Preserving HMS Medusa for future generations
Welcome to HMS Medusa ML1387
HMS Medusa is a Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML)
- Built in Poole in 1943 by RA Newman, Medusa is now the last of 464 vessels of her class that is in original and seagoing condition.
- Entirely built of wood and powered by diesel engines, she is not fast (12 knots) but has huge endurance of 2500 miles.
- Medusa’s importance to the UK’s maritime heritage is recognised by her inclusion in the 200 vessels of the National Historic Fleet (National Historic Ships UK).
- Medusa operates out of Haslar Marina in Gosport. She is fully certificated (Cat 3) by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for commercial use.
- HDMLs were designed to provide an offshore anti-submarine screen for harbours but were used for convoy escort, offensive operations and agent landing and recovery.
The Medusa Trust
The Medusa Trust is a registered charity with a focus on preserving and operating Medusa for future generations.
Our mission is to keep Medusa operational and at sea as:
- An inspiration to the young – we provide training days for Royal Navy cadets, CCF and Sea Cadets to maintain and pass on the unique skills of operating a small ship.
- A tribute to the veterans – we maintain an extensive HDML archive recording the story of each of the 464 HDMLs and their crews. We are always keen to receive new material.
- A living museum of Coastal Forces history – by our many appearances at ports along the South Coast, Normandy and the Channel Islands.
We would like to thank all the companies who helped us during the refit and continue to support Medusa. View the full list at the end of our ‘Medusa Trust‘ page.
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Medusa and D-Day
Medusa was the first Allied warship positioned off Omaha beach in Normandy, arriving on the afternoon of 5th June 1944, 12 hours before the American landings, acting as a marker to show the entrance to a narrow swept channel through the minefield guarding the beaches.
The video below tells a little of her vital role at D-Day. Further videos can be seen in the video archive.
Medusa and VE-Day
Medusa took the surrender of the German troops at IJmuiden on 5th May 1945 and then went up the canal to Amsterdam, the first Allied vessel to arrive there.
Medusa costs about £20,000 a year to maintain and operate. She is entirely funded by donations and crewed and maintained by volunteers. If you would like to help with crewing, maintenance or be a part of the team, visit the Support Group section on our Trust page.
If you wish to make a donation, you can do so via the Virgin Money Giving buttons or by sending a cheque to “The Medusa Trust” to the address at the bottom of this page.
Work to keep Medusa looking smart and seaworthy is an ongoing task. Between 2005 and 2010, she underwent a major refit funded mainly by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The work was done in conjunction with The Maritime Workshop of Gosport and had a strong educational element with a team of apprentice shipwrights playing a major role in the restoration. Wherever possible, reclaimed materials were used in the restoration and the project completed without the felling of a single new tree.
Medusa was relaunched on 1st March 2010 and a rededication service in the presence of HRH the Princess Royal was held to mark her return to operational service in October 2010. At this ceremony, Medusa was presented with the new National Historic Fleet Red Ensign.
Medusa Trust Trustees
- Alan Watson OBE – Chairman and Captain of Medusa
- Lord Strathalmond
- Julian James, Esq
- Commodore Laurie Hopkins LVO, RN
- Hon Mary Montagu-Scott DL