MGB 658

Motor Gunboats (MGB) & Steam Gunboats (SGB)
chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

MGB 658

Postby chine » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:17 pm

Hi all,

I'm new to all this. Recently found some photos of my grandfather (Kenneth Oliver Hine) and knew he served in the RN during WW2. That's about all I knew until I looked closely at photo of the ship he served on. MGB 658

I don't have a great deal of info on those sorts of boats other than a few things that come up google searching. One of the commanders wrote a book on 658 which I've ordered, that might shed some more light. Does anyone out there know where the best place to get info such as the following:
- crew lists
- ships movements during the war
- captain/commanders observation notes etc
- other pictures

Any help in the matter would be appreciated!
Attachments
HMS MGB 658.png

Peter
Sub Lieutenant
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby Peter » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:46 am

Hi Grandson
I am delighted to read your request for information re MGB 658 . As a Grandfather I appreciate the enquiries the younger members of our Families seek. I well recall MGB 658 in the Island campaign of the then Yugoslavia .
I was the Radar operator on MGB 647 also in that area of war. I have much information to share with you which includes a diary of " Return to Yugoslavia May 1987 " made by Officers of the 56th MTB & MGB Flotilla by the late Rover Reynolds who was the Commanding Officer of MGB 658, and the President of the Coastal Forces Veterans Association.disbanded in 2008 .
Many thanks to the Coastal Forces Veterans website
Keep in touch
Peter Bickmore BEM
MGB 647

Admin
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Admin » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:06 pm

Hello chine and welcome to the forum.

Thank you for the fabulous photo of MGB 658, which is the best shot I have seen of it. This as you may understand was eventually Len Reynolds' command, so he will undoubtedly be on the bridge, although the Canadian Commander, Cornelius Burke, was the Senior Officer of the boat for most of the war. Len Reynolds compiled a three volume history of Coastal Forces, so another of his books Dog Boats at War, which covers all the Fairmile Ds, and MGB 658 extensively, and which is available in paperback, would be another good source of information.

We'd love to see all the other photos in your possession as well.

Regards
Admin

Admin
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Admin » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:24 pm

Just to add to my previous reply, if you visit our Awards to Coastal Forces page, select Unit, then Unit Type as MGB, and then MGB 658, you will see a list of some of those who served on the boat. Likewise the casualty database.

johnk
Chief Petty Officer
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:21 am

Re: MGB 658

Postby johnk » Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:25 pm

Hello,

Just seen this latest post, sure must be the same, my only "connection" apart from arm chair interest, was that I bought the book on MGB 658 from a great bookshop in Greenwich twenty more years ago, whilst being a ships agent in the area, quite something, from junior officer at 19 to CO at 21 at wars end, remember the vessel was then on tow to Egypt? but sank on route....many thanks, as I say, just an interested person in the history, but great to read and hear, all the best.

Johnk

chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:26 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for the replies.

Peter: Thanks for the reply. Amazing - you served around that time? If only my grandfather had not died at age 59 - he could have first-hand told me a lot (I was 4 when he died). So, I'm glad you can recall and provide some details, facts etc as to what it was like / what went on around then. Diary of 'Return to Yugoslavia' - sounds interesting indeed. What has also been a little frustrating is all I have are his war medals and his Service # on the front of the original box the medals came in. I have found nothing about him, no records, nothing - so I bit the bullet and sent off to the war records office in the UK for a copy of his full military records (I'm in Australia) so eagerly waiting for those in order to shed more light. I have searched all kinds of websites for info and found nothing! Look forward to more info from you over the coming days/weeks! Cheers

Admin: You are welcome, great isn't it? Old war photos are gold! I've found out about the two commanders of the boats and have ordered Gunboat 658. I didn't realize Len Reynolds wrote other books too. Thanks - I will order those too. Thanks for the link, I checked those links and didn't find anything specifically relating to my grandfather, but that's useful stuff all the same. More photos coming...

