Crew members of ML 575

Motor Launches (ML), Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDML) & Rescue Motor Launches (RML)
Steve Lee
Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:06 pm

Crew members of ML 575

Postby Steve Lee » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:42 pm

Hello,
I'm new to this forum having only just found it while searching for information regarding my late father who I'm sure served on ML 575. My dad only ever mentioned anything regarding his wartime service to me very shortly before he passed away in January 2014.
I had found an image of ML 575 online (not knowing he served on this vessel) and just happened to show this to him when he said " I served on that".
I have just been looking through some of my dad's pictures and found one of 575, some of his crew mates and a Xmas day menu dated 1945 from HMS Gregdale, this is in a as new condition.
I have dad's service number but know very little about his service life and wondered if there is any way I might be able to find something out about it.
I remember my dad saying that his 2 brothers and him volunteered for the Navy at the same time and that my dad was in Malta from 1942 and was a motor mechanic.
I might be barking up the wrong tree here but would love to try and learn more about his time during the war. Like many others he never spoke about it as I'm sure what ever he experienced it haunted him to his dying day.
Steve

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Admin » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:13 pm

Good Evening Steve and welcome to the forum.

HMS Gregale was the Coastal Forces base on Malta, and the CO of ML 575 was a member of the South African Volunteer Naval Force — SANF(V) — named John Norman Barfield. The April 1945 Navy List shows him as Temporary Lieutenant for 575 along with Temporary Sub-Lieutenant D W Trevan. As it happens, I was in contact with the Barfield family some years ago, who passed me on a series pf photographs and a copy of John Barfield's biography, detailing his time on MLs in the Mediterranean, including his period in command of ML 575.

I will look out the relevant pages later, but in the meantime I am posting an image of the crew taken in 1945 at Livorno, so as you may compare it with the one in your possession, and see if your father is included.

Admin

ml-575-ships-company-livorno-1945.jpg
ML 575 ships company at Livarno in 1945 (photo courtesy Barfield estate)

Peter
Able Seaman Radar
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Peter » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:00 pm

Good Evening Steve
Great to see the response to your enquiry about your Dad and Ml 575.
As most of us who served in Coastal Forces HMS Gregale was our main base in Malta , your stay in the base was while they found you a boat to serve on inc.ML's or MTB's . My time was on MTB 243 & MGB 647 and I hope that with the on going enquires ML575 will come into my view
Thanks for joining
Cheers
Peter

Peter
Able Seaman Radar
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Peter » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:14 am

Good Morning All
I attach from my album of pictures one which I have called Ml's tucked up for the night in Malta ML 575 could be in there
Cheers
Peter
Attachments
Ml's Tucked up for the night . Where.jpg

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Admin » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:20 am

Thanks for the photo Peter.

The nearest one reads 567 but after that I cannot make out any distinguishing mark, though they all appear to have minesweeping gear at the stern and 575 was a minesweeper.

Admin

Steve Lee
Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:06 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Steve Lee » Sun Jul 12, 2020 4:37 pm

Thanks to everyone that has responded to my enquiry. My dad isn't in the picture of the crew of ML575. His service number was MX542003 and his name was Norman James Lee and as far as I am aware was in Malta from 1942 to 1945. If anyone could point me in the right direction in my attempt to try and find any information regarding my dad i would appreciate it very much.
Regards
Steve

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Admin » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:26 pm

If he is not in the photo then he may have left the boat by that time and possibly have been on another in the flotilla, if he was attached to the boats, and not just shore based. Would it be possible for you to scan the photos you have, preferably in colour mode, at 600dpi, and then save them as TIFF rather than JPEG, and send them to me using the info@cfv.org.uk address.

If you do not have details of his service then the only way of getting details of bases, and possibly boats in the case of Coastal Forces, is to apply via the Royal Naval Disclosure Cell for details of his service contained in the Payment & Victualling records, which used to take up to six months to receive, but may take longer at this time. Otherwise, unless the person in question has been granted an award, or is an officer and recorded in the Navy List, there is no other line of enquiry.

Regards
Admin

Peter
Able Seaman Radar
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Peter » Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:39 am

Good Morning All
Following your enquiry Steve (ML575) the photograph reveals the Motor Mechanic could only be in the one in 2nd row extreme right wearing the Peaked Cap of a Leading Motor Mechanic.
Hope that I have made this clear
Cheers
Peter

Steve Lee
Seaman
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:06 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Steve Lee » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:38 pm

Thank you to everyone that has helped so far.

Regards
Steve

Alan Gardner
Seaman
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:43 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Alan Gardner » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:24 pm

Steve,
My father, Ken Gardner (P/JX631151, 1943-1947) (b1925, d2009) was an Able Seaman on ML575. He was trained in the Radio Direction finding equipment. His record also shows he passed an exam "TR" on 6 Jun 1945. I don't know what that was. He became an A/S on 25 Nov 1944 whilst on ML170.
He joined ML575 on 15 Nov 45, having previously been on ML170.
He remembered minesweeping in ML575, in the Adriatic, near Venice and Ancona, towing a vane to cut the mine cables so that following boats could fire at them. He also remembers dropping special services in the Greek islands.
He left the boat to return to the UK by 4 Nov 1946, and was demobbed on 9 May 1947.
I have several photos he took, some with crew members who were with ML170 or ML575, a few of ML575, and a few with crew friends in Pisa and an unknown. beach. The Pisa one is interesting, as it could relate to the Livorno one posted on this forum.
Like you, I am researching my father's service and trying to find out more about his crew as well. Getting his service record was a great step forward, as was help from this forum.
I will post the photos and see what people think.
Regards, Alan

Alan Gardner
Seaman
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:43 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Alan Gardner » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:30 pm

Here are some photos of Ken Gardner and/or crew etc.
Attachments
1946c ML575 prob refit Pula Yugoslavia.jpg
ML575 probably refit in Pula
1946c ML575 and ML554 prob Malta.jpg
ML575 and 554 probably Malta
1946c KSG leave ML575 1.jpg
ML575 Ken on leave somewhere
1946c KSG leave ML575 1.jpg (140.99 KiB) Viewed 682 times
1946c KSG Pisa leave with some of ML575 crew 2.jpg
ML575 Ken's crew friends
1946c KSG Pisa leave with some of ML575 crew 2.jpg (134.29 KiB) Viewed 682 times
1944 to 46 KSG some crew ML170 or 575.jpg
ML575 or ML170 some crew
1944 to 46 KSG some crew ML170 or 575 2.jpg
ML575 or ML170 some crew
1944 to 46 KSG front right and some crew ML170 or 575.jpg
ML575 or ML170 Ken front right, and some crew
1944 to 46 KSG front right and some crew ML170 or 575.jpg (115.69 KiB) Viewed 682 times
1944 to 46 KSG front left with some crew ML170 or 575.jpg
ML575 or ML170 Ken front left, and some crew
1944 to 46 KSG crew ML170 or 575 by KSG.jpg
ML575 or ML170 crew except Ken

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Admin » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:24 pm

Hello Alan

Thank you for the details of your father’s service and for the photographs. The photo of the hotel and the beach titled “Ken on leave somewhere” is the Hotel Excelsior at Venice, on what is the famous beach at Venice.

I shall email you about sending you on materials I had scanned for Steve which mention ML 575.

Regards
Admin

Alan Gardner
Seaman
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:43 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Alan Gardner » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:09 pm

"Admin"
Thank you very much for identifying the Excelsior. So, now I know that my father went to both Livorno/Pisa and Venice whilst on his service, as the Excelsior photo was in the same pack/type.

I have uploaded some more photos which I hope are of use to others.

