Launched in 1941 as Harbour Defence Motor Launch build number 85, she was given the pennant number ML 1085, and assigned to the 190th Motor Launch flotilla at Scapa Flow.
With the advent of plans for Operation Overlord and the Normandy Landings she was reassigned to the 150th flotilla on the South Coast. In the lead up to Operation Neptune and the seaborne invasion of D-Day she conducted mine sweeping duties for the landing beaches, and the during and post the D-Day invasion itself she performed escort and patrol duties along the sea channels marked out in the English Channel leading to the landing zones in Normandy.
She remained in this role until the end of hostilities in Europe, and was then reassigned to duties in Scotland. After the war she was re-designated as Survey Motor Launch 4, performing Survey duties, until re-designated again as SML 342. She served in this role as a Survey Vessel until 1959, when it was decided to pay all bar two of the remaining HDML’s off, a move which saw her never achieve an official HMS name as those two did, serving into the Sixties!
Following her decommissioning ML1085 was officially named Pembroke Shearwater, and served as a ferry for several years in the Pembroke area, she was then purchased and remained as Etive Shearwater after Loch Etive, and sailed as a ferry from Arisaig to Muck Rum Canna and Eigg Islands off the West coast of Scotland for many years until retired for private use.
She was largely converted to houseboat use, although retaining much of her original fabric to her hull and ferry time chart house. She was saved from an uncertain fate, and preserved on Loch Ness, being maintained on an “as is” basis, being painted etc as required. Through subsequent owners her original engines were removed. The facility to preserve the ship was not available at this time.
Now the Vessel herself has been taken on to be preserved and returned to her wartime appearance, but also sympathetically maintaining what remains of her history serving as a ferry. The aim is to provide a living memory of the service she gave during WW2 and to honour those who served on her and her kind in those days which were less fortunate than those we live in today.
ML1085 1941 Onwards…