MTB 669

Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB)
andrew edwards
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:29 pm

MTB 669

Postby andrew edwards » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:47 am

I am looking for any information about MTB 669, my uncle Able Seaman Idris Morgan Austin D/JX191970, was wounded and died on 25 October 1943. From what little that has passed down to me and some conflicting information, I know that the MTB 688 and 669 attacked a Norweigian cement ship and were spotted by German surface ship. They put up a smokescreen and took off back to Lerwick, and were attacked by german fighter planes. This is when he was shot whilst manning the gun. The boat sunk next day from the dates I have seen, he is buried in Lerwick cemetry. I note that he was the only casualty on MTB 669, I would and my family be very grateful for any information about MTB 669 or my uncle.
Thanks Andrew

Able Seaman
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:04 pm

Re: MTB 669

Postby Guthlac » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:33 pm


There is a description of this action in Len Reynolds "Dog Boats at War" (page 105) :

"The two boats made the long passage north to the Trondheim area during the dark hours, and at 07.25 [on 25 October 1943] they sighted two coasters off Bessaker, and immediately attacked with gunfire. one target, the Kylstraum, laden with 170 tons of cement, was crippled and driven ashore. A German report reveals that this attack drew the attention of a defensive patrol vessel from Trondheim to the scene, the ND16 (Moewe). She opened heavy fire, and as it was daylight, the MTBs retired under cover of a smoke screen. ND 16 raised the alarm, and from 08.15 onwards, aircraft were alerted to find the boats.

At 09.30, a flight of three fighters located and attacked, and were met by a fierce anti-aircraft barrage, which damaged one of the aircraft. Both boats were, however, hit and damaged, 688 having one engine put out of action and 669 losing her port 0.5in turret, each with some casualties. Ten minutes after the first attack another three fighters appeared to make a second pass.

688, the leading boat, was able to take avoiding action, despite which her 2-pdr pom-pom gun for'd was put out of action. 669, on the other hand, was badly holed on both sides and fire broke out in the for'd petrol tanks. The methyl-bromide automatic extinguishers could not function as the pipe had been fractured. Even worse, the mixture had escaped into the engine room. By this time, only one engine was still running, and the fire was out of hand, so 669 had to be abandoned. 688 took off her crew and fired into the stricken 669, which was last seen heeling over to port with smoke pouring from her. Fortunately, the fighters did not pursue 688, presumably being at the limit of their range, but she was shadowed by a BV138 and attacked at both 10.53 and then by a relief aircraft at 16.00, each time unsuccessfully. 688 got back to Lerwick early next morning."

Len Reynolds says that "the detail of operations by the 30th/54th MTB Flotilla" was mainly drawn from a report "compiled in 1988 for the author by Vice-Admiral H B Gundersen" who had himself served in the two Norwegian MTB Flotillas.

669 was part of the 58th Flotilla.

Hope this helps.


andrew edwards
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:29 pm

Re: MTB 669

Postby andrew edwards » Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:09 pm

thank you very much for taking the time to give such a detailed reply my uncles picture has always been on the walls of our family and we have only ever had a vague idea of what happened to him we now have a better understanding once again thank you

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Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:03 pm

Re: MTB 669

Postby pauline » Sat Jun 13, 2015 5:06 pm

My father,Patrick O' Shea, was also on board MTB669 when it was sunk. He and Idris worked together as gunners on one gun . My father was next to Idris when he was killed and my father was deeply affected by it . He told me that Idris's fellow sailors buried him on the shore and the grave was marked by stones and a wooden cross.
My father rarely spoke about his war memories but this is one event he spoke about. As a result of the trauma of that day my father suffered a breakdown and had to spend time in a hospital in the south of England before he could be invalided out of the War.


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

Re: MTB 669

Postby Brian Holmes » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:46 pm

MTB_669 Lady Bee Ltd, Shoreham-by-Sea 29/4/43

Birthday Honours List 1944
MID TLt James Galloway Fletcher RNVR
MID TSLt Philip Arthur Joseph Sturge RNVR

Known Crew
TLt James Galloway Fletcher RNVR TLt 1/11/42 58th MTB Flotilla Commanding Officer MTB 669 17/4/43 Birthday Honours 1944 MID 64th MTB Flotilla Commanding Officer MTB 749 59th MTB Flotilla Commanding Officer MTB 700 20/3/44 52nd MTB Flotilla MTB 798 72nd MTB Flotilla Gathering at Portland Commanding Officer MTB 783 20/3/45
TSLt Philip Arthur Joseph Sturge RNVR TSLt MTB 669 19/4/43 TLt 4/3/44 Commanding Officer MTB 391
TMid D T Drage RNVR 34th MTB Flotilla Based on Lowestoft MTB 669 26/4/43
AB Idris Morgan Austin D/JX191970 58th MTB Flotilla Based on Lerwick MTB 669 Killed in action 25/10/43. Son of Elizabeth Austin, and stepson of Mr. J. D. Jenkins, of Port Talbot, Glamorgan. Buried in Lerwick New Cemetery

Wartime Activities
6/43 34th MTB Flotilla
MTB 666, MTB 669, MTB 672, MTB 681, MTB 683, MTB 684, MTB 685, MTB 686, MTB 687
Based on Lowestoft
10/43 58th MTB Flotilla
MTB 666, MTB 669, MTB 675, MTB 681, MTB 683, MTB 684, MTB 685, MTB 686, MTB 687, MTB 723
Based on Lerwick
25-7/10/43 MTB 669 and MTB 688 make passage from Lerwick to Trondheim
0725 MTB 669 and MTB 688 sight two coasters off Bessakan and attack with gunfire. The coaster Kylstraum carrying 170 tons of cement is damaged and driven ashore.
Patrol vessel ND 16 arrives from Trondheim and MTB 669 and MTB 688 retire under a smokescreen.
0930 Three fighters attack MTB 669 and MTB 688 and one aircraft is damaged. MTB 688 has one engine out of action and MTB 669 loses her port 0.5” turret.
0940 A further three fighters attack. MTB 688 takes avoiding action and her for’d 2 pdr gun is put out of action. MTB 669 is holed on both sides and fire breaks out in the for’d petrol tanks. Methyl-bromide extinguishers will not work and have leaked into the engine room. Only one engine is running and the fire is getting out of hand. MTB 669 is abandoned. MTB 688 recovers the crew and fires into MTB 669.
MTB 688 escaped but is shadowed by an aircraft at 1053 and 1600 with no further damage and returns to Lerwick early on 27/10/43.

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