Canada Day — 1st July 2016

The 1st July was Canada Day, the annual anniversary of the Constitution Act that united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. At this time we also recall to mind the many Canadians who served in Coastal Forces during the Second World War, and in particular the crew of MTB 460 (pictured above), some of whom were killed on 2nd July 1944, when their boat struck a mine while safeguarding the D-Day anchorages off Normandy.

The crew of MTB 460, several of whom were lost at sea on 2nd July, 1944
MTB 466 of the Canadian 29th MTB Flotilla under the overall command of Lieutenant Commander C A Law RCNVR © IWM

Casualties for HMCMTB 460

  • Able Seaman George Alfred Ashmore
  • Stoker Edmund Arthur Button
  • Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Douglas George
  • Ordinary Seaman George William Grant
  • Stoker John Stephenson Hartley
  • Lieutenant Howard Alfred Hunt
  • Lieutenant David Allison Killam
  • Stoker Louis Douglas Lawson
  • Leading Seaman Jack Morden Lee
  • Ordinary Telegraphist Alan William Rowe
  • Telegraphist Peter Thompson

Canadian volunteers had served with Coastal Forces from as early as 1940, most notable of whom were a trio of volunteer reserve officers, Cornelius Burke, Tommy Ladner and Douglas Maitland, who served on 'short' MGBs in the North Sea. The three were later to command 'Dog Boats' in the Mediterranean, where they earned the name 'The Three Musketeers' on account of their many exploits among the islands of the Adriatic.

In 1944 in Home Waters, two flotillas of boats were formed entirely crewed by Canadian sailors. The 29th MTB Flotilla consisted of 'short' British Power Boat MTBs, and the 65th MTB Flotilla, comprising the longer and more heavily-armed Fairmile 'D' types, under the overall command of Lieutenant Commander J R H Kirkpatrick RCNVR. Both Canadian flotillas were to suffer tragedy late on in the war at Ostend in February 1945, when the boats were caught up in a disastrous fire and explosion in harbour, in what proved to be the worst day for Coastal Forces in the whole of the war.

Thames Traditional Boat Festival: 15th–17th July, 2016

Representatives from London Branch Coastal Forces Veterans were invited to this year's Thames Traditional Boat Festival at Henley-on-Thames. Featuring the largest display of traditional boats in Europe, MTB 102 made an appearance, while members of the branch also attended with an information display.
Location Map: Fawley Meadows Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

The veteran's section contains latest branch news and announcements, as well as up-to-date information on boats that have been preserved. You can also learn something of the history of the Coastal Forces Veterans Association, and of the London Branch


London Branch June 2016

As is usual, immediately prior to the recent branch meeting, members of the Branch Committee took advantage to hold a quick meeting to discuss 'urgent… Read More

London Branch March 2016

Our Branch Meeting on Sunday 21st February was a rather 'thin' affair but a pleasant and useful one nevertheless. Although our two recruiters have… Read More

London Branch December 2015

I am sorry to report that Wallis Randall finally succumbed to his long illness. Shortly following that sad news, we learned that Sea Cadet Lt Cdr Alan… Read More

South London Branch September 2015

The Merton Sea Cadets are holding a Trafalgar Day Dinner on 24th October to which all are invited at a cost of £27.50 per head. I am pleased to report… Read More

London Branch September 2015

This page was to have been written by our Chairman Ken Gadsdon, but due to his indisposition I have been volunteered. The main thing to report is that… Read More


Henry Ernest Checkley


London Branch have learned of the death of shipmate 'Sparky' Henry Checkley who has gone "back to sea for the last time", having passed away peacefully,… Read More

Denis Cooke


Denis Aubrey Cooke, a member of the former South Wales Branch died on 15th December, 2015 aged 92. Denis was Leading Seaman and Coxwain on ML 187,… Read More

Ted Childs


London Branch have been informed of the sudden death of Ted Childs. As a deferred peacetime National Service candidate, Ted served at HornetRead More

John Lambert


It is with great regret that we have learned of the passing on 11 January of another of London Branch’s stalwarts. John Lambert ‘crossed the bar’ on… Read More

