23 Feb, 1945 : Free French Ship "La Combattante" hit a German mine in the North sea, and sunk.
Most of the crew was rescued by MTB 763 & MTB 770.
MTB 770 & MTB 763 had been on patrol with La Combattante
on the night in question, and Lieutenant Marquis, Senior Officer on MTB 770 had been resting on his bunk, when he felt rather than heard the explosion. On reaching the bridge the Number Three gunner shouted and pointed to the presence of a periscope cutting through the water. 770 gave chase, but with no ASDIC, and with men in the water around whom depth charges could not be used, soon abandoned the chase and commenced rescue work instead. There was no hard evidence at the time, either way, to indicate whether La Combattante
had been sunk by mine or by torpedo, and at the subsequent Court of Enquiry into the sinking, the matter of the periscope which had only been briefly glimpsed, was not pressed. However, German records after the war did indeed confirm the ship was sunk by a torpedo fired by a two-man, midget submarine of the Seehund class*
It would seem this understanding on the part of Lieutenant Commander H D Marquis has been countered by more recent research pointing to the presence of mines sown by E-boats, but the matter still appears somewhat inconclusive.)