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Freelance MGB 45 S3

Printed From: BMPT Forum
Category: Boats (In alphabetical order)
Forum Name: Motor Gun Boats
Forum Description: Discussion on Motor Gun Boats
URL: http://www.bmpt.co.uk/forum_posts.asp?TID=972
Printed Date: 10 December 2019 at 4:44pm


Topic: Freelance MGB 45 S3
Posted By: Jerry
Subject: Freelance MGB 45 S3
Date Posted: 22 October 2014 at 11:41pm
Hello Folks,

I am toying with the idea of buying Freelance with a view to getting into a working condition again.  It does not look much like the for sale pictures posted on this site, now a houseboat and the engines are partially dismantled for some reason and possibly not complete.  Now I am a man of simple means and I understand this will be a vast undertaking, if I were to get her, I would not be wanting to return her to an original condition at this stage.  My initial intention would be to conserve her and get all the systems working and then take stock.  I can afford to buy her and carry out engine work etc, but how can funds be obtained for any further work?  I spread myself financially quite thin as it is, but still consider myself to be quite fortunate, however there is a limit!

Sensible ideas would be appreciated.

Jerry (Bristol)



Replies:
Posted By: Christian
Date Posted: 23 October 2014 at 12:05pm
try here;

http://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/pages/sources-of-funds-for-historic-vessels.html" rel="nofollow - http://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/pages/sources-of-funds-for-historic-vessels.html




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Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 23 October 2014 at 12:33pm
Hi Jerry,

Many thanks for your post there, it would be great to see her saved and conserved as you say, but good that you are aware of the old adage "boats are holes in et"! thanks Christian for the post re NHS, very limited funds there...support and advice, see HSL 2552 on the links page, also perhaps the Childs at Torquay with Military boats, also CMB9, restoration of WW1 vessel on the avon, see facebook for them, all the best

Johnk


Posted By: Jerry
Date Posted: 23 October 2014 at 8:28pm
Thank you for the replies to date.  It would seem that the maximum cost from the National Historic Ships would be 1500 and that would be in exceptional circumstances.  No wonder so many of these boats have become lost.  

I would like to consider myself a practicable person, I can do paperwork but at the eleventh hour.  Can these things be set up as a charitable trust?  Do people like to volunteer their time, after all a project of this magnitude is a fair undertaking?  there are so many things need an answer as well as questions I haven't even considered.  Time is running out before it looses all the boat it has left!

Jerry


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 24 October 2014 at 8:05am
Hi Jerry,

Indeed, that is what I thought it was, well yes you can, or a community interest company, depends where you are, you may get a few people, but for boats it varies a lot...we at the Medway Queen society, maybe total active volunteers.....30 or so, we have a membership of some near 800....just done a mail shot to them, albeit some 200 had not paid their subs....all the best,

Johnk


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 24 October 2014 at 8:07am
Hi again,

Sorry, need to read! you say of course Jerry of Bristol!, well good memories there, as MQ was re-built at Albion dockyard, and as I say, CMB9 is on the Avon, and HSL 2552 at Hooten Park...

Johnk


Posted By: Tim Deacon
Date Posted: 26 October 2014 at 1:25am
Hi Jerry from Bristol
Re- Polish MTB S-3/MGB 45
I'm in contact with some of the Polish family members of the original boat's officers, who I'm sure would be interested in your project to restore S-3. I wrote the original article on the BMPT website in 2004 about the Polish MGBs/MTBs and subsequently published a book 'Scigacze' about the Polish Boats. The material on the BMPT website is only about 1/3 of the content of my book (97 pages) and I have quite a few photos of the interior of S-3 after a visit to her some years ago. The two Volvo engines installed were then in running order. Please feel free to contact me by e-mail: mailto:tim@deacon427.fsnet.co.uk" rel="nofollow - tim@deacon427.fsnet.co.uk
Regards
Tim


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 26 October 2014 at 8:30am
Hi Tim,

Many thanks for that, what a great source for Jerry there, many thanks,

Johnk


Posted By: Freelance_Salvage
Date Posted: 12 November 2015 at 3:04pm
***FREELANCE SALVAGE SALE***

***EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!***

She is located in Rochester, Kent. She is open to view on the following days:

Thursday 12th November 2015
Friday 13th November 2015
Saturday 14th November 2015
Sunday 15th November 2015

- Stanchions
- working windscreen
- cleats
- fairleads
-Windless
- portholes
- Windows
- Navigations lights
-Propellors
-HULL!!!

