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HM Coastal Motor Boat 4

 

HM Coastal Motor Boat 4 is the torpedo boat used when Lieutenant Augustus Agar earned a Victoria Cross for carrying out a raid on Soviet warships in Kronstadt and sinking the cruiser Oleg.

It was one of a large series of small, fast, shallow draught Coastal Motor Boats used during the First World War. She was designed by John I. Thornycroft & Company of Hampton, England, ordered in January 1916, built by them and delivered that summer.

CMB 4 was 45 feet (14 m) long and 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) in the beam. She displaced 5 tons drawing 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) of water. Power was a 275 bhp (205 kW) Thornycroft V-12 petrol engine driving a single propeller and achieved a top speed of 24.8 knots (45.9 km/h). The boat was armed with one 18 inch (450 mm) torpedo and four .303 in (7.62 km) Lewis machine guns. It was operated by a crew of three.

In May 1916, Lieutenant W. N. T. Beckett MVO DSC took command of the newly built HM Coastal Motor Boat 4. In December 1916 he proceeded to Dunkirk in charge of the 3rd CMB Division and operated on the Belgian coast. Beckett was in command of a Divisional CMB attack on German destroyers at Zeebrugge on 7 April 1917; as a result one was sunk and one very seriously damaged. For these actions Beckett was mentioned in Despatches and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).

The boat, under the command of Lieutenant Augustus Agar, V.C., was made famous by his part in the British operations in the Baltic Sea against the Bolsheviks in 1919 where she operated with her sister ships in activities such as the raid on Kronstadt.

After the action the boat was returned to the United Kingdom where it was on display first at the Imperial War Museum in London and then at the Vosper works on Platts Eyot (island) on the River Thames near Kingston for many years with a Victoria Cross painted on the side until the Vosper works there closed. It was then restored and is now on display with details of the action but with the painted VC removed at the Imperial War Museums out-station Imperial War Museum Duxford near Cambridge. Agars VC is held by the War Museum in London.

Missouri Civil War Museum


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