HM ML 649

Motor Launches (ML), Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDML) & Rescue Motor Launches (RML)
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Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:41 am

HM ML 649

Postby daveclark1953 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:53 am

I am new to your website and I am seeking any assistance you may be able to give me in tracing HM ML 649.

My Uncle Joesph Clark C/JX 405748 is buried in Stellawood Cemetary in Durban, he died March 19th. 1944 and the only other information on his headstone is his ship being HM ML649. I cannot trace this ML in any of the on line records I have tried, although it seems that these types of craft did change numbers ? or perhaps it is not an ML but some other type?

I do not have any official Naval documents concerning my uncle to assist in the search.

If anyone can point me in the direction of where I might find further information I would be grateful.

Dave Clark

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Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:48 pm

Re: HM ML 649

Postby Pioneer » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:06 pm

Hello Dave

I would suggest that the number 649 refers to a ‘D’ type MTB.

John Lambert and Al Ross’ book ‘Allied Coastal Forces of WW2’ Volume 1 states that an order for 44 ML craft was originally made on the 28 November 1941 but - “649-656, 664-673 and 675-700” - were completed as MTB’s.

MTB 649 was built by Risdon Beasley, Southampton and completed 7th January 1943. After ‘working up’ she sailed from Milford Haven on the 4th June 1943 to the Mediterranean where she joined the 33rd MTB Flotilla. Her CO was Lt Peter Hughes of the South African Navy Volunteer Reserve.

There is an incident recorded, on or around the date you mention, but no mention of Allied casualties. This ‘friendly fire’ incident was on a partisan patrol craft who gave the wrong reply to a challenge made by 649.

Hope this helps


Site Admin
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Re: HM ML 649

Postby Admin » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:51 am

I think it would be unlikely for someone killed in the Mediterranean theatre to be buried in South Africa. Was Joseph Clark South African, or had he emigrated there? If so, then another possibility is an error in the recording of the boat number by the CWGC. There was a South African built Fairmile B, ML 849, which could be the correct boat number.

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