Offers more than welcome for parts or for the boat as a whole.

Beautiful warship, full of history, you may wish to restore her or take parts of her ...

PLUS!!!

White goods and furniture (washing machine, nearly new Zanussi electric oven, fridge freezer, chests of draws)

Antique fixtures and fittings such as dressers, control panel

Please contact me via the forum to arrange a time to view.

Best wishes,

Helen







I am the proud owner of Freelance who I have been living in for the last 9 months.

Unfortunately she has damage to the hull that makes her unworkable as a home, although it is in decent condition.


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 12 November 2015 at 7:07pm
Hi there,

Many thanks for this post, I am sorry to read this, I was aboard many years ago with a chap who owned her then, let me have some great drawings of a boat to be built for the far east campaing which was never commissioned....oh, well, hope perhaps some colleagues herewith can find a use for bits or even as you say, perhaps save the lot.....um, not my place but...if you care to look up MGB 81, MTB 102, HDML Medusa, Military Boats with Gay Archer, among others, just thought, the links page on this web site, sure you might have seen, has these boats web-sites.....all the best,

Johnk


Posted By: Freelance_Salvage
Date Posted: 12 November 2015 at 7:46pm
Thanks John!

So just link my ad to their posts? Is there anywhere I can post pictures of her?

Apologies for basic questions but not really used to chat rooms.

Please put the word about ...


Helen


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 13 November 2015 at 1:08pm
Hi Helen,

Um....yes.....! my technical knowledge on this stops about there I am afraid!, hope perhaps colleagues and admin here might help?....as per, see links pages on this forum, and try direct contact on...well their contact pages, bit of a slog I know but might help with sale of goods plus...I am trying to get in touch with my friend Robert Morley, he has CMB9 at Avonmouth, but....no luck yet there, I do hope word spreads and something of her can go on, afraid I have nothing in my pocket, but there it is, some may say bit double standard, I do love these craft and their stories of course, ....all the best,

Johnk


Posted By: ASR1255
Date Posted: 16 November 2015 at 9:44pm
Hi Helen
Do you still have any parts available if so could I come and have a look I am based in hoo so any weekend would be ok please feel free to pm me
Thanks
Steve

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SAVE EM ALL


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 29 September 2016 at 7:57pm
Hi folks,
Does anyone happen to know the current status of this boat? Helen, are you still selling bit?
Regards,
Steve


Posted By: Tim Deacon
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 8:19am
Hi
'Freelance'/S-3 is lying on a mud bank, with a mixture of old Thames barges and other boats, just off the coastal path, not far from Hoo Marina, towards the old disused power station (You can see the old wrecks on Google Earth....S-3 wasn't there when the photo on G/Earth was taken). I went there in April 2016 with Paul, the son of the C/O of the Polish WW2 Flotilla (Witold Szuster), who came over from Adelaide, Australia to view the boat. Sadly, she's quite difficult to get to across the mud; it's fairly deep and sticky! (unless you have a boat); we had wellies on and could only get to within about 150 yards of the boat. Some large holes were made in her hull to prevent her floating off, so she'll be a mess inside. I have some photos of her (taken from the shore) if anyone's interested. I'm not sure who 'owns' the wreck. Contact me at: tim@deacon427.fsnet.co.uk      Tim Deacon


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 8:49am
Thanks Tim, that's useful to know. I'm guessing that https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/51%C2%B02446.1N+0%C2%B03415.8E/@51.4128079,0.5704896,159m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d51.412807!4d0.571054?hl=en" rel="nofollow - this is the location ? It sounds like she's a bit of a write off then?
Steve


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 8:50am
Oops, something went wrong with the link. It should be here:
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/51%C2%B024'46.2%22N+0%C2%B034'15.8%22E/@51.4128439,0.5704816,159m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d51.412843!4d0.571046?hl=en



Posted By: Pioneer
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 11:58am

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/51%C2%B02446.2N+0%C2%B03415.8E/@51.4128439,0.5704816,159m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d51.507484131972." rel="nofollow - Or Here

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Pioneer - Forum Moderator


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 12:24pm
Cheers Richard that's the spot I was trying to link to.
Regard, Steve (Fisher).


Posted By: Pioneer
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 1:37pm
Or 'Ted' even

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Pioneer - Forum Moderator


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 1:51pm
Sorry, I thought I read in a post about MTB 245 that you were Richard (who I know) - but perhaps you just copied a message from him!


