A SECOND World War anti-submarine boat was police escorted back to Hawarden Airport where it was restored.

The Motor Anti-Submarine Boat (MASB) SB 27 was built as a coastal defence gunboat in 1941 by the British Power Boat Company at Hythe - and is the last of its kind. 

It served in the Second World War as a Motor Anti-Submarine Boat, deployed also on air-sea rescue duties as well as clandestine operations off the Brittany coast. 

Prior to D-Day, it was used for reconnaissance along the Normandy coastline, especially to take sand samples to check on beach load-bearing capacity.

Recollections from wartime crew members tell of support to frogmen operations to destroy underwater defences off the Normandy landing beaches prior to D-Day, then deployment in support of the US Army assault on Omaha Beach. Research is ongoing to secure evidence from official records.

The Leader: The crew of MASB 27The crew of MASB 27 (Image: D-Day Revisited)

In the immediate post-war period MASB 27 was converted to a houseboat which was moored at Itchenor near Chichester. After a change of ownership in the 1980s the vessel underwent further conversion for use as a houseboat moored at Swanwick.

It was later reconverted into a houseboat before being sold for restoration in 2012, MASB 27 was sold onto D-Day Revisited – a charity based at Hawarden Airfield. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Anti-Submarine Boat required new decks, original design wheelhouse, stern gear, engines, artillery and partial refit below decks and a three-year restoration project got underway.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


Using historic MoD plans and 1940s photographs MASB 27 the £400,000 restoration project was completed before re-launch in its wartime condition.  ‌

​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​Restoration to wartime condition was completed in May 2019 when the gunboat was launched at the Hamble Point Marina in Southampton. Restoration included a new wheelhouse to original design, new decks, stern gear, engines and a major refit below decks. New replica weaponry completed the effort.

After sea trials on the Solent under her own power for the first time since 1945, MASB 27 completed a successful crossing to Normandy in June 2019 and joined ceremonies to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

On Tuesday afternoon (August 22), MASB 27 was police escorted through Deeside back to Hawarden Airfield. 

Traffic was temporarily held along Chester Road West as several police motorbikes escorted the historic boat back to the airfield. 

The Leader: