MGB ACTIONS SUMMER 1942
MGB 330 was one of twenty-four Fairmile C-Class motor gun boats, which were somewhat longer than the ‘short’ British Power Boat MGBs then in service with the existing MGB Flotillas. A larger variant still, the Fairmile D-Class, known as Dog Boats, were just starting to complete at yards around the country at this time, and the very first, MGB 601 had already entered service and so was paired with the ‘longer’ C-Class boats at Dover.
MGB 601 along with C-Class 322 and 328 had fought an engagement in the Channel on 20th July 1942. 601 subsequently blew up in Dover Harbour three days later in what was later determined to be damage sustained to its fuel tanks during this action. The next action involving a Dog Boat with C-Class MGBs, which included MGB 330, was the one recorded for the night of the 16th/17th August 1942, as documented by Brian Holmes early in this thread.
The only other documented episode involving MGB 330 was for the earlier action on 6/7th August in which MTBs 44, 45 and 48 were joined by MGBs 330, 324 and 331 in an attack on a German coastal convoy passing through the Dover Straits, comprising the German ship Schwabenland
, and fifteen assorted escorts.
It’s possible there may have been some earlier event which isn’t recorded in either of the two volumes compiled by Len Reynolds, Home Waters MTBs & MGBs
, and Dog Boats at War
, but the action of the 6th/7th August remains the most likely cause for the death of Dimmock Barker, especially since his death is recorded for that date.
Curiously my father, who was eight years old at the time, remembers his parents travelling from their home in Grimsby to Dover to see their badly injured son (Dimmock). Before they arrived back home a telegram arrived to say that he had died.
That leaves the issue of the telegram. However one possible interpretation of that may be that, given the action took place in the Dover Straits, then if the firefight occurred early in the morning of the 7th, it would not have taken MGB 330 long to return to Dover with her casualties. So it’s possible he was conveyed to hospital early that morning, and that his parents had been informed and had set out for Dover, but before they managed to get there, a telegram announcing his death overtook them, arriving at their home address. So the story about a telegram containing the news, and possibly read by grandparents or neighbours before they got home, would still be true. Even if they managed to reach Dover before he died of his wounds that day, an official telegram would still presumably have been sent by the Navy to the address of the next of kin recorded on his service record.