Family in Somerset restoring WWII boat for new museum
A family in Somerset are restoring a Second World War motor torpedo boat so that it can go on display in the future.
Restoration expert Paul Childs, his wife Rhian and his two sons Owen and Rhian, have restored three other ships in the past.
Mr Childs, who is from Bridgwater, runs Militaryboats.org and rasied £8,000 in order to buy the ship. He is now working, with his family, to restore the hull in Wylds Road before it joins the other restored ships in Watchet.
He is hoping to open a floating museum in Watchet, which will feature five of the country’s most prized maritime possessions.
The current boat he is working on is a motor torpedo boat, that was launched in July 1941. During its deployment, the boat managed to sink two German destroyers and also rescued a number of downed Fairy Swordfish aircrew.
It is actually the only surviving vessel of its class and for the past 50 years it has been used as a houseboat in Chelsea.
When speaking to the Bridgwater Mercury, Mr Childs said: “You only get one chance to do something like this in your lifetime so we had to go for it.
“These boats are few and far between and if we don’t renovate them, they’re just consigned to history books.”
He also went on to state that the opportunity to see these boats gives people a better indication as to what happened during the wars they were in.
There are currently three boats moored in Watchet. One of which is the Cold War ship HMS Gay Archer, which Mr Childs restored after selling the family home.
The other two boats in Watchet are Hyperiod, which carried King George VI in 1944 and the anti-submarine boat Moonlight 27, which was the lead ship that took US troops to Utah and Omaha beaches in Normandy during the D-Day landings in 1944.
Mr Childs added: “We also have the sister boat to Hyperion, Humorist which we are restoring.
“To set up a museum like the one we have planned is so unique and would be a real crowd puller.
“It will be so beneficial to everyone and hopefully attract more tourists to the South West and Watchet.”
Mr Childs and his family have also applied for a Lottery grant in order to secure funding to open the museum after a successful summer last year, when he opened the Gay Archer to the general public.