One of the last of the WWII fast patrol boats still afloat, Garth, is to appear at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show.
In the months leading up to the D-Day invasion of France, a key concern was that the landings planned to take place along the Normandy Coast would be tremendously difficult for the Allies. Field Marshal Rommel was in charge of the defences and there was every reason to believe that the landings would be hard going, and that there would be many casualties.
In order to help defend the troops in landing craft and amphibious DUKWs, the Britishy Army was given 80 fast patrol boats armed with anti-aircraft and assault weapons, one of which was Garth, pictured above.
In fact, these Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) boats were never used for this purpose – the date of the landings was brought forward and they were not ready to be brought into service at the time of the invasion, and instead they were sent to various hot spots around the world including Egypt, India, Hong Kong and the Middle East.
Garth is maintained by workshop staff serving with the British Army and is kept by the Coastal Motorboat Heritage Trust. The CMHT exhibits a number of craft from this era on behalf of their owners, including MGB 81, the gunboat that led the American attack on Omaha Beach on D-Day.