Spitfire of the Seas: Motor Gun Boats

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by CL1, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  2. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member


    Thanks for posting the link, most certainly, 'Spitfire of the Seas'
    Eskil likes this.
  3. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron


    Fascinating site. Thanks for posting.
    For a group who were almost constantly in action the MTB/MGB crews never got the recognition they deserved.
  4. KevinC

    KevinC Slightly wierd

    The History Channel had a fascinating program recently of MTB vs E-Boats. Going out to sea in those needed a big set of b__ls.
  5. cally

    cally Picture Prince.

    Just for illustrative purposes here is a picture of an MGB followed by a couple of MTBs.

    Attached Files:

  6. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    I posted this link before but it's appropriate to the thread:

    They don't make em like that anymore!

    Captain Thomas George Fuller (1909-1994) was a Canadian naval officer who earned renown in the Second World War for his actions as a member of the Coastal Forces.

    Born in Ottawa, he was a 32-year-old contractor when he joined the RCN in 1939. He was seconded to the British Navy where he commanded flotillas of motor torpedo boats in the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

    He was awarded the DSC for an action off Dover on 12 May 1942 before being transferred to Alexandria and HMS Mosquito in 1943. While there he won a bar to his DSC for actions in the Aegean.

    In 1944 he took command of the 61st MGB Flotilla, eight torpedo gunboats, based on Vis Island, Yugoslavia. It was here, while conducting raids on Axis shipping to provide supplies to Tito's partisans, that he earned a second bar to his DSC and a Mention in Dispatches, as well as the nickname The Pirate of the Adriatic. He was known as the Pirate of the Adriatic because he carried commandos and captured dozens of ships intact carrying useful cargo such as tons of goulash and Danish Butter. For example, he sank or captured 25 ships in ten days. He had 105 firefights at sea as well as 30 actions in which he didn't fire a shot. Nevertheless, he decommissioned 13 boats during his war service; the ships were no longer serviceable and were stripped for parts.

    After being imprisoned in Greece, he escaped in the German admiral’s barge.

    After the war he commanded HMCS Naden and HMCS Carleton before retiring in 1952

    Pirate of the Adriatic

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  8. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    Along with being expelled from Eton for selling pornography Patrick Macnee (John Steed) was an officer in MTBs during the war. He said he wouldn’t have guns in the Avengers as he’d had quite enough of them in the war.
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  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

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  10. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Always liked the film 'The Sea shall not have them' filmed off Felixstowe. Remember all the buildings on what is now Felixstowe container terminal. The base, HMS Beehive, closed july 1945, replaced with Seaplanes. The site closed I think in 1962, though the MOD land was a supposedly no go area until the seventies, we used to break through the fence to go fishing on the beach near the 'Butts'. the army firing range next to Landguard fort, now a nature reserve.
    Among those that served at Beehive, were Sir Frank Whittle as a mechanic on the boats.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    Found this picture on the Facebook site. Anyone have any more info on the type these two are? Very nice, especially 1502.

  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

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  13. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    Just found this thread! I'm the author of the Spitfires of the Sea website and the aforementioned twatter account. I'm glad you like it and can only apologise that it's so bare. It's very much a sideline for me and finding time to create content is difficult, but I'll keep plugging away slowly.

    The tow boats above are RAF Seaplane Tender 1502 and High Speed Launch 102, both built by the British Power Boat Company in Hythe and now owned by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (Portsmouth Historic Dockyard). 1502 was, as the name implies, a seaplane tender and was built during the war. 102 was one of the very first purpose built high speed rescue boats and of the type that the RAF had all to few of during the Battle of Britain.She was launched in 1937.
  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Steve welcome to the forum excellent website and further information thank you

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  15. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    Patrick Macnee served in the 1st MTB Flotilla. He was 1st officer (I think, off the top of my head) on MTB 434. A sister vessel in the flotilla was MTB 416, which was actually the redesignated MGB 81, today also preserved in Portsmouth. Macnee will almost certainly have visited 81's wardroom a couple of times.
    CL1 likes this.
  16. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    Like all the aforementioned boats, HSL 2561 was another British Power Boat. She still survives today as a houseboat on Hayling Island.
  17. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Maybe a silly question, but, is High speed launch 102 and MTB 102, totally different boats? Attached MTB 102 in Ipswich Dock May 2018 for the Dunkirk little ships memorial service.

    Attached Files:

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  18. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    Not a silly question at all - confusion between the two is rife, including their service. Yes, different boats, although launched at similar times.

    RAF HSL 102 was a British Power Boat Company 64 foot boat, launched in 1937. She carried no armament, save some MGs in wartime, was crewed and operated by the RAF and was used for air sea rescue. She was the third of the 100 class, hence 102.

    MTB 102 was a 68 foot private venture built by Vosper and also launched in 1937. She was taken on by the Admiralty as an experimental boat, the designations of which began with 100. She was also the third such boat and so became MTB 102. She was armed with 2 torpedoes, but by the outbreak of the war had been relegated to training duties.

    MTB 102 wen to Dunkirk though, and served as the Admirals boat for a while. HSL 102 was in Scotland, so unable to assist. However, another boat of the same class, HSL 120 was at Dunkirk. Quite often you'll see in reports about HSL 102 that she served there - she didn't.

    Both boats survive today, so the confusion goes on!
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