ML_349 Thomas Cook, Cairo 2/6/42
For operations in the Aegean 9 - 11/43
DSC TLt Geoffrey William Searle RNVR
MID LTel William Thomas Stanley Hall C/JX150214
LtCdr A H Ball RNVR (Commanding Officer 27/3/43 and SO 42nd ML Flotilla 6/42 - 10/43)
TLtCdr Geoffrey William Searle RNVR He joined London Division RNVR as a rating (LDX4564) 2/39. Served in HMS Forfar (AMC) 9/39 – 4/40 and HMS Letitia (AMC) and HMS Osprey 11/40 – 1/41. Commanding Officer HDML 1007 1/41 - 4/42 and 6/42 – 3/7/42. ML 353 in command 4-42 – 6/42 then ML 355 in command 4/7/42 – 10/43 then ML 349 in command and Senior Officer 42nd ML Flotilla 10/43 – 27/12/43. Then ML 351 in command and Senior Officer 11th ML Flotilla 27/12/43 – 4/44. Then ML 490 in command and Senior Officer 14th ML Flotilla 10 /4/44 – 7/45. He was awarded a DSC on 4/4/44. Post war he was Chairman of the Executive Committee and Director of Finance and Planning, British Petroleum Trading Ltd and was awarded a CBE for services to export in 1972. He died on 3/7/2006 in Surrey. He wrote of his experiences in “AT SEA LEVEL” ISBN 1 85776 912 0
TLt Peter D Newman RNVR (Commanding Officer 27/12/43 -
SLt A Livesey RNVR First Lieutenant 17/5/43
TSLt. P.S. Chapman, RNVR First Lieutenant 14/3/44
POMtrMch Edward Stanley Judge C/MX 73690 Died 14/9/42 Age 21 Son of Cornelius and Esther Judge, of Watford, Hertfordshire
LTel William Thomas Stanley Hall C/JX150214
AB Alexander Toner C/JX 554063 Died 23/1/45 Age 19 cause unknown. Son of John and Janet Toner, of Glasgow. Buried in Rhodes War Cemetery 2. B. 9
14/9/42 Operation Agreement
Commando raid on Tobruk. Force C - MTB 260, MTB 261, MTB 262, MTB 265, MTB 266, MTB 267, MTB 268, MTB 307, MTB 308, MTB 310, MTB 311, MTB 312, MTB 313, MTB 314 and MTB 315 each with 10 troops embarked. ML 349, ML 352 and ML 353 carry demolition teams.
Turning into the objective, Cdr Blackburn orders the force to increase speed to 24kts and the force becomes split. An LRDG unit ordered to use signals to guide the force in is delayed. As a result only MTB 261 and MTB 314 are able to enter Mersa es Sciausc cove and disembark troops
MTB 314 grounds on rocks and can not be taken off. MTB 261 rescues the crew of MTB 314. Demolition charges are set but fail to explode and MTB 314 is salvaged by German forces and taken up as RA 10 (6th Raumboot Flotilla.
Returning to Alexandria, MTB 308 is damaged by fighters and then attacked by a Ju 88 bomber which is damaged by anti aircraft fire and crashes into MTB 308 sinking her. There are no survivors
MTB 310 is dive bombed and hit in the bow. The crew abandon ship in an assault boat and head for the coast. When German forces recover them near the coast a week later only three, including the First Lieutenant, are still alive and suffering from thirst, sunburn and dehydration
MTB 312 is strafed by Macchi fighters and set on fire. Survivors are picked up by MTB 266. By coincidence TLt I A Quarrie was rescuedtwo years previously by TLt Richard Routledge Smith when sunk in MTB 106. MTB 266 is near missed by dive bombers and damaged by splinters but returns to Alexandria
ML 353 is sunk by aircraft at Tobruk, Libya. Survivors are rescued by ML 349
9-11/43 Operations in the Aegean
11/9/43 ML 349 and ML 357 make the passage from Cyprus to Casteloriso carrying LRDG troops. On arrival, both MLs are fired on by the Italians although the general surrender has taken place 3 days before. Fire is not returned due to orders to avoid hostile acts. Two army officers are landed and negotiate with the Italians who cease fire and both vessels enter harbour. The island is then secured.
12/9/43 Reconnaisance patrol forward from Casteloriso
15/9/43 Landed SBS parties on Cos
17/9/43 Leros. SLt Harding transferred to staff of Senior British Naval Officer Agean (Captain E H B Baker RN) now based in Leros and acted as interpreter.
Samos by 29/9/43
29-30/9/43 ML 349 and ML 354 create a diversion whilst ML 355 lands SBS personnel on Khios. Personnel are successfully landed. Vessels returned to Samos on completion.
10/43 ML 349 enters Bodrum (Turkey) to recover members of the Durham Light Infantry who had escaped from Cos when that island was invaded. Vessel came alongside a jetty during the night but no troops were found. Vessel then anchored in the harbour and, next day, negotiated with local authorities to stay until the following night before returning to Leros.
8-9/10/43 ML 349, ML 835 and ML 836 are on patrol east of Leros. ML 835 engages a surface vessel which shortly afterwards runs aground. ML 349 puts a boarding party into the vessel causing the crew to swim for the shore. The vessel is then identified as the Italian submarine depot ship Alessandro Volta which appears to have been attempting to escape from Leros before the imminent German invasion. The Italians protest at the sinking. ML 349 escorts a small Italian vessel to recover the survivors from the Alessandro Volta.
9/10/43 Escorted a small Italian vessel to recover the survivors from the Alessandro Volta.
On patrol with ML 836 when both vessels were attacked and bombed by RAF aircraft. No damage was sustained.
21/10/43 One engine permanently out of action. Vessel withdrawn for repairs. Took refuge during daylight in a Turkish bay north of Simi before eventually arriving in Paphos, Cyprus.
Passage to Beirut
14/7/44 Operation Tenement – Raid on Symi
MTB 309, ML 349, HDML 1386
Post War Fate
7/1/46 Italian Navy