Photos of MTB Officers in Bastia, 1944

Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB)
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Photos of MTB Officers in Bastia, 1944

Postby jdearth » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:22 pm

Hello All,

I am new to this forum but wanted to share with everyone a picture that my father took while serving with the US Navy's PT Squadron #15 in the Mediterranean in 1944. The picture depicts two British officers (and one American) and was taken sometime in the Spring or early Summer of 1944 in Bastia, Corsica.

Does anyone have any idea who these British officers might be?

My father, Lieutenant Robert A. Dearth, was a replacement "skipper" on PT 218 and "Ron" 15 was under the overall command of the British Coastal Forces in that theater of war. Indeed, as is mentioned often in Dudley Pope's book "Flag 4", the commander of the British MTB/MGB flotillas at that time, Lieutenant Commander Robert Allan, often used PT 218 as his command vessel during various interdiction operations along the coast of Italy in the Spring of 1944, most of which included a number of MTBs and other British coastal forces craft.

Unfortunately, my father's PT, along with a companion PT, were hit by mines on August 16th, 1944 during "Operation Dragoon", the invasion of Southern France, and sunk. After a harrowing night of swimming ashore and avoiding German positions, both sets of crews were finally able to make it to the advancing Allied lines and were "safe".

In any event, I hope you enjoy the photo and my best wishes to everyone on this forum and especially to the veterans involved.

Yours truly,

Jeffrey Dearth
Washington, DC

Able Seaman Radar
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Re: Photos of MTB Officers in Bastia, 1944

Postby Peter » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:26 pm

The forum enquiry from America is very interesting as it concerns PT Boats in the Mediterranean .This is covered in the Book " MTB's at War" by L.C Reynolds and H.F Cooper . The photograph is also good and hopefully the Officers can be recognised . My only experience of the PT boats was in Komiza in 1944 when they were in attendance at the burial of 3 crew members of MGB 647 in June 1944 , this occurred before I was drafted to MGB 647 . I would be happy to contact Len Reynolds to see if he can identify the Officers .
Book published by Sutton Publishing ISBN 0-7509-2274-5

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Re: Photos of MTB Officers in Bastia, 1944

Postby Pioneer » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:16 pm

Welcome Aboard Jeffrey - thank you for the image and a very interesting story.
As an interested 'Brit' can you tell me what the initials RON actually stand for? I realise that they relate to American PT squadrons, I have seen shoulder patch badges identifying certain RON's, but the initials baffle me.

And thank you PETRO for offering to ask Len Reynolds - I'm sure that his answer would be interesting - even though a very long shot.

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Re: Photos of MTB Officers in Bastia, 1944

Postby jdearth » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:15 am

Dear Pioneer,
Thanks for your posting and reply. I,too,was baffled by the meaning of "RON" for many years. The answer turns out to be simple: it is merely short for "squadron" in US Navy parlance.
I know it will be a very long shot to find out the names of the British officers in the photograph. No doubt they are mentioned in the Book "MTB's at War" which I look forward to obtaining. But one never knows.
I will try to share some other photos from Bastia in due course. Best regards to all!

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Re: Photos of MTB Officers in Bastia, 1944

Postby justaveteran » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:41 am

Dear Jeffrey,
Thanks for your interesting message re your Dad and the two British officers in your photo.
I am afraid that I cannot help you though. As far as I can recall, my boat (MTB 651) took part in some joint actions alongside PT's during the North African campaign but then we carried on to the East coast side of Italy while
I believe most of the 'Yank' effort concentrated up the West coast.(Maybe the girls were prettier there !)
Although it is a long shot, I do hope you have success in your search.
It's good to see that you are still interested in your father's activities in those tough days.
Good luck!

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