MTB 638

Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB)
Croatian Navy
Petty Officer
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Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:59 am

Re: MTB 638

Postby Croatian Navy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:49 pm

@Jonco, thank for pictures. They are perfect!!!!

@retr, sailors on those ship have not had almost any protection. Those ships where made of wood, so every enemy shell could be dedly. Also gun/cannon crews were fully exposed to enemy fire, but that knowledge makes them brave. Because German F-lighters (MFP) mostly have cement bunkers around cannons, so when fire start, they hide. Of course that was in the begining of conflict in Adriatic. In later time Germans become more courages.

The base for MGBs/MTBs was in small harbour in village of Komiza on island of Vis. Later it was in city of Zadar (my town) and small harbours of islands of Molat and Ist. Also in city of Ancona on western part of Adriatic. But the most important supply base for Adriatic was town of Bari and ofcourse Malta.

retr
Able Seaman
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:05 pm

Re: MTB 638

Postby retr » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:21 am

Hi Jurica, (glad to see you are using this forum as you obviously have lots of knowledge to share)

Thank you for that detail reply, I imagine the support of the local inhabitants of these bases was also vital to our Navy boys? it is very difficult to imagine what those crews went through or how they managed to stay alive with such little protection as you mentioned (Dad was a pom pom gunner). As a "layman" you have no knowledge of how it all worked onboard for them and communications were not to the levels we have today with technology advances.

I know there was a story from my dad that his crew mate "Danny" was injured in one battle and died in dads arms and it is the only thing we really heard about, I do not know which boat, which action or when it happened, just that it troubled my dad all through his life.

I would like to find out more if possible so any information from all those with any input would be gratefully recieved it will help us to get a clearer picture of what brave young men they really were.

Kind Regards
Rita Moylan

Croatian Navy
Petty Officer
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:59 am

Re: MTB 638

Postby Croatian Navy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:57 pm

Yes, local people, Croatians, also help a lot. You must know that the bigest and the first antifasistic movement was in Croatia.

Also one very big information. In those years 1944/1945, the biggest tread for British Dog boats on Adriatic were German Escort destroyers and F-lighters (MFP). But on those German ships almost all crews were sailors who never see sea and cannon before. I have almost all original German war diaries and German senior officers were always angry why from Germany they always send those sailors. For example the capitain of one small German tanker was till year 1943 agricultural worker in Bavaria :)
Beside that, almost all British soldiers were veterans. That things has changed in year 1945, but it was too late then.
There is inetersting battle between Dogs boat and F-lighters near Rasa channel in year 1945. Almost all British ships were very damadged, because Germans were fighting like crazy. I will write about that battle once. I think that MTB-638 were in it.

Admin
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Re: MTB 638

Postby Admin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:08 pm

I found this short piece that happens to mention MTB 638, in a newsletter of the now disbanded Coastal Forces Veterans Association.
The Admiral’s Powder Parlours — not so amusing at the time!!

A group of Dog Boats arrived at Gibraltar Feb 43 with upperdeck fuel tanks, one of the boats was MTB 638 in which I was No. 1. The Flotilla leader was MTB 639, Lieut. Stewart Gould DSC+ RN. We set about removing upperdeck fuel tanks in the dockyard. Since we were required urgently off the North African coast, this action was completed quickly and we were all on our way across the Med. to Algiers. The passage across was foul and all the boats took a bad battering.

We arrived at Algiers very early one morning and secured alongside the quay in the main harbour; most of the boats had defects and particularly to the gun hydraulics and a few engines needed attention. The crews cleaned the guns, mopped up the messdecks and generally put as much as possible shipshape after the bad passage.

Everyone turned in to get some rest before the days routine at 0730 hrs, however there was to be a surprise and it commenced as I reached the bridge to get some fresh air at 0700 hrs. A metallic blue saloon car wearing an Admiral’s flag drew up opposite the boats on the quay and out hopped an Admiral followed by his Flag Lieutenant; the Admiral then set off at a sprightly pace along the jetty and jumped down onto a catamoran and climbed aboard the inboard D boat ahead of us. the Flag Lieutenant was trying to keep up with his “lord and master” who carried a gold knob light varnished stick.

