James Saumarez' story about the Picket Boats (South West Soundings 81) is not apocryphal.
I was serving in Duke of York as a Mid' in 1947 and drove one of the two that she had on board. They were stowed abreast between the funnels and handled by cranes to port and starboard.
There were four KG V class battleships (King George V, Duke of York, Anson, Howe - the Prince of Wales had been sunk by the Japanese). As they all had two Picket Boats there should therefore, barring accidents, have been eight.
Due to the elevated steering position and round bilges they had a strong tendency to roll. This meant that one needed to approach a gangway with some delicacy in order to avoid catching the boat's own wake.
The crew was usually one Mid', a Leading Hand coxswain, stoker mechanic, and two seamen as bow and sternsheetsman. Senior officers were carried in the forward "cabin", and junior officers aft.
We were at anchor off Madeira when the weather deteriorated badly and so had to recall all libertymen. On coming alongside the starboard gangway all the senior officers disembarked from forward, and the juniors started to walk forward along the port side deck until the boat gave a violent roll and a Canadian Mid' got his head caught between the superstructure and the heavy teak handrail of the gangway, cracking his jaw.
After that the boats came up astern and secured to the port and starboard boat booms and one boarded the ship via the rope ladder suspended from the boom!
From Peter Foston
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