Tracing my Dad's service in RAF ASR

By Steve Hale

I am not a historian. But I am proud that my Dad (94 now) served on several RAF Air Sea Rescue launches in WW2. He can remember HSLs 127, 144, 149, 156, 178 all around the North Sea and English Channel. I am trying to piece together more of his service record. In particular he recalls rescuing the complete crew of a downed Flying Fortress from the North Sea. Anyone out there able to help me please?   Thank you.

This page was added by Steve Hale on 17/03/2017.
Comments about this page

My father was on the 122, 142, + other air sea rescue launches in WW2.

By James Malcolm Fenn
On 12/07/2017

My father was coxswain on HSL 142 at some point during the war, his name was Charlie  Bullock. I have a photo of him and the crew on 142, but don't know what year that was. I understand that part of 142 is at Tangmere Museum.

By Michael Bullock
On 08/01/2018

Hi Steve

I suggest a good starting point is getting in touch with the ASR MCS Club, which is quite active. I got a lot of help from them rergarding my own father's wartime service.

And there is an excellent ASR/MCS section at the Flixton Aviation Museum, which I highly recommend visiting.

Yes I think the stern section was all that was saved from 142, there had been hopes to save the whole craft at one point.

I am in touch with the sons of crew who served on 122 and 127. My father might I think have served on 156. He was definitely on 123 out of Dover (sunk during the Dieppe raid alongside - literally - 122).

By Peter Bates
On 21/09/2018

My grandad John Allen was on 142 

any photos of the crew welcome! I don’t know what year he was in. 

By Eleanor Allen
On 27/02/2019

Fascinating reading all threads ref. HSL's and crew. My Grandad Steve Bond (he sadly passed away in 2009 aged 92) was on 123 and I have photos of crew on deck. Happy to scan and relay photos where you may recognise members of the crew. I'm researching Grandad's time during his time in the RAF and would be interested if anyone can assist.

Jeff Hill


By Jeff Hill
On 17/03/2019

Peter, I am a volunteer with Perth Modern School's history centre in Perth, Western Australia, and I am researching the life of John Hill, one of our former students who joined the RAF and lost his life as the Skipper of HSL 122 during the Dieppe raid on 19 August 1942. Your father did his best to save John and his crew.  In case you have not come across it, there is an article at http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/jubillee-dieppe-raid-and-raf-high-speed-launches.44632/ that describes the part played by your father on that dreadful day. 


Bob Johnson

By Bob Johnson
On 14/11/2019

Sorry Peter,

I sent the wrong link - it has now been corrected please try again.


By Bob Johnson
On 15/11/2019

My father was coxswain fl sgt H. G. Piper of HSL 144 and I would like info or history of the boat. I believe it was used in the film 'for those in Peril On the Sea'. He was based in Tenby around D day and a lot of time in Calshot late 1930s, he joined around 1931. 

By Terry Piper
On 23/01/2020

My father Len Peters was based at Newhaven as a gunner on the Air Sea Rescue craft.

By Len Peters
On 15/05/2020

My dad John P Clegg served on HSL 127 in the North Sea.

By Joseph Clegg
On 22/10/2020

A very belated message to Bob Johnson: Very interested to hear that you are researching the skipper of 122, J R Hill. I would love to hear more if that's possible.

By Peter Bates
On 26/07/2022

Does anyone know how I can find out about an ASR crew member that would have been in Newhaven 1943/44. I am trying to trace my father, I have seen the surname Smith in a photo, but can't find any first names. Either James or Dougald (Douglas). Any help would be most welcome.

By Graham Ware
On 16/10/2022

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.