Tributes have been paid to long-standing London Branch member Wallis Randall, who died peacefully on 9th June, 2015 after a long illness. Quietly spoken, Wallis always enjoyed a laugh, and was an active and popular member of London Branch, having served as its vice chairman at one time.
As a member of the former Coastal Forces Veterans Association (CFVA) he single-handedly founded its library, and in his role as Honorary Librarian brought much pleasure and interest to its Annual General Meetings at Lowestoft and Hayling Island.
A man of vision as well as initiative, Wallis had expounded the benefits of using the Internet as a means of communication from early on, advocating the creation of a CFVA website. Sadly his efforts met with resistence during the association's lifetime, but his persistence led to the eventual formation of the London Branch web site which is his legacy.
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.
Able Seaman William F Langley (H.M.M.G.B. 67)
Sub-Lieutenant Walter Thomas Wilson (H.M.M.G.B. 67)
The actor Patrick Macnee has died at his home in California age 93. A star of film and television, his best known role was that of debonair secret agent John Steed, in the cult television series The Avengers. During the Second World War he served as Sub-Lieutenant and Navigation Officer on MTB 415, before being promoted First Lieutenant of MTB 434. His boat was sunk by gunfire from a German surface craft off Normandy on 9 July 1944, though he was absent from the vessel at the time, having been hospitalised prior to the event with bronchitis.
This edition plays catch-up to combine branch reports from March and May of 2015. Recently appointed Branch Chairman Ken Gadsdon writes on the subject of new members and donations made to London Branch, while Treasurer David Carter provides a report on the recent annual maintenance programme for the preserved vessel HDML Medusa which will see her seaworthy for the next twelve months. There is also a full report from the City of London Sea Cadets on their recent accomplishments which included a well attended trip to the Norfolk Broads.
London Branch June 2015
The offices of London Branch Coastal Forces Veterans moored on the Thames
The dawn of my VE Day broke over the Island of Ischia, a small Island in the Bay of Naples, where we the crew of MGB 647 were enjoying some respite during the time our boat was undergoing some extensive repair as a result of enemy action off the coast of the then Yugoslavia.
The news was greeted at first with silence, then utter deflation in that the mental attitude we possessed, FEAR ( For Ever At Risk ) that had been our constant companion for the past two years had suddenly been released and was to be replaced with what?
Was it true, are we really going home? Our hopes and dreams then came flooding in; this then was the time to cheer, no more night patrols, close up to action stations, enemy ahead, is it really true?
It was then that the attitude problem that I was to wrestle with for many months to come took over with the doubts and the truth of what was happening or was is it all a dream and perhaps I will soon be waking up. Love and care of the family was to play a major role in my period of rehabilitation from war to peace, and from fear to hope.
The memories of my war in the Mediterranean with Royal Navy Light Coastal Forces serving aboard Motor Torpedo Boats and Motor Gun Boats was the comradeship that existed within the crews and the discipline that was essential for our survival.Peter Bickmore BEM
The articles section contains accounts written by veterans detailing aspects of their service in Coastal Forces during the Second World War and life after.
Find information on a specific Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB), Motor Gunboat (MGB), Motor Launch (ML) or Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML).
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.
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.
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.
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.