Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Enquiries relating to individual men and women who served with HM Light Coastal Forces; help with interpreting service records, or with tracing former comrades
Dave S
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Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:58 pm

Hi All
Found your forum yesterday
It is great to see places like this that are able to keep the memory alive

First post for me and am from Western Australia
As the title suggests i am looking for any info about my uncle Norm - my Grandfathers brother

Norm joined up 6th Jan in '41 as a RANVR at HMAS Leiuwin a shore based facility in Freemantle, Western Australia
He left there 2nd March '41 after i presume his initial training and transfered to "London Dep" until the 13 June '41

Then comes a list of i presume postings
Collingwood
Orlando (lance)
Cormorant (lance)
Nile (lance)
King Alfred -- At this stage promoted to Sub Lieut
St Christopher
Attack
Forward
Asbury -- At this stage promoted to Lieut
Saker (Asbury)
Malabar

After a bit of research i have realised that a couple of these are coastal bases and not ships (from memory Attack and Forward) for the coastal forces
Hence finding your good selves and another possible source of the info i am chasing

I am not sure of what Norm did during this time or what role he played
He came from Albany Western Australia and fished with his 2 brothers in a family business
He got through it all and returned home

Any info would be great

Regards
Dave

Dave S
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:21 pm

Have tracked down some service sheets

Bit of extra info that may be of help
Whilst at St Christopher He applied for a MB course 10/ 8/ 42 and it says on the service sheet "Lent excellent for G course"

Not sure what the Lent is but i presume the G is for gunnery ?

Was then posted on 26 / 10 / 42 to MTB 344 and after a quick Google it seems that this boat held some special significance to the special forces doing some clandestine raids ??

At this stage Norm was a Sub Lt (on probation)

Next entry is CW 13/5/43 Ashbury add 1 for H D M L 24 /5 /43

Hope this helps

Admin
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Admin » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:26 pm

Hello Dave

Welcome to the forum. I haven't been able to turn up much on your Uncle so far as there are no references to his name in the standard Coastal Forces history works of Reynolds or Scott. Collingwood was basic training, Cormorant was at Gibraltar and Nile was at Alexandria I believe, which may have been in connection with the regular 'big ship' navy. King Alfred was officer training obviously, and St Christopher was Coastal Forces training, while Attack and Forward were Coastal Forces bases at Portland and Newhaven respectively. The others after that I don't recognise so he may have moved back into 'big ships' after that, although HDML is Harbour Defence Motor Launch as per Medusa which has been preserved. Excellent was the Gunnery School at Whale Island, Portsmouth. I'll keep on looking in case I can dig up anything.

Thanks again for your enquiry

Admin

Edit: The Medusa site lists him as CO of HDML 1358 and provides some clarification and some additional information as to postings and whereabouts. I presume they may have picked up some of theses details from the Navy List.

There is also a three part sound recording available from the IWM of an interview conducted with Frederick Bourne the CO of MTB 344.

Brian Holmes
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Brian Holmes » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:53 pm

Lt N K Swarbrick RANVR TSLt HMS Attack (Portland) for small craft 27/10/42 TLt 3/7/43 HMS Asbury 128th Flotilla Based in New Guinea Commanding Officer HDML 1358 7/44 HMAS Cerberus (RAN base & training establishment, Flinders Naval Depot, Williamstown, Victoria


HDML_1358 Elscot, City Island, New York, USA 21/10/44
Known Crew
Lt N K Swarbrick RANVR TSLt HMS Attack (Portland) for small craft 27/10/42 TLt 3/7/43 HMS Asbury 128th Flotilla Based in New Guinea Commanding Officer HDML 1358 7/44 HMAS CerebusCerberus (RAN base & training establishment, Flinders Naval Depot, Williamstown, Victoria
SLt L D Jewis RANR First Lieutenant HDML 1358 6/44
SLt K S T Egan RANR SLt 2/1/44 First Lieutenant HDML 1326 7/44 128th Flotilla Based in New Guinea HDML 1358 10/44
AB Ian Roder 128th Flotilla Based in New Guinea HDML 1358

Wartime Activities
Royal Australian Navy
21/10/44 Commissioned at HMAS Rushcutter
128th Flotilla
Based in New Guinea
Patrols of Humbolt Bay, Hollandia

Post War Fate
1949 Sold

By the way, I am coxswain of HDML 1387 preserved in Gosport, Hampshire.

