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In Memoriam

On This Day: 21st August

Able Seaman George Thomas Fitch (H.M.M.T.B. 471)
Stoker 1st Class Andrew McGarvie (H.M.M.T.B. 471)
Able Seaman Samuel Randles (H.M.M.T.B. 476)
Able Seaman William J Humphries (H.M.M.T.B. 477)
Able Seaman Andrew Hunter (H.M.M.T.B. 477)
Stoker 2nd Class Thomas Rumney (H.M.S. Chasseur 13)

View the Book of Remembrance

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

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 last (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.

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

Funeral Service for John Williamson

A funeral service for the late John Williamson will be held on Friday 22nd August, 2014 at 11.00 am. It will take place at St Mary's Church, Fawkham, Fawkham Valley Road, Fawham, Kent DA3 8EQ

Coastal Forces colleagues are most welcome, and directions for St Mary's Church, Fawkham may be found on our map page.


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