Regard

Alan
Attachments
1945 ML176 Malta Harbour.jpg
ML176 Malta?
1944 to 46 KSG unknown location Italy Sardinia etc prob from ML170 or 575.jpg
Unknown location maybe Malta , Naples or Maddalena?
1944 to 46 KSG unknown location Italy Sardinia etc prob from ML170 or 575.jpg (131.06 KiB) Viewed 674 times
1944 to 46 KSG on ML170 or 575.jpg
Ken on Ml170 or 575
1944 to 46 KSG on ML170 or 575.jpg (81.37 KiB) Viewed 674 times
1944 to 46 KSG Inside ML170 or 575.jpg
Inside ML170 or 575
1944 to 46 KSG Inside ML170 or 575.jpg (132.47 KiB) Viewed 674 times
1944 to 46 KSG Inside ML170 or 575 2.jpg
Inside ML170 or 575
1944 to 46 KSG Inside ML170 or 575 2.jpg (156.61 KiB) Viewed 674 times
1944 to 46 KSG from ML170 or 575 prob Italy or Sardinia.jpg
Unknown location on Italian cost perhaps, taken from ML 575 probably
1944 to 46 KSG from ML170 or 575 prob Italy or Sardinia.jpg (119.77 KiB) Viewed 674 times
1944 to 46 KSG an ML from ML170 or 575 2.jpg
An ML - anty idea which and what the flags say?
1944 or 45 KSG ML172 prob from ML170.jpg
ML172
1944 or 45 KSG ML172 prob from ML170.jpg (86.48 KiB) Viewed 674 times
1944 or 45 KSG ML172 prob from ML170 2.jpg
ML172
1944 or 45 KSG ML172 prob from ML170 2.jpg (97.59 KiB) Viewed 674 times
1943 cNov HMS Collingwood Class 1v  KSG mid 2nd from right.jpg
1943 HMS Collingwood Class 1v

RogerFentem
Seaman
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:15 am

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby RogerFentem » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:44 am

Alan, Thank you so much, what a wonderful collection of photos. How civilised they were to have tablecloths!

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Admin » Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:24 pm

Alan

The second set of photographs are very good, and it's interesting to see shots of the mess deck of a Motor Launch, which is something seldom captured.

The photo featuring the railway viaduct ought to be traceable — I don't have a lead on it as yet. The one entitled Unknown location maybe Malta , Naples or Maddalena? could well be Marseilles in fact, which 575 was known to have visited. It was at Corsica and all over the Western Med as well as the Adriatic. There is also something of a mystery in this photo as it clearly shows MGB 91 going by. This boat was an American built Elco and part of the 7th MGB Flotilla which served in Home Waters (Portland, Dover, Lowestoft) and is shown in the December 1944 Navy List as a Target Towing vessel at Lowestoft. So this photo must be later than that obviously when it may have been tasked to Southern France at some point ahead of being returned to the USN in July 45, and being laid up at Gillingham until 1947 (at least according to the records).***

The C.O. of ML 575 from October 1944 onwards was John Barfield, with Lt R. A. Wright and Sub-Lt D. W.Trevan shown as the officers from July 1945 onwards. None of the crew shots feature Lt Barfield, but owing to the timeframe involved, they could have been taken under the later tenure of Lt Wright, or failing that they may then be ML 170. ML 170 was part of the 9th ML Flotilla along with MLs 172, 173, 174, 175 and 176.

In the photo of MLs ML575 and 554 alongside one another in harbour the crew are in non-whites, with wet weather gear, so this doesn't look like Malta.

Admin

*** On reflection this can’t be MGB 91 so another possibility is that it may be an Italian MAS Boat. There were MAS boats of the Italian Navy recorded as attached to the Royal Navy by late 1944, but I have yet to find evidence of one numbered 91. There were some USN PT boats in the Mediterranean theatre as well, but again none with this number. Also the boat in the photo doesn't appear to have radar or weaponry.

Alan Gardner
Seaman
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:43 pm

Re: Crew members of ML 575

Postby Alan Gardner » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:25 pm

Thank you very much again for your reply.

According to his service record, my father was at:

Cormorant, Gibraltar (ML170) from 14 Jul 44 to 25 Nov 44
St Angelo, Malta (ML170) from 26 Nov 44 to 14 Nov 45
St Angelo, Malta (ML575) from 15 Nov 45 to around Oct 46 (I assume as he went back to UK for Nov 46)
Collingwood, Fareham from 4 Nov 46

He recalled leaving Greenock in 44 (after training at Collingwood) on a convoy to Algiers, then getting a convoy back to be in Gibraltar.

Do you have a record of the movements of ML170 and ML575? I assume I have to go to Kew sometime to look at them?

Regards
Alan


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