Please take a look at the hmsmedusa.org.uk website for HDML details

Admin
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Admin » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:09 pm

This page has Australian Navy Lists containing names of Australian service personnel serving with Royal Navy ships or training at Royal Naval establishments. I have found his name a couple of times, once for Asbury as you mentioned, and in the April 1943 edition he is listed for MC 344, rather than MTB 344.

The October 1942 List shows him appointed to Hugh Walpole on 24.03.42, which was an anti-submarine trawler that participated in convoy escorts on the East Coast. The July 1943 list shows him at Asbury which was apparently a Royal Navy shore base in New York, so presumably he was in transit back to Australia at that point.

Edit: HDML 1358 was constructed at Elscot, City Island, New York and completed in October 1944, but the May 1943 date for Asbury would have been a bit early to have been collecting the boat unless he stayed there for some time. I can't imagine a HDML could have been sailed across the Pacific even if taken down the coast of the USA and through the Panama Canal, so it must have been shipped at some point.

This page on the Royal Australian Navy web site provides a useful guide to the campaign in New Guinea via the history of HDML 1347

Dave S
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:20 am

Hello again and thank you for the welcome and reply's

Spent a good part of yesterday going through the Australian Navy lists as per the link provided and have managed to track him from October "42 to Oct '45 (a dose of eyestrain is never any good but i did it )

The October 42 listing shows the man above as being on the Hugh Walpole, Norm has a -- where the posting and his seniority should be
Jan and April shows him on the list as serving on the MC 344, (what would an MC be?) his hand written service card service card shows MTB 344 (joining ship on 27/10/42)
Could explain why there is a --- next to his name on the Oct "42 list

Not sure on the discrepancy there?
His sevice card reads 1/5/42 Apptd St Christopher for MB Crse 10/8/42 Lent Excellent for (G)Crse and then crossed out after this "undecipherable word (R) for (T) Crse 17/ 8 / 42"

The last raid done by 344 was in Feb '43
Freddie Bourne the skipper of 344 left ship in May'43
Norm was posted to Asbury (Saker) in May '43

I found an interview done by Freddie re the operations of 344 (very interesting) and in it he did say there was no other officers on board and he had to navigate and drive as well as command
Weather he meant officers to Nav and the like, as Norm it seems was gunnery (would they have had a Sub Lt sort of looking after that side of things?)
being it had no tubes and just guns.

He was back in HMAS Leuiwin in Freemantle April '44
Picked up MLHD1358 from Flinders July '44 and off to New Guinea till Oct '45 -- the Jan list in 46 shows him off the boat and the Sub Lt driving it

Thank you very much for the info regarding New Guinea Brian

Can i post his sevice card up here somehow?

Just need to find out about Gibraltar and Alexandria etc -- the pre King Alfred stuff

Thank you again for helping with the search

Dave S
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:22 am

Also what would the (Lance) be after Orlando , Cormerant and Nile?

Admin
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Admin » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:30 am

The October 42 listing shows the man above as being on the Hugh Walpole, Norm has a -- where the posting and his seniority should be
I'm pretty sure the dashes mean the details are as above: that is, postings appear to have been decided on an alphabetical basis and in the case of the October 1942 list, both Roger Sturges and Norman Swarbrick are posted to the Hugh Walpole on the same date.
Jan and April shows him on the list as serving on the MC 344, (what would an MC be?) his hand written service card service card shows MTB 344 (joining ship on 27/10/42)
The MC is a bit of a mystery. The Australian Navy Lists clearly list MTBs in other instances so the choice of MC would appear to be intentional, and could only refer to Motor Craft possibly, but there is no known reference to MTB 344 or any of the other boats involved in clandestine operations being referred to in that way. On the other hand he is sent to St Christopher which was Coastal Forces training, so if his card gives MTB 344 as well as showing Attack and Forward, then the details given on the card must be considered correct. As to whether he actually sailed with Bourne on missions or as a relatively inexperienced officer was attached to the bases in a support role is another matter. Officers would have received some training in handling guns, and on the larger MTBs the Second Officer would have co-ordinated the gunners when in action, but it would have been left to the non-commissioned ranks to man the guns themselves.
Can i post his sevice card up here somehow?
If you are able to scan the card and save it as a jpg then you can attach images to posts. If you need help then please let me know, and if you have any photographs of your Uncle relating to his time in Coastal Forces we would be pleased to receive copies of those as well.

