WWI torpedo boat star of ‘The Trad’
An experimental motor torpedo boat from WWI will be star of the show at this year’s 2019 Thames Traditional Boat Festival which celebrates older, traditionally built craft that are fast disappearing from Britain's rivers.
The festival was first held more than 40 years' ago and is affectionately known as ‘The Trad’. Patron of the festival, to be held on 19-21 July at Fawley Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, is GB Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave, who owns a classic slipper launch.
Co-chairman of the festival, Lady Judy McAlpine, said there was a special treat for visitors. ”We are delighted to be welcoming back CMB9, the motor torpedo boat which the Admiralty converted to be radio controlled, with the controller in an aircraft above,” she said.
The Coastal Motor-Boat 9 - CMB9 - was built as a motor torpedo boat in 1916 and saw action the following year off Zeebrugge. In September 1917 CMB9 and three more of the existing 40ft craft made up a top-secret experiment to become distant control boats to test whether unmanned fast patrol boats with torpedoes could be controlled from the air and directed towards enemy targets.
Visitors will see the return of the biggest row barge ever built; the 92ft Gloriana which was used to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, enjoy rides on a Victorian steamer as well as witnessing the Heroes of Dunkirk who will be sailing across the Channel as part of the fleet of 850 small ships commissioned in WW2 for the relief of allied soldiers trapped on the Dunkirk beaches in 1940.
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