JohnK: Thanks. You served too? Wow. What an interesting site this is! Yes, it was sunk on way to Egypt along with a few other MGB's.

chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:37 pm

Some more photos: (feel free to comment on these) Up close, weaponry?
MGB 658 #3.jpg
Is this in combat? Ships don't normally come at another ship perpendicular like this do they?
MGB 658 #1.jpg
Enemy ship sighted?
MGB 658 #5.jpg
My grandfather - can you get an idea of his role/rank by what he is wearing? (he was 18/19 years old)
Ken on MGB 658.jpg
These were found on the internet:
MG658 up close Corsica 1944.png
Corsica 5.jpg

chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:13 am

Hi again,
Well the Royal Navy got back to me today. Not a great deal of info obtained on my grandfather, they did send me what I think is a copy of Central Record Card, attached below. I guess I was expecting to see MGB 658 listed - but there appears to be a lot of names here. Anyone able to help me shed some light on what all this means? Thanks in advance!!
RN Record.jpg

Peter
Sub Lieutenant
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

MGB 658

Postby Peter » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:11 pm

Hi Grandson
It is a great pleasure and enormous interest to be able to hopefully reveal some of the details of your Grandads service on MGB 658. His service record is interesting in that he was a Telegraphist (Sparker) and that he was a Chatham rating—HMS Pembroke—and that his service records reveal he was posted to Malta—HMS St Angelo where he was drafted to serve on MGB 658, my service records also do not include the boat numbers I served on, only the HMS main bases are listed. The photos are interesting, in that in you original enquiry MGB 658 was fitted with what has become known as PPI Radar hence the dome near the bridge, at that time it was a very secret and was fitted to selective boats about AUG 1944. This may be a clue to your latest photo showing no Radar dome in the photo, and I would suggest the photo is of 2 boats including MGB 658 under going a refit may be Malta to have the new Radar installed. I have copied Return to Ygoslavia on to my computer and I have yet to confirm my computer will cope, like me it is ageing
Again Many Thanks
Peter Bickmore

Admin
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:35 pm

Hello again chine

These are the names of shore establishments. Often with Coastal Forces (CF) it is the base that gets listed, sometimes with a boat number in brackets, sometimes not. The dates are the timeframes for when he was registered at a particular shore base for the purpose of administration, pay etc.. Pembroke was the RN base at Chatham, one of the principal port divisions all RN servicemen were affiliated with, as reflected in the first letters of the service number, the others being Devonport and Portsmouth. Eaglet was a training base at Liverpool, Ferret, an RN base at Londonderry , Northern Ireland — Ferret II was used by CF. Your grandfather was an Ordinary Signaller, then Signaller, then Acting leading Signaller, and Mercury as the name suggests was a signals training establishment near Petersfield. Daedalus appears a brief appointment and was a Royal Naval Air Service establishment, so that may had been something to do with learning the ins and outs of communicating with aircraft. St Angelo (Gregale) was the base used by CF at Malta. It would seem that he was a relative late comer to the Mediterranean, possibly to act as relief for someone on MGB 658, but was mostly in the UK. Badger was used by CF at Harwich. The service details you have been given don't give any sense of what boats he may have been with however, as he was in the Navy for a substantial period of the War.

Admin

Admin
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Admin » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:00 pm

The photo of the gun on the foredeck is the automatic 6pdr gun the Dog Boats were armed with later in the War. There are other close up shots of this gun available on the IWM web site. It definitely would not have been taken in combat as all personnel would be closed up at their stations during any action. The second photo shows German E-Boats, so this must be the German forces that were gathered at Tagliamento in the Northern Adriatic in late April 1945 and which surrendered there to a force of three Dog Boats, MTBs 634, 651 and 670, who escorted them back to the CF base, then at Ancona in Italy. Certain of the E-boats had broken away from Tagliamento to return to their own base at Pola to pick up their base staff there, to prevent them falling into the hands of the Yugoslavian Partisans, and then made their own way to Ancona to surrender. The incident is recorded by Len Reynolds at the very end of his book MGB 658 in which he relates having been absent from his own boat, having to attend as a witness at a Courts Marshall on Malta, but that the E-Boats had been spotted in their approach to Ancona, and 658 with others had roared out of harbour to meet them and escort them in. So depending on which E-boats these are, this could have been taken from 658, or it may have been one of the other Dog Boats at Tagliamento, photos having been shared among crew.

P.S in the third photo, this looks like a stern view of the Dog Boat, stern on to an E-Boat, with the aft 6pdr turned to starboard, and one of the Officers or a Petty Officer temporarily manning the midship Oerlikon turned to port, this possibly to indicate the boat will not fire, in response to the E-Boats which were said to have had their guns in a vertically elevated position to indicate the same, whilst flying a white flag.

