Medusa Post War

1946 to 1968 Post war Royal Navy

  • October 1945, Medusa was refitted and all her wartime armament removed at William Osborne’s yard at Littlehampton, Sussex. She was redesignated as a Fast Despatch Boat (FDB 76).
  • February 1946, she was delivered to Cardiff University Naval Division as the last act of the wartime crew who then dispersed. Her wartime captain, Maurice Liddiard departed on 17 May 1946 and his second in command Sub Lt F R P Cox departed on 10 August 1946.
  • February 1947 she was transferred to Severn Division RNVR Unit.
  • August 1949 she was transferred to London Division RNVR Unit as HMS Thames and redesignated as a Seaward Defence Motor Launch (SDML 3516)
  • November 1950 she was prepared for transfer to Iran but the transfer was delayed and in April 1952 she was temporarily allocated to the Hydrographic Department and attached to the Survey Training Unit at Chatham.
  • April 1953, the transfer to Iran was cancelled and the allocation to the Hydrographic Department was made permanent.
  • From 1953 to 1957 she was on the East Coast and surveyed the Thames Estuary, approaches to Lowestoft, Winterton Ness to Benacre point, Harwich Harbour and Felixtowe to Orfordness.
  • 1958 she was on the East Coast and surveyed the Thames Estuary, Felixtowe to Orford Haven, approaches to Lowestoft, Goodwin sands and Naze to Sunk Light.
  • 1959 she was on the East Coast and surveyed the Thames Estuary, Naze to Sunk Light Vessel, Goodwin Sands and the approaches to Ramsgate.
  • March 1959, she was in collision, in fog off Ramsgate, with the Dutch coaster Jan Brons (480 tons) and was out of action for three months with extensive damage to the port side.
  • 1960 she was on the South Coast and surveyed the approaches to Plymouth, Looe harbour, Fowey, and the approaches to Falmouth.
  • 1961 she was on the South Coast, Bristol Channel and Wales surveying Bigbury Bay, Falmouth, Salcombe, Padstow and St Tudwal’s Roads.
  • 1962 she was in the Bristol channel and surveyed Avonmouth to Sharpness and the Middle Ground.
  • 1963 she was on the South Coast and surveyed the River Yealm and Wembury Bay; Nares head to Downend Point.
  • 1964 she was on the South Coast and surveyed Dodman to Fowey and the approaches to the River Yealm.
  • 1965 survey season she was on the West Coast and surveyed the Barrown Channel and the Bristol Channel (NW Elbow to Walton Bay and Godrevy Island to Trevose Head).

  • She was paid off for disposal on 30 November 1965 at Devonport. On her final day a fire broke out in the forward mess deck causing considerable damage. Her final log entry records “handed in the keys”.
  • She was left on a buoy in Weston Mill Lake until her sale in 1968.

One of many charts produced by HMS Medusa

Extract from her final survey…

Final entry in the last logbook. “0945 Keys handed in to HMS Orion”.

  • 1968 to 2003, private ownership.
  • In 1968 she was purchased by a group from Weymouth led by Mr Mike Boyce who was to become her captain for the next 45 years. John “Tug” Wilson and Dave Bishop were the co-owners. She was based at Portland on a buoy mooring in the harbour and in the first four years as a private motor yacht, made 36 crossings of the English Channel.

