Militaryboats CIC receives Transport Trust award!

Great piece about us in the Bridgwater Mercury following our recent award: see here

Gay Archer and ST437 return to Watchet

Following Torbay Council's dramatic U-turn we've had to leave Torquay. 


Kevin Mowat unfortunately decided (despite agreeing to it back February and March 2014) that it was against Harbour Byelaws to allow us to "sublet" the rest of the pontoon to USS Cyrene & Joval and any other historic boats; and that we could not bring MTB219 down to Torquay!


We therefore cannot afford to stay in Torquay's inner harbour as "the pontoon has the potential to bring an income of £22,000" to Torbay Council. He has now also threatened to 'arrest' the Militaryboats for none payment!


Unfortunately the journey to Torquay in 2014 and back to Watchet at the end of May 2015 has cost us a huge amount of money in fuel, time and other expenses - money that should have gone on restoring MTB219 and MASB 27. We will therefore be making a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman once we have the final costs of also moving Humorist.


A big thank you to our volunteers for crewing both ways  - we wouldn't have been able to do it without you!

MTB 219 is Ready to Launch!

MTB 219 in service circa 1941
MTB 219 in service circa 1941
MTB 219 Restoration January 2015 at Durleigh Displays, Bridgwater
MTB 219 Restoration January 2015 at Durleigh Displays, Bridgwater

On Saturday the 31st of January 2015 our 70ft Second World War Motor Torpedo Boat MTB219 will travel through Bridgwater on her way to be launched in Bridgwater Docks.

 

Following just over a year of restoration work MTB 219, the last one left of her type and veteran of the “Channel Dash” will be loaded onto the back of a lorry for a 2 mile journey through the town centre to make her way back to the water.

 

Miliaryboats CIC’s Paul Childs said: “I’m pleased she’s ready for display in Bridgwater Docks. It’s been a privilege to work on it, and it wouldn’t have happened without the contribution of all our volunteers and the corporate sponsorship we’ve received.”

 

However, we still need further funds to continue her restoration and to make her operational, so if you can please donate here !

The restoration of the one of- a-kind boat has been anything but straight- forward. It’s been an interesting journey for MTB 219.

 

Following her war service MTB219 was being used as a houseboat in Chelsea, but her hull was condemned two years ago and she had to be moved from the Thames. The boat was transported to Bridgwater where the ship’s hull and deck was carefully restored in a temporary ‘berth’ at Durleigh Displays on Symons Way.  We’ll be posting photos and videos soon!

 

We initially struggled to gain funding, but once Sedgemoor Council and Bridgwater Town Council awarded us grants, we were able to build on that to just over £16,000, with many thanks to National Historic Ships UK and the Transport Trust for their grants awards.

 

When it comes to World War II, most people know about the Battle of Britain, but hardly anyone has heard of Coastal Forces and the role they played in protecting the convoys. We hope to change that. MTB219 will be open so people can come and have a look around and we will also do passenger trips on her.

 

MTB219 is now ready for launch on Saturday, January 31, where she’ll then be restored to operational status – a fitting tribute to the veterans of Coastal Forces!

 

We’d like to thank our corporate sponsors: East Brothers Timber, Blake Joinery, MH Joinery, Ambersil and Avonmouth Paints for their contribution of materials.

 

Thanks are also due to Ruth Ivo, the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust, the British Military Powerboat Team, the Coastal Forces Veterans Association, the Bridgwater Sea Cadets and the local community for their generous donations and the support they have given.

 

We are also grateful to Kennet & Avon Canal and Rivers Trust for allowing MTB219 to berth in Bridgwater Docks.

 

 

Most of all we want to thank our Volunteers and the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and Durleigh Displays for the use of their yard during her ‘land’ restoration - without the support, time, skills and enthusiasm of our Volunteers and the Newman’s this project simply couldn’t have happened!

 

If you would like to attend the launch on the 31st January details can be downloaded here:

Launch Day Route and Timetable
Route + Day Plan.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document [480.4 KB]
Download

And some brief information about MTB219 can be downloaded here:

MTB 219 History
219 History.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document [113.0 KB]
Download

In World War II Germany swiftly advanced through Europe putting Britain’s coast within easy reach of the Axis Kreigsmarine. A crash building program of torpedo boats, gunboats, and motor launches was implemented and Coastal Forces was born – crewed by Royal Navy Volunteer Reservists (RNVR).

 

At the same time the RAF began using high speed launches for Air-Sea Rescue, and the Royal Army Service Corps needed boats for transport and target towing at coastal gunnery sites.

 

This is their story…