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MTB-71 - 60 FT VOSPER MOTOR TORPEDO BOAT

On 14 June 1943, MTB 71 was paid off by the RN and transferred to the War Department. She joined as a unit of 615 Water Transport Company, RASC whose HQ was at Portsmouth. There was a section at East Cowes where, along with MTB 72, her sister craft, MTB 71 was laid up under care and maintenance until early 1944. Together with MTB 72, she was brought over to the Gunwharf at Portsmouth, but due to shortages, and the fact that she was not in as good a condition as MTB 72, she was "cannibalised", in order to provide spares for her RASC sister craft. MTB 71 probably remained out of service until she was returned to the RN at HMS Hornet, Gosport, on 8 September 1944. The hulk was subsequently sold by the Director of Small Craft Disposals at Itchenor to Mr Lake of Chichester on 14 August 1945. She was acquired by Mr Cyril Pudney in 1947, renamed Wild Chorus, and moored at Birdham, on the Chichester Canal. Used as a house boat, some restoration was carried out, but Mr Pudney died in 1992 and MTB 71 was then acquired by Hampshire County Council, in conjunction with Mr Watson's "MTB 71 Group" Charitable Trust.


On the canal at Birdham.

Partially restored, MTB 71 was moved by road from Birdham to No. I Basin, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, on 30 June 1995. Although it was proposed to move her to Priddy's Hard, Gosport, in late 1995, for an extensive refit, MTB 71 remained in the naval base through to May 1996. She was later taken out of the water and put on a road trailer and stored in the Heritage Area of the base, just inside Victory Gate. In June 2001 Hampshire County Council placed MTB 71 in the care and maintenance of the BMPT. Subsequently MTB 71, along with MTB 331, was moved to the BMPT site and has since been substantially repaired and restored to a display condition. She is currently the subject of an ongoing restoration project as a static display exhibit.


AT PORTSMOUTH 1995

MTB 71 ON DISPLAY


AT BMPT 2001

Leaving the shed at Marchwood.
Clive Frampton and Peter Baillie attending. 28/04/05
Awaiting the crane and trailer to take her away to the IWM Duxford 28/04/05
MTB 71 arrives at the IWM Duxford facility, 29/04/2005
Pictures courtesy of M Garnett. IWM London.

On the 21st June 2005, a delegation consisting of our Chairman Charles du Cane, Ray Hubble and Richard Hellyer travelled to the Imperial War Museum Duxford. Representatives from Coastal Forces Heritage Trust also attended, and a plaque handing the boat to the IWM was exchanged. The boat is now the property of the IWM, and will have a long term and safe home, on view to the public at all times.

(Picutres courtesy of the IWM)

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