Atta Boy

The backbone of the Navy
Atta Boy

Built in 1915 by J W Brooke as MB 436, ATTA BOY was one of a small batch of 30ft fast motor launches issued to certain light cruisers. She was carried by H.M.S. ROYALIST which took part in the battle of Jutland. ATTA BOY is believed to be the last small naval motor launch left from the battle.

ATTA BOY, originally known simply as MB 436, was commissioned by the Admiralty from J. W. Brooke & Co, Ltd. of Oulton Broad, Suffolk. The order was placed on 27 January 1915 under Admiralty Order CP75332/14 which covered a number of similar craft. MB436 was dispatched on 10 August 1915 to H.M.S. CALLIOPE to serve as a fast motor launch or pinnace. Later the same year she was transferred to H.M.S. ROYALIST, which had been launched on 14 January 1915.

H.M.S. ROYALIST was an Arethusa-class light cruiser.  In March 1915 she joined the 4th Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet. It was in that role that she took part in the Battle of Jutland the following year, forming part of the screen that protected the battle squadrons as they steamed south towards the battle. She then took part in the destroyer fight at 7.15-7.30 pm on 31 May, as her squadron was the only light cruiser squadron to have kept in its battle position. Later on she launched a torpedo at German capital ships, identified as either the pre-Dreadnought battleships or the battlecruisers. 

Later that year, in August,  Admiral Jellicoe was absent from the Grand Fleet, recovering from an illness in southern Scotland. H.M.S. ROYALIST was the cruiser chosen to wait for him at Dundee, in case the German fleet came out. On 18 August the Germans did indeed make a sortie, and the Grand Fleet put to sea without Jellicoe. He made his way to H.M..S ROYALIST, and was taken to H.M.S. IRON DUKE, to take over command of the fleet. For this ship-to-ship transfer it is believed that Jellicoe used MB436. 

In February 1917 H.M.S. ROYALIST converted to carry 74 mines and joined the 1st Light Cruiser squadron. She was the most prolific minelayer of her class, laying 1,183 mines in 16 trips. Late in the war ROYALIST was significantly modified, gaining twin 3-inch anti-aircraft guns, a kite balloon and having her two rear 4-inch guns replaced with one 6-inch gun. 

H.M.S. ROYALIST spent four months in the Baltic (January-April 1919), then spend the rest of the year with the 2nd light cruiser squadron at Harwich. In January 1920 she joined the Portsmouth reserve.

 Where is she now?

 ATTA BOY is kept on the Thames.

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