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In Memoriam

On This Day: 31st July

Able Seaman John Hamilton (H.M.M.G.B. 332)
Stoker 2nd Class William Henry Mills (H.M.M.G.B. 332)
Able Seaman Samuel Shephard (H.M.M.G.B. 332)
Sub-Lieutenant Julius Lloyd Jackson (H.M.S. Mantis)

View the Book of Remembrance

poppy wreath
At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them

MTB 345 – 30th July, 1943

MTB 345

MTB 345 passes a steam powered vessel at speed, possibly during her acceptance trials, prior to her commissioning in 1942 © IWM

Aspøy, Norway

MTB 345 was captured by German forces on the 28th July 1943 whilst on patrol in Norwegian waters. However, the 30th July marks the anniversary of the loss of her crew, who after being captured and interrogated by German Navy Intelligence, were handed over to the Security Police who executed them as 'pirates' and saboteurs, despite the crew all being in uniform, and engaged in a routine naval operation.

The Loss of MTB 345


The bridge of Motor Launch Medusa

The bridge of HDML 1387 (Medusa), a Fairmile Harbour Defence Motor Launch from the Second World War. Medusa is seen here during the recent 70th Anniversary of D-Day commemorations held in the Historic Dockyard at Portsmouth © Starboard Media

London Branch

June Newsletter

The June edition of the London Branch newsletter brings news of the Branch Secretary's decision to step down from his post at the end of this year, and relates something of the discussion the committee held on the future of the branch in light of dwindling attendance at meetings. July's meeting will take the form of the annual social, to which it is hoped more members will be encouraged to attend by inviting along family members who may accompany them.

London Branch June 2014

Death Notice

John Rivett

It is with sadness that we learn of the death of John Rivett who died suddenly in hospital after a short illness on 1st July, 2014. A long time member of the East Anglia Branch, John regularly took part in visits by the veterans to Croatia, having served in the Aegean as part of the crew of RML 500. London Branch extends their deepest sympathies to his family at this time.

A funeral service will take place on Monday 14 July at 13.15 at the Ipswich Crematorium, Cemetery Lane, Ipswich, IP4 2TQ. The crematorium is on the north side of Ipswich and Cemetery Lane is off the Colchester Road. (View map for location)

London Branch has also learned of the deaths of these former Coastal Forces members:

Frederick Charles Bell – Petty Officer Motor Mechanic MTBs 279, 300, 652.
Stan Cross – crew member of MTB 666.
Douglas Biddiscombe – Petty Officer Motor Mechanic on MTB 471.
Arthur Owen Woodhouse – Commanding Officer of MTB 410.
John Lloyd – 1st Lieutenant on HDML 1392.
Laurie Strong – Commanding Officer of MTB 81 and MTB 77.
Bernard William Hart – crew member on MTB 205, RML 555, ML 243.
Joseph Drabble – crew member on MTBs 233, 235, 253 and HDML 1080.
John 'Jack' Wright – crew member on MGB 330.
John Spencer – crew member on MTB 458.
Ken Speed – crew member on MGB 647.
Phyllis Ward (nee Luke) – a Petty Officer Wren who served at HMS Hornet.
William Maher – Telegraphist on MTB 447.
Leslie Hudson – P.O.M.M on ML 309.
Leslie Fish – Leading Stoker on MTB 360.

70th Anniversary of D-Day

MGB 81 and MTB 102 at sea

MGB 81 and MTB 102 taken from HDML 1387 Medusa during the recent D-Day Anniversary commemorations © David Carter


Douglas Biddiscombe DSM

An obituary for Douglas Biddiscombe written by his son Richard, has been published on the web site. Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Douglas Enos Biddiscombe was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) on the 22nd December, 1944, while serving on MTB 471, for an attack on German E-Boats in the Channel.

Stan Cross

Stan Cross, a shipmate in the Southern Branch has died. Stan led a highly eventful life in Coastal Forces, being part of the crew of MTB 666, sunk by the German armed trawlers off the Dutch coast in July 1944, and taken prisoner. An article written by Stan, The Final Chapter of the Sixes recounts the events of that night. Stan was the very first editor of the Coastal Forces Veterans newsletter, overseeing its development from a single news sheet, to a publication that helped record much of Coastal Forces history.

Sir Arthur Owen Woodhouse ONZ KBE DSC

Sir Arthur Owen Woodhouse has died in New Zealand, aged 97. A member of the Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve during the Second World War, he served as a Lieutenant on MTB 85 and MTB 410 in the Adriatic, being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for an attack on an enemy convoy in the Gulf of Venice in April 1945. Sir Owen went on to enjoy a distinguished career in Law in his native New Zealand, rising to become a Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge, as well as a Privy Councillor.

Heroes Return 2 To Fund Second Trips

The National Lottery backed Heroes Return 2 scheme, which helps fund veterans' trips to attend commemoration events at home or abroad, has been extended to permit those who have applied successfully once before, to fund a second trip.

Lottery honours WWII heroes with second grants for trips



The articles section contains accounts written by veterans detailing aspects of their service in Coastal Forces during the Second World War.Read our articles

Coastal Forces Craft

Find information on a specific Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB), Motor Gunboat (MGB), Motor Launch (ML) or Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML).Search the database

Veterans Area

Visit the veterans area to get up-to-date news and information from the world of Coastal Forces Veterans by reading the latest branch newsletters.Visit the veterans section


The photo gallery forms a visual record of the history of Coastal Forces and contains many records of the working environment of boats and their crews.View the photo gallery

Map Room

The Maps Room employs Google map technologies to chart the location of all former Coastal Forces bases world-wide with a note on the history of each.Visit the Map Room

War Reports

In the War Reports section you can read official war reports written during the Second World War that offer revealing insights into the role of Coastal Forces.Read the War Reports