Have you ever surfed around on eBay and become so tempted by something that you end up making a purchase you hadn’t planned on? Well, Simon and Gemma Robins of Wrexham, Wales, have got you beat: Lured by that ol’ eBay magic, they stumbled on—and made the purchase-plunge for—the ML-1392, a vessel involved in the Normandy Invasion of World War II.
You can buy a World War II vessel on eBay? Who knew?
Camper-van renovation specialists by trade, the young couple described this ultimate impulse-buy as “a heart-over-head decision.” They now have launched a restoration project that they are chronicling on YouTube and Facebook, and that has drawn media attention from Fleet Street to CNN.
“So here starts our maiden voyage,” they say in the introduction to their YouTube channel (which has enjoyed more than 1 million views). “We stumbled across an old World War II ship on eBay, and without thinking, we bought her!”
The 72-foot, 59-ton ML-1392 looks as rode-hard-and-put-away-wet as one would expect after so many owners and so many years. Known in her latest incarnation as the Sarinda, she served as a navigation leader during the June 1944 D-Day landings and also aided in the capture of a German midget submarine in March 1945.
“So this is the start of something crazy,” the couple say on YouTube. “She has so much history and so many stories to tell, so along the way, as well as trying to bring her back to life we will also be looking back at her history. We are very hands-on people . . . so we are hoping to use our skills, and obviously we have so much more to learn along the way!”
To follow the progress of the restoration project, go to Facebook and YouTube and hunt for “Ship Happens.”