Admin

chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:08 am

Hi guys

Thanks for getting back to me with all the extra info. It's fantastic to get more details as to what was what - photos, service record etc. It really has helped fill in some gaps.
Peter - the two photos at the bottom were taken in Corsica, France June 1, 1944. You are right about no radar unit then, so that must mean the photos I have are after that date and probably means my grandfather joined MGB 658 sometime later in 1944 (sort of confirmed by Admin's comment about latecomer to the War in the Med). It seems like he was transported to St Angelo (Gregale) Malta where he joined MGB 658 sometime around Nov '44. You mentioned Aug '44 was when the radars were fitted, so not sure if the radar was fitted in Corsica or Malta. Maybe we actually will never know! (unless I find pictures taken in Malta of MGB 658 at base). Looking forward to what comes of Return to Yugoslavia. Thanks for all the info you provided.

Admin - thanks for the detailed response about his rank and CF details. All makes a bit more sense now. Great info on the pictures - the guns and the German E-boats. I had no idea. All very interesting indeed. I'm eagerly awaiting for Gunboat 658 to arrive!

Another question - the service records shows: Badges - G1. Does this mean he was awarded some sort of Badge? How would I find out what one of these looked like if that is the case?

I think I can safely assume my g'father probably served under Burke and Reynolds - which is good as it means Gunboat 658 will be an even better read!

Anywhere a good place to find photos/stories/info on St Angelo (Gregale) Malta ? I recall reading somewhere it was heavily bombed.

Thanks guys!

David Carter
Chief Petty Officer
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Re: MGB 658

Postby David Carter » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:31 am

Hello Chine. Thanks for starting this interesting post. I have a photo taken in Malta that shows the damage. They did a lot of repairs and modifications there. Bastia in Corsica had been heavily damaged by the enemy when they evacuated. If those photos were taken in early June 1944, they would have been preparing for Operation Brassard - the assault on Elba. The attached photos show ML1301 in Malta - in one the crew are fitting an Orlikon to replace the 2pdr, the other shows the ML alongside an Air-Sea Rescue Launch, but you can see the damage to the buildings in the background.
Attachments
03 Fit Orlikon in Malta.jpg
08 In harbour Malta alongside ASRL.jpg

Admin
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Admin » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:07 am

Hello again chine

I believe the G1 is a good conduct award. Can you check your email please, as I sent you the four part article that was originally published in the old Coastal Forces Veterans newsletters, which gave all the background on the surrender of all the remaining E-boats in the Mediterranean in late April 1945.

Admin

chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:24 pm

Thanks David - they are good photos - yes, the photos in Corsica are apparently 1 June 1944 (http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205156155) so that was before Corsica was blitzed?

Admin - thanks. Got it.

jonco
Chief Petty Officer
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Re: MGB 658

Postby jonco » Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:19 pm

Hello Chine,

Very interesting photos.

My late father was a telegraphist on MTB 670 at about the time your grandfather was on MGB 658. The following is an extract from information I was given in another thread and seems to tie in with one of the actions admin referred to previously. I have posted a few photos in various threads - if you do a general search on the boat numbers they should come up.

12-3/4/45 MTBs 670 and 697 with MGBs 643 and 658 are on patrol off the northern end of the Planinski Channel.
0130 MTBs 670 and 697 with MGBs 643 and 658 are lying stopped.
0215 Radar reports two large contacts at four miles entering the channel. MTBs 670 and 697 with MGBs 643 and 658 start up and close the contacts line abreast making a torpedo attack. Destroyer TA45 is hit by two torpedoes breaks in half and sinks. Eighty men out of a complement of a hundred and fifty are lost. Destroyer TA40 heads for Pola
.

chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:35 am

Thanks Jonco

I did come across some of your other pieces of info re: MTB 670. I've done a full search and sort of have an idea of quite a lot of MGB 658's movements and operations, so thanks for the pointer. This might be a silly question, but the date you show here:

12-3/4/45

What does the 12-3 part mean? 3-12 of April 1945, or 12am 3rd April 1945 - or something else?

