Thursday, 23 July 2015

WWII British Motor Torpedo Boat - Exeter Canal


Today, Carolyn and I thought we would check out our new cycle path that runs around the River Exe estuary from Exmouth to Dawlish, though we intended stopping at Starcross and getting the ferry back across to home. The link below gives more information about this fantastic route that now boasts purpose built paths for cyclists with great views of the Exe estuary and the associated wild life.

http://adventure-eyes.com/places/biking/the-exe-trail-a-26mile-cycle-route-in-devon/


After crossing the river just below Exeter we followed the canal out towards Exminster. As we came around the bend in the water I saw this museum piece on the opposite bank. I'm not an expert on WWII British MTB's but the hull's distinctive shape would suggest this to be a Fairmile boat as shown in the photo above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmile_D_motor_torpedo_boat


It's great to see a craft like this in local waters as the English Channel was the front line for these coastal forces with significant groups of boats operating from places like Plymouth and Dartmouth in their battles with German E boats operating out of Cherbourg. Indeed it was from the French harbour that the German boats responsible for the attack on the US landing ships off Slapton Sands during Operation Tiger came out from and caused such devastating losses pre D-Day.

Next up 2/96e Ligne

5 comments:

  1. Fascinating find, thanks for sharing the photos and links.

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    1. Pleasure, I love seeing history in the most surprising places. Glad you liked it Matt.

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  2. Looks like a Vosper 73 minus the guns and torpedo rails to me. Morgan Giles Yard in Teignmouth made Vospers and various rescue launches for the Admiralty throughout the war. You can still see the massive mooring buoys at the Teignmouth end of Shaldon bridge on the up river side of the bridge.

    Vince

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    1. Hi Vince, yes that's a distinct possibility, rather like that old Airfix kit I had years ago.
      I know this is not the first time I have seen this boat, and I see others have posted pictures on the net, so it looks like it might be a bit of a long term project. It would be great to see this old lady kitted out in all her splendour.

      I didn't know Vosper's were built in Teignmouth. I always remember seeing the modern varieties being built in Southampton when I worked down there in the 80's, in the old days when we had a navy!

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    2. Yeah Fairmile D MTBs tended to be well over 100 feet long (115 or 120 from memory), whereas Vospers made 70 & 73 foot MTBs. I don't think Morgan Giles in Teignmouth could handle anything over about 75 or 80 feet, so the Vospers were the obvious choice for them to make under licence.

      The luftwaffe made several attempts to hit the yard and the MTBs moored by the bridge, but I don't think they hit anything. They did lose a JU 88 to bofors 40mm in the process though.

      They also attacked the railway marshalling yard (now gone). You can still see the 20mm cannon shell holes in the cast iron bridge by the station, courtesy of an FW 190.

      Vince

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