MTB 666 was was lost during an action off Imjuiden on 4/5 July 1944. MTBs including 666 had engaged a heavily protected convoy heading towards the invasion fleet area, when 666 was struck in the engineroom by shellfire from a shore battery, putting the boat out of action and causing a number of casualties. The boat had to be abandoned with the surviving crew taking to the water, where they had to survive for several hours before being picked up by Allied ships. It is known that a partially submerged 666 was brought into Imjuiden between two German flak trawlers, and patched up sufficient to allow inspection of the vessel by naval experts, prior to the boat spontaneously exploding inside the E-boat pens it had been taken to, killing German personnel onboard her at the time.
666 The Devil's Number
What happened to MTB 666
as told by Stan Cross
To say that I was flabbergasted when, during the CFVA's Annual Commemoration Service the Rev. Ron Patterson when delivering his sermon called me over and asked me to tell the congregation about the last action of MTB 666, would be an understatement. The Reverend had been talking about the battles of Coastal Forces and mentioned that 666 was the Devìl's number and when he called me over I felt very embarrassed...
The action he referred to took place during the night 4/5th June 1944 when British MTB's engaged a large convoy that was heading towards the invasion area. lt was heavily protected by armed trawlers and flak boats. The British Force had managed to get between them and the shore and the action was going well until a shell from a shore battery hit 666 in the engineroom. At once we lost all power. There was a fire in the engineroom and no power for the guns. In fact we were like sitting ducks.
We had also suffered a number of casualties and the boat was taking water. So it was not long before the Skipper, Lt. Cdr D Buller, gave the order to abandon ship. The crew were very reluctant to do so because, I believe, they were hoping that one of our boats might manage a rescue — but they had no chance.
For about three hours we were in the sea. Every so often a German boat would draw into gun range and fire a few rounds — just to remind us that they had not forgotten us. Some of these shots came quite close and we could feel them passing through the water It was not until daylight before we were picked up. Those of us that were wounded were taken to a hospital at Heiloo, just north of Ijmuiden. It was there that we heard, via the grapevine, that 666, nearly submerged, had been brought into Ijmuiden between two trawlers. They did a quick patch up job on the hull and took her into the E-boat pens along with their E-boats.
Early the following morning there was a mighty explosion that rocked the whole town. The E-boat pens and the boats were to take no further part in the war. We are not sure what happened but with all that high octane leaking from MTB 666 tanks, it does not take much imagination.
666 is the Devil’s number. Makes you think
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