MTB 102 is one of few surviving motor torpedo boat
Motor Torpedo Boat
Motor Torpedo Boat was the name given to fast torpedo boats by the Royal Navy, and the Royal Canadian Navy.The capitalised term is generally used for the Royal Navy boats and abbreviated to "MTB"...
s that served with the Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy
Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy
Coastal Forces was a division of the Royal Navy established duringWorld War II under the command of Rear Admiral Coastal Forces. -History:The Royal Navy had previously operated flotillas of small torpedo- and depth-charge-armed craft during the First World WarThe first Headquarters was set up at ...
in the Second World War. She was built as the Vosper Private Venture Boat as a prototype, but was purchased and taken into service by the Admiralty.
ConstructionDesigned by Commander Peter Du Cane CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...
, the Managing Director of Vosper Ltd, in 1936. She was completed and launched in 1937, she was bought by the Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...
and taken into service with the Royal Navy as MTB 102, the 100 prefix denoting a prototype vessel.
She had an all-wood hull, described as "double diagonal Honduras mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....
on Canadian rock elm
Ulmus thomasii, the Rock Elm or Cork Elm, is a deciduous tree native primarily to the Midwestern United States. The tree ranges from southern Ontario and Quebec, south to Tennessee, west to northeastern Kansas, and north to Minnesota...
Besides the torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...
es she was built with, depth charge
A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare weapon intended to destroy or cripple a target submarine by the shock of exploding near it. Most use explosives and a fuze set to go off at a preselected depth in the ocean. Depth charges can be dropped by either surface ships, patrol aircraft, or from...
s, machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....
s and the Swiss Oerlikon 20 mm
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original design by Reinhold Becker of Germany, very early in World War I, and widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others...
anti-aircraft cannon were all tested on her.
MTB 102 was the fastest wartime British naval vessel in service at 48 knots.
Wartime serviceFrom 1939 to 1940 she was stationed in the English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...
. During Operation Dynamo
The Dunkirk evacuation, commonly known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 26 May and the early hours of 3 June 1940, because the British, French and Belgian troops were...
(the evacuation from Dunkirk
Battle of Dunkirk
The Battle of Dunkirk was a battle in the Second World War between the Allies and Germany. A part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and allied forces in Europe from 26 May–4 June 1940.After the Phoney War, the Battle of...
, May–June 1940) she crossed the channel eight times and acted as flagship for Rear Admiral Wake-Walker
Admiral Sir Frederic Wake-Walker CB CBE was a British admiral who served in the Royal Navy during World War I and World War II, taking a leading part in the destruction of the German battleship Bismarck, and in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation at Dunkirk.-Early days:Born William Frederic...
when his ship was disabled.
In 1943 she was part of 615 Water Transport Company RASC
Royal Army Service Corps
The Royal Army Service Corps was a corps of the British Army. It was responsible for land, coastal and lake transport; air despatch; supply of food, water, fuel, and general domestic stores such as clothing, furniture and stationery ; administration of...
and was renamed Vimy.
In 1944 she carried Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...
and General Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...
to review the fleet for Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...
, the invasion of Normandy.
Postwar serviceMTB 102 was sold off after the war, and converted to a private motor cruiser on the North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...
. Around 1965 she was sold on and partially converted to a houseboat
A houseboat is a boat that has been designed or modified to be used primarily as a human dwelling. Some houseboats are not motorized, because they are usually moored, kept stationary at a fixed point and often tethered to land to provide utilities...
In 1973 she was acquired by a Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....
, in whose care she remained until 1995 when ownership passed to the MTB102 Trust.
In 1976 she was refurbished by a film company for use in the film The Eagle Has Landed
The Eagle Has Landed (film)
The Eagle Has Landed is a 1976 film version of the novel The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins. It was directed by John Sturges and starred Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Robert Duvall...
, and in the Dutch film Soldier of Orange
Soldier of Orange
Soldier of Orange is a 1977 Dutch film directed by Paul Verhoeven and produced by Rob Houwer, starring Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé. The film is set during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II, and shows how individual students have different roles in the war...
the following year.
In 1977 she appeared for Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...
's Silver Jubilee
A Silver Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 25th anniversary. The anniversary celebrations can be of a wedding anniversary, ruling anniversary or anything that has completed a 25 year mark...
pageant on the River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...
In 1983 and 1990 extensive structural repair work was carried out on the hull and decks totalling around £70,000 .
Since 1979 she has made several appearances at Navy Days and is now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection
National Historic Fleet, Core Collection
The National Historic Fleet, Core Collection is a list of museum ships located in the United Kingdom, under the National Historic Ships register.The vessels on the National Historic Fleet are distinguished by:...
The MTB102 Trust was established in 1996 to fund the operation and maintenance of MTB102.
Several changes of engines have occurred over her life. The original Italian Isotta Fraschini engines became difficult to maintain during the early part of the war as Italy was allied to Germany, though they lasted until replaced after the war when MTB102 was converted into a motor cruiser. In 1985, Perkins Ltd donated two turbocharged diesel engines, and in 1996 and 2002 Cummins Marine provided new engines .