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Vertue 21 ‘Hussar’: some early history

Our featured boat to welcome in the New Year, January 2024 is a classic Bermudan, the Vertue ‘Hussar’. Despite the Association name, the OGA welcomes classic Bermudans as well as motorboats. In this second post her current owners tell us a little of her early history and how she came by her unusual name.

‘Hussar’ is a Laurent Giles designed Vertue, built by Elkins of Christchurch in 1949. She has a planked mahogany carvel hull on grown oak and steamed frames with a lead keel. We believe she was commissioned by Lt RNVR Robert Henry Douglas Barklie. He was mentioned in dispatches, 30 May 1944, for courage and skill in dangerous minesweeping operations during Op Antidote (Galita, Algeria to Sousse, Tunisia) when serving on ‘HMS Hussar’. As the navy did not keep the name after she was lost, Lt Barklie re-used it.

The first ‘HMS Hussar’, a 28-gun sixth rate was launched in 1757, while the tenth and last ‘HMS Hussar’, a Halcyon class minesweeper, was launched 1934 and sunk by friendly fire (RAF Typhoons) off Normandy, August 27 1944. This was very much hushed up at the time. There are several graves of seamen at the Shotley Naval Cemetery, Ipswich, who died while serving aboard ‘HMS Hussar’ in different locations. 

In 1952 our ‘Hussar’ won the Concours d’Elegance at Poole having won the races on both days. At this time she was owned by Mr Frank Webster who kept her until 1971 in Christchurch, Hampshire. As MD of Ashby and Horner, a building company, we assume she was well maintained and ‘changed hands’ when it was felt inappropriate to have a boat as an asset on a City of London building company. She was sailed for 32 years over this period by Mr M Hall who parted with her in 1987 when she became too small for his family, having crossed the Channel and taken part in the Round the Island race (Isle of Wight) where she came 55th on handicap in a fleet of 1400. We found her in Faversham in 2005 and became boat owners for the first time, ignoring the advice to find a boat with bits of wood rather than all wood. Find out a little about our maintenance programme.

Current owners: Carey and Ken