Posted By: Tim Deacon
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 2:18pm
Hi Steve

Re-Freelance/S-3.....yes she must be in a sorry state at present. Just before she was towed away, I took some photos in the E/Room and down below....the two Volvos were two huge balls of rust with the cylinder heads missing, but the two Vee drives were still there. All the portholes had been removed (and subsequently sold), together with the windlass (not original) and steering wheel gear, though as far as I could tell the links/shafts to the steering gearbox in the stern was still there. It's a real shame as I do believe she was salvageable/restorable, but no one was willing to lift her out in case she broke up on the slings. The Medway Port Authority were not keen to get her moved to Chatham in case she sank underway and caused a sunken wreck in the main Channel of the river. I have tried to upload a photo of the wreck but it is too big a file for this site. If you send me a contact email address I'll send it to you. Tim Deacon


Posted By: Pioneer
Date Posted: 30 September 2016 at 2:34pm
Have sent you a PM Tim
Regards Ted


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Pioneer - Forum Moderator


Posted By: Pioneer
Date Posted: 01 October 2016 at 1:06pm
Tim's image



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Pioneer - Forum Moderator


Posted By: ASR1255
Date Posted: 02 October 2016 at 5:27pm
Hi pioneer if you could send me an email on pm i some more photos of her in this position as she lays just out side my mates barge yard where i keep asr1255 i havent had time to get out to her to see whats left im hoping to get the chance soon to look for stuff for the childs and 219

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SAVE EM ALL


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 03 October 2016 at 12:45pm
Hi there,

Just picked up on this and see the very sad photo...aware as before, owner was wanting to sell of bits/hull etc...recall visiting when a houseboat few years ago, owner having plans for a C/F craft that was for the far east but was never needed...yes, hope Steve something left that might be re-cycled for 219...if you have contact with the Childs, send my best if you wish....lets be a bit cheery, with the Childs, Rob Morley and CMB9 and MTB102, HSL 102, Medusa...we still have great examples and testaments to the men and women of CF...all the best.

Johnk


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 06 October 2016 at 8:37am
Thank you for the updates everyone. It doesn't look like this is one I can include on my survivors list... Shame.


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 07 October 2016 at 8:39am
Hi there,

Yes, unfortunately no longer really a "survivor"...I looked up the MASB 27 ex the Childs fleet on Facebook, D-day revisited page...now being put as you posted, under cover till spring...Steve?(ASR1255)! if you have contact with the Childs...do remember me to them! although, as ever, I am but an armchair supporter, unlike yourself actually trying to support them, ie with help when around there and the parts! ......any how, all the best,

Johnk


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 07 October 2016 at 11:34am
I don't have any contact with the Childs unfortunately (I don't know them). I would certainly try to support them if I could, but an email I sent to the address on their page has not been answered yet.
Regards,
Steve


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 07 October 2016 at 11:46am
PS. ASR1255 is a different Steve!


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 07 October 2016 at 5:48pm
Hi Steve,

Ah, yes the light has dawned! of course...sorry about that...many thanks,
]
Johnk


Posted By: Steve
Date Posted: 08 October 2016 at 2:46pm
No apology necessary - I did exactly the same thing earlier in this thread!
Steve


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 08 October 2016 at 3:52pm
Hi Steve,

Many thanks, all the best,

Johnk


Posted By: Tim Deacon
Date Posted: 09 October 2016 at 1:39pm
Hi. I did take a couple of photos of the 'V' drive boxes (at least the best I could, given the mess she was in), just before S-3 was being towed away. (The photos are too big to go on the Forum!)
I know that Paul Szuster (son of Witold Szuster, the C/O of the WW2 Polish Flotilla) was interested in rescuing the 'V' drives, but he is in Adelaide, Australia and the 'V' drives are in the bottom of the boat on the Medway!
If you would like to contact me direct, I can explain more and send you copies of the photos I have. It would be nice to know they were rescued and possibly being used in restoring another WW2 boat.
Tim Deacon (tim@deacon427.fsnet.co.uk)


