Motor Gun Boat 81

Motor Gun Boat (MGB) 81 was commissioned and accepted on the 11th July 1942; she first worked up at HMS Bee, the Coastal Forces base at Weymouth, and in August 1942 joined the 8th MGB Flotilla at Dartmouth.  Over the next year MGB 81 was involved in six actions.

An official order dated 26th August 1943 redesignated MBG 81 as MTB 416.  The 8th MGB Flotilla itself was also renumbered the 1st MTB Flotilla.  Although the boat was reclassified as a torpedo boat, we have no specific evidence of her ever having carried torpedoes.  However, her first recorded action as an MTB was on the 21/22 April 1944 in Lyme Bay, when three groups of E-boats were plotted in the area.  The MTBs were vectored on to the five enemy craft and engaged two at close range, and MTB 416 suffered action damage.

She was back in service for the Normandy landings and was involved from the 6th to the 30th June.  A few days after D-Day, the flotilla transferred from Dartmouth to HMS Hornet at Gosport.  Overnight on the 23/24 June 1944, MTB 416 was involved in an attack on a German convoy leaving Cherbourg.  Although MTB 416 was only backing up the operation, one of her crew was killed.

From June 2017 to November 2018 MGB 81 underwent a major structural rebuild and internal refit, and was equipped with three new engines.  This work was paid for by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds.

Boat Stats

Length Overall

71ft 6in


20ft 6in


5ft 9 in


37 tons (light), 47 tons (loaded)


Three petrol engines, total 4050bhp


43 knots


Chine hull with double-diagonal mahogany sides and triple-diagonal mahogany bottom.

Date Built


Boat Yard

British Powerboat Company, Hythe, Southampton.

Supported by:

Supported by Regional Growth Fund