Mike Boyce, Dave Bishop and Tug Wilson, 50 years on

  • 12 February 1970 an Iranian destroyer Artemiz (ex HMS Sluys) dragged her anchors during a gale in Portland Harbour and collided with Medusa. One of the destroyer’s anchors fouled Medusa’s anchor chain and in freeing it Medusa was cast loose. Medusa was within 100 feet of the rocky shore when her crew reached her and started the engines to steer her out of trouble.
  • In 1972 a major restoration programme was started by Medusa volunteers. Extensive repairs to the bow were made and the superstructure was rebuilt. Post restoration, Medusa made voyages to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Brussels. Closer to home on 30/31 Juy 1977 she was chartered by the Ministry of defence to transport SAS Reserve and Territorial Army troops to Worbarrow Bay for a night assault.
  • September 1980, the BBC used Medusa in the series Private Schultz with Michael Elphick. She can be seen at the beginning of the third episode.
  • October 1985 she moved to Portsmouth to form part of a new Coastal Forces museum proposed by Gosport Borough Council. This fell by the wayside and a volunteer group, The Gannet society, took over the maintenance with Medusa berthed on the Vosper Trials Pier at Hardway.
  • July 1991 she was again used by the BBC for an episode of ‘Lovejoy’ starring Ian McShane to enact a burial at sea in an episode called “Angel Trousers”.
  • Later in 1991, Vosper Thornycroft relinquished their lease on the pier and Medusa eventually found a new home in Gunwharf Creek, Portsmouth (under where the Spinnaker tower presently is).
  • 20 October 1993, on the 50th anniversary of her launch, Medusa visited her builder’s yard in Poole which was by then owned by Dean & Dyball, the construction company. Maurice Liddiard, her wartime Commanding Officer, took passage from Portsmouth to Poole. On arrival at Poole Bar, the boat was boarded by a civic party including the Mayor of Poole (Admiral of the port) and the mayoress. The mayor took the helm for a time. This was the first, but not the last time, that the boat flew the flag of the Admiral of the Port of Poole. The Mayor cut the 50th Anniversary cake and a Medusa crest was swapped for a Poole Dolphin.
  • June 1994 (in company with Fantasia ex HDML 1410) she attended the D-Day 50th Anniversary Commemorations and was escort for HMY Britannia for passage from Netley to Portsmouth.
  • 6 June 1994 she was present at both Omaha and Juno Beaches where the crew held short remembrance ceremonies.
  • 1995 Gunwharf was sold and Medusa moved to Number 1 Basin in Portsmouth Naval Base where she moored alongside Minerva (M33), a World War One Monitor, also being restored.
  • August 1997, she moved to Southampton and became training tender to the Southampton Unit of the Maritime Volunteer Service.
  • 2003 to the present, The Medusa Trust
  • 2003 she was listed on National Historic Ships Register as being of national importance. In that year the Medusa Trust was formed and started fund raising for a major refit.
  • June 2004 she was lead vessel for D-Day 60th anniversary fleet sailing from Portsmouth
  • 2005 participated in the Fleet review to mark the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar
  • From 2005 to 2010 she underwent a major restoration funded by the Heritage Lottery. Her return to service was marked by the presentation of a new ensign by HRH The Princess Royal
  • 2010 back in service
  • Though back in service, there was still a lot to do to complete the refit and 2011 was largely spent finishing off.
  • The next year was a different matter and in 2012 she set off for the Thames to take part in the Jubilee Pageant. This was a huge privilege and for her captain, Mike Boyce the crowning moment of 45 years in command. Without his dedication, over that period, Medusa would not exist today. Mike was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award by by HRH Prince Michael on behalf of the Transport Trust
  • 2013 saw a change of command with Alan Watson, who had been with the vessel since 1997 taking over. Her story since then is documented in our newsletters which are on the Home Page and in the news Archive.

Medusa’s Captains

  • 1943 – 17 May 1946 Temp Lt Arthur Maurice Liddiard RNVR
  • 1946 – 1949 No record
  • 17 July 1949 – Sept 1949 Lt Cdr A E Doran RN
  • Sept 1949 – Sept 1951 Lt C E K Robinson RN
  • Sept 1951 – 9 April 1952 Cdr C G Forsberg RN
  • 9 April 1952 – 8 Sept 1952 Lt Cdr N R Quill RN
  • 8 Sept 1952 – Oct 1953 Cdr M B St John DSC RN
  • 18 Oct 1953 – 12 March 1957 Lt Cdr A St Vammick RN
  • 1957 – 60 No record
  • 1960 – October 1961 Lt Cdr A C F David RN
  • October 1961 – Dec 1962 Cdr J M Mackay OBE RN
  • Jan 1963 – 1964 Cdr C E K Robinson
  • 1964 – 1965 Cdr R O Morris RN (Later Rear Admiral and Hydrographer of the Navy)
  • 1968 – 2013 Mr M Boyce
  • 2013 – present Lt (CCF) A Watson OBE RN
Mike Boyce, skipper 1968-2013

Mike Boyce, skipper 1968 – 2013

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