1958 HMS BRAVE BORDERER. Last of the RNíS operational fast attack craft, the two Braves - Borderer and Swordsman - were the fastest vessels the service ever had, with a top speed in excess of 50 knots (93km/h).


The operational justification for building fast patrol boats actually disappeared while the Braves were still under construction, with the demise of RN Coastal Forces in 1958. However, the two boats, built by Vosper-Thorneycroft in Portsmouth, were completed anyway, with the intention of using them as targets and for fishery protection duties. They displaced 114t at deep load, and were powered by three Rolls-Royce Proteus gas-turbine engines developed for the Bristol Britannia airliner, which drove the boats along at over 50 knots (93km/h). To accommodate the three engines side by side the craft were very much broader abeam than boats of their nature normally are. Their breadth, together with hydraulic trim-tabs mounted on the transom below the waterline, gave them much better than normal stability


It was originally intended that the Braves be armed with a 3.3in (84mm) stabilised gun developed from the 20pdr of the Centurion tank. However, it behaved poorly in trials and was replaced with the 40mm Bofors cannon. The aim had initially been to fit the boats with torpedo tubes, too, but these were subsequently swapped for launch cradles in the interest of saving weight. The Braves were convertible craft and could be fitted out as motor torpedo boats (MTBs), with four torpedoes and a single 40mm gun, or as motor gunboats (MGBs), with two torpedoes and two 4 guns. Both Brave Borderer and Brave Swordsman were laid up in 1970, and nine years later Swordsman was presented to the Haydon-Baillie Collection.


Type: Fast Attack Craft

Machinery: 3 -shaft Rolls-Royce Proteus turbines giving a total of 10,500shp

Dimensions (overall): Length, 30.1m (98.8ft); beam, 7.8m (25.5ft)

Displacement: 89t standard (114t deep load)

Draught: 2.13m (7ft) max

Complement: 20