.
Depression years and making do
When holidays were very few.

Faded photos by the sea
Sesame cake and cups of tea.

Uncles Laurie, Fred & Tom,
Lucky to survive the Somme,
They in this Album now reside,
Sheltered from the world outside
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Dear John,
Very many thanks Hubert Scott-Paine, etc.,
I have always had the greatest admiration and respect for HUBERT SCOTT-PAINE, both as the exceptional designer and builder of boats with Double Diagonal planking, unique Hull Design and the only builder of boats ever to mass design High Quality Boats. His RAF Air Sea Rescue craft saved a great number of lives.
As an RASC Water Transport Flotilla Officer, I can speak warmly of his River Class and Sea Tender Boats, such as 'Grey Mist'. A tragedy that he left British Powerboats and the Country.
One Uncle of mine was credited with shooting down 2 Zepplins on their way to bombing London. The other Uncle left school at 17 to join the Durham University Air Squadron, got his Wings at Nether Wallop and single handedly attempted to prevent six German Bombers from destroying British Artillery. He was shot down and killed, after only three weeks in France.
My Father Designed and Manufactured The Gear Boxes for our British Tanks, which surprised the Germans and shortened the War; his West Bromwich Engineering Works no longer exists, like so many of our well known Engineering Works and Manufacturers.
Good Luck to you for all your worthy endeavours, particularly my Hero, Hubert Scott-Paine, as I must be one of the very few users of his Military Craft still alive, (just)
Regards and best wishes, Tim
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Sea Serpents,  by Berton Braley, U.S. Navy
 
Translated from American into English, by Stoker Cook, RN
 (and ever so slightly altered)
 
Can you sit serene, on a horse that’s mean
or ride on a plunging steer,
Can you calmly flop in a boiler-shop
and peacefully pick at your ear?
 
Can you keep your feet on a sheet of sleet
in the wind that’ll freeze you through?
Then you maybe mate, have the stuff to rate
a berth on an MTB .
 
Swoop like a gull and dive like a plover,
turn on a six pence with a shilling over,
Racing whippet and jumping goat,
Leaping Lena, the Motor Torpedo boat
 
You’ll practice Poise with the Torpedo Boys
on the inner side of a waterfall.
You’ll learn to cross a heaving deck,
where a cockroach couldn't crawl.
     
And when they feel you're hard as steel
And tough as a rubber sole,
They may admit you are almost fit,
to roll where Torpedo Men roll.
 
Maybe you’ll do for the craft that’s’ quickest,
which get’s it’s Hell where the Hell is thickest,
And tackle every thing that’s afloat;
They are all one size to the Torpedo Boat.
 
You’ll handle weapons which are washed with water,
you’ll fire your “fish” into absolute slaughter,
You’ll dash and drive against your enemies side,
of the ships who’s salvos flame.
Though your sides are as frail as Salome’s veil
you’ll battle them just the same.
 
You play a game with these Ocean Dragons,
whether Destroyers, Subs or Battlewagons,
Though the odds are great and the chance remote,
You’ll take on a Fleet with a Torpedo Boat.
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From The Ozone Hotel, Bridlington, to War Poet, Robert Graves,
February 4th 1935.

...''I have been so curiously fortunate as to share in a little revolution we have made in boat design..... they have (power for power) three times the speed of their predecessors, less cost, more room, more safety, more seaworthiness. As their speed increases, they rise out of the water and run over its face. They cannot roll or pitch, having no pendulum nor period, but a subtly moulded planing bottom and sharp edges. Now I do not claim to have made these boats. They have grown out of the joint experience, skill and imagination of many men.But I can (secretly) feel that they owe to me their opportunity and their acceptance.... In inventing them we had to make new engines, new auxiliaries, use new timbers, new metals and materials.It has been five years of intense and co-ordinated progress. Nothing now hinders the application of our design to big ships - except the conservation of man, of course.''
T.E. Lawrence