Gay Class Fast Attack Craft

Twelve Gay Class Fast Attack Craft were ordered between February and May 1951 and built between 1952 and 1953. A development of the MTB538/539 designs, they were constructed almost entirely of wood. Powered by three V12 Packard engines, each with 1,500 horsepower, they were the last petrol powered warships built for the Royal Navy and had a speed of 40 knots.

The Gay Class had a standard displacement of 50 tons and a deep load displacement of 65 tons. They measured 75ft 2" in length, 20ft 1" in beam and 4ft 1" in draught. They had a complement of 13.

They could be configured either as MTBs or MGBs: as torpedo boats they were armed with two single 40mm guns and two 21-inch torpedoes whilst as gun boats they carried a single 4.5-inch gun and one 40mm gun.

Class Details

Craft Pennant Builder Laid Down Launched Commissioned
Gay Archer P1041 Vosper  (Portchester)   August 20th 1952  
Gay Bombardier P1042 Vosper  (Portchester)   August 20th 1952  
Gay Bowman P1043 Vosper  (Portchester)   December 19th 1952  
Gay Bruiser P1044 Vosper  (Portchester)   December 19th 1952  
Gay Carabineer P1045 Thorneycroft (Hampton)   January 22nd 1953  
Gay Cavalier P1046 Taylor (Chertsey)   January 23rd 1953  
Gay Centurion P1047 Thorneycroft (Hampton)   September 3rd 1952  
Gay Charger P1048 Morgan Giles (Teignmouth)   January 12th 1953  
Gay Charioteer P1049 Morgan Giles Teignmouth)   June 12th 1953 1954
Gay Dragoon P1050 Taylor (Chertsey)   Janaury 28th 1953  
Gay Fencer P1051 McGruer & Co Ltd (Clynder)   February 18th 1953  
Gay Forester P1052 McGruer & Co Ltd (Clynder)   March 23rd 1954  

Craft Histories

Craft History
Gay Archer May 18th 1953 Gay Archer suffered slight damage in Aarhus Harbor, Denmark when the fast patrol boat she was moored alongside suffered fire and explosions.
Gay Charioteer Gay Charioteer was converted into a high speed target towing vessel in 1959 and based at Devonport. In 1964 she entered reserve and was sold in 1972.
Gay Dragoon Gray Dragoon starred in the film the Ship That Died of Shame, based on the book by Nicholas Montserrat.
Gay Fencer Used as a target vessel and sunk off Portland on April 10th 1968.

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© Written and researched by Jeremy Olver. First uploaded February 19th 2001. Updated February 25th 2001. Disclaimer.