ID: TAC / Tony Millatt

TitleMotor Launch TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE at West Mersea
AbstractOpposite the bottom of Victory Road in West Mersea is an elegant twin screw wooden motor launch. She is out of the water and has clearly seen better days. Some planks are missing, there are no engines. She has been abandoned here for several years, and the owners of the land would probably give her away to someone who cared.


March 2024

She was built as the Royal Army Service Corps patrol boat GUMMIDGE in 1945 by Frank Curtis and Pape Bros Ltd, Looe, Cornwall. Much of her history is not known, but in 2021 a Log Book from TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE was spotted for sale on a memorabilia stall in St Peter Port Guernsey by Susan Banfield. With a family madness for all things nautical, she could not resist buying it, and then finding the 2020 photographs of TACUANE on the Mersea Museum website, she kindly sent it to us.

The Log covers the period from her initial trip in November 1957 from Southampton to Lowestoft, to a final trip to Deauville and back to Lowestoft in 1962. In between, there are trips to Oulton Broad and the Broads, but extensive trips to the Continent - to Ostend, Veere, Doordrecht, and other Dutch towns; Calais and Boulongne, Le Havre and Paris. The owners were Jack and Patrick Edge from West Caister, Norfolk, but those on board varied, including Revd. John Markham who would conduct prayers on a Sunday morning.
TACUANE was presumably sold by the Edge family in 1962.
Tucked in the back of the Log Book is the Radio Licence for TACUANE callsign MFIF, and a sheet of General Particulars for 50-ft General Service Launch (2nd Series).

TACUANE was at Diglis Basin at Worcester in August 1995, for sale June 1999, new owner June 2000, and moved to West Mersea sometime between 2000 and August 2006. [Philip Simons]

She is still at in West Mersea in March 2024 ...

AuthorTony Millatt
SourceMersea Museum
IDTAC
Related Images:
 Twin screw wooden motor launch at West Mersea, on the bank at Victory Dock. Thought to be the ex RASC 51 ½ft Dickens Class General Service Launch TACUANE, which was almost certainly GUMMIDGE built by Frank Curtis, Looe in 1945.
 She was at Diglis Basin at Worcester in 8/95, for sale 6/99, new owner 6/00, and moved to West Mersea sometime between 2000 and 8/06. [Philip Simons]
</p><p>
After WW2, GUMMIDGE spent some time at Sheerness, and Maurice Bright was part of her crew:
 The first vessel at Sheerness, in which I crewed. 
 
She was often employed up North with HMS Bleasdale on torpedo trials.
 
Memories of going to Shoeburyness at night, with Thames Sailing Barges anchored off the Essex Shore waiting the tide, and on our return, so many navigation lights displayed on the London River. [Email 13Nov2020]
</p>
<p>September 1957 she was disposed of to Messrs Liver Cars, Liverpool.  SHP_TAC_001
ImageID:   SHP_TAC_001
Title: Twin screw wooden motor launch at West Mersea, on the bank at Victory Dock. Thought to be the ex RASC 51 ½ft Dickens Class General Service Launch TACUANE, which was almost certainly GUMMIDGE built by Frank Curtis, Looe in 1945.
She was at Diglis Basin at Worcester in 8/95, for sale 6/99, new owner 6/00, and moved to West Mersea sometime between 2000 and 8/06. [Philip Simons]

After WW2, GUMMIDGE spent some time at Sheerness, and Maurice Bright was part of her crew:
The first vessel at Sheerness, in which I crewed.
She was often employed up North with HMS Bleasdale on torpedo trials.
Memories of going to Shoeburyness at night, with Thames Sailing Barges anchored off the Essex Shore waiting the tide, and on our return, so many navigation lights displayed on the London River. [Email 13Nov2020]

September 1957 she was disposed of to Messrs Liver Cars, Liverpool.

