Claude Broomfield recalls a radar course at Rutherford.
That's a good find and I feel helps clarify the situation, as Sharpnel (Newcastle) would appear to have been about radar maintenance. Initially the boats had Radio Direction Finding equipment (RDF), which was a cruder precursor to the revolutionary technology that was Radar. Having made enquiries from a London Branch veteran who in fact served as a radar operator on one of the Mediterranean Dog Boats, I have learned that as an operator he was not trained in its maintenance, which was a shore-based activity carried out by a radio engineer, and that his radar operator training took place at Valkyrie on the Isle of Wight.It looks as though he was in Newcastle for around four months or so doesn't it. I appreciate this stuff is 'off topic' for this board, but I'll try and find out what was going on there
Thanks for the heads up David. The Mediterranean theatre does tend to get overlooked somewhat as there aren't as many photographs of the events there it seems.ML's were not only used as direction guides at D-Day. Some were fitted with radar in the Mediterranean a year earlier and were so used in Operation Husky and Salerno.
The Navy List for October 1944 shows this gentleman to have been Temporary Lieutenant-Commander J D S Hearder RNVR as CO of ML 250, and SO of the 19th ML Flotilla, with his first officer being Temporary Sub-Lieutenant R L Roberts RNVR.My Mother kept a letter in her scrapbook from Lt Cdr Heardly (? difficult signature) ML 250 19th Flotilla who picked him up and reassured my Mother that my Father was still alive.
Hello again StuartIs there a data base which matches names of crew to ML ship Nos? I have my Father's service history from Personnel Support Admiralty which mentions ML 1082, 1288, 1306 and 1098 on which my Father served in Ceylon but I found nothing in the records.
I'm very glad you managed to find your way to this particular thread, since we happen to have an unusual amount of information about this event. The 'chummy' boat of ML 916, was ML 906, under the command of Lieutenant Don H Claydon RNVR, with his junior officer, Sub-Lieutenant S Daly RNVR. It was Don Claydon and his crew that rescued your father, and the other survivor, from the water, and we have a photograph of him on the bridge of his ML. Don Claydon also saved copies of original signals from around the time, one of which is reproduced below. I have some further news for you and your family, which I am conveying in a pm to you.On the way back out of the Scheldt they were aware the Germans had mined the channel during the night so he had all members of the crew, not needed to run the ship, to stand on deck - they were possibly sweeping. When the mine went off he was on the bridge scratching the back of his left leg with his right shoe so the shock went up his left leg and spine. He was thrown into the water and picked up 'dead' and laid out on the deck of another ship with the corpses of his crew.
Transcript of signal:
Following vessels required shortly for extended sweeping operations are to complete to maximum storage of stores provisions and water.
16 105ft MMS
4 Oropesa MLs
1 LL ML
4 Trawlers with spare gear
1 Survey trawler
Hi Stuart,No idea who these guys are. Don't think they are officer training as there seem to be a lot of ratings present. Any ideas? My father is second row third from right, not looking at the camera.
Thanks again Stuart
Coastal Forces in Ceylon was HMS Barracuda which was operated by the Royal Indian Navy, and was a mobile base & repair ship, which later moved to Bombay in September 1942, then Chittagong, Bengal and Trinco. I'm pretty sure while in Ceylon it would have been at Trincomalee.We have one letter from my father from Ceylon, though he's not allowed to say where and no date but talks about the jungle and getting fresh water from a well on the island they were harboured in.
There were small survey vessels used by the Royal Navy of the kind shown below, though to the best of my knowledge these were not operated by Coastal Forces, and it's unclear what role exactly they played in the preparations for D-Day or when. The main covert operations of this kind were carried out by a dedicated, specialist unit, the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) who were highly trained. Also from what I have gleaned, no one went near the D-Day beaches for some months beforehand, in order not to tip off the Germans by having any kind of incident or accident. The MGB referenced in the linked article would likely have been one of the boats such as MGB 318, and the dates for missions recorded in the book Secret Flotillas.I recall him telling a tale of zipping over to France overnight, pre D-Day with scientists aboard to collect samples of sand (I believe to help us understand how tanks would fare on landing on the beaches).
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