Ostend Disaster

Discussions relating to actions or operations, including combined operations, involving Coastal Forces boats or flotillas
Pioneer
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Ostend Disaster

Postby Pioneer » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:23 am

February 14th - anniversary of the Ostend disaster.
73 killed including civilian casualties, 65 naval personnel injured, 14 vessels destroyed; the greatest single tragedy for Coastal Forces during WW2.

Pioneer
Moderator
Posts: 296
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Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby Pioneer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:10 pm

This web site recently commemorated the 68th anniversary of the Ostend disaster in which the 29th Canadian MTB Flotilla was virtually destroyed. However, the mundane workings of MTB Flotilla's are not so widely known, other than clashing with the enemy during brutal skirmishes at night. Here is an account of wider operations with the 29th (and the 55th) Flotilla's published as a 'Fact Sheet' by The Friends of the Canadian War Museum

greenhouse
Seaman
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Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby greenhouse » Mon May 27, 2013 10:19 pm

I was the Petty Officer Motor Mechanic on board MTB 771 when this disaster occurred. I had let all the engine room personnel go on a trip to Bruges. At about 2pm, I went into the engine room & was making a cigarette lighter at the vice when the explosions occurred. I put my head through the hatch & saw tracer bullets whizzing all over the place & naturally thought we were being attacked by aircraft. The boats at side of 771 were on fire so I started all my four engines. This kept me very busy operating all four engines, trying to obey signals received from the bridge, for about four & a half hours. We were badly damaged & taking on water but eventually we tied up to a Merchant Ship who put a big hose aft to keep us afloat. I was lying on my bunk, kna-----d, when the crew came aboard & they had been issued with survivors gear. Next day we were hoisted into a dry dock where a tingle was put over the damage. After the repair, the Skipper sent for me & said "I have been asked if we are fit to go out on patrol?" At that point I rather blew my top & swore at a Senior Officer for the first time in my career. He pulled me up sharply, put me in my place, & said, "Stand to attention when you speak to me & I will repeat the question1" Now I replied, "No Sir". A couple of days later we were told to "escort" two boats back to UK that were damaged worse than us. I asked the Skipper not to fire the Orlickan above my engine room because the stanchions were bent like the letter C. We made it to Dover without mishap on the first leg & stayed overnight. Very early next morning I was told to get the engines started & we made it to Poole harbour. The next day we left there and ended up in Brixham Devon. I went on 4 weeks leave, got married, then went back to Brixham until the boat was finally repaired, 6 weeks later. After speed trials etc. we sailed as far as Gosport where I was taken off & sent to Cholmondley Castle in Cheshire for "rehabilitation" before my demob. Ron. Matthews, PO M/M

johnk
Chief Petty Officer
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Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby johnk » Tue May 28, 2013 10:56 pm

Dear Sir,

Just wanted to thank you for your posting, I have seen the memorial at Ostend a couple of years ago, it is an area of great fascination for me and others, thanks again and all the best.

Johnk

robmcr
Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: Manchester, UK.

Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby robmcr » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:06 pm

Good Evening everyone,

I've been quite unwell over the past year but it has become a blessing in a way as I've been able to concentrate and focus my time on studying my family history. In a few short months I've discovered that I had some very brave relatives who fought in many wars that have enfolded on our small sphere. One of my relatives was, in fact, Able Seaman Croydon, Arthur Edward, D/JX 162128 R.N. H.M. M.T.B. 438, he died on the 14th February 1945, in the Ostend Harbour Disaster, aged only 21 years. He's my Grandad's Brother, my Great Uncle...a brave man indeed! He looks very like my younger brother Anthony and the photo that I discovered on this website is the first time I've seen a photo of him. Arthur appears to have been a fantastic photographer and I've managed to trace family members, I even didn't know I had, who've sent me some go his amazing wartime photos. I'll post them on here, so hopefully an expert eye will be able to identify the boats, etc. I'd be interested to hear if there's currently a memorial for the British dead in the disaster? I know there's a Canadian memorial on the harbour side. My aunt, Arthurs niece, is considering to visit there this Valentines day (2014), on the 69th anniversary, unfortunately, I may not be able to go due to waiting for a hip replacement operation...but I'll go someday, may be towards the end of this year. Also, I was wondering if there are still any survivors of this disaster still living today? Can anyone enlighten me? Any relevant thoughts or stories would be helpful.

Kind regards,

Rob Croydon (35)

robmcr
Seaman
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Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: Manchester, UK.

Re: Ostend Disaster (via Able Seaman Arthur Croydon)

Postby robmcr » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:30 pm

Hi again,

As promised, here are some photos from Able Seaman, Arthur Croydon's collection (I'm not sure yet if he took all of these as some appear to have been taken from quite a height, aeroplanes or from ships (?)). My relative who has the original photos, has told me that these images are, top left to bottom right, The Invasion of Crete, Illustrious hit by a bomb (Med), Benghazi, minefield off Norway [sic].

Coincidentally, when I was younger, around 19 years old, I applied for the Royal Air Force, and the aptitude tests results showed that I was suited for the role of Air Force Photographer, but I declined the offer of a job as I had my heart set on the role of cartographer (I'm now in my final year of a Masters Degree in Town and Country Planning). So it must be in the genes!

If you have any further comments please let me know.

Kind regards

Rob Croydon.
Attachments
Invasion of Crete, Illustrious Hit by bomb (Med), Benghazi, mine field of Norway.jpeg
Arthur Croydon's War Photo's [sic]

robmcr
Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: Manchester, UK.

Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby robmcr » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:39 am

To my very brave Great Uncle Arthur Croydon who sadly died in this disaster, my thoughts are with you on this memorable anniversary. Robert Croydon.

johnk
Chief Petty Officer
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:21 am

Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby johnk » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:41 am

Hello there,

Indeed, a sad and tragic day so close to the end of the ward, posted before I have been to Ostend and seen the memorial there, I think this chapter of our history should be more in the public domain, many thanks,


Johnk

Admin
Site Admin
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby Admin » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:25 pm

At this time of the year we recall the tragic events that befell Coastal Forces at Ostend in 1945 with a commemoration on the home page of the web site.

johnk
Chief Petty Officer
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:21 am

Re: Ostend Disaster

Postby johnk » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:14 am

Hello,

Yes, today we again mark the disaster at Ostend, on the memorial page of course we see all those ships company members who where lost, least we forget.

Johnk


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