Restoration of the World War II motor launch Medusa has suffered a major blow after fire gutted the boatyard where the work was being carried out.

Restoration of the World War II motor launch Medusa has suffered a major blow after fire gutted the boatyard where the work was being carried out. The blaze at Hythe Ship Yard on Tuesday destroyed the workshop and engineering shed and severely damaged Medusa’s original main engines which had been removed from her for refurbishment.

Other machinery and irreplaceable artefacts were destroyed, but Medusa herself was in a separate temporary shelter and survived unharmed. Medusa was built at Poole in 1944 as a 72ft Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML) and is one of only 58 vessels in the Core Collection of UK Historic Ships.

She has been undergoing restoration at the yard for 18 months, funded by a £1 million Heritage Lottery Grant. Mike Boyce, manager of the yard and Medusa’s skipper for 40 years, said, “We all feel gutted as so much work has been done on the project.”