D-Day veteran and former harbour defence ship is floating for the first time in four years

A D-Day veteran and former harbour defence ship, HMS Medusa, returned to the water yesterday for the first time in four years following an extensive restoration at Hythe in Southampton Water.

Following the launch, the 72ft ship motored under her own steam to nearby Saxon Wharf on the Itchen for fitting out to be completed.

Much of the restoration work has been carried out by shipwirghts and apprentices from the Maritime Workshop charity, thanks in part to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Medusa’s return to the water follows hot on the heels of news that two other wartime motorboats, MGB 81 and HSL 102, have been saved for the nation.

A ceremony was held at Saxon Wharf to thank all those who had a part in the restoration, especially the Hampshire Fire Brigade, which saved the ship in 2007 when a fire broke out in the shipyard.

HMS MedusaHMS Medusa was laid down as HDML (Harbour Defence Motor Launch) 1387 in 1943 at Poole in Dorset. She was powered by twin diesels, and armed with a 3-pounder gun, two machine guns and six depth charges.

She was initially assigned as a convoy escort in the Western Approaches, but went on to play a role in the D-Day landings as a navigational leader at Omaha Beach.

She later crossed to the Netherlands where she was used to accept the surrender of the German forces defending the town of IJmuiden.

For more information, see HMS Medusa‘s website.

Photos: Ken Endean