Posted: Thu 6th Jun 2019

The WWII Anti-Submarine Boat restored in Flintshire to its wartime condition for D-Day commemorations

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 6th, 2019

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. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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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. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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[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. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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[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.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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[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. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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[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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