Saturday, 8 June 2013


So apology's for the delays and absence of posting. I've been exceptionally busy over the last couple of weeks, to the extent that I've barely even had time to drop the odd comment over at Think Defence, let alone write out a full blown blog post here.

But I wanted to tell you about something interesting I saw today, down in Brightlingsea. There was some boat show/regatta/thing going on. Having spotted some exceptionally fine looking Rolls Royce's parked up near the harbour I went down to investigate. And popping round the corner to the hard itself, I noticed something odd moored at the end of the jetty.

It turned out to be MTB-102, a British Motor Torpedo Boat dating back from the second world war. Sadly I didn't have a camera on me so I have no pictures of my own, but I can assure you it was a fine sight.

MTB-102 is famous largely for the variety of distinguished guests it has hosted, though it also lays a claim to being the fastest boat to have served in the Royal Navy during world war two (48 knots). 

During Operation Dynamo (the evacuation of allied forces from the beaches at Dunkirk), MTB-102 found itself serving in the unlikely role of flagship to Rear Admiral Sir Frederic Wake-Walker, after his destroyer HMS Keith was sunk by air attack. MTB-102 was also the ship used by Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower to review the D-Day landing fleet in 1944, quite appropriate given that the anniversary of D-Day occurred just the other day.

MTB-102 also found fame later in the 1976 film The Eagle Has Landed, starring Michael Cain. It was also the only surviving ship from world war two to take an active part in the Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

The ship is now maintained by a specialist trust and I had the great pleasure to meet two of her modern crew, including Richard Basey who is head of the trust. 

It's amazing just how long she is, though you can see just by looking from the outside that she's not exactly the widest of vessels. Built from a combination of Honduran Mahogany and Canadian Elm, she felt robust to the touch, and the externally mounted torpedo tubes give a truly menacing and war-like edge to what would otherwise be a sleek pleasure cruiser.

A fine vessel indeed, I've changed the background in her honour. You can also find out more about MTB-102 by visiting their website;

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