World War II motorboats saved for posterity

MGB 81, which took part in D-Day, and HSL 102, which rescued downed airmen, to go on display in Portsmouth

Two historic motorboats that saw active duty during the Second World War have been saved for the nation thanks to a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).

MGB 81, which took part in the landings at Omaha Beach on 6 June 1944, and HSL 102, which operated out of Calshot and rescued downed airmen, will now go on display at Gunwharf Quays Marina in Portsmouth.

They have been purchased by the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust thanks to the £580,000 NHMF grant and funds from other sources, including private donors and the Coastal Forces Trust.  

Lt James Shadbolt MBE, a veteran of the Royal Navy’s 8th Motor Gunboat Flotilla, said, “I’m delighted these two motorboats will now be safeguarded. Organisations like NHMF and other generous donors play such a vital role in protecting our precious heritage and those of us who particularly cherish these boats are very grateful.

“It’s wonderful to know that future generations will be able to experience first-hand these extremely exciting machines just as we did as young men during the war.”