Thanks!

jonco
Chief Petty Officer
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Re: MGB 658

Postby jonco » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:18 am

Hello Chine,

Oops ! I hadn't noticed that - the text is an extract from the information @Brian Holmes kindly provided in the thread viewtopic.php?f=1&t=259&p=852&hilit=Sub ... ating#p852.

I'm sure he will clarify if he spots this.

Regards

Colin

Peter
Sub Lieutenant
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Peter » Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:57 am

Hi Grandson
[attachment=0]Page 6 MGB 647 Log book.jpg
You have certainly generated a very interesting topic re information of MGB 658 . May I suggest the dates refer to April 12th / 13th 1045 . I attaché a page from the log book of MGB 647 on which I was the Radar Operartor at that time , and it shows that we were in that area of operation on Aplil 10th/ 11th with MTB 643 but sadly we sustained a hit and thankfully no casualties
Attachments
Page 6  MGB 647 Log book.jpg

johnk
Chief Petty Officer
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Re: MGB 658

Postby johnk » Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:06 pm

Hello there,

Just caught up with this latest, what fantastic photos, noticed asking if I served, have to state that I did not, closet which it is not, was the SCC and RNXS, my grandfather was a junior midshipman at Darmouth before the war and through to minesweepers at the end, and his brother was unfortunately lost on the Hood, Father an army officer, but then....so great interest especially in coastal forces, and work aboard the charity owning the Paddle Steamer Medway Queen....

Johnk

Peter
Sub Lieutenant
Posts: 78
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Peter » Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:54 pm

Losses in the Adriatic.jpg
Hi Grandson
From within my memorabilia files a interesting map of the area within MGB658 operated during the final stages of the Adriatic campaign
Cheers
Peter

chine
Able Seaman
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Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:29 am

Thanks Jonco - reading further I've come to realize 13-4 means 13-14 - so all good!

Peter - That's what its all about! Generating interest and digging stuff up! Thanks for that Log book entry. I'm sure the questions been asked, Is there somewhere where all these log books are stored!?! It would be great to just order a copy of MGB 658's logbooks from the RN! Thanks for the map too! Keep it coming! What a time back then, can only imagine...

Admin
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Admin » Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:13 pm

This is a photograph of some familiar sounding Mediterranean MTB & MGB COs taken at a reunion for the officers and men of the 56th Flotilla held in London in May 1986.
65th-mtb-flotilla-commanders.jpg
From left to right: Burke v56, 658, Holden-Brown 663, 655, Reynolds 658, Ladner 663, Maitland v56, 657 Rendle 657, 633

chine
Able Seaman
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby chine » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:53 pm

Thanks Admin - that's great. Two CO's of the MGB 658!

Anyone know where you can get official war time MGB log books? or is it more hit-and-miss, some survived, some didn't etc?

Thanks

Admin
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Admin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:01 pm

As far as I'm aware they don't seem to have been preserved unless they were kept by individual officers, in which case the odd one may be still in the hands of family members somewhere, or donated to some local museum. In the case of MGB 658 for instance, Len Reynolds, who was the last officer of the boat, first published Gunboat 658 way back in 1955, but I don't recall any mention of his having the ship's log, and I don't believe it forms part of the archive of research for his three volumes on Coastal Forces history, which he deposited with the Imperial War Museum. I saw the ones for MTB 85 there once, which do form part of his papers, and which were passed to him by its Commander, H F Cooper, with whom he co-wrote one of the books. There are two of them, which are large A3 type sized books, but they mainly cover the day to day movements of the boat and its location. The action reports for a boat are a separate thing.

Anything still in existence is with the National Archive in the main, which does have logs for some of the later boats retained after the war, up until the official disbandment of Coastal Forces in 1957. Peter's log, which he posted, is a diary he kept himself I understand.

There's also the Naval Historical Branch, but I'm not all together sure what they hold, and what they may have already passed on to the National Archive.

Gail
Seaman
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:31 am

Re: MGB 658

Postby Gail » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:54 am

Thank you to CHine for contacting me 'out of the blue' and directing me to this thread.

My parents now live with me and my father - Stanley Campion - served on MGB 658. Dad is presently recovering from a heart attack he sustained just last week - he will be 90 in a couple of weeks and was the youngest crew member on 658. I'm hoping to perhaps add more snippets of information / photos here as I chat with Dad -he sometimes mentions some day-to-day happenings and places visited but some things are obviously too painful. eg.We have a certificate on the wall for being 'Mentioned in Dispatches' but I don't know why.