Posted By: Medyna
Date Posted: 13 October 2016 at 6:34pm
Just in case it's of interest to anyone, I first met Freelance/MGB45/S3 in 1969 when Jim Henderson arrived on her at Teddington under tug, as she was still engineless, and had come from Rye. I then lived (illegally) aboard a lifeboat mid-stream, the Thames spate was running, and I got to and from shore in a small speedboat to overcome the spate. Freelance interested me, so I motored down to her, to find Jim waving for a lift ashore. Thus began a very close friendship which lasted till Jim died in 2005, and thereafter still with his wife Sheila.
I stayed aboard Freelance whenever my lifeboat got too wet, and she was a major influence in my buying MTB253/Medyna in 1976, which I had known since a child.
I helped fit the engines. To correct a mistake in this thread, Jim originally intended fitting petrol Hudson Invaders, bought them, and they were pulled over the edge into the Thames due to a classic craft called Wigeon of Fearn getting moored to them at high tide at Toughs of Teddington, and pulling them over as tide fell. So Jim bought the diesel engines which were installed, but they were Perkins S6M's, 120 hp each, not the Volvos some people have mistaken them for. Those V-drives ran perfectly, with just a smooth whine. The props were changed by diving underwater at Teddington mid-Summer (1975) when the Thames was in quiet mood. On her trial when the S6M's were first fitted she still had the original props, and tickover produced about 5 knots. Jim had new props cast to his specification (18 x 9 for the technical)  by Wilman Engineering at Teddington, and they were spot-on. The Mathway steering was great, but the wire linkages to the mechanical gearboxes needed a bit of a knack.
When I moved downstream with Medyna in 1987, Jim decided to follow, and we ended up at Dauntless on Canvey Island, (Freelance as a direct trip, and Medyna via a three week East Coast holiday). There Freelance stayed until 2002, when Jim moved ashore solely for Sheila's health. He hated losing Freelance, having owned her since 1965. She departed under the S6M's, but the buyer reported having "blown" one of them within weeks. She went to Hoo, was houseboated, and this has become her graveyard, as with so many others.  I went down and said goodbye to her in Hoo in May 2015, as she had just been sold to the lady who shortly thereafter scrapped her.
I am sad at this end, though she had not been out of the water for 50 years, so how much of the outer skin remained was anyone's guess. Every time I put Medyna on a slip, Jim said he really must do that with Freelance soon, but it never happened. She certainly looked very suspect round the waterline when I saw her last year.
When I think how in 1977 I declined an invitation to take Medyna in the Queen's Jubilee Pageant on the Thames (as I then had petrol-paraffin engines which would have been problematic among all those boats) and Jim took Freelance instead, and she performed perfectly, with her wartime Polish C O aboard, it is painful to now witness her end. However, very well done all those who have photographed and documented her sad demise, without whose efforts we would not have known the final situation. 


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Peter Leggett, former owner (1976-1991) ex MTB 253, later Motor Yacht Medyna.


Posted By: Tim Deacon
Date Posted: 13 October 2016 at 7:23pm
Hi Peter

That was a great piece of news about S-3 (and also about your MTB Medyna!).....I've been collecting info and photos on S-3 (and the other Polish boats) since about 1974, and your bit of information is very useful for future reference. I could have sworn the engines were Volvo's! For any Polish readers (I'm not one unfortunately!), there is a great book available by Mariusz Borowiak titled 'Scigacze', published in 2015 (ISBN 978-83-7020-611-6) and has a chapter (9) dedicated to S-3 with a great photo of S-2 and S-3 painted in camouflage colours in 1940-41. I helped Mariusz with his book and he used some of my photos collected over the years, which originally appeared in my book (also titled 'Scigacze, which I self-published in 2012....I've a few copies left from the original 100 printed if anyone is interested!).
I do hope that the 'V' drives may be rescued and used.
Tim Deacon.



Posted By: Medwaycaptain
Date Posted: 13 February 2018 at 2:58pm
Reading with great interest and even more sadness, I bought Freelance in Canvey Island in 2003, she was towed to Port Werburgh on the Medway and the previous owner started her and positioned on the mooring.
I didn't know at that time but the starboard engine was defective and no water supply, as I was to find out later after commissioning the port engine and finding the starboard to have a cracked block, I would imagine had been that way for some time.
I bought a replacement engine and lots of spares, S6Ms as mentioned, but had neither the skills or funds required to get her going again, although I did my best.
I had the boat for 3 years, lots of work and upkeep and she was a pleasure, I was so interested to read more of the history and of the previous owner that I knew little about.
Without mentioning names after I sold her she was neglected, the brass port holes painted over!, but worse of all bulkheads removed affecting the structure, someone told me the owner had turned off the bilge pump because they didn't like the noise it made!.
I recall Tim Deacon coming down and a very interesting chat, and the drawings you mention.
When it was my time to move on I did so with regret, but I needed something more practical, and I had hoped someone would take her on and at the very least look after her, it wasn't to be, I am still on the Medway and know of her location, not half a mile from me, but I shall never go along to see it, would be upsetting, I have seen from a distance water side, that was enough.
I think she could have been saved, with the right people, such a shame is wasn't.


