London Branch has received news of the death of Len 'Rover' Reynolds, who 'crossed the bar' on the 18th April 2013, at Maidenhead, Berkshire.
Len served for some two and a half years on MGB 658, which formed part of the 20th MGB Flotilla, alongside the 3rd MTB Flotilla, in a hard fought campaign in the Mediterranean.
After the war, he led a long and successful career as a teacher and headmaster, and then as an author of a set of definitive histories of Light Coastal Forces.
The April edition of the London Branch newsletter brings important news of the discussion held at the recent AGM, in which the Secretary highlighted the dwindling attendance at branch meetings. It has been proposed that the branch should remain functioning for at least another year, with the situation to be reviewed again in March 2014. There is also information on the Heroes Return 2 scheme, as well as an offer of boat trips to be had at Gosport, and on the River Thames
London Branch April 2013
London Branch member Peter Bickmore is currently organising a return visit to the Croatian island of Vis. Veterans interested in joining this trip may be eligible for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund's Heroes Return 2 scheme. Full details may be found in the link below.
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.
Our latest article contains an account given by Commander Tom Kitson of a serious fire that took hold in the Danish port of Aarhus in May 1953 that destroyed Vosper boat P1023, and damaged the recently commissioned HMS Gay Archer, which Tom Kitson was in command of at the time.
April sees the anniversary of the sinking of MTB 710, a Fairmile 'D' Dogboat lost in the Adriatic on the 10th April 1945, after striking an acoustic mine. A large section of her crew were below decks at the time of the incident, and sixteen members of crew drowned as her forward section sank.
George Chandler MID, one of the survivors from the boat, provides a poignant account of the day's events, in an article linked to below.
MGB 2002 sailed from Aberdeen at 0800 hours on the 11th May 1945 on a mission to Gothenberg, Sweden. The Commanding Officer of MGB 2002, Lt Cdr 'Jan' Mason SANF(V), had been called to Buckingham Palace to receive the Distinguished Service Cross for his work in command of MGB 318. His place was taken by Lt Cdr 'Mike' Marshall who at the time was Senior Officer of the flotilla in MGB 2009. The boat's normal complement of crew was increased for the trip by the inclusion of several senior officers, including the Flotilla Engineer Officer, Lt Cdr (E) Hughes-Coppins, Lt Cdr Brian Reynolds, who had served as Brian Bingham in the RNR, and Captain Herbert Jackson. Bingham and Jackson had been engaged in the wartime blockade running of ball bearings from Sweden to the Humber, in boats of the same class as MGB 2002. The party were sailing to Gothenburg to arrange the transfer from that port to the UK of two merchant vessels used as stores ships in those operations, when the boat struck a mine in the Skagerrak off southern Norway, and sank more or less immediately, leaving only two survivors.
Ordinary Seaman Hugh Lyon (H.M.M.L. 1469)
Telegraphist John Walter Henstridge (H.M.M.L. 466)
The articles section contains accounts written by veterans detailing aspects of their service in Coastal Forces during the Second World War.Read our articles
Find information on a specific Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB), Motor Gunboat (MGB), Motor Launch (ML) or Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML).Search the database
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
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
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