Date:11 November 2020
Source:Mersea Museum / Tony Millatt
 Twin screw wooden motor launch at West Mersea, on the bank at Victory Dock, West Mersea. Thought to be the ex RASC 51 ½ft Dickens Class GSL TACUANE, which was almost certainly GUMMIDGE built by Frank Curtis, Looe in 1945 [Philip Simons]  SHP_TAC_004
ImageID:   SHP_TAC_004
Title: Twin screw wooden motor launch at West Mersea, on the bank at Victory Dock, West Mersea. Thought to be the ex RASC 51 ½ft Dickens Class GSL TACUANE, which was almost certainly GUMMIDGE built by Frank Curtis, Looe in 1945 [Philip Simons]
Date:11 November 2020
Source:Mersea Museum / Tony Millatt
 Twin screw wooden motor launch at West Mersea, on the bank at Victory Dock, West Mersea. Thought to be the ex RASC 51 ½ft Dickens Class GSL TACUANE, which was almost certainly GUMMIDGE built by Frank Curtis, Looe in 1945 [Philip Simons]  SHP_TAC_013
ImageID:   SHP_TAC_013
Title: Twin screw wooden motor launch at West Mersea, on the bank at Victory Dock, West Mersea. Thought to be the ex RASC 51 ½ft Dickens Class GSL TACUANE, which was almost certainly GUMMIDGE built by Frank Curtis, Looe in 1945 [Philip Simons]
Date:24 March 2024
Source:Mersea Museum / Tony Millatt
 Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.
</p><p>TACUANE of Lowestoft
 Owned by Jack Edge and Patrick Edge of Brown Ridge, West Caister, Yarmouth, Norfolk.
 Clubs Royal Norfolk and Suffolk, Royal Naval Sailing Association RNSA, Cruising Association  TAC_LOG_004
ImageID:   TAC_LOG_004
Title: Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.

TACUANE of Lowestoft
Owned by Jack Edge and Patrick Edge of Brown Ridge, West Caister, Yarmouth, Norfolk.
Clubs Royal Norfolk and Suffolk, Royal Naval Sailing Association RNSA, Cruising Association

Date:October 1957
Source:Mersea Museum / Susan Banfield
 Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.
</p><p>Purchased October 1957 (another source gives the name of the purchaser as Messrs Liver Cars, Liverpool)
 Official No. 187030
 Built by Frank Curtis & Pape Bros, Looe. 1945
 Engines: Ailsa Craig Ricardo [2], installed 1945.
 Built for RASC, named GUMMIDGE.
</p>  TAC_LOG_006
ImageID:   TAC_LOG_006
Title: Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.

Purchased October 1957 (another source gives the name of the purchaser as Messrs Liver Cars, Liverpool)
Official No. 187030
Built by Frank Curtis & Pape Bros, Looe. 1945
Engines: Ailsa Craig Ricardo [2], installed 1945.
Built for RASC, named GUMMIDGE.

Date:October 1957
Source:Mersea Museum / Susan Banfield
 Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.
 First page of log
</p><p>Southampton to Lowestoft. Crew John Markham, Ken Temple, Jack Rummer</p>
<p>[Arrived Yacht Basin, Lowestoft 28 November 1957.  TAC_LOG_010
ImageID:   TAC_LOG_010
Title: Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.
First page of log

Southampton to Lowestoft. Crew John Markham, Ken Temple, Jack Rummer

[Arrived Yacht Basin, Lowestoft 28 November 1957.

Date:27 November 1957
Source:Mersea Museum / Susan Banfield
 Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.
 Last page of Log
</p><p>Deauville to Lowestoft. 
 Crew for voyage John Markham, Self [ Patrick Edge ], Walter. Passenger Ammique.  TAC_LOG_124
ImageID:   TAC_LOG_124
Title: Yacht TACUANE ex GUMMIDGE 187030 Log October 1957 to July 1962.
Last page of Log

Deauville to Lowestoft.
Crew for voyage John Markham, Self [ Patrick Edge ], Walter. Passenger Ammique.

Date:15 July 1962
Source:Mersea Museum / Susan Banfield