Club Night Talk: Spitfires of the Sea: The ‘Little Ships’ of the Second World War
During the Second World War, the Motor Torpedo Boats, Motor Gun Boats and Motor Launches of Coastal Forces operated from numerous harbours and estuaries around Britain's coast. Striking at enemy shipping in the North Sea and Channel, it was their tireless efforts that helped clear the seas in advance of Operation Overlord.
This talk tells the story of these miniature warships, both their origins and evolution during the war. The story is all the more astounding when it is realised that, at the outbreak of the war, they were only a few dozen in number. Thanks to the forward thinking of a small number of boatbuilders, by the end of the war close to 2,000 vessels had entered service with Coastal Forces.
Stephen Fisher is a maritime archaeologist and researcher who specialises in the First and Second World Wars. After taking part in ground breaking archaeological excavations at Stonehenge ten years ago, he spent more than seven years researching shipwrecks along the south coast of England, with a particular focus on the 1,000 wrecks dating back to the First World War. At present, he is writing a series of publications on Motor Torpedo Boats and Motor Gun Boats of the Royal Navy's Coastal Forces and surveys the archaeology of the New Forest National Park.