The WWII Anti-Submarine Boat restored in Flintshire to its wartime condition for D-Day commemorations
A rare WWII Anti-Submarine Boat which has been painstakingly restored in a lock-up at Hawarden Airfield is taking part in the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorations this week.
Motor Anti-Submarine Boat 27, was built as a gunboat in 1941 by the British Powerboat Company and is the only one of its kind in a seaworthy condition.
The boat fellow coastal defence veteran vessels earlier this week in its first cross-channel journey to Normandy since the war to mark the D-Day commemorations.
We’re pleased to report #MASB27 arrived in Normandy safe and sound on her first voyage across the Channel since 1944! She looked spectacular on the water coming out of Portsmouth in convoy with the other Coastal Forces Boats… #DDay75 pic.twitter.com/D2hMFHDUqS
— D-Day Revisited (@DDayRevisited) June 3, 2019
On the early morning of D-Day – 6th June 1944. , research indicates that the boat was part of the Coastal Forces squadron engaged in support of the US 1st Division in its assault on Omaha Beach.
After the beachhead was secured and with troops moving inland, MASB 27 remained in that area using its ASDIC – an early form of sonar used to detect submarines – to direct construction of ‘Mulberry A’ an artificial harbour established off Omaha.
[The crew of MASB 27 in Falmouth 1943 – Photo: d-dayrevisited.co.uk]
MASB 27 was commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1941 and saw active service in air-sea rescue duties, mainly off the coasts of Devon and Cornwall.
It also played a part in clandestine operations between Falmouth and Brittany dropping agents in German-occupied Europe.
The vessel was also used to rescue RAF personnel smuggled to the coast by the French resistance.
Following the end of the war, MASB 27 was converted to a houseboat for private use on the Sussex coast.
Early in the 1980s it was sold to a Russian powerboat enthusiast and stripped of its superstructure for conversion to a motor yacht.
[MASB 27 being moved from Hamble in Hampshire to Watchet in Somerset in 2013 – Photo: d-dayrevisited.co.uk]
It was later reconverted into a houseboat before being sold for restoration in 2012, MASB 27 was sold onto D-Day Revisited – a charity based at Hawarden Airfield.
The Anti-Submarine Boat required new decks, original design wheelhouse, stern gear, engines, artillery and partial refit below decks and a three-year restoration project got underway.
Using historic MoD plans and 1940s photographs MASB 27 the £400,000 restoration project was completed before re-launch in its wartime condition.
[GLS Coatings Ltd. applying a PU filler on joints between planks – Facebook.com/DDayRevisitedOfficial]
Under its own power, MASB 27 returned to sea for the first time in 74 years.
Motor Anti-Submarine Boat 27 embarked on its first voyage across the Channel since 1944 on Monday in convoy with the other coastal forces boats.
D-Day veterans were on board yesterday during a ceremony at Pegasus Bridge in France, the first site liberated by the allies on 6 June 1944.
[Wheelhouse from the forward deck – at Hawarden Airport – Facebook.com/DDayRevisitedOfficial]
D-Day Revisited’ was formed in 2008 to help British Normandy veterans return to the landing grounds.
Each year it takes over 40 veterans to visit the beaches and drop zones along the Normandy coast for celebration and commemoration.
You can read more about MASB 27 here: d-dayrevisited.co.uk/projects/masb-27-restoration/
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