Britain's last D-Day gunboat could be sold overseas

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The Independent Online

Britain's last surviving Second World War gunboat could be sold abroad, possibly in Germany, because its owner cannot find a UK buyer.

Britain's last surviving Second World War gunboat could be sold abroad, possibly in Germany, because its owner cannot find a UK buyer.

MGB81 saw action on D-Day supporting American troops on Omaha beach. Its owner, Phil Clabburn, has spent five years and £500,000 restoring the vessel to its former glory after he found it being used as a houseboat. He had hoped it could be used as a historic attraction. But the support was not forthcoming and Mr Clabburn, 38, from the New Forest, decided to sell.

He 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. There is nowhere in this country that tells the story of what these boats did." The vessel was restored with three 1,000hp diesel engines donated by MAN, the German company that built engines for U-boats and the MGB81's wartime rival, the E-Boats.

"No company in Britain could make the diesel engines needed to bring her back to life so I had to go to Germany," said Mr Clabburn. "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 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."

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