HMS Medusa, a former Royal Navy coastal defence boat, was officially adopted by Borough of Poole at a special reception on Friday 1 August.
The Mayor of Poole, Cllr Peter Adams, was pleased to present Alan Watson, Captain, with a scroll in honour of the special relationship the borough has with HMS Medusa. In return Alan Watson presented the Mayor with a pennant from the Medusa Trust.
The vessel has been moored alongside Poole Quay over the weekend so that it could take part in events commemorating the start of World War One. The crew joined the Mayor, servicemen, ex-servicemen and uniform groups in a civic parade from St James Church to the Guildhall on Sunday 3 August.
Built at R A Newman and Sons in Poole, HMS Medusa was first launched on 20 October 1943. She played an active part in the Second World War initially as a convoy escort and in May 1944 she took part in the practise assault carried out by American forces at Slapton Sands, Devon. She also served at D Day as a Navigation Leader marking the approach channels through minefields at Omaha Beach. Later in the war she patrolled off Scheveningen, Holland and then on to Ijmuiden which was still occupied by Germans who surrendered to her.
After the war HMS Medusa became a survey vessel for the Royal Navy Hydrographic Office. She was sold by the Admiralty after 25 years’ service in 1968.
HMS Medusa was subsequently purchased by a group from Portland who maintained and operated her for the next decade. From 2005 to 2010 she underwent extensive restoration which was funded by the National Lottery. She is now operated under the care of The Medusa Trust.
HMS Medusa had a distinguished record in World War II and is the last surviving vessel to have been at Omaha beach on D Day.
The Mayor said: “As we reflect on the sacrifice made by so many during the First World War, we felt it was important to recognise the role HMS Medusa played in World War II. We are extremely proud of HMS Medusa’s links with Poole and she is held in the highest regard and affection by our residents. We look forward to welcoming HMS Medusa back to her home town as soon as possible.”
Alan Watson, Captain of HMS Medusa, said: “It is always a pleasure to bring Medusa back to her birthplace but this time is special. Medusa is the last of her class in original and seaworthy condition and the last of 56 small warships built in Poole in WW2. We are delighted that the ship and crews, past and present, are being honoured by the town of Poole.”