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Previous owner of MGB45 S3


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 14 February 2018 at 8:42am
Hello there,

Many thanks for your post, indeed as per this thread a great pity she was consigned to the dump....yes, I had nothing to offer or do with her, .....we can as ever be grateful that others are working on our CF vessels, but you can at least say you did care and your best for her, as you say, keeping such a vessel going as your home far far from easy...thanks again and all the best.

Johnk


Posted By: Medyna
Date Posted: 23 February 2018 at 1:56am
Lovely to hear from the owner of Freelance after Jim Henderson, and especially to hear that he has a soul (!) in that he actually seems to have cared what happened to the boat. Yes she could have been saved, and yes she was worth saving, but I heard from Tim Deacons that the problem was that the Medway Ports Authority did not want her towed to a suitable slipway for slipping, in case she sank midstream. If she had managed to float each tide and settle again on the mud on every tide since 1987 (before that she was on fully-floating moorings ever since she arrived on the Thames), and achieved this on a series of different mud berths, I think the chance of her sinking under a gentle tow in calm water to be low, but this was apparently the problem.
As to the S6M's, that pair of engines still had the original gear type water pumps (i.e. not Jabsco converted) so not self-priming, so on each starting you had to screw down the pump greasers till the water issued from the exhausts. Occasionally they would work without this, but this procedure was in the Perkins S6M handbook, and usually necessary. I watched Jim doing this over a period of many years, and because of this I converted my own S6M's on MTB253 Medyna to Jabscos. If this was not done on Freelance, an engine could be running without water, and so crack either the block or the twin cylinder heads, and those engines really did need a lot of water through them, with the raw water cooling system they had. Probably this is what happened if someone other than Jim tried starting them??? Just a thought.
I certainly agree that from the photos I saw via the brokerage when she was last sold, bulkheads had been removed, particularly that one where you had to step up and over. Annoying but important, so this, as the intermediate owner suggests, would probably be a main cause of her becoming leaky and weak. When Jim had her at Canvey, she actually did not leak at all provided the sternglands were kept greased.
Sad all round, but I am pleased to know more of the story. I understand the feeling of not wanting to see the hulk, as I have refrained from going to see Medyna's hulk. Considered it at first, when told by Steve on this site that she had been sunk, but later decided against, even though it should be easier now that Kingsnorth Power Station is no more, so the security may be less.  I sold her up and running and seagoing, and that's how I would like to remember her, and not as a hulked houseboat.


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Peter Leggett, former owner (1976-1991) ex MTB 253, later Motor Yacht Medyna.


Posted By: johnk
Date Posted: 23 February 2018 at 8:25am
Hi there,

Just to say many thanks for your memories of her, as before, I recall visiting years ago...all the best,

Johnk


Posted By: Medwaycaptain
Date Posted: 23 February 2018 at 12:07pm
Great to see more details about Freelance, and regarding the water issues on the S6Ms I recall when she was brought to the mooring under her own power on the Medway the starboard engine was running dry, I went down to the engine room and could see a hole in the exhaust just past the manifold, as I had purchased her as a 'houseboat' anything like that had to be, and was, accepted.
I travelled down to Devon and bought a complete engine and many spares including a couple of gearboxes, manifolds, starters, only to find them after I sold her dumped behind an office in the marina, seems they were 'in the way'.
I have found all the above very interesting as I knew little of her history post war, the previous owner must have been very proud of her in the day, the standard of conversion was excellent, must have been a very sad time for him to sell her.
Yes, she could have been saved, very much so, when I had her apart from a little water in the aft section she was bone dry but as said before removing bulkheads and switching off bilge pumps did little to help the situation, I agree she could have been towed on a good day with no problems, they cut holes in her to stop her floating away!.
I look back with great fondness of her, and some regret it never passed to the right people, that can be said of many things, but she was a beautiful vessel.


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Previous owner of MGB45 S3



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