Hampshire & Isle of Wight

New Coastal Forces museum set for Gosport

Museum plan Image copyright National Museum of the Royal Navy
Image caption The museum will be the first dedicated to Coastal Forces

A museum dedicated to the small craft used by Royal Navy is set to be built as part of a £30m redevelopment of a former ammunition depot.

The £900,000 Coastal Forces Museum will be created in a disused mine store at Priddy's Hard in Gosport, Hampshire.

Two World War Two motorboats will be the centrepiece of the attraction.

The site on the western shore of Portsmouth Harbour was home to one of the Navy's ammunition and armament depots until the late 1980s.

The new complex is the second stage of the development of the Royal Navy-owned site which, also features the Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower.

It is the first museum dedicated to Coastal Forces, a division of the Royal Navy which operated small motorboats, torpedo boats and patrol launches.

Image copyright National Museum of the Royal Navy
Image caption Coastal Forces operated small motorboats, torpedo boats and patrol launches

At the height of World War Two, 2,000 boats were crewed and maintained by 25,000 officers and men.

They were usually deployed in the English Channel and North Sea but also saw action in the Mediterranean and the Norwegian coast, sinking about 400 enemy vessels.

Dr Dominic Tweddle, director general of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said Coastal Forces were an "important component" of the navy during the two world wars.

"They attracted people looking for a bit of 'derring do' because the missions they performed were brimming with excitement and often action," he said.

The new museum, due to open in spring 2021, will feature memorabilia along with a Coastal Motor Boat 331 and Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) 71.

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