It was clear to me now that I was observing the Commander in Chief, Mediterranean, Admiral Andrew Browne Cunningham (affectionately known as ABC). He disappeared down the forward hatchway onto the messdeck of the MTB and I noticed that there had been no one to pipe him on board or at the very least salute him over the side! It boded ill! I moved below, with the greatest of alacrity, and informed the CO Teddy Rose what had taken place; at the same time I urged the Coxswain to get the hands moving as we may receive a VIP. In the event however ABC, after a relatively short time, left the boat ahead via the wheelhouse and bridge, returned to his car and disappeared.

We leaned later that the Admiral finding himself in the crews messdeck forward then passed into the galley flat, looked in the wardroom and then opened the door to the officers shower and heads. The CO, who I believe was Canadian, was stripped to the waist shaving. The Admiral appearing in the doorway must have come as a considerable shock and the dialogue was very one-sided. The CO was told that these powder parlours should be at sea and that there were E boats out there laughing at them.

It was not to be long, approx. two hours before the SO received a signal ordering us to proceed to the advanced operational base Bone, down the coast easterly. We duly sailed and reached Bone in the same state, more or less, that we had been in when we reached Algiers. The NOIC at Bone, Cdr. R.A. Allen RNVR, was obliged to arrange immediately for the boats with defects to return to Algiers one by one to be serviced.

LHB Summer 1988


The LHB concerned is doubtless Lieutenant L H Blaxell OBE DSC RNVR who incidentally has a series of his private papers available to read within the archives of the Imperial War Museum. (Click his name below to go to the IWM archive)

From the Imperial War Museum site:
Private Papers of Lieutenant L H Blaxell OBE DSC RNVR

Privately printed memoir with illustrations (202pp), written in 1988, describing in detail his enlistment in the Royal Navy, his basic training in the shore establishment HMS COLLINGWOOD (April - June 1940) and service as an ordinary seaman in the destroyer HMS WITHERINGTON (July 1940 - January 1941) in Home waters and on short range North Atlantic convoy escort; his time as a cadet rating in the RNVR officers' training establishment HMS KING ALFRED (January - May 1941), his appointment as a Sub Lieutenant RNVR into Coastal Forces and service as 1st Lieutenant in MGB 55 (4th MGB Flotilla) based on Weymouth for operations in the English Channel (July 1941 - June 1942) and MGB 322 based on Dover until he was wounded in an action on 19 - 20 July 1942; his convalescence in a hospital near London (July - November 1942) and appointment as 1st Lieutenant in MTB 638 (32nd MTB Flotilla), based on North African ports for service in the Mediterranean (November 1942 - August 1943) and then in MTB 667 based on Malta and La Maddelena (September - November 1943); his command of MTB 307 (10th MTB Flotilla), based on Alexandria and Castelorizzo, for offensive patrols in the Aegean including a successful daylight attack on an enemy convoy (November 1943 - February 1945); his brief service in the destroyer HMS EASTON (March - May 1945) and then in the Home Fleet destroyer HMS OFFA, including spells as a guardship in North German ports and an official visit to Sweden (August 1945 - April 1946). The memoir contains useful details about conditions during his training and on the lower deck and about his professional and social life as a junior officer

Admin
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Re: MTB 638

Postby Admin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:11 pm

I managed to glean the following names of officers who served at various times with MTB 638 from the Navy Lists, during a recent visit to Birmingham Central Library:

MTB 638 Officers

October 1943
Temporary Lieutenant L. H. Blaxell RNVR
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant A B. Childs RNVR

February 1944
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant F. R. Poulson RNVR

June 1944
Temporary Lieutenant D. H. Lummis RNVR (in command)
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant F. R. Poulson RNVR
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant R. E. L. David RNVR
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant R. G. J. Cutting DSC RNVR

October 1944
Lummis, Poulson, David
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant M. H. Bannister RNVR

January 1945
Lummis, David
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant O. R. Johns RNVR

retr
Able Seaman
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:05 pm

Re: MTB 638

Postby retr » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:45 pm

Hi Admin

Thanks for that it was a very interesting read!! I will study the IWM private papers too.

