Maritime boat restoration to help veterans

Organisers of a maritime museum are hoping to bring an Air Sea Rescue boat back into use as a respite vessel for veterans.
Organisers of a maritime museum are hoping to bring an Air Sea Rescue boat back into use as a respite vessel for veterans.

A boat which was part of a service that helped rescue more than 13,000 downed airmen during the Second World War could be used to help veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and promote the town’s maritime history.

Jonathon Brackenbury, along with a small team of fishermen, cadets and former members of the armed forces, is looking to restore a 1941 RAF Marine Craft Unit (MCU) 1109 Air Sea Rescue boat which was based at Boston Dock between 1942-58.

The aim is to bring it back into use as a respite vessel for veterans with PTSD and also as a cadet experience boat.

Mr Brackenbury is also leading a project to set up a maritime museum – potentially sited at the Old St John’s Workhouse, in Skirbeck Road – which he says will exhibit historical artefacts linked to the local area, including the town’s strong ties to the SS Great Britain (the first iron-clad steamer to cross the Atlantic) through Herbert Ingram and its connection to the Hanseatic League.

The plan would, eventually, be to retire the MCU boat as an exhibit for the museum, with a new boat being bought to replace it.

Mr Brackenbury said: “We hope to complement Lincolnshire’s aviation heritage tourism experience with an authentic 1941 artefact accessible to and used by visitors and locals alike.”

He said: “Boston has a very long and fascinating maritime history that is largely ignored and often unknown to the local or visitor.”

The original crews of the MCU would have lived and socialised in Boston, including being billeted at the Cross Keys Hotel, and drinking at the Park Inn. They rescued more than 13,000 crews during the Second World War and also helped in the East Coast’s 1953 floods.

Two meetings are scheduled for early January to discuss the restoration project and the museum plans.

For more information search BostonMaritimeMuseum or Ww2rafboat4boston on Facebook or visit www.bostonmaritimeproject.org