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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 August, 2004, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Last D-Day gunboat to be sold off
Britain's last surviving World War II gunboat could be sold overseas because its owner cannot find a UK buyer.

The current owner of MGB81 - used in D-Day to support US troops on Omaha beach - has spent the last five years and 500,000 restoring the vessel.

Phil Clabburn, 38, from the New Forest, found it being used as a houseboat.

It was hoped the 62-year-old boat could be put on show as an historic attraction but the necessary support failed to materialise.

As there has been absolutely no interest from anyone in the UK, MGB81 will almost certainly be sold abroad
Owner Phil Clabburn
Mr Clabburn, who has reluctantly decided to sell it, said: "I think it will be a great shame if the boat leaves the country as it is a tribute to all those who served in this area in the war."

The boat was to be the flagship of a memorial flotilla put together by Mr Clabburn but a trust interested in the boat pulled out, he said.

"MGB81 was being used as a houseboat on the Hamble River in Hampshire when I bought her," said Mr Clabburn, an experienced restorer.

"Unfortunately, I now have to sell her because I could not get the support from organisations here with deeper pockets than mine to take the project forward.

"As there has been absolutely no interest from anyone in the UK, MGB81 will almost certainly be sold abroad, probably to Germany, where there has been some interest, which is ironic really."

MGB81 was one of a class of 96 built in the British Power Boat company's factory in Hythe, Hampshire, in 1942.

Wartime boat to sail again
10 Apr 03  |  Essex



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