A FINAL rallying cry has gone out to save a unique slice of Second World War coastal heritage.
Earlier this month the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring the sole surviving 55ft coastal motorboat to Gosport.
The ambition is to raise £6,000 which would pay to transport the boat from its current home in Oxfordshire to the Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower.
A majority of the cash – £5,000 – has been raised but it’s not enough to get the vessel to Gosport.
And with only days left until the crowdfunder ends, museum bosses are having one last push.
An NMRN spokeswoman said the organisation had been overwhelmed by the generosity of supporters.
She said: ‘We have raised about 80 per cent of our £6,000 target which is fantastic. We’re just looking for that final push now.
‘The support has been great. We’ve been amazed by people’s reactions. We’ve even had donations from the United States.’
She added: ‘It’s a project that really resonates with a lot of people because this is the surviving 55ft coastal motorboat.’
The vessel, known as CMB 331, was designed during the First World War.
They were initially used as fast torpedo-carrying craft that were launched to assault larger, enemy warships.
Designed by pioneering boat builder John Thorneycroft, the first boats were 40ft in length and armed with one torpedo.
The larger 55ft craft were built to be faster, travelling at speeds of up to 41 knots, and more deadly, armed with two torpedoes.
CMB 331 was one of the last of the remarkable craft to be built, and was part of an order for the Government of the Philippines which were requisitioned for the Royal Navy in 1941.
Nick Hewitt, NMRN’s head of heritage and development, said: ‘331 is the grandfather of the generations of light attack craft which followed, through the motor torpedo boats and gunboats of the Second World War, right up to the missile boats in service all over the world today.’
The fundraiser ends on Tuesday. To donate, see igg.me/at/CMB331.