ML 207

Motor Launches (ML), Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDML) & Rescue Motor Launches (RML)
Gray207
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ML 207

Postby Gray207 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:30 pm

My father, John Handley, served on ML 207 during WW2 and over the years he recounted many stories of his time aboard. So much so, I feel I actually know the crew members myself!

Back in the 80’s he put pen to paper and wrote down an account of his experiences. His first attempt resulted in a relatively brief document that was quite matter of fact and lacked the descriptive flair and energy that came through with his spoken word – my dad was a natural story teller! Some years later, after a little encouragement, he decided to write a more descriptive and fuller version.

The project became an ongoing task that he picked-up and put-down again over the years as his enthusiasm waxed and waned and different pressures and priorities arose. In fact he was still tinkering with the book when, sadly, he passed away. That was back in 2010. I would love to be able to complete the work and get it published. It’s full of anecdotes and I’m sure it would be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone who read it.

In reality, it’s not that far off being finished, though ensuring that it is completed to the standard and accuracy it deserves will take a lot of time and effort. Even so, I am determined to give it a go. I wonder if any members have information relating to ML 207 that could help? I am particularly interested in the period January 1944 to March 1946, which is when my father was with the ship.

One thing that would be priceless is the ships log. My father’s writings were never intended to be an exhaustive account of the movements and deployments of ML207 during the war, nor should it attempt to be. It stands as a fascinating record of the lives and experiences of those aboard. However, the log would help sort out the timeline of the story and confirm certain details. Does anyone know if the log survived or where it is likely to be? To datet The National Archives have drawn a blank. My dad said that ML 207 was, almost always, with ML 206, the lead boat in the 1st ML Flotilla. So, information relating to this vessel and its movements would be almost as valuable.

Family and friends always called my father ‘Jack’ but the crew of ML 207 nicknamed him ‘Tommy’, after the then popular Tommy Handley. Here is a very brief account of his time aboard:

In 1943, at the age of 17, my father volunteered for the Royal Navy. Initially he attended HMS Duke, in Malvern, were he trained as a Junior Motor Mechanic or Stoker to give it the correct title. After his training he Joined MGB 55 at HMS Attack in Portland and was involved in escorting and protecting the Atlantic Convoys as they headed in and out of the channel. In early 1944, he was transferred to ML 207 (part of the 1st ML Flotilla), which was then based at HMS Hornet, in Gosport. When my father first joined ML 207, she was also involved in escorting convoys but in the early spring of 1944, she was adapted for minesweeping in readiness for the Normandy landings. On D-Day itself, ML207 was attached to the 6th minesweeping flotilla and swept at the very front of the fleet sweepers leading the invasion force through channel 5 to Gold Beach.

After the invasion, ML 207 continued its minesweeping duties in the Ports of Northern France and was one of the first vessels involved in sweeping the river Seine. It went on to help clear the Scheldt Estuary and the crew experienced the menace of the V1 and V2 rockets hitting Antwerp when they finally got through to the port. Whilst it was involved in clearing the Scheldt, ML 207 was based at Ostend. In fact, she was at this port when the lives of many coastal forces personnel were lost to a tragic accident caused when MTBs taking on fuel exploded.

Towards the end of the war, ML 207 was tasked with clearing minefields in the waters of the Scandinavian countries and Germany itself - it was one of the first Allied Vessels into Denmark and was sweeping mines on the Kiel Canal when the war in Europe ended. Later the ship even took part in escorting German vessels being taken to Russia as part of wartime reparations, encountering horrendous winter storms that wrecked many of the ships being escorted and came within a hairs breath of destroying the plucky ML itself.

Here is a list of the crew when my father was aboard. He knew many of his crewmates by nicknames, so his recollection of their real names, especially surnames, may not be quite correct. The descriptions by each name are my father's words.

Officers:

Temp Lieut. W. M. Hicks-Beach RNVR (Replaced by Temp Lieut. J. Veale RNVR)
Temp. Sub. Lieut. J. G. Francis RNVR
Temp. Midshipman P. V. Wood RNVR

Coxswain:

Longmate The oldest - about forty. Had been in the Navy for years. Smoked a pipe.

Motor Mechanic:

Arthur (Knight?) Known to all as Mac. A Petty Officer. One of the oldest on the boat, probably in his late thirties.' A really nice bloke, always helpful but suffered from terrible seasickness. I think he came from the Portsmouth area.