Regards
Admin

Dave S
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:22 am

Here are the service cards i have

As far as the MC goes possibly 344 was not technically an MTB and being used for what they were doing there may have been some secrecy involved so call it a motor craft
(just throwing it out there)

Will have to make a phone call to Norms son and see if he has any info as i am sort of doing this off my own bat at the moment
He may have some photo's
Will also check in with the grandmother
NKS 1.jpg
NKS 2.jpg
NKS 3.jpg

Dave S
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:12 am

Orlando, Cormerant and Nile were Bases where HMS Lance (Laforey class destroyer) was based

Norm served on her prior to King Alfred -- Sounds like a pretty action packed 8 months and welcome to WW2

Just need to nip this 344 thing in the bud

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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Admin » Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:14 pm

Hello again Dave

Thank you for the scans of the service record. The Royal Navy designation for MTB 344 would have remained even when equipment was removed temporarily, and that is the way the boat is referred to in the literature, and is the description used by Freddy Bourne too. In all other instances the designation MTB or MGB remained for those boats used to ferry agents in and out of France and the like, so the reference to MC in the Australian Navy List is most likely a misinterpretation, or filling in by a clerk without the correct information, and can be discounted I think.

Admin

Dave S
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:08 am

Thank you and i tend to agree as it all seems to fit in with places and dates
I have contacted Norms son and he had no idea he was on 344 as he does not have the white card

He has a few bits and pieces including a couple of photo's
I will try to get it all together and will put it into a bit of a biography for family reference just so Norm does not get forgotten for his contribution

So i still have 2 things i would like
What did Norm do on the Lance - is there a destroyer forum or some place i can find this out? crew lists?
What did Norm do on 344 - would Freddie Bourne have siblings that may have photo's of the day or any info? And again any crew lists?


Dave

Brian Holmes
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Brian Holmes » Mon May 04, 2015 7:33 pm

MTB_344 Thornycroft (Launched 2/42)


For six small raiding operations to 11/42
DSC TSLt Frederick William Parnall Bourne RNVR
DSM LSea Thomas Hannar D/JX127892

For galantry and devotion to duty during the landings in Normandy (Gazette Date - 14/11/44)
MID TLt John Francis Russell-Smith RNVR
MID Tel Thomas Potts D/JX295571

Known Crew
TLt John Francis Russell-Smith RNVR TSLt 28/8/41 11th ML Flotilla 13/10/41 MTB 344 10/43 For galantry and devotion to duty during the landings in Normandy MID Commanding Officer MTB 334 2/44 TLt 28/2/44 31st MTB Flotilla Based at Lowestoft and Portland Commanding Officer MTB 382 7/8/44
TLt Frederick William Parnall Bourne RNVR volunteered for the Fleet Air Arm, but after crashing an airplane during training transferred to the RNVR HMS King Alfred TSLt 31/7/41 HMS Wasp (Dover) 50th ML Flotilla ML 101 HMS Hornet for MTBs 22/6/42 Commanding Officer MTB 344 1942 – 5/43 For six small raiding operations to 11/42 DSC Commanding Officer MTB 348 5/43 HMS Beehive (Felixstowe) 12/1/44 TLt 31/1/44 Senior Officer 11th MTB Flotilla 1944 HMS Mantis (Lowestoft) 25/11/44 First Lieutenant MGB 2009 6/45 Born 1/10/19 in Hammersmith district and died 1/2002 in Alton district, Hampshire. Qualified as a surveyor and worked for a commercial company. Then with St Marylebone borough council; eventually becoming Director of Housing Maintenance at Westminster city council. Retired in 1981
Lt Rick Van Riel (Navigator) (A Belgian national)
LSea Thomas Hannar D/JX127892 (Coxswain) MTB 344 For six small raiding operations to 11/42 DSM
E Hayward (Engineer) MTB 344
Sto W Jones MTB 344
Tel Thomas Potts D/JX295571 MTB 344 For galantry and devotion to duty during the landings in Normandy MID
C Collins MTB 344
J Ross MTB 344
F Bryce MTB 344
Embarked Troops for Operation Farhenheit:
Maj J G Appleyard (In Command)
Capt P Kemp (In Command of landing force)
Capt M Rooney (12 Commando)
2Lt S Evans (12 Commando)
2Lt Reynolds (12 Commando)
SgtMaj S Broadson (12 Commando)
Sgt J Barry (12 Commando)
Cpl E Howells (12 Commando)
Cpl Nash (12 Commando)
LCpl P Cotter (12 Commando)
LCpl R Roberts (12 Commando)

