A PLEASURE boat which helped protect Weymouth and Portland during the Second World War was honoured as it was relaunched.

My Girl , a Weymouth pleasure vessel, was requisitioned by the army for war service in 1939 and throughout the war, with skipper Ron Hill, ferried troops from the Royal Artillery Regiment to and from the Breakwater Forts guarding Portland Harbour and the naval base – a prime target for bombing raids. It also carried shells for the big guns of the forts and played a vital role in the build up to D-Day as the area witnessed the departure of half a million American troops bound for France.

The Royal Artillery Association presented the boat with a new Royal Artillery Pennant to fly from the flagstaff with dignitaries , including members of the association and the Mayor of Weymouth and Portland, Christine James gathered on the boat and by Weymouth Harbour.

General secretary of the Royal Artillery Association, Lieutenant Colonel Vere Nicoll MBE presented the pennant to Peter Broatch, of Coastline Cruises, who owns the boat and has been restoring it for the past two years. Also present was Marian Lye, daughter of the boat's previous skipper Ron Hill.

The day also marked the publication of a second edition of Ron’s book, Weymouth at War, which won't only feature his story in words and photographs but two new chapters by Marion, entitled Growing Up with My Girl and The Landmark Walks.

Marian, Peter and Lt Col Nicoll, all spoke of the importance of the boat at the event and its connection to history.

Speaking to the Echo, Peter said: “It’s excellent to see her back in the water operating today. It’s been a long hard process. It’s a credit to her and her skippers at the time that she is receiving this.”

Lt Col Nicoll, said that the pennant is usually reserved for presentation to regiments, making My Girl’s accomplishment extra special.

He said: “It’s so special for us to be here commemorating something that is so important in our history.

“It just reinforces the link between the town, My Girl and the regiment.”

In 1947, the vessel reverted to her pre-war role as a pleasure boat, conveying many holiday makers.

My Girl has been honoured before, in 1994, Major General Steele honoured its wartime service with presentation of the Pennant of the Royal Artillery Association.