The Medusa Trust

ML1387, HMS Medusa, is a Harbour Defence Motor Launch built in Poole in 1943, one of 480 vessels designed to provide an offshore anti-submarine screen for harbours. Entirely built of wood, and powered by diesel engines, they were not fast but had huge endurance. The orginal concept was for them to be transported to where they were needed as deck cargo but soon they were making the passages themselves from the UK to the Mediterranean, West Indies, South Africa and the Far East.

The Medusa Trust, a registered charity, exists to preserve HMS Medusa, ML1387, for future generations. Our mission is to keep Medusa operational and at sea for as long as possible as a tribute to the veterans, education of the public and inspiration of the young.

As well as the vessel we maintain an extensive archive of documents, photographs and records of all the 480 HDMLs and their crews. You can find it on this web site under the Archive tab above. We are always keen to receive new material and records of experiences on these vessels.

Medusa's importance to the nation's maritime heritage is recognised by her inclusion in the National Historic Fleet.

The video below tells a little of her vital role at D-Day. Further video in the video archive.

Medusa has undergone a major refit mainly funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund.  The work has been done in conjunction with The Maritime Workshop of Gosport and has provided an opportunity to young shipwrights to learn and practise traditional shipbuilding skills. Medusa was re-launched on 1 March 2010 and re-dedicated at a ceremony attended by HRH the Princess Royal on 21 October 2010. At this ceremony Medusa was presented with the first of the new Historic Ships  Red Ensigns.

Medusa is entirely funded by donations and operated by volunteers.  If you would like to help with crewing, maintenance or just be part of the Medusa team, please go to the Support Group page on this web site.

If you wish to make a donation, you can do so via MyDonate using the link at the bottom of this page or send a cheque to "the Medusa Trust" to the address at the bottom of this page.

We would like to thank all those companies who helped us during the refit and continue to support Medusa, please follow this link to see the full list.



Recognition for Medusa from Poole where she was built.



Medusa in Port en Bessin, a tight fit


Medusa leaving harbour, picture Rodger Woodhams.


Medusa Trust Trustees

Alan Watson, Chairman and Captain of Medusa.

Lord Strathalmond

Commodore Laurie Hopkins, RN.

Alan Watson, Pine House, 59 Merdon Avenue, Chandlers Ford, Hants SO53 1GD, Tel 07836 364960
E mail


Where is Medusa?

You can track our location when we are at sea

on AIS, just follow the link below.  We normally shut the system down when on our berth in Haslar Marina.

Medusa AIS

News 2017

The History Channel programme (see News 2016) went out on 5 March and there was some great footage of Medusa at sea.

Our plans for the season include a trip across the channel as well as working with the Royal Navy in a fleet exercise.  First though is our annual lift and paint at Saxon Wharf.

The list of surviving HDMLs has been updated, sadly it gets shorter each time.

News 2016

2016 was a busy year for Medusa.  The highlight of the year was a long deployment to Dunkirk in June to take part in a film to be released July 2017. We also worked with the History Channel on a new series "Combat Ships". Medusa appears in Episode 4, Ships that saved D day.

Winter 15/Spring 16 Newsletter . This includes some detail of the restored WW2 electronics going back on Medusa.

Christmas 2016 newsletter

News 2015

Jan 15

We have just completed a major update to the website, in particular the archive section which contains the individual boat histories where a great deal more information has been added.

Mar 15

More video added and the survivors list updated. Sadly the numbers reduce each time.

Video from making an advert for Champagne in 2012 added to the video archive.


News 2014.


Medusa achieved MCA category 3 status to allow up to 12 passengers (though we are limiting this to10) up to 20 miles from safe haven, day and night.  This allows us to do a small ammount of commercial work to help with funds.


2014 was a special year for Medusa as it was the 70th anniversary of D Day where she played a pivotal role as navigational leader for Omaha Beach.

We hosted a visit for veterans and then a special day for our own ex crew, including her last RN captain , Admiral Roger Morris and the last of her wartime crew Doug Withey in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal and Admiral Tim Laurence.

We then had a rough night passage across to France to join the commemorations there at Caen after which we visited the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches, Omaha Beach, Port en Bessin and Cherbourg before heading back, pausing on the spot she occupied the night of 5 /6 June 1944 to pay our respects.

Report on the return to Normandy


Medusa visited Poole and was awarded a Certificate of Affiliation at a ceremony hosted by the Mayor of Poole, Councillor Peter Adams. Medusa is now formally linked to the town where she was built.

2014 Medusa trust Newsletter

2015 Spring Newsletter






News Archive

You can read older news articles in our news archive























Heritage Lottery Fund


The Prism Fund