Dad was radar operator on 658 and says it was referred to as the 'Cowboy Flotilla' as there were many Canadian crew members. He corresponded with Captain Reynolds in the later years of Reynold's life and speaks fondly of Burke. He trained at HMS Collingwood due to a strong family connection - I understand that his father had served on HMS Collingwood at the Battle of Jutland alongside the present Queen's father. When Dad initially signed up for the RN he was drafted into the Army. Bitterly disappointed he wrote a personal letter to the King - where within 3 weeks he was moved to the Royal Navy!

Whilst I try to gather more info and possible photos - if there is anyone who remembers my father and would like to get in touch - I am sure he would love to hear from you.

Thank you.
Best wishes,
Gail

Pioneer
Moderator
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Re: MGB 658

Postby Pioneer » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:11 am

Hello Gail
Welcome aboard, we're glad that you found us.
Your father, Stanley Campion, is mentioned in our database Awards (just type in the surname).
It reads - Able Seaman Stanley CAMPION Service No: P/JX 654587 MGB 662 Mention in Dispatches For gallantry, skill and determination whilst serving in Light Coastal Forces in daring and successful attacks on enemy armed shipping in the Adriatic during the months of March and April, 1945: London Gazette: 21st August 1945.
As you can see he was award a Mention in Dispatches whilst serving aboard MGB 662.

Please give our warmest regards to your father.

Gail
Seaman
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:31 am

Re: MGB 658

Postby Gail » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:57 pm

Hello Pioneer,

Thank you so much for this information! I haven't had chance to get to grips with everything on here yet, but I am looking forward to the research.

In the short time since first posting on here this morning- I've had chance to chat with dad and show him some of the photos on here. He found the photo of the reunion in 1986 particularly interesting and evoked the following information......... (such a pity my father knew nothing of it at the time as I don't think he was a member then). These are his words....

' I was on MGB 658 as radar operator (57th Flotilla) but was transferred to MGB 662 (56th Flotilla) - the 'skipper' was Tim Bligh. This was at the time when Field Marshall Tito was leader of the Partisans, but the Germans didn't want to talk to him so negotiated with Tim Bligh.'
Dad went on to say that he was also on MTB 634 for one mission as radar operator (under Sir Walter Blount - who had been 1st Lieutenant on 662). Johnny Peglar was the telegraphist.

Dad reckons he would have been on 658 with your grandfather, CHine, when they were on patrol, having lunch one weekend day, when they got a signal to go North where two Vosper MTBs were lodged on a sandbank. (Off the coast of Yugoslavia). Orders were to retrieve the boats if possible but they ended up having to sink them - the crews were saved though.

Amazingly - this has motivated dad to reveal a photo diary of his time in the RN! It has pages of carefully catalogued photos - examples of which I have tried to attach but not having much luck. He relates snippets which I try to write down (as above) but I hope I may just be able to sit and chat and record our conversations. Hopefully this may help others trying to do research.

Peter
Sub Lieutenant
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: MGB 658

Postby Peter » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:07 pm

Dear Gail
Whay a great delight to read your post re MGB 658. Firstly I wish your Father well, and reading your post it would seem that we both trod the same path in our war service. I was also a Radar Operator joined HMS Collingwood in late December 1942 when after 10 weeks seamanship training drafted to HMS Valkyrie in the Isle of man for RDF now Radar Course and in May 1943 drafted to Malta with Coastal Forces. I have much written documentation that I would like to share with you that would help your Father recall his war time service.
My best wishes to you all
Peter

Gail
Seaman
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:31 am

Re: MGB 658

Postby Gail » Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:46 pm

Peter- Hello!
Thank you for your response which I have just read to dad. It seems dad joined up a year after yourself- September 1943, but did indeed follow the same route.

' 7 shillings a week of which you had to send one shilling home to your parents. You got an extra threepence ( 3d) if you signed up for either the submarines or coastal forces!' Dad's memories being stirred!

Poor dad is rather emotional, understandably, but I do so hope and look forward to gaining more of an insight into his time in the RN.

I will try to send directly to you a photo of him - amongst the crew of 658- you may be amongst them!

Thank you.
Best wishes,
Gail


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