Frank Leslie Carter (right) with Alan (Duke) Goddard onboard ML 1301 in the Mediterranean

Lieutenant Frank Leslie Carter RNVR

On 17th June we commemorated Lieutenant Frank Leslie 'Nick' Carter, killed onboard his command ML 1301 during Operation Brassard, the Allied assault on Elba

ML 1301 was launched in January 1943, completed in Appledore and commissioned on 6th April 1943. She is seen here passing under the bridge at Bideford, Somerset. Lt 'Nick' Carter is seen standing to the right of the gun.
The crew of ML 1301 take time out for a group photo while on patrol in the Mediterranean

ML 1301 –  A Brief History

ML 1301 was a Fairmile designed Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML). Despite their designation, these versatile craft were rarely confined to harbour, seeing service in all manner of operations at sea, both at home and abroad. ML 1301 was laid down at Blackmore's yard in Bideford, Devon in September 1942. She was launched in January 1943, completed in Appledore, and commissioned on 6th April 1943. Lieutenant Carter oversaw her construction and was able to stipulate minor variations to the basic design, such as armour cladding to the bridge.

Initially, her armament consisted of a 2 pounder gun on the foredeck, a 20mm Orlikon on the stern cabin, a .303' Vickers machine on each side of the bridge, and eight depth charges on racks at the stern. After 'working-up' in the Bristol Channel, ML 1301 was grouped into a convoy in Milford Haven, and sailed for Malta, via Gibraltar. In Malta, the 2 pounder gun was removed and replaced by another 20mm Orlikon. She was also fitted with Radar at this stage.

From Malta, ML 1301 took part in Operation Husky – the invasion of Sicily. She was one of the first to reach the beaches and acted as a lead boat to show lights to the landing craft. She then performed a similar role in the invasion of Italy at Salerno, after which she was based in Naples.

Lieutenant 'Nick' Carter was killed during the boat's third major operation, the invasion of Elba, when the boat came under fire from a heavily armed German F-Lighter

After the action in Elba, the boat was adapted for survey work, surveying harbours in Italy, the Adriatic and Aegean, and reaching as far east as Cyprus. The boat was then shipped back to the UK, where she was attached to the Hydrographic Office surveying the South Coast, and renamed HMS Meda. The boat was eventually decommissioned in 1966 and sold, ending up with Hector Sheppard-Capurro, the owner of Sheppard's Marina in Gibraltar. The boat was renamed again as Gibel Tarik and modified for use as a yacht.

Eventually the boat was put up for sale in 2007 and bought by a Dutch businessman. In a remarkable turn of events, 'Nick' Carter's son, David, formed part of the crew who sailed his father's old command back to Holland from Gibraltar. For the full story see The Return of HDML 1301 in the September 2015 edition of the London Branch newsletter.

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


Hastings Bullock on the occasion of his 100th birthday
Hastings pictured on the occasion of his 100th birthday in 2015 Photo courtesy Club Waimea

New Zealand Veteran Celebrates 101ST Birthday

Hastings Bullock, a native of New Zealand, and current resident of Nelson, Waimea, has recently celebrated his 101st birthday! The oldest of three, Hastings was born and raised in Christchurch, and trained as an accountant after leaving school. His war service began in 1940 when he joined the Navy and travelled to England, where after basic training he joined the North Atlantic convoys. After succesfully completing officer training, he was was posted to East Africa on motor launches, before returning to New Zealand in 1943, where he spent the remainder of the war operating motor launches out of Wellington.

Recalling his experiences in London during the Blitz, Hastings spoke of how in 1941 he would go underground with mothers and children and how they used to impress him with the way they behaved while under bombing. "They had really positive attitudes, they made us (the New Zealand Navy) feel very welcome.”

He met his eventual wife, Patricia, in 1958 and went on to raise two daughters and a son. He has been involved with the The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association for many years, and enjoys meeting his friends at the gatherings. “You feel very involved with them because they have been through exactly what you have been through. I don't think any of the people I joined the navy with are alive today, but I think I’m just lucky.” He has just one complaint about getting older: “My knees are a lot slower now, it makes it harder to catch the blondes!!”


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: 25th June

Rigger Finlay John Fraser (H.M.S. Beehive)

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