Stokers:

Jack Handley (Tommy – my father)
Louie Kent Black wavy hair.
Scouse From Liverpool. Don't know his real name. My father was his replacement. He left the ship the morning after dad arrived.

Able Seamen:

Dave Whitson (Scottish?) Had a cheery face, blond curly hair, about dad's age.
Billy Cracknell A former sub-mariner. He had to do an emergency escape when his sub got into trouble. Bit of a traumatic event and he had a habit of re-enacting it in his sleep every now and then.
Ernie Pye From Liverpool, Always had an infectious grins on his face.
Dai Jones From Cardiff, a friendly sort of bloke, who practised his clarinet whenever he had chance.

Gunners:

Nick Crawford From Edinburgh, a half decent cook, in his mid twenties.
Tom Buckley Scottish.
Hugh McCuska From Durham, in his mid twenties.
George Exley From Yorkshire (Blond hair)

Wireless Operator:

‘Sparky’ Renwick
(Scottish) Brown hair, well built. Sporty type, played rugby, didn’t drink or smoke - Still drew his rum ration though and swapped it for chocolate. Was in the Salvation Army, as was his wife.

ASDIC Rating:

Dave Barber (Ping) From London. A fair-haired man in his twenties - a Killock

Others:

Bunts Bunts got his nickname because he was the signalman. I do not know his real name. Bunts could also be the nickname of one of the other known crew members who acted as signalman.

For further interest I have attached a couple of photographs – I have quite a collection, though most are not in the best of condition. The first is of four of the crew of ML 207. My father is the furthest to the right. The second is of ML 207 decked out in bunting on VJ Day. The ship was in Nykobing Falster, Denmark at the time. I will also post the above information on the World Naval Ships Forun website to see if any of its members can help.
ml_207_sailors_01.jpg
ML 207 - VJ Day Denmark.jpg

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:54 am

Hello Gray207

Thank you for sharing your considerable research on ML 207. In all the time I have spent researching the subject of Coastal Forces, I've never been able to come by a definitive answer as to what if anything happened to all the log books; whether there was any official attempt made by the Navy to collect them up, and then keep them afterwards. At the end of the war, the boats were all mothballed, sold or otherwise disposed of remarkably quickly, as were the bases which served them, and it would appear the only ones that survived were those taken by officers to have as souvenirs. In fact I am only aware of the existence of two; one for SGB 8, which I saw on display once in the Imperial War Museum North at Manchester, and the other for MTB 85 which was based in the Mediterranean, and which was the command of H F Cooper, who compiled histories of the Mediterranean 'short' boat flotillas that subsequently formed the basis for the book Mediterranean MTBs at War co-written with Len Reynolds. He presumably passed them on to Len Reynolds, who subsequently deposited them along with all his other research papers at the IWM London, where I saw it once. So all-in-all they're pretty rare things.

The other thing, is that whereas the MTBs and MGBs have been given relatively decent coverage in books, the subject of the MLs, which were more numerous, has not been as well documented. The former Coastal Forces Veterans Association (CFVA) which ran between 1974-2007 used to produce quarterly newsletters in which it's possible there may be the odd mention, and I'll try to take a look for you, but I imagine you probably have most of the available information yourself already.

Regards
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Gray207
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Re: ML 207

Postby Gray207 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:40 pm

Hi Admin

Thank you for your swift reply. I keep coming across things that, whilst not as good as the ships’ log, are helping to confirm were ML 207 was a different times. Here is one example that I though forum members would find interesting.

Following the Normandy Landings, the ML mines weepers worked quickly to sweep the harbours of the channel ports as the German forces were defeated or retreated eastwards. As a consequence, the crews were amongst the first allied forces to enter these settlements. My father often spoke of the tremendous welcome they received from those liberated. He said the French would run up to them to embrace them or present flowers or other gifts. When they were sweeping the River Seine there were many occasions when locals stood on bridges and threw flowers onto the deck as the ship passed underneath. In his writings my father mentions one occasion in particular when an elderly woman came over to him and presented him with a fabulous bunch of roses. Although he details the names of many of the ports he entered, he doesn’t say exactly where he was when he was given the roses. However, I found something amongst his papers that solved the mystery. It was a post card that he sent to his girlfriend (later my mother), a copy of which I have attached.
Postcard 01.jpg
Postcard 02.jpg