As for the officers, the name Lummis I have certainly heard many times and some of the dates tie in with the ones when my dad served on MTB 638 in Adriatic

The name of one officer came up for the action in the Adriatic on 11.10.44 and that is (Sir) Tim Bligh according to information in London Gazettte Supplement 9th February 1945. Though I have his boats down here as MGB662 and MTB 634 He was very highly decorated.

Thanks Kevin

Kind Regards
Rita Moylan

lizgreen
Seaman
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Re: MTB 638

Postby lizgreen » Fri May 10, 2013 11:34 am

My dad, Kenneth David, is in the crew photo - 4th from left, front row. He talks about this boat a lot- many tales about little harbours/hiding places and raids out - think he used to fill in the log books - does anyone know if and how we could get to read the log books?

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Re: MTB 638

Postby Admin » Fri May 10, 2013 1:06 pm

Hello Liz

Welcome to the forum, and thanks for identifying another of the crew of MTB 638. Unfortunately not many of the log books for smaller vessels survived as far as I am aware. Some may have been kept by officers of boats, and the odd one may have been preserved at the National Archives at Kew, otherwise the only documentation to have survived in most cases are the official Admiralty action reports, which probably contain more detailed information than the log books.

There are some references to 638 in Dog Boats At War by Len Reynolds, who also includes a good bibliography with a list of of the action reports he cited, including ADM 199/257, ADM 199/268, ADM 199/269, and ADM 199/677.

The Supplement to the London Gazette, 18 October, 1948, which offers a short compendium of Coastal Forces actions, contains an action report (page 13 : 5505) for MGB 662, and MTBs 634, 637, and 638, for the night of the 11th/12th October, 1944.


Regards
Admin

mal
Seaman
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:35 am

Re: MTB 638

Postby mal » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:36 pm

hi there I came across this forum while looking for details of mtb 638 which my late father idris Williams served on. he is third from the right on the top row of the large group photo which I believe was taken in malta in 1944. I have a copy of that photo, along with several others which I will find and upload. best wishes Malcolm Williams.

Admin
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Re: MTB 638

Postby Admin » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:53 pm

Hello Malcolm and welcome to the forum. We shall look forward to seeing the photographs in your possession.

retr
Able Seaman
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:05 pm

Re: MTB 638

Postby retr » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:08 pm

Hello Malcolm,

nice to hear from you and especially with the news that your Dad was in the crew photo and third from right in the top row. My Dad also served on MTB 638 and when I saw that photo I couldn't see him, the closest in looks to him was your Dad.(how strange is that) However someone pointed out that his chin was a different shape to my Dads. I would certainly be interested in seeing your photos too and look forward to any new light you may be able to shed on his service, maybe our Dads served together at some point. AB Joseph Vaughan DSM. Pom Pom Gunner on MTB 638 from 01.04.1944 - -.12.1944.


Regards
Rita Moylan

mal
Seaman
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:35 am

Re: MTB 638

Postby mal » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:25 pm

hi,retr,my dad idris was also a gunner on mtb 638 but I don't know if he was a pom pom gunner. when I get some time i'll post the other photos and some more info. idon't have it all to hand at the moment. best wishes Malcolm.

retr
Able Seaman
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:05 pm

Re: MTB 638

Postby retr » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:30 pm

Hi
Will look forward to hearing what you find! PM me if you want. I used CFV to research my Dads service history and found it invaluable, hope you are as lucky.
Regards
Rita Moylan


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