Sunday, 19 September 2010
I was fascinated by some of the house boats, especially one that consisted of a NATO surplus landing craft with 2 porta-cabins lodged in its bay. (That must have been one very quick houseboat conversion!).
However, the real star of the day was a houseboat called Valeur (pictured above). Valeur is a converted Fairmile landing craft. It looks very peaceful moored up at low tide, but this heroic boat delivered Lord Lovat's 1st special service brigade (commandos) onto Sword Beach during the D-Day landings. Valeur also took part in other actions such as Walcheren Island where many boats were destroyed.
There are quite a few war boats moored up around Sussex, but they are hard to spot. Always look at the hull, as this rarely changes shape from the original design. Also, respect the fact that you may be looking at homebody's home! I think its great that these veteran ships that helped fight for freedom, now get a peaceful retirement (with pot-plants instead of deck guns). I missed out on seeing a Vosper torpedo boat, because it was away from its mooring. Although disappointed, I like the fact that it still runs. I will go back to see it sometime as I am told that at full speed it has an engine sound every bit distinctive as the Merlin engine on a spitfire.