The Allen Gardiner was built in 1942 by the Miami Shipbuilding Corporation at Miami in Florida USA. She is 63 feet long, and so this design became known as the Miami 63. She is one of twenty identical boats ordered by the South African Air Force during World War II. These boats were used as air/sea rescue launches and became commonly known as “crash boats”. They were deployed in pairs around the South African coast, and they were responsible for saving the lives of over 600 survivors from the 153 ships sunk by German U-boats and surface craft off that coast during the war.
Lady Florence is an ex-Admiralty motor fishing vessel (MFV), one of over 1000 built during World War II as supply boats. She is 50 ft long, 16ft 6′ in beam, draws 6ft of water and weighs 35 tons net, 54 gross. She is a registered British Ship, Official Number 361575 and has an Ensign Permit to wear the red ensign of Her Majesty as defaced with the badge of the National Historic ships.