‘Gunboats’ Tribute to Sir Harry

Our celebrations of Admiral Sir Harry Burrard Neale’s glittering naval career were greatly enhanced by the arrival of two naval vessels in the Lymington River.

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The first to arrive was HMS Smiter (P272), an Archer class patrol and training vessel, otherwise known as a P2000.  Smiter and her crew moored alongside the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, where she was open for inspection.

Importantly, her crew, from the Southampton University Royal Naval Unit, was able to take active roles in three of our 16th September celebrations – the morning parade and ‘photo shoot’ at the Walhampton Monument and evening spectacular at St. Thomas’ Church … and a lunchtime reception at the RLYC in between.

Commanding Officer of HMS Smiter, Lieutenant Nick Palmer said ‘The Royal Navy, and in particular P2000s, have strong links with the town of Lymington and the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and we are very proud to attend this historic event for such an inspiring Naval Officer.’

Also gracing the occasion, hosted by the Lymington Town Sailing Club and moored on the Dan Bran pontoon, was historic HMS Medusa (ML1387), a Harbour Defence Motor Launch, built at Poole in 1943.  In May 1944 she took part in the practice assault carried out by American forces at Slapton Sands, Devon and on D-Day as a Navigation Leader marking the approach channels through minefields at Omaha Beach.  Medusa has been fully restored to 1940s condition by Skipper Alan Watson and members of the Medusa Trust – who were kept busy during her visit to Lymington showing veterans and school-children around their beautiful vessel.

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