Reply To: Coastal Motorboats 1908 to 1918

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Alastair Wilson

    By Alastair Wilson
    So far as I know, there’s no book on the CMBs specifically. But try contacting the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust ( So far as the RN was concenrned, there weren’t any pre-WW1 developments – other than that there were still some of the earlier steam Torpedo Boats around (the last of which were really coastal destroyers, and used as such). But the internal combustion-engined ‘speed-boat’ for war-fighting purposes didn’t come along until the war, when, as you say, Thornycroft produced the CMB – there were 40-footers, 55-footers and 70-footers. Agar won his VC at Kronstadt in 1919, in a 40-footer, CMB 4, now in the custody of the IWM at Duxford, would you believe. And the boats did well at Zeebrugges and Ostende in 1918.
    Before the war, a naphtha-powered launch was THE toy of the seriously rich American playboy, and some of their technology, I think, rubbed off on the CMBs