Ian Austin – 24th MTB Flotilla

Enquiries relating to individual men and women who served with HM Light Coastal Forces; help with interpreting service records, or with tracing former comrades
Dougers
Seaman
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:24 am

Ian Austin – 24th MTB Flotilla

Postby Dougers » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:31 am

Hi All,

I am new to the forum and would like to know if anyone recognises the person in the picture? My brother seems to think it is my late father who we understand served in the 24th MTB Flotilla in the Eastern Mediterranean. His name was Ian Austin from Johannesburg in South Africa and we know he operated the bofors gun where he is pictured. He also mentioned he was part of the Special Boat Services. If the following boat in the picture numbered MTB 378 was never in the Med then that would prove it is not him.

He also mentioned they very nearly captured a German general on one of their raids.

I would welcome any information on him and/or what activities he performed during the war anyone has or if you could direct me where I can find out some more I would appreciate it.

Many thanks
Douglas
mtb-378.jpg
Royal Navy MTBs at speed off the Italian coast near Genoa, February 1945. © IWM (A 27448)
Description: From the bridge of an MTB showing the aft Bofors gun and MTB 378 at speed astern in the Mediterranean. These vessels were part of a small force of British MTBs which, together with American patrol boats, turned the 45 mile stretch of enemy held coast between Sezi and Genoa into their hunting ground.
Last edited by Admin on Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Replaced original photo with a better version of the same from the IWM Archives. Title improved and post moved to Personnel section.

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 292
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Ian Austin – 24th MTB Flotilla

Postby Admin » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:29 pm

Hi Douglas

Thanks for your post. I hope you don't mind, but I replaced your version of the photo taken from Wikipedia with a copy of the original from the IWM Collections.

I sense it's probably impossible to identify anyone from that photo, as I know from personal experience with enquiries about photos of crew taken by my father during the war, that people often initially mistake persons even when the face is clearly visible and is viewable straight on.

From my understanding MTB 378 did operate in the Mediterranean, as the description for the photo given by the IWM confirms, but formed part of the 7th MTB Flotilla who worked in conjunction with the 9th, and not the 24th. The first problem really would be to clear up from your father's service record—if you have it—what boat(s) he did in fact serve on, and then work out what flotillas would be involved.

Regards
Admin

P.S. Just to clarify, MTB 378 is the boat seen in the background, and is not the one the photo is being taken from, whose number is not given by the IWM.

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 292
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Ian Austin – 24th MTB Flotilla

Postby Admin » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:59 pm

My brother seems to think it is my late father who we understand served in the 24th MTB Flotilla in the Eastern Mediterranean. His name was Ian Austin from Johannesburg in South Africa and we know he operated the bofors gun...
Just to add, the 24th MTB Flotilla, which comprised MTBs 81, 84, 85, 86. 89, 97, 226, 242 and 243 were formed into the Special Services Flotilla on 13 June 1944, and before that date and after, were involved in supporting commando raids which did net German prisoners on a number of occasions.

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

Re: Ian Austin – 24th MTB Flotilla

Postby Brian Holmes » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:50 pm

MTB 378 Annapolis Yacht Yard, Annapolis, Maryland 15/12/43

For actions in the Gulf of Genoa 8–9/44
MID TLt Norman Leonard Ilett RNVR
MID TSLt George Philip Henry James RNVR
MID LSea Edward Pringle D/JX180612

For the sinking of fifteen ships in the Gulf of Genoa 1944–45
DSC TSLt George Philip Henry James RNVR
DSM LSea Edward Pringle D/JX180612
MID Tel Reginald Gordon Thomas D/JX233345

Known Crew
TLt Norman Leonard Ilett RNVR Commanding Officer MTB 378 MTB 420
TSLt George Philip Henry James RNVR Commanding Officer MTB 378 6/11/44
TSLt D E S Tanner RNVR MTB 378 6/11/44
LSea Edward Pringle D/JX180612
Tel Reginald Gordon Thomas D/JX233345

Wartime Activities
15/12/43 Transferred to Royal Navy under lend lease
Mediterranean
7th MTB Flotilla
Based on Bastia
9-10/5/44 MTBs 376, 377 and 378 with PT 203 attack two Flak Lighters. TLt Robert Varvill is embarked as Senior Officer. One lighter explodes and sinks and the other is damaged.
8 - 9/44 Actions in the Gulf of Genoa
1944 - 45 Sinking of fifteen ships in the Gulf of Genoa
15-6/1/45 MGB 177, MTB 378 and PT 313 intercept a convoy of five Flak Lighters. MGB 177, MTB 378 and PT 313 are illuminated by starshell from shore batteries but close to 700 yds and definitely sink one vessel and possibly sink another.
4/3/45 MTBs 377 and 378 make a torpedo attack on three Flak Lighters sinking one vessel.

Post War Fate
15/10/45 Returned United States Navy
4/4/48 Italian Navy = GIS 0017
Renumbered GIS 821
MS421
1958 Stricken


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