Unique collection of D-Day vessels to dock in Torquay

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File:Landing Craft Infantry-LCI(L)196.jpg
A landing vessel docked in the shores of Sicily during the Second World War in a photo dated July 11, 1943. The USS LCI(L)-196 is one of the landing crafts used in D-Day landings. Photo Source: Naval Historical Center.

Historical World War II vessels will be making its way to Torquay Harbor this April.

The unique collection will visit Torbay giving its residents and visitors from around the globe the rare opportunity of viewing the crafts. Sightseers will also get the chance to board any of the ships in the flotilla.

Known as “little ships”, the vessels include two motor torpedo boats, a Royal Army Service Corps craft, and a motor anti-submarine boat. At the end of this month, the vessels are expected to arrive and dock at South Pier in Torquay’s inner harbor. The pontoon will be open to sightseers in May for the display.

The mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver, said that he and the owners of the unique boats, Paul and Rhian Childs, initiated the display especially for the residents and visitors of the famous bay. He said that the display symbolizes another chapter in the “progress towards creating a high quality offer” to the constituents of the area.

The special display of the rare vintage vessels is part of the preparations for the marking of the 70th anniversary of D-Day this June. The fleet are historical crafts is expected to arrive in the harbour by the end of April for the commemoration. And it is also reported that the crafts will make the harbour their permanent residence to become part of the tourist attraction in the Bay. Mayor Oliver said that he is looking forward to see the vessels “make Torquay harbour their home”.

The owners the fleet of vintage WWII boats, Paul and Rhian Childs said that they are more than happy to have their collection to the famous harbour of Torquay. The Childs took it into their family the mission of restoring the old boats. They claimed that it took hard work and dedication to take on the privilege of bringing back to life the pieces that belong to the “nation’s heritage”.

They also add that they are proud to have the vessels on display for the world to see and experience in “such an iconic location”. The boats, which played a role in D-Day, will be displayed in a location that is close to the embarkation ramps of the WWII landings of the Allies. The display is “an honour and tribute” to the bravery of those who served during the Second World War.

The Chairman of the Harbour Committee Councillor Nicole Amil supported the efforts of the mayor and owners to bring the boats to berth in Torquay finding the move as a commercial venture. The historical boats which will be brought to Tor Bay Harbour in the inside pier of Torquay will be part of the collection of heritage fishing boats and special vessels in Brixham.

Chairman Amil further said that part of their preparation for the arrival of the historical boat is the relocation of the existing berths to make room for the incoming display.

The Herald Express said that the Harbour Master also took the task of constructing the new pontoon project. The chairman further said that the collection will be of great interest and will surely attract many spectators and interested parties.