MTB 415

Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB)
Halfordresearch
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MTB 415

Postby Halfordresearch » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:21 pm

I have just joined this forum as I am impressed by the corporate knowledge of its members. I am researching my father-in-law's naval career, during which he served on MGB 609 but mainly on MGB 77 and MTB 415. My research so far has raised a few questions that I'd like to put to you all. First off, my father-in-law was Stoker 2nd Class Cecil Halford. As far as I know he never used his real first name and always called himself Mick or Mike. So here goes:

The internet seems to have little information about MGB 609. Indeed, some websites don't have it at all. What flotilla did it serve in and where was that based?

Did MGB 77 become MTB 415? Some data suggests so but I have found reference to MGB 80 becoming MTB 415.

Data states that MTB 415 served with the 1st MTB Flotilla. I believe that the 1st was based in HMS Beehive in Felixstowe and yet Mick's service record has him serving mainly along the south coast. There is reference to HMS Aberdonian in Dartmouth, HMS Attack in Portland, HMS Forte in Falmouth and HMS Hornet in Gosport. This is confusing. Did the 1st MTB Flotilla serve from East Anglia or the south coast?

There is also internet confusion over the 1st MTB Flotilla serving in support of D Day. Elsewhere on the internet, they stayed in the North Sea. Did the 1st MTB F (MTB 415) support D Day?

What I did find was the actor Patrick MacNee (John Steed in the Avengers) served as navigation officer on MTB 415.

I'd love to hear of any details of MTB 415's service. Who were it's COs (after summer 1943 when Mick joined it)? In what notable actions did MTB 415 take part?

Rolf Hippman - sorry, RAF and RCAF, not a naval type. Kipper Fleet on Nimrods though, if that counts.

Pioneer
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Pioneer » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:55 pm

Welcome aboard Rolf - hope that you enjoy what the site has to offer.
For starters - This boat was ordered in November 1940 as a Motor Anti-Submarine Boat (MASB) but was completed as a Motor Gun Boat (MGB). It was converted for use as a Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB 415) in September 1943, survived the war, and was placed on the disposal list in October 1945. She had the alternate Pennant of MGB 80 (from our Boat Database ).

1st MTB Flotilla: From December 1939 - 1942 after returning from the Mediterranean operated from Portsmouth, Felixstowe and Harwich, then owing to losses was disbanded in August 1942. Reformed in October 1943, then until 1945 operated from Dartmouth, Ramsgate, Portsmouth, Lowestoft and Felixstowe. From those dates you can see that the 1st Flotilla was a very mobile unit. The re-formed unit had 4 Senior Officers; Lt EN Stephenson RN. Lt TJ Mathius RNVR. Lt J.A. Bennet RCNVR. Lt CEM Thornycroft RN.

“Home Waters MTB’s at War” by Leonard Reynolds has a photograph of MTB 415 on page 119 alongside HMS Aberdonian at Dartmouth (while there are a few, relative expensive copy’s for sale at Amazon, a good Library may be able to loan a copy) there is just one mention of action with MTB 415 in that book
“…The new 1st Flotilla cut its teeth on the 26/27 February when 415 and 431 (both without Tubes), led by Lt T J Mathius, maintained the traditions of Hichens’ 8th MGB Flotilla when they attacked a convoy entering harbour in Jersey, and claimed to have severely damaged a trawler…

As you can see the 1st Flotilla had two 'beginnings'. The Flotilla, just pre-war, was ordered back from the Mediterranean, to the UK just as hostilities commenced (that story is in itself a gripping saga) arriving back during December 1939.

I would guess that our members may be able to furnish you with some further info.

(Just type MGB 609 in the Search panel at the top of this page)

Halfordresearch
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Halfordresearch » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:45 pm

Pioneer
Very many thanks for your reply. I'll try to get a hold of the book you suggest. Thanks for clearing up the transitory lifestyle of the 1st MTB Flotilla. having reviewed Mick Halford's service record and comparing it to book and internet data, it didn't gel. Posted (sorry drafted - I'm air force) to Felixstowe but so many references in the service record to south coast locations, hence my question. Any thoughts on this flotilla supporting D Day? Did MGBs and MTBs go for repair fairly often? Mick's service record had him at Gosport, Falmouth, Poole, Brightlingsea, and more. I'm assuming these boats took quite a bashing, especially in decent sea states.
Rolf Hippman

Halfordresearch
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Halfordresearch » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:54 pm

Pioneer
Is there any merit in my joining the British Military Powerboat Team forum?
Rolf Hippman

Pioneer
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Pioneer » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:26 am

If your interest is wider than the history of RN and Commonwealth Coastal Forces then I would definitely state Yes. The BMPT site caters mainly for interests in the preservation/restoration of ex-military craft, whether RN, RAF or even those belonging to the former enemy, the membership reflecting a wide range of skills and expertise in those areas.

johnk
Chief Petty Officer
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Re: MTB 415

Postby johnk » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:27 am

Hi there,

Short answer I would suggest, is yes, people there also very much interested in CF,

Johnk

Halfordresearch
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Halfordresearch » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:06 pm

To all
Having just read Leonard C Reynolds 'Home Waters MTBs and MGBs At War 1939 -1945' I have a question that someone might be able to answer. I realise that I am still in the early stages of reading in this area (and will continue to do so) and am particularly focussed on my father-in-law's career with MTB 415 but the following crossed my mind:

The book mentions the 8th MGB Flotilla many times during the early part of the war and justifiably so. However, when it became the 1st MTB Flotilla and seemed to have moved to the south coast the narrative has very little about this flotilla. There are descriptions of actions and operations by many flotillas but the 1st seems to have dropped out of the limelight. There are a few mentions but they are very scant.

Is there are reason for this? Did they fall out of favour?

Looking forward to reading 'The Battle of the Narrow Seas: The History of the Light Coastal Forces in the Channel and North Sea 1939-1945' and 'Coastal Forces at War: The Royal Navy's Little Ships in the Second World War: The Royal Navy's Little Ships in the Narrow Seas 1939-45'. Any suggestions from the forum on further reading?
Rolf Hippman

Admin
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Admin » Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:59 pm

One book which should definitely be on your reading list is Gunboat Command The Biography of Lieutenant Commander Robert Hichens DSO* DSC** RNVR by his son Antony Hichens. Robert Hichens was a renowned Coastal Forces commander, instrumental in evolving the tactics of the gun boats on the East Coast, and Senior Officer of the 8th MGB Flotilla which included MGB 77.

I believe as far as the Len Reynolds book is concerned, which is one of three volumes, the narrative aims at an impressionistic view of Coastal Forces, covering seminal events, characters and boats, which year on year illustrate the increasing role that Coastal Forces played in the various theatres in UK waters, and theatres abroad. Over the course of the war the number of boats and flotillas steadily increased, as did the number of officers and crew, and so the books represent a distillation of a great mass of details that would otherwise take an encyclopedia to cover in depth, and since the role of the 1st MTB Flotilla is well covered in its earlier guise of the 8th MGB Flotilla, the book no doubt concentrates on different themes and events for the later part of the war.

Halfordresearch
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Halfordresearch » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:44 am

Admin
Many thanks for your reply. I still have much reading to do to get a fuller picture of CF Ops during the war. I had seen reference to the Hichens book but a recommendation I can trust goes a long way. I will try to obtain a copy.
Rolf Hippman

Halfordresearch
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Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:48 pm

Re: MTB 415

Postby Halfordresearch » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:33 pm

To all
I have just seen reference to MGB 81 (PNBPT) taking part in the 70th D Day commemoration this year. The PMBT website has a description of MGB 81 and states that she was one of the lead boats on the approaches to Sword Beach. As MTB 414, she would have been part of the 1st MTB Flotilla. Does this imply that that flotilla , as a whole, had similar duties on D Day?
Rolf Hippman

LWB
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Re: MTB 415

Postby LWB » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:07 pm

Dear Rolf - My father served on 415, largely out of Felixstowe. I'm fortunate to have photos of the boat and its ensign - photos of which are attached. I have little further information, but my father never mentioned supporting D Day. I am aware that 415 did capture an E Boat. My father is second from left in the larger group of crew photo. He was a radar operator and cook! Hope this adds to your research. Regards Eric
Attachments
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Stephen
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Re: MTB 415

Postby Stephen » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:24 pm

Hi LWB and Rolf,

As I understand it the 1st MTB flotilla was based out of Plymouth Command on D-Day and carried out patrol duties on the west flank. According to Invasion Europe (HMSO) they were transferred to Portsmouth Command on the 9th June. I don't believe they were part of the leading flotillas on D-Day itself, but they certainly played a part in Operation Overlord. However I believe that MGB 81 became MTB 416 rather than MTB 414.

There is a nice collection of images taken in the days after D-Day at the IWM site. One of these may be 415 but it's difficult to read any numbers except 416.
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/searc ... er_page=10

Those are some lovely photos LWB. It's interesting to see that whilst 416 has had torpedo supports fitted (although no tubes) as part of its re designation, 415 does not appear to have had even that modification made.

Regards,
Steve


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