Freda Connah


Freda Connah, a member of the former Midlands Branch of the CFVA, died on 17th December, 2015. Freda, who was aged 93, had served in the Wrens during… Read More


poppy wreath

On this day: 24th July

Stoker 2nd Class Arthur Joseph Pothecary (H.M.M.G.B. 601)
Able Seaman James Christopher Riddell (H.M.M.T.B. 81)
Able Seaman William Collings McCluskey (H.M.S. Attack)
Able Seaman Eric King Rigby (H.M.S. Attack)

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


Book of Remembrance

The Book of Remembrance honours the memory of those who died in service on this day. The book also lists all casualties for each month of the year. A full search of casualties by name, or unit is available from within the casualty database

Coastal Forces Veterans Association

The Coastal Forces Veterans Association (CFVA) was founded in 1974 and ran until the official laying up of colours in 2007. Former CFVA Chairman and London Branch veteran Peter Bickmore recounts the early days of the association

London Branch

News articles and announcements from the London Branch based on HMS Belfast on the Thames near Tower Bridge in London.

Next London Branch Meeting:

Sunday 17th July, 2016


The Surviving Coastal Forces Boats

Over 2000 vessels of various types were constructed for use by Coastal Forces during the Second World War, including motor torpedo boats, motor gunboats and motor launches. On the cessation of hostilities nearly all boats were sold or otherwise disposed of. Some were donated to sea scout groups, while many more were converted for use as leisure craft, houseboats, or in some cases ferries. Over the decades the number to remain seaworthy has inevitably dwindled, leaving a precious few to be saved for the nation, or preserved for posterity by private individuals or trusts.

  • HDML 1301

    Known for a time as Meda, this former Harbour Defence Launch is currently undergoing restoration in Holland. It originally served in the Mediterranean taking part in the invasions of Sicily and Elba, as well as the Salerno Landings

  • HDML 1387

    Known as Harbour Defence Motor Launches, these boats were actually used in all forms of operations at sea in areas as diverse as Home Waters, the Mediterranean, and West Africa. HDML 1387 (Medusa) performed the role of navigation beacon during D-Day

  • MGB 81

    This boat was completed as a Motor Gun Boat (MGB) but converted along with others for use as a Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB 416) in September 1943. It has since been restored to its original gunboat specification and secured for preservation by Portsmouth Naval Base Property

  • MTB 71

    MTB 71 was built for the Royal Norwegian Navy as No 7 but requisitioned for the Royal Navy in July 1943. MTB 71 survived the war and was sold in 1945. It was acquired for restoration in 1993, and is now preserved as part of the Imperial War Museum collection at Duxford

  • MTB 102

    An important craft in the development of the motor torpedo boat, MTB 102 was originally constructed by Vosper in 1937 as a demonstration model, before being sold to the Admiralty in 1938. It is now maintained by the MTB 102 Trust based at Lowestoft

  • MTB 219

    MTB 219 was originally built for the Greek Navy as T4 before being requisitioned by the Royal Navy. MTB 219 survived the war and was transferred to Staines Sea Scouts in 1945, before being sold in 1948. It is currently being restored after use as a houseboat for over sixty years

  • P 1041

    One of only twelve Gay Class boats designed by Vosper and built in the early 1950s for use by the Royal Navy as fast attack craft. Gay Archer (P1042) was the last of the motor boats to be powered using petrol engines

  • RML 497

    As a Rescue Motor Launch, RML 497 carried out air sea rescue work in conjunction with the RAF in their high-speed Air Sea Rescue (ASR) launches, often putting to sea when weather conditions were too rough for the RAF boats. It has now been secured for preservation by the National Museum of the Royal Navy

  • RML 526

    A Rescue Motor Launch, RML 526 is a version of the multi-use Fairmile B Class of motor launch, the largest numerically of the boat types crewed by Coastal Forces

  • SGB 9

    The Steam Gun Boat Grey Goose, one of only seven to have entered service with the Royal Navy, and famously commanded by Sir Peter Scott, Senior Officer of the SGB Flotilla based in the English Channel. It is currently a houseboat