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Houseboats In The Picture Of Bursledon Bridge

A Memory of Bursledon

In the photo are several houseboats and yachts moored up to the bank on the LHS of the picture; I used to live on the large white motor torpedo boat (when she was moved from the Hamble to the River Itchen). She was originally called 'S-8', later 'Sea Horse/Hippocampus' on the River Hamble and then 'Whimsical Macgoffley on the River Itchen. She can be seen between the wreck and the large wooden, armour plated 'L.C.S' ('Landing Craft/Support'). She was a houseboat on the Hamble from 1949 to 1974 (25 years) and 22 years (from 1974 to 1996) when she was moved to the River Itchen in 1974. I renamed her 'Whimsical Macgoffley'. She was built in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, at the J. Samuel White Shipyard, launched in August 1944, and was one of six wooden MTBs (numbered S-5 to S-10) manned by the Polish Navy. (Her wartime number was S-8 and she was eventually returned to the Royal Navy as HMTB 427 at the end of the war). She was 'up for disposal' by the Admiralty on 18th December 1945 and sold sometime after that date to a Mr. Alan Aitcheson. In 1949 she was on the berth shown in the photo which was at 'Deacon's Boat Yard', downstream from Bursledon Bridge, opposite where Moody's Boat Yard was and is now a large marina, not far from the 'Jolly Sailor' pub (in fact there is a copy of this photo in the 'Jolly Sailor' above a fireplace and also in the pub 'The Ship', at Swanwick!). Sometime in the late 1960s/early 1970s, she was moved and moored 'above the road bridge' on the other side of the river, opposite 'The Cabin Tea Rooms' (now a Chinese Restaurant) at the Hamble River Boatyard which, I believe, became 'Ken Master's Chandlery' in the 1980 TV series 'Howards Way'. She was then owned by Leslie and Marjorie Fletcher (and children John and Gillian Fletcher?), certainly until 1971 (according to the Electoral Register).
The boatyard was eventually redeveloped and all the houseboats had to go and in 1974 she was sold to 'Belsize Boat Yard' on the River Itchen where I bought her for £425 and she was moved upstream to a mooring at 'Priory Boat Yard' (now called Pettinger Gardens), which was adjacent to the Railway Bridge across the River Itchen in Priory Road, St. Denys. I lived on board until 1979 and the boat then had four other owners until 1996 when she was scrapped, down river on the Marchwood foreshore. I have discovered her wartime history and found all the owners after I sold her, but would like to know anything about her when she was moored on the River Hamble. One of the other six Polish boats, S-10, was, for a time (1954/5) moored downstream and named 'M/Y Taifun'; she had been used in the Ealing Studio's film of Nicholas Monserrat's short story, 'The Ship that Died of Shame', starring George Baker, Richard Attenborough, Bill Owen and Virginia McKenna and was up for sale through a yacht broker. She eventually ended up in the Mediterranean and used for smuggling; the skipper being Hugh Edwards, the brother of Jimmy Edwards, the comedian with the large handle-bar moustache. She foundered off the North African coast near Cape Bon and was lost during a smuggling trip in 1958. Hugh Edwards wrote about his life and adventures in the book 'Midnight Trader'. One of 'S-8s' sister ships is still afloat in Shoreham Harbour, Sussex as 'Houseboat Thanet' ('S-7') and I believe that she is the 'last of the line' of the six originally built.
Information, stories or memories of any of these boats on the River Hamble, would be most welcome.

A memory shared by Tim Deacon , on Dec 28th, 2007.

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