AIR VIEW is a MIAMI class high speed Air-Sea Rescue vessel used by the Royal Australian Navy during World War II. It was designed and built in America, and was one of 20 imported in the latter stages of the war. It is a rare example of these craft and probably the only one still in largely original condition of the few known to remain extant.
DescriptionDuring World War II in 1944 the RAN ordered twenty 19.20m (63 feet) long MIAMI class American designed anti-submarine vessels, modified to become Air-Sea Rescue vessels. 20 were built in USA and these were delivered to Sydney from July 1944 onwards. In 1957 a similar one was built by Lars Halvorsen sons, now called LIANNA (HV000182) and used as a private motor cruiser.
Their main role was rescuing airman from planes that had come down at sea, and they were equipped with a sick bay in the aft cabin. They also performed patrol work. The vessels were wooden construction with twin Hall Scott 630 HP petrol engines giving a top speed of 31.5 knots. They were armed with twin 50 calibre Brownings either side of the bridge, but their role was defensive rather than offensive. The crew comprised one officer, usually a Sub Lieutenant, and six or seven ratings. One peculiarity was that some had two RAAF air crew- Wireless Air Gunners- as part of the complement. Unlike the Fairmiles and HDMLs, each was given a name as well as a pendant number, eg HMAS AIR GUIDE, HMAS AIR FAITH etc. Being rescue specialised, most were stationed near RAAF forward airfields at Darwin, Horn Island, and in New Guinea, New Britain, Bougainville, and the Netherlands East Indies at Morotai and the Halmaheras Islands.
The hull was designed by American DM Long from the Miami Boat Company in 1941.The moulded construction was quite contemporary for the period, with an internal diagonal layer of cedar and an external layer fore and aft of mahogany. The stem, keel and chines are made of Honduran mahogany, and ¾ inch fir plywood was used for the decks.
The primary American builders were Fellows & Stuart who were based in Willmington, California. Fellows & Stewart was established on Terminal Island by Joe Fellows, an English immigrant, in 1899, together with the well-known naval architect Joseph Pugh. It was originally called the Joe Fellows Yacht & Launch Co., but became Fellows & Stewart in the 1920s. The yard was at Pier 206 on Terminal Island. They built pleasure craft until the war, naval craft during the war, and then concentrated on commercial vessels after 1945.
AIR VIEW was C-26683, built 1944 and identified as the ninth out of 17 MIAMI class vessels on a list of Fellows & Stuart built craft.
AIR VIEW served with the RAN from 1944 to 1946. Later13 ASR craft went to the RAAF in 1949, and AIR VIEW served with them until 1985. It was then sold to a private buyer, and used as a recreational motor launch. A new aft cabin was added at an unknown time. In 2013 AIR VIEW is now a dive support craft, and the additional aft cabin superstructure has been removed.
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:cold mouldedcold-mouldeddouble diagonaltriple diagonaldouble-diagonaltriple-diagonal
Hull material and construction:timber
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:spade rudder
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV