Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Enquiries relating to individual men and women who served with HM Light Coastal Forces; help with interpreting service records, or with tracing former comrades
annawebb6
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:11 pm

Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby annawebb6 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:43 pm

My Uncle Geoffry Wallace Kitching was in the Merchant Navy for a large part of his working life. I had thought he was in the Merchant Navy throughout the WWII but I was recently told that during the war he was on Motor Torpedo Boats rescuing downed airmen and crew from torpedoed ships. As he passed away many years ago and had no family to speak of, other than the one he married into - all the information I have is based on narrative and the medals he was awarded. These included the 1939 - 1945 Star (which I had thought was only awarded to Armed Forces not Merchant Navy seamen), the Atlantic Star and the War Medal 1939-45.

How can I find out if whether he was in the Royal Navy Coastal Forces? Were any members of the Merchant Navy used to man MBTs? Would MBTs have been used to rescue airmen or was another class of boat used for this type of work? It may be that the information I have been given is slightly off.

Any information on guidance on how I may find out more information would be gratefully received.

Thank you in advance

Anna

Brian Holmes
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Location: Portsmouth

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitchen

Postby Brian Holmes » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:09 pm

My database allows me to search by name but he does not appear in it.

There are other sources of information around

annawebb6
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:11 pm

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby annawebb6 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:25 pm

Thanks Brian for your post. Is that a database of everyone in the Coastal Forces? Would it have been possible that he was lent out to the force or that he was on some kind of secondment?

I am thinking I may need to find his Merchant records before I go any further.

Anna

Pioneer
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Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby Pioneer » Fri Jul 20, 2012 3:55 pm

Hello 'annawebb6' welcome aboard.

There were a unique class of Royal Navy MTB/MGBs, converted to carry cargo at high speed, being used to breach the German blockade of Swedish ports during WW2.
Sweden, being a neutral nation, was still able to trade with the UK; with civilian Merchant Navy crews being employed, this gave the operations some complicated international legitimacy.
A short history of these craft can be read on The Paxman Diesel Engine web site.

I am not aware of any crew lists for these craft but do know that the Officers were 'recruited' from Messrs Ellerman Wilson Lines while the majority of the crews were ex Hull trawler men.

It would be quite plausible for these craft to have rescued downed airman on their many trips.

Very late in the War the surviving craft were returned to the Royal Navy and converted back to MTB's, one (509) being used in the 'Gatric' experiment - the first use of Gas Turbine power for naval craft.

Admin
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Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby Admin » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:53 am

Hello Anna

Just to add slightly to what has already been said, to address your question of whether MTBs would have been used to rescue airmen, I think it can be said that there are certain aspects to the subject that make for an element of crossover at times. In the main, air sea rescue work was carried out by RAF crews using dedicated high-speed launches, but they also used power boats that had started life as Coastal Forces craft, but which were transferred to the RAF for air sea rescue.

In addition Coastal Forces crewed somewhat slower Rescue Motor Launches that could put to sea in heavier weather and which were specifically intended for such work. Beyond that I’m sure MTBs may have been involved in rescue work on occasion, as their patrol areas in the North Sea were beneath the flight path of bombers trying to make it back to airfields in Lincolnshire and the like after air raids on Germany, and they may have been called upon to help out at times because they were the closest or only boat available, but air sea rescue was never the task of MTBs as such.

Regards
Admin

annawebb6
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:11 pm

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby annawebb6 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:38 pm

Pioneer and Admin, thank you for your responses.

Pioneer your comments are fascinating and have really rung a bell with me. Needless to say my Uncle was originally from Hull. I obviously would like to explore this angle more. I have requested his MN service record from the National Archives in Kew. I hope that these will shed a little more light on his time with the MN during the WW2.

Thanks again

Anna

annawebb6
Seaman
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:11 pm

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby annawebb6 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:42 pm

Pioneer,

after speaking to my family it turns out that my uncle learnt swedish as he was always going there but we wern't sure when and why. Also a piece of furniture that he obtained was made in Sweden and I have it on good authority that he obtained it in exchange for his tea and coffee ration. The bureau would have required a reasonable hold to transport it, so I am assuming he managed to move it from Sweden back to the UK in one of the converted MTB or MGBs.

Thank you for helping us piece together some of my Uncles background and his activities in the WWII.

Any more information on the history of these boats would be very warmly welcomed.

Thanks again, Anna.

Brian Holmes
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Posts: 245
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Portsmouth

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby Brian Holmes » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:54 pm

I was born in Hull and so it gives me special pleasure to provie the following responses


Gay Corsair Camper & Nicholson

Builder
Camper & Nicholson, Northam 8/43

Decorations
For Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK 10/43 - 3/44
OBE(Civ) Capt Robert Tanton MN
Commend ChOff Kenneth Henry McNeill MN
DSC ChOff Roger Thornycroft MN
OBE(Civ) ChEngr Joseph Downey MN
MBE(Civ) FstRadOff Eric Hodgson MN
MBE(Civ) SecEng James MacDonald Angus MN
BEM(Civ) CStd James Henry Storr MN
BEM(Civ) Bosun Lawrence Kohler MN
BEM(Civ) AB Arthur Oliver Fray MN
BEM(Civ) AB Thomas Mallory MN
BEM(Civ) Mtrmn James Edward Conway MN
BEM(Civ) AStd Kenneth Parker MN

Known Crew
Capt Robert Tanton MN
ChOff Kenneth Henry McNeill MN
ChOff Roger Thornycroft MN
ChEngr Joseph Downey MN
FstRadOff Eric Hodgson MN
SecEng James MacDonald Angus MN
CStd James Henry Storr MN
Bosun Lawrence Kohler MN
AB Arthur Oliver Fray MN
AB Thomas Mallory MN
Mtrmn James Edward Conway MN
AStd Kenneth Parker MN

Known Activities
Requisitioned whilst building for Turkey = MGB 507 and converted to blockade runner at Smith’s Dock, Hull
10/43 - 3/44 Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK
3/45 Reverted to RN renamed = MGB 2007
5/45 Grounded and foundered off Aberdeen

Brian Holmes
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Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Portsmouth

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby Brian Holmes » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:00 pm

Gay Viking Camper & Nicholson Gosport

For Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK 10/43 - 3/44
OBE(Civ) Capt Harry Whitfield MN
DSC ChOff Sylvanus Brian John Reynolds MN
OBE(Civ) ChEngr James Kirkhope Duncan MN
MBE(Civ) FstOff John Kristijon Marrow MN
MBE(Civ) FstRadOff George Walker MN
MBE(Civ) SndEng John Swanson Livingstone MN
BEM(Civ) Bsn Herbert Pearson MN
Commend AB John Alan Burdall MN
BEM(Civ) AB James Dolan MN
BEM(Civ) AB John Hopper Ellerington MN
BEM(Civ) CkStd Stanley Close MN
BEM(Civ) Dnkyman Ernest Emil Schafer MN
BEM(Civ) Dnkyman Geore Smith MN
BEM(Civ) Greaser Giuseppe Fenech MN

For Operation Moonshine - A blockade running voyage from the UK to Sweden and back 1-2/45
Commend Capt David Alexander Stokes MN
Commend SndEng Martin Frobisher MN
MBE(Civ) SndRadOff Gilbert Richardson MN
BEM(Civ) Mtrmn Richard Dibnah MN


Known Crew
Capt David Alexander Stokes MN
Capt Harry Whitfield MN
ChOff Sylvanus Brian John Reynolds MN
ChEngr James Kirkhope Duncan MN
FstOff John Kristijon Marrow MN
FstRadOff George Walker MN
SndEng Martin Frobisher MN
SndEng John Swanson Livingstone MN
SndRadOff Gilbert Richardson MN
Bsn Herbert Pearson MN
AB John Alan Burdall MN
AB James Dolan MN
AB John Hopper Ellerington MN
CkStd Stanley Close MN
Dnkyman Ernest Emil Schafer MN
Dnkyman Geore Smith MN
Greaser Giuseppe Fenech MN
Mtrmn Richard Dibnah MN

Known Activities
Requisitioned whilst building for Turkey = MGB 506
7/43 Completed as a blockade runner at Gosport and renamed = Gay Viking
10/43-3/44 Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK
1-2/45 Operation Moonshine - A blockade running voyage from the UK to Sweden and back. Gay Viking, Hopewell and MGB 505 deliver more than 40 tons of supplies to the Danish resistance before picking up a return cargo in Gothenberg, Sweden. Gay Viking and Hopewell collide in the Skaggerak and Gay Viking has to be abandoned.
6/2/45 Rammed by Hopewell (MGB 504) in the Skaggerak and abandoned
Recovered by the Germans

Capt David Alexander Stokes MN (Daily Telegraph obituary 22/02/00)
Served 48 years with Elerman Wilson Line from Cadet to Master. Commanding Officer of blockade runner Hopewell during Operation Bridford. Commanded the tanker Chant 45 ferrying 100 octane fuel during Operation Neptune. Commanding Officer of blockade runner Gay Viking during Operation Moonshine and is rescued when the vessel is sunk on the return journey. He is subsequently flown home from Sweden. In later life he became a Younger Brother of Trinity House. He died aged 95.

Brian Holmes
Commander
Posts: 245
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Portsmouth

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby Brian Holmes » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:02 pm

Hopewell Camper & Nicholson Gosport 1/43

For Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK 10/43 - 3/44
OBE(Civ) Capt David Alexander Stokes MN
DSC ChOff The Earl Fitzwilliam MN
MBE(Civ) ChOff Bernard Walter Waldie MN
OBE(Civ) ChEng William Graham Love MN
BEM(Civ) Bsn Ernest Richard Felstead MN
BEM(Civ) AB Arthur Gibson MN
BEM(Civ) AB John Valentine MN
BEM(Civ) BsnMte James Hardy Scott MN
BEM(Civ) QM Cecil Richard Wirthner MN

For Operation Moonshine - A blockade running voyage from the UK to Sweden and back 1-2/45
OBE(Civ) ChOff James Brewis Woodeson MN
MBE(Civ) RadOff George Ronald Glen MN
Commend SndEng James Alexander Winton MN
BEM(Civ) MtrMn William Taylor MN

Known Crew
Capt David Alexander Stokes MN
ChOff The Earl Fitzwilliam MN
ChOff Bernard Walter Waldie MN
ChOff James Brewis Woodeson MN
ChEng William Graham Love MN
RadOff George Ronald Glen MN
SndEng James Alexander Winton MN
Bsn Ernest Richard Felstead MN
AB Arthur Gibson MN
AB John Valentine MN
BsnMte James Hardy Scott MN
MtrMn William Taylor MN
QM Cecil Richard Wirthner MN

Known Activities
Built as MGB 504
8/43 Converted to blockade runner at Gosport and renamed = Hopewell
10/43-3/44 Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK. Nine successful round trips from Hull to Gothenberg. Returning with a total of 348 tons of cargo and 67 Norwegian refugees.
1-2/45 Operation Moonshine - A blockade running voyage from the UK to Sweden and back. Gay Viking, Hopewell and MGB 505 deliver more than 40 tons of supplies to the Danish resistance before picking up a vreturn cargo in Gothenberg, Sweden. Gay Viking and Hopewell collide in the Skaggerak and Gay Viking has to be abandoned.
3/45 MGB 2004

Fate

Capt David Alexander Stokes MN (Daily Telegraph obituary 22/02/00)
Served 48 years with Elerman Wilson Line from Cadet to Master. Commanding Officer of blockade runner Hopewell during Operation Bridford. Commanded the tanker Chant 45 ferrying 100 octane fuel during Operation Neptune. Commanding Officer of blockade runner Gay Viking during Operation Moonshine and is rescued when the vessel is sunk on the return journey. He is subsequently flown home from Sweden. In later life he became a Younger Brother of Trinity House. He died aged 95.

Brian Holmes
Commander
Posts: 245
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:26 pm
Location: Portsmouth

Re: Geoffry Wallace Kitching

Postby Brian Holmes » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:05 pm

MGB 505 Camper & Nicholson Gosport 5/43
For Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK 10/43 - 3/44
OBE(Civ) Capt Herbert William Jackson MN
MBE(Civ ChOff Philip Roland Legg MN
DSC ChOff Edward Bourne Ruffman MN
MBE(Civ) SndEng James Alexander Winton MN
BEM(Civ) Bsn Peter Michael Jeffrey Warren MN
BEM(Civ) CkStd Henry Sutherland Beckitt MN
BEM(Civ) Greaser Albert Letch MN

For Operation Moonshine - A blockade running voyage from the UK to Sweden and back 1-2/45
Commend Capt Harry Whitfield MN
MID ChOff Edward Bourne Ruffman MN
Commend ChEng James Kirkhope Duncan MN
Commend ChRadOff Eric Hodgson MN
BEM(Civ) AB John Wardell MN
BEM(Civ) Dnkymn George Smith MN
BEM(Civ) Mtrmn John Jones MN

Known Crew
Capt Herbert William Jackson MN
Capt Harry Whitfield MN
ChOff Philip Roland Legg MN
ChOff Edward Bourne Ruffman MN
ChEng James Kirkhope Duncan MN
ChRadOff Eric Hodgson MN
SndEng James Alexander Winton MN
Bsn Peter Michael Jeffrey Warren MN
AB John Wardell MN
CkStd Henry Sutherland Beckitt MN
Dnkymn George Smith MN
Greaser Albert Letch MN
Mtrmn John Jones MN

Known Activities
8/43 Converted to blockade runner at Gosport and renamed = Nonsuch
10/43-3/44 Operation Bridford - blockade running voyages from Sweden to the UK
1-2/45 Operation Moonshine - A blockade running voyage from the UK to Sweden and back. Gay Viking, Hopewell and MGB 505 deliver more than 40 tons of supplies to the Danish resistance before picking up a return cargo in Gothenberg, Sweden. Gay Viking and Hopewell collide in the Skaggerak and Gay Viking has to be abandoned.
3/45 MGB 2005

Fate

MGB_508 Camper & Nicholson, Northam

War Activities
Completed as a blockade runner at Smith’s Dock, Hull and renamed = Master Standfast
2/11/43 V 1606 intercepts Sweden to England returning MGB 508 / Master Standfast in the Skagerrak in Lysekil and captures her.
10/11/43 MGB 508/Master Standfast is brought into service as German minesweeper RA 11 against the other British commercial speed boats in use


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