Not being allowed to take photographs, at least in the early months after the invasion, the crew would collect postcards and some of these they sent home. As with all their correspondence, the cards were, of course, subject to censorship and the particular card I found was no exception. On the reverse, my father has written the words, “ This is the place were that old woman gave me the roses”. Unfortunately, as you will see, the sensor has scratched out the name of the town on both the front and rear of the card. However, the picture on the front has some very distinctive features, including a building called Normandy Hotel and a distinctive church spire. They have enabled me to identify the location as the centre of the town of Wissant, which, as you may know, is on the channel coast to the west of Calais. I have attached a modern day photograph for comparison (this has been taken from the other end of the road so the buildings are transposed). Although there have been some inevitable changes over the years, including a new building on the far side of the hotel, I am sure that it is the same location. Wissant was liberated in the early days of September 1944.
Wissant.jpg

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:30 am

I believe the postcard manufacturer is Combier Mâcon, of which there are many examples on the internet, though I haven't managed to find a match for yours. The street though would appear to be the Rue de la Mer, which though common, is not in every town. The name seems a long one, possibly starting with a 'C', and there is Courseulles-sur-Mer, which was in the Canadian sector of the D-Day landings, and is a port, and does have a street of that name which is narrow and built up like the one shown, though there is nothing in Google streetview today that is an exact match.

I recall an article about minesweeping in the old newsletters I spoke of, which I think was the Seine, so I must try and find it and see if it was the same flotilla. I also recall one about MLs in Germany which mentioned a little German girl who used to come down to the boat, and the sailors took pity on her and used to feed her.

I'll get back to you.

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Gray207
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Re: ML 207

Postby Gray207 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:15 pm

I think you are correct with Courseulles-sur-Mer as the location. I had looked at this town but couldn’t find a spot within it that seemed to fit. I also convinced myself that there was a church spire in the picture on the front of the postcard - especially when I saw the combination of Hotel Normandy and Church at Wissant. Now I don’t think there is a church spire. I’ve also been looking on the Internet for old postcards. I found one that seems to fit. Unfortunately, it is only a thumbnail image but it appears to be the same place as shown in my father's postcard and is titled ‘Rue de la Mer, Courseulles-sur-Mer (see attached).
Rue de la Mer.jpg
Rue de la Mer.jpg (10.42 KiB) Viewed 3901 times
It’s funny that you mentioned the little French girl who the crew of an ML used to feed. The crew of ML 207 had a similar experience - as I suppose many of the ship’s crews did. In ML 207’S case it was a little Dutch boy named Jan and at the port of Terneuzen, when the ship was sweeping the Scheldt Estuary. Mt father said that Jan always seemed to be waiting on the quayside for them whenever ML 207 arrived at the port. The skipper used to allow him on board and the crew used to make a fuss of him and give him food. In return, Jan used to love acting as one of the crew and helped out with chores. My father said he often wondered what happened to the young lad. There is a picture of Jan, aboard ML 207, in my father’s photograph albums. Sadly, the photograph is not in the best of condition but I’ve attached a scan of it anyway.
ML 207 - Jan Dutch Boy.jpg

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Sat Jan 30, 2016 3:13 am

Yes I think it definitely is Courseulles-sur-Mer. Your original coloured postcard shows a metal latticed tower, presumably for telegraph signals, at the corner of the car park in front of the restaurant part of the hotel on the left, and I have found one for Rue de la Mer at Courseulles which is taken from up the street looking back at the restaurant on the right hand side now, with the same metal tower clearly visible on the end of the building, and then the open space beyond with cars parked.

Gray207
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Re: ML 207

Postby Gray207 » Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:37 pm

To my amazement, I came across the same Combier Mâcon, postcard (only this time uncoloured) on a French auction site and have put a bid in for it – hopefully I get it. A screen shot of the card is attached. So, we now have 100% confirmation that the location is indeed Courseulles-sur-Mer.
Courseulles - Rue de la mer.jpg

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:19 pm

A very good find!

Gray207
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Re: ML 207

Postby Gray207 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:58 pm

Hi Gray207

I've just realised where I probably heard about the minesweeping in the Seine that I referred to in your thread on ML 207, and that is in part four of the sound recording made by the IWM of William Arthur Gostling as I recognise my own note for ML 206 referenced earlier in this thread, which mentions it.