Wartime Activities
Six small raiding operations to 11/42
2-3/9/42 MTB 344 anchors off the Casquets lighthouse near Alderney and lands Majors March-Philips and Appleyard with 6 commandos, in an 18 ft dory, who capture code books and seven German prisoners who were using the lighthouse as a radio listening post.
9/42 Operation Aquatint.
MTB 344 lands commandos on a beach in the Baie de la Seine near Cherbourg. The commandos are ambushed and either captured or killed. Some commandos are shot as they attempt to swim back to MTB 344. One engine is put out of action by small arms fire and MTB 344 retires
11-2/11/42 Operation Fahrenheit.
1745 MTB 344 departs Dartmouth with commandos embarked. A sailor provides the commandos with a bucket as a remedy for seasickness.
2047 MTB 344 approaches the half way point and starts a square search for the Roches Douvres Lighthouse.
2150 The lighthouse is sighted and MTB 344 sets off on the second leg.
2310 MTB 344 arrives in the vicinity of Grand Lejon
2330 Minard Point is in sight.
0010 MTB 344 anchors with Minard Point bearing 300 degrees one and a half miles. The signal station is in sight and commandos embark in the dinghy.
0022 The commandos depart for the shore.
0037 The dinghy lands on rocks. Ten minutes are spent in a failed attempt to find a better landing place. 2Lt Reynolds stays with the dinghy to keep it afloat. The remaining men then head off in single file behind Sgt J Barry the climbing expert.
0310 344 observes a flash and explosion at the western end of the signal station
Up to May 1943, MTB 344 takes part in seventeen raids on the north coast of France and the Channel Islands.
Operation Neptune - Invasion of Normandy
7/44 - 1/45 Raids with SSRF

Post War Fate


Obituary (Daily Telegraph 5/3/02)
Frederick William Parnell Bourne was born on October 1st 1919 at Hammersmith, West London and educated at Guildford Grammar School, Surrey. He started training as a Surveyor in Guildford before volunteering for the Fleet Air Arm on the outbreak of war. After crashing during training, he transferred to the RNVR at HMS Hornet. He then completed the officer’s course at Lancing College after which he was appointed to MTB 344. He is awarded a DSC for actions in MTB 344 and is appointed to the 11th MTB Flotilla at Felixstowe in May 1943.

Dave S
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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Dave S » Thu May 07, 2015 11:17 am

Well that puts a spanner in the works - not listed

Thank you for the info Brian

Not sure where to turn to now

The Aussie lists show MC344
The white paper shows MTB344
The postings papers line up
The transfer dates up for Freddie Bourne and Norman line up at the gigs end
He apparently was transferred when this was going on - the dates line up

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Re: Looking for Norman Keith Swarbrick

Postby Admin » Fri May 08, 2015 4:51 pm

Well that puts a spanner in the works - not listed
Not listed in the data Brian has provided is not necessarily the same as no connection. The main sources of information for officer postings are the UK Navy Lists, and the awards notices, and he has no award granted him, at least not for Coastal Forces. If you google Royal Navy Lists you should find a service you might use to learn what the UK lists show for Sub-Lieutenant Swarbrick. He may have been briefly attached to 344, or one of the other boats in the flotilla, or be listed under Attack or Forward, as the Navy Lists don't provide a comprehensive list for each MTB, MGB or ML by base in every volume.


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