Former Royal Navy landing craft to become Portsmouth Harbour tourist vessel
A Royal Navy landing craft used by Royal Marines during the Falklands War is to enjoy a fresh lease of life – running tourists around Portsmouth Harbour.
Foxtrot Eight was one of four smaller landing craft used by assault ship HMS Fearless to ferry commandos and their equipment ashore at San Carlos in May 1982.
After a long service, Fearless was broken up a decade ago – but two of her landing craft were saved as museum pieces.
One – Foxtrot Seven, used in the evacuation of crew of stricken frigate HMS Antelope – sits outside the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney as a monument to landing craft crew.
Foxtrot Eight was donated to the historic dockyard where she could be seen floating in the Mast Pond – between Action Stations and Boathouse No.4.
With the latter building brought back to life at the end of last year as a centre for small boat building thanks to £6m of investment, the facilities exist to bring F8 back to life.
Volunteers from the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust will team up with students and the International Boatbuilding Training College Portsmouth who share the building to restore the craft – although they face quite a task.
“The years of retirement sitting in the Mast Pond have not been kind to F8,” said volunteer Lt Paul ‘Shady’ Lane from survey ship HMS Scott.
“The hull is riddled with marine growth and many of the fittings – including the engines – are in desperate need of attention.”
If the restoration program succeeds, the landing craft will give disabled visitors in particular a tour of the harbor in a historic vessel.