Vosper & Co. Ltd, Wivenhoe

The answer to a wartime emergency

John Collins (Nottage Maritime Institute)

Vosper's wet dock, ML276 and ML345 in the dock for repairs, with RML547 in the shed.
Nottage Maritime Institute 02848
Vosper's MTB353 on trials in the River Colne in 1943.
Nottage Maritime Institute 02851a
Besides building sixteen motor torpedo boats for the Royal Navy, Vosper's Wivenhoe yard also built two high speed rescue craft for the Royal Air Force numbered 2575 and 2576.
Nottage Maritime Institute 04306.06a
MTB 233 lost her bows in a collision in the North Sea. Somehow, her crew managed to get her back and up the river to Vosper's yard. She was successfully repaired and put back into service.
Nottage Maritime Institute 02853c

In July 1941 Vosper & Co. Ltd took over Husk & Son’s yard, and the former premises of Cox & King.  They needed a safer place to build wooden MTBs after bombing had threatened to destroy their Portsmouth yard.

A large hanger-like building shed was constructed over the slipways.  This shed was not just to protect the workmen, but was mainly to provide a warm environment for the synthetic resin glue used to set hard, and also to allow work to proceed after sunset during the blackout.  Before they closed in 1946, a total of eighteen boats had been built and thirty five repaired.

This page was added on 28/03/2015.

Comments about this page

  • Would be a wonderful sight. My grandfather was Technical Director of Vospers from the mid/late 30’s until the late 60’s, Robert.E.L. Lovell. He was a pioneer of marine ply boat construction and hydro-dynamics. He apprenticed at White’s on the IOW, then moved the British Power Boat Co and then Vospers before the war. He was also instrumental in the designs of Miss England 2 and the Bluebird K4. I’d love to know more about the whereabouts of Vospers MTBs today, they seem quite hard to track down. Ollie.

    By Ollie Gilbertson (04/05/2018)
  • Hi all nice to see old photos Good news is I’m looking to bring one of the Vosper MTBs home to Wivenhoe for a short visit prob be 1st time a MTB been up the river since world war 2 So once again the town will hear the rumble of those mighty engines All will be welcome to come and view

    By andy Merlin Engine Services (14/04/2017)
  • Hello Andy
    This sounds like wonderful news. Please do let me know the date when you are coming and I will get you a lot of publicity for your visit.
    Perhaps give me a call 01206 823073.
    Peter, Chairman Wivenhoe History Group (peter@toadhall2.co.uk)

    By Peter Hill (28/04/2017)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone