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In Memoriam

On This Day: 20th September

Ordinary Seaman George S Blythe (H.M.S. Attack)
Petty Officer Richard Jones (H.M.S. Attack)
Ordinary Seaman Peter Traynor (H.M.S. Attack)
Ordinary Seaman Ronald C Tucker (H.M.S. Attack)

View the Book of Remembrance

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

Heritage Open Days 11-14 SeptemberFour days with two tours each day requiring two guides plus one evening presentation ashore with assistance on the 12th Southampton Boat Show
Southampton Boat Show 12-21 SeptemberThis may not happen. Discussions are still in progress regarding participation
Medusa Autumn CruiseAs an alternative to the Southampton Boat Show (above), we are looking for a weekend away on 20 September
Trafalgar Night DinnerSaturday 25 October Venue: Mary Mouse II, Haslar Marina. Details to follow
Remembrance Day Sunday 9 NovemberMedusa will proceed to Hornet on Saturday 8 November and will attend the national service on Sunday 9 November
2015 – TBC
  • In conjunction with “Shieldhall", take a party of trainees to sea for a day
  • Day at sea with Management Trainees
  • Two sea trips for prize winners

Return to Normandy 2014

As part of the 70th Anniversary D-Day commemorations which took place earlier this year, the historic craft HDML Medusa, which participated in the original Normandy invasion force of the 6th June 1944, made a poignant return to Normandy, a journey charted in Return to Normandy 2014 which is available as a PDF download (2.1 MB).

Motor Launch Medusa alongside the quay in Port en Bessin

HDML Medusa alongside the quay in Port en Bessin during the D-Day 70th Anniversary commemorations that took place in June 2014

Charlie Smorthit

London Branch Chairman

Charlie Smorthit

Charlie Smorthit pictured at a branch meeting on HMS Belfast


London Branch have received the sad news of the death of shipmate and Branch Chairman, Charlie Smorthit, who crossed the bar on Friday 15th August after a short illness. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

Charlie served during the War as a Leading Stoker on MTB 638 in the Mediterranean, having previously been spare crew with the 8th MGB Flotilla based at Felixstowe under Lieutenant Commander Hitchens.

He enjoyed membership of the former Coastal Forces Veterans Association, and was a popular member of London Branch, having been appointed its Chairman some years ago.

Charlie Smorthit Tribute

London Branch

August Newsletter

The August edition of the London Branch newsletter contains a report on the recent annual social event held on the Belfast which was attended by veterans, family and friends. There is also mention of the Branch's former Treasurer, John Williamson who recently 'crossed the bar' and of its Chairman, Charlie Smorthit, who has sadly passed away too since the publication of the printed edition.

London Branch August 2014

Death Notice

John Williamson

London Branch has learned with sadness of the death of former Branch Treasurer, John Williamson. Shipmate John served as a Leading Telegraphist on MTB 489 and ML 112. London Branch extends their deepest sympathies to his family at this time, and plans to post a full obituary notice later. (05/08/2014)

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

John Rivett – RML 500.
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.



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