Wartime tug model pulled back to base

Campbeltown Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Han­nah O’Han­lon editor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk

CAMPBELTOWN Mu­seum has roped in a model of a res­cue tug which was part of the ‘Campbeltown Navy’ dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

Phil Scales, from Pre­ston in Lan­cashire, has do­nated the work­ing model of HMRT Bustler, which he built in 1997, to the town’s mu­seum.

‘I knew when I built it that it would end up here,’ he said. ‘I’m down­siz­ing as I have more than 20 model boats so I of­fered it to the mu­seum.’

His Majesty’s Res­cue Tug Bustler was built as one of a class of eight large, deep sea res­cue tugs needed by the ad­mi­ralty dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, and was launched on De­cem­ber 4, 1941.

Phil said that the Bustler was one of the big­gest, strong­est, most sea­wor­thy of the fleet. ‘Bustler is ac­tu­ally the class but this was the lead ship,’ he said.

She was one of the first diesel tugs and was pow­ered by two At­las Po­lar 8 cylin­der diesel en­gines which meant that, with 3,200 horse­power, she met her spec­i­fi­ca­tion to tow a 12,000-ton tanker at 12 knots for 30 days.

She had a nor­mal com­ple­ment of 42 men but this in­creased dur­ing the war. One of those sailors sta­tioned on the Bustler in Campbeltown, Wally Madra, is in­cluded on the model.

Campbeltown was a large base for res­cue tugs and was the home of their shore base dur­ing the war. The Bustler, her sis­ter ship HMRT Sam­so­nia and oth­ers were based in Campbeltown but per­formed res­cue du­ties

around the world, and were af­fec­tion­ately called the Campbeltown Navy.

Mea­sur­ing 205ft, the Bustler weighed 1,630 tons at full load and coped with some of the worst weather con­di­tions in the world, on more than one oc­ca­sion sail­ing through a hur­ri­cane.

She worked an ac­tive and very busy life for around 40 years, and proudly won and wore the battle honour of the D-Day land­ings.

Elaine McCh­es­ney, the mu­seum’s cu­ra­tor, said: ‘Phil’s lov­ingly crafted model of HMRT Bustler is a welcome ad­di­tion to the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion here at Campbeltown Mu­seum.

‘The model is a vivid and de­tailed recre­ation of the res­cue tug, down to the crew mem­bers who were sta­tioned here at Campbeltown dur­ing the war.

‘The model will be of­fi­cially launched at the mu­seum next Wed­nes­day Au­gust 16, so pop in and have a look.’


Model-maker Phil Scales hands the tug over to Campbeltown Mu­seum cu­ra­tor, Elaine McCh­es­ney.

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