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Thank you for the link to Arthur Goslings voice recording at the Imperial War Museum. I found the recording fascinating and it was fabulous to hear an account of some of the events the flotilla experienced from one of my father’s comrades – I just wish tape had been longer! The recording also confirmed a number of details contained in my father’s writings, including operations at Kristiansand Norway and minesweeping on the River Seine. In addition, it explained the background of how the second officer of ML 206 was killed by shrapnel whilst at a home port. My father told me about this incident but haddn't included it in his writtings. It occured just before he joined the ML207 and the 1st ML flotilla but the crew told him about it.

Like Arthur Gosling, my father also records the danger of the Seine’s tidal bore. On one occasion, he was returning from a short spell of shore leave with other members of ML 207’S starboard watch, when the group heard panicked shouts though the trees in the direction of the Ship. Not knowing what was happening they ran towards noise only to find that the ML had left the jetty and was now mid river and at action stations. At first, the starboard watch thought the ship was under attack but learned later that the emergency had resulted from the river’s tidal bore. The powerful wave hit the tethered ML unexpectedly and came close to wrecking it. Only quick action by the crew averted disaster. They managed to free the moorings, start the engines and get the ship pointing down river.
At one point in the recording, Arthur Gosling says they had to catch up with the rest of the flotilla who were already at Kristiansand in Norway. He explains that ML 206 had been undergoing a refit and so the other ships had departed ahead of them.

In one of my father’s photograph albums, he has written ‘Kristiansand, May 1945’ under some of the photographs, which helps to put a time on the flotilla’s deployment. In his writings, he also says that the ML helped to transport, what he describes as, a small number of ‘combined operations’ personnel to the port. He adds that their passengers complained like hell about the cramped conditions and were also ill during the journey due to and rough seas - I take it that group were involved in helping to co-ordinate the surrender of German forces in some way. My father says they couldn’t wait to get off the ship and vowed never to travel on an ML again!

Whilst at Kristiansand, unlike Arthur Gosling, my father says that the Norwegians were friendly but the crew was a bit wary of them, at least at first – there had been many German collaborators in Norway during the war. My father mentions one man in particular who came to the ship to greet them and claimed to be a member of the resistance. The crew chatted to him but also treated him with more than a bit of suspicion. At one point, whist he was talking to the crew, the man asked if he could buy some cigarettes. My father ended up giving him a carton and refused the man’s repeated offers of payment.

Anyway, as it turned out, the man was a member of the resistance and had been involved in printing and distributing newssheets. He ended showing some of the crew a cleverly hidden printing press on which he had produced the sheets. Later, before the ship left for Denmark, he also presented my father with a German Naval Officer’s Dagger, which he had acquired, saying that it was in return for my father’s kindness in giving him the cigarettes when they first met. I still have the dagger and have attached a photograph of it. I suppose there must have been a lot of these about at the end of the war and I have read that German officers were using them as currency or were discarding them in an attempt to distance themselves from the Nazi regime. Originally, the scabbard of the one given to my father was highly gilded. Sadly, his sister couldn’t stop polishing it and eventually her constant cleaning wore away most of the gold plate. I also think I have a photograph of the man who gave the dagger to my father, though I can’t be sure because it is amongst some lose photographs and isn’t titled. However, I have a recollection that my father told me that the image was of the man who gave him the dagger in Kristiansand.

One thing that Arthur Gosling doesn’t talk about is the little French girl who the crew of an ML used to feed and that you mentioned. Is there another recording or perhaps an article that refers to this? If so, perhaps you can let me have the link or a copy.

Arthur Gosling’s recording also refers to ML 206’s commanding officer Harry Leslie. At one point, he talks about the officer coordinating the retrieval of a new type of mine whilst they were sweeping the Seine. According to the Royal Navy Lists of the time, which I have been looking through recently, It appears that Harry Leslie had left ML 206 and was already commanding a flotilla in the Far East when this happened. In your experience, are the Navy Lists accurate? The reason I ask is that I also have a similar discrepancy regarding when different commanders were actually in charge of ML 207.

German Navy Dagger.jpg

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:19 pm

Your father's memoir appears quite complete and will be a welcome addition to the history of Coastal Forces once complete! I'm not sure now whether I read or heard the account you refer to, though I'm certain it was a little German girl, and took place in Germany, presumably at Cuxhaven maybe, but wasn't necessarily the same MLs as your father's flotilla. I will continue to scan through the old CFVA newsletters for it, as I have not seen any reference that might fit in the IWM audio files available.

I have seen the Navy Lists before, there being several volumes issued for a year for some of the years during the war, so they cover several months at a time. The details would be supplied by the Admiralty and be the official list of postings.

