Can anyone help with the history of AH Comben’s Nosila, built by HB Hornby?



(Top) Nosila, (above) Nosila stern, Gadfly II in the mid-ground

This seems to be a week for folks appealing for information – but that’s just fine with us here at Towers.

In fact, behind the scenes we seem to be making progress in discovering more of the story of Gadfly II and I hope to be able to report on that shortly. In the mean time, I’ve received the following message from Kyle Abingdon, who is working in the yard alongside with Simon Papendick.

‘Hello Gavin,

‘I too am restoring a wooden boat at the same yard as Simon. Nosila is a carvel-built Bermudan cutter, of 35 x 9.6 x 4.4ft. She was designed by AH Comben and built by HB Hornby in Wallasey in 1946.

‘The question I have is this: does anybody else have a Comben or Hornby boat – for if so I would love to see it. Apparently HB Hornby built lifeboats during the WW2, and as Nosila is very heavily built this may make sense.

‘But my reasearch on both these men and their boats has revealed only one other boat, Schalime II, which was built in 1939 and is listed in the National Historic Ships Register at .

‘I enclose some pictures. The wheelhouse was added in the 1990s.



Thanks Kyle! If anyone knows any more about this boat, or indeed any Hornby boat, please let us know through the Comment link below, or email me at Also if you happen to know more about Schalime II, there’s an appeal for information on the NHSR page too.

PS Kyle reports today (Feb 4th) that he’s discovered that Wirral Council has some archive material about the Hornby company.

Famous names at the 2008 Great River Race

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Kyle and friends pass by HMS Belfast in the Cutty Sark’s jolly boat –
as usual, click on the photo for a much larger image

The Victory’s cutter

Kyle Abingdon, who works on the Cutty Sark has sent me these photos with the following note. It’s great to see that while the old lady is undergoing some serious surgery, her jolly boat is still getting some use.

‘Hello there.

‘Great Site. I pass by a lot. Its right up on the top of my favorites list – I am always pleased to find lovely pictures and boats.

‘I thought you or somebody out there may like to see some half decent pictures of me and my team rowing in the Cutty Sark’s jolly boat, and also of the HMS Victory’s cutter during this years Great River Race just gone.

‘It was a great day out with lots of lovely mostly traditional boats.

‘All the best.

‘Kyle Abingdon’

Many, many thanks for your kind comments and for your pictures Kyle! It looks like a great day out.