22 July 2023






2 mins

The third advert in the series featured Coastal Forces , follows a flotilla of small boats in action, destroying a hulk somewhere off the coast. The narrator describes the action as the MTBs and MGBs separate to carry out attacks on the hulk, which is left sinking whilst the officers break out the tobacco.

After the Second World War, the Royal Navy simplified boat designations both in design and identification. The prefixes MTB and MGB were abolished and replaced with P, for Fast Patrol Boat. Many of the new classes of boats produced in the late 1940s and 1950s were designed so that they could be equipped either as gun boats or torpedo boats — a trend that had begun with the 71ft 6in class of British Power Boats during the war.


In 1925, tobacco firm J. A. Pattreiouex Ltd. of Cheetham Hill, Manchester, introduced a new brand of filterless cigarette to their small range. Following the precedent set by brands such as Navy Cut (introduced by John Player & Sons in the 19th century), they chose to associate and market the cigarette with a naval theme. When launched, it was named Senior Service, after the well established nickname of the Royal Navy (it being the oldest service within the British Armed Forces).

The torpedo boats in the advert are clearly GAY class fast patrol boats, an interim model based on Vosper’s MTB 538 (designed during the war), produced while the navy waited for the new DARK class boats. Both GAY CARIBINEER and GAY CHARGER can be distinguished by their pennant numbers visible on their hulls (P 1045 and P 1048 respectively). Both were launched in January 1953, providing a handy terminus post quem for the filming of the advert.

The three gun boats are clearly ex-Fairmile D ‘Dog’ Boats. At least two of them can be identified by their pennant numbers, P 5031 and P 5036. P 5031 is the former MTB 758, built at Alex Robertson & Sons Ltd. yacht builders in Sandbank, Argyllshire. She was completed in October 1944 and served in the 52nd MTB Flotilla on the east coast until the end of the war. After redsignation as a fast patrol boat, she was eventually sold in June 1956, which provides a terminus ante quem for the advert’s filming. P 5036 is ex MTB 794, built by Herbert Woods in Great Yarmouth and completed on the 22nd December 1944. She served in the 68th MTB Flotilla from January 1945 to the war’s end.

Above image is of P 5036 taken at Malta in 1955 by my late Grandfather Anthony Grech.

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