Unit Histories shows him as having taken command of ML 906 on 28.08.44, but this would have been when the ML was still in Home Waters, as a number of the boats detailed for service in the Far East sailed all the way there under their own steam using the Suez Canal, leaving the UK after refits sometime in October 1944, so I don't know if this may accommodate the correct date for still being on ML 206 while it was working the Seine.

Len Reynolds in Dog Boats at War does speak of one type of advanced German mine, called the Oyster mine.
It had been found that as the port was finally evacuated, the Germans have sown the approaches liberally with a new type of pressure mines — named oyster mines — which took on the character of either an acoustic or a magnetic mine according to the pressure of water displaced by a ship passing over them at more than 10 knots.

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:19 am


Stokers:

Scouse From Liverpool. Don't know his real name. My father was his replacement. He left the ship the morning after dad arrived.
I found a former CFVA member named Colin Hubbard in the records, who was a Stoker onboard ML 207 when it was fitted with torpedo tubes, and who hailed from Southport, Merseyside. He went on to serve with MTBs 86 & 653.

Gray207
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Re: ML 207

Postby Gray207 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:20 pm

It certainly looks as if Colin Hubbard is ‘Scouse’ - the man my father replaced was also a Stoker. The fact that he came from Southport rather than Liverpool wouldn’t matter. Anyone from the area and with the slightest hint of a Liverpool accent would immediately get the nickname Scouce and, of course, he could have been born in Liverpool.

Interestingly, I came across a record for a gallantry award for a Hugh McCusker from Durham (Gazette referenc: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/iss ... ement/3328). The citation is as follows:

‘MID awarded for outstanding skill, courage and devotion to duty in hazardous minesweeping operations in the ports of Northern France after the invasion Sep - Dec 1944.’

I looked up the record on the Forces War Records site and it details Hugh McCusker's ship as ML 571. However, I think this must be the same Hugh McCusker from Durham that my father refers to. If so, he was serving aboard ML 207 during the D-Day landings and also afterwards whilst the ship was sweeping mines in the ports of Northern France. I imagine that ML 571 was the last ship that he served on before he left the Navy, which is why the record details this as his ship, and that he would have actually received his MID whilst serving on ML 207.

Does anyone know how Forces War Records actually determine which ship a person served aboard from the record of a gallantry award? The corresponing Gazettte entry certainly does not detail it.

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:04 pm

You can view the awards to Coastal Forces using our database, which contain a link to the relevant start page for the group of awards in question in the London Gazette.

Most online genealogy sources are probably deriving their information on awards from those lists compiled by Seedie from the official Admiralty records. Normally the Senior Officer for the boat/flotilla concerned would forward a list of recommendations along with an action report, hence the general concept of 'mention in dispatches', which were then looked at by a panel of more senior officers, in a process I'm not exactly sure about, before a formal decision was made.

In theory, a longer version of the grounds for an award should exist, as some still do at the Public Record Office (PRO), which are lengthier than the ones presented with medals. These in turn are usually more informative than the mostly stock phrases employed by the London Gazette. Seedie I understand compiled his lists from an award card index that was originally held by the Admiralty, but which I think has now been passed to the PRO. I believe these cards, whose details are different again from the principal citation records, offer only brief summaries, and are the source for boat numbers in Seedie, and hence elsewhere on the internet. I also believe the cards don't always record the boat involved in the award, but can be the one the recipient was on at the time the index card was made out, presumably for the purpose of communicating the award.

Addendum: Looking at our own records, McCusker's individual citation is part of a batch of awards notified on 26th June 1945, a year after D-Day, and are part of three awards given to ML 571 (see under Unit) for the same date and event, there being none for this date for 207. My reading of this would be that he was likely transferred to 571, if not by the time of D-Day in 1944, then sometime after. The later awards for ML 571 may be the product of the kind of 'sweep up' the award committees were known to do, sometimes as late as 1946 or even 1947, where they revisited recommendations in order to grant additional awards not given at the time. However the earlier awards to Lieutenant Michael Hicks-Beach, and Sub-Lieutenant John Gwilym Francis of ML 207 would appear to be for an event or events during the landings, while those of McCusker and ML 571 are for later minesweeping.

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Re: ML 207

Postby Brian Holmes » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:23 pm

ML_207 Johnson & Jago, Leigh on Sea, Essex 11/3/41
For Operation Neptune - for gallantry and devotion to duty during the landings in Normandy
DSC TLt Michael Hicks-Beach RNVR
MID TSLt John Gwilyn Francis RNVR

Known Crew
TLt Michael Hicks-Beach RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 28/6/41 1st ML Flotilla Based at Great Yarmouth Commanding Officer ML 207 16/2/42 TLt 27/9/43 For Operation Neptune - for gallantry and devotion to duty during the landings in Normandy DSC HMS Eland (Freetown)
TLt J Veale RNVR TLt 25/9/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1014 6/10/43 Commanding Officer ML 207 28/12/44
TSLt John Gwilyn Francis RNVR Mid 17/9/43 1st ML Flotilla Based on Portsmouth ML 207 TSLt 9/9/44 For Operation Neptune - for gallantry and devotion to duty during the landings in Normandy MID
TSLt H W Perring RNVR TSLt 31/7/42 HMS Midge (Great Yarmouth) for minelayers 2/11/42 13th ML Flotilla 10/12/42 13th ML Flotilla ML 200 12/12/42 1st ML Flotilla ML 207 13/9/43 TLt 31/1/45 34th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer ML 907 6/4/45
TSLt D B Miller RNVR ML 185 8/5/44 TSLt 9/8/44 ML 207 11/6/45
TMid P V Wood RNVR TMid 21/1/44 1st ML Flotilla Based on Portsmouth ML 207 8/5/44 Operation Neptune - Invasion of Normandy TASLt 19/4/45

Wartime Activities
1/7/41 1st ML Flotilla
Based at Great Yarmouth
ML 100, ML 105, ML 106, ML 108, ML 110, ML 206, ML 207, ML 222 and ML 224
1/42 1st ML Flotilla
Based at Great Yarmouth
ML 185, ML 205, ML 206, ML 207, ML 220, ML 222, ML 224, ML 339 and ML 450
7/10/42 6th S Boat Flotilla S 71, S 73, S 74, S 75, S 76, S 113, S 114 and S 69 Second S Boat Flotilla S 101, S 46, S 62, S 80, S 105 and S 108 and the Fourth S Boat Flotilla S 117, S 63 and S 79 intercept an FN convoy off Cromer.
S 79 torpedoes and sinks the Danish Steamer Jessie Maersk (1.972 tons). S 117 torpedoes and sinks the British Freighter Sheaf Water (2.730 tons). S 63 torpedoes and sinks the British steamer Ilse (2874 tons) together with the naval tug Caroline Moller (444 tons) and ML 339.
The torpedoed British freighter Sheaf Water (2730 GRT) and Ilse (2844 GRT) sink under tow. The patrol boat Sheldrake (530 t) and the auxiliary minesweeper Monimia (374 GRT are damaged. ML 207 brings 43 survivors of ML 339 and the sunken merchant ships to Great Yarmouth
1st ML Flotilla
ML 185, ML 206, ML 207, ML 220, ML 222, ML 224, ML 450 and ML 571
Based on Portsmouth
Operation Neptune - Invasion of Normandy
Attached to the 6th Minesweeping Flotilla for assault

Post War Fate
3/46 Sold

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Re: ML 207

Postby Admin » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:23 am

I also believe the cards don't always record the boat involved in the award, but can be the one the recipient was on at the time the index card was made out, presumably for the purpose of communicating the award.

However the earlier awards to Lieutenant Michael Hicks-Beach, and Sub-Lieutenant John Gwilym Francis of ML 207 would appear to be for an event or events during the landings, while those of McCusker and ML 571 are for later minesweeping.
I think on reflection, awards being personal and granted to individuals, the award index card is not concerned to record the boat on which an individual won an award, but merely records the recipient's current posting by way of an address to send notification to, but that in the majority of cases it happily works out that the boat recorded is one and the same.

The two awards to ML 207 awarded in November 1945 for the Normandy landings, and the three awards to ML 571 awarded in June 1945 for minesweeping, seem on the face of it to form two distinct groups with no apparent crossover. However, on looking at the awards for ML 206, which appears to have been 207's 'chummy boat', there are in fact six awards, three of which form part of the November '44 group, while three form part of the later June '45 group, so it's conceivable that Hugh McCusker could have won his award with ML 207, but have been posted to ML 571 by June '45, or could have won it minesweeping with ML 571. Only the original recommendation, if it still exists, could clarify the situation.


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