MGB_657 Woodnut & Co Ltd, St Helens, Isle of Wight 9/2/43
For actions in the Adriatic and off the west coast of Italy 1/44
DSC Lt John Douglas Maitland RCNVR
MID POMtrMch Thomas Gardner C/MX76083
DSM AB Robert William Charter C/JX354767
MID AB Richard Albert Ratcliffe P/JX366821
For Operation Gun - an operation off the west coast of Italy 27/3/44
MID Lt John Douglas Maitland RCNVR
DSM PO Harry Robert Pharoah Burton D/JX137199
DSM AB James Speirs Armit D/SSX35800
For actions in the Adriatic 8 - 9/44
DSC* Lt John Douglas Maitland RCNVR
DSM POMtrMch Thomas Gardner C/MX76083
MID AB John Joseph Chislett P/JX369737
DSM AB William Charles Wray C/JX373851
MID Sto1 Dennis Colegate P/KX158666
For attacks on enemy shipping in the Tyrrhenian Sea
CdeG TALtCdr John Douglas Maitland RCNVR
TALtCdr John Douglas Maitland RCNVR TSLt 1st MGB Flotilla Based on the Humber MGB 69 5/3/41 TLt 5/10/40 5th MGB Flotilla Commanding Officer MGB 14 5/11/41 20th MGB Flotilla 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona Commanding Officer MGB 657 21/12/42 – 12/9/44 For actions in the Adriatic and off the west coast of Italy 1/44 DSC For Operation Gun - an operation off the west coast of Italy 27/3/44 MID For actions in the Adriatic 8 - 9/44 DSC* For attacks on enemy shipping in the Tyrrhenian Sea CdeG Senior Officer 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla – 1944 HMS Fabius (Taranto) 1944
TSLt Neil McLay Mills RNVR TMid 33rd MTB Flotilla MTB 656 14/12/42 TASLt 29/7/43 57th MTB/MGB Flotilla MGB 659 TSLt 29/1/44 For actions in the Adriatic 8 - 9/44 MID First Lieutenant MGB 657 23/2/44 – 12/9/44 HMS Gregale (Malta) MTB 375 13/3/45
TSLt Arthur Stephen Rendell RCNVR TSLt 20th MGB Flotilla First Lieutenant MGB 657 28/12/42 TLt 10/11/43 57th MTB/MGB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona Commanding Officer MTB 670 30/2/44 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona Commanding Officer MTB 633 31/5/44 HMCS Stadacona (Halifax NS) 7/5/45 Died in Vancouver, British Columbia 19/7/93
TASLt T I M Walker-Munro RNVR TASLt 30/7/43 HMS Gregale MGB 657 2/1/44 – 31/5/44 TSLt 30/1/44 ML 280 19/10/44
TSLt L F Battle RNVR TSLt 1/4/44 MGB 657 31/5/44 – 12/9/44 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla MGB 658 29/10/44 HMS Whaddon (Hunt Class Destroyer)
ChMtrMch Thomas Gardner C/MX76083 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona MTB 657 For actions in the Adriatic and off the west coast of Italy 1/44 MID For actions in the Adriatic 8 - 9/44 DSM Killed in action 12/9/44 aged 22 when MTB 657 hits a mine. Foster-son of James and Margaret Gardner, of Stand, Lanarkshire
PO Harry Robert Pharoah Burton D/JX137199 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla MTB 657 For Operation Gun - an operation off the west coast of Italy 27/3/44 DSM
LMtrMch George William Mitchell P/MX89569 LMtrMch HMS Hornet 5/11/41 MGB 501 3/42, MTB 635 15/9/42, MGB 657 12/7/43, POMtrMch MTB 421
AB James Speirs Armit D/SSX35800 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona MTB 657 For Operation Gun - an operation off the west coast of Italy 27/3/44 DSM 57th MTB/MGB Flotilla MTB 637 Killed in action 12/9/44 aged 21. Son of James and Maud Armit, of Balby, Yorkshire
AB Robert William Charter C/JX354767 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona MTB 657 For actions in the Adriatic and off the west coast of Italy 1/44 DSM
AB John Joseph Chislett P/JX369737 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona MTB 657 Killed in action 12/9/44 aged 20 when MTB 657 hits a mine. Son of Patrick and Esther Chislett. For actions in the Adriatic 8 - 9/44 MID
AB William Leonard Hales P/JX 365846 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla MTB 657 Killed in action 12/9/44 aged 20 when MTB 657 hits a mine Son of William and Hilda Maud Hales, of East Ham. Essex. Buried in Ancona War Cemetery grave II. E. 2
AB Richard Albert Ratcliffe P/JX366821 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona MTB 657 For actions in the Adriatic and off the west coast of Italy 1/44 MID 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla MGB 658 For sinking a German destroyer in the Adriatic 12/4/45 MID
AB William Charles Wray C/JX373851 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla MTB 657 For actions in the Adriatic 8 - 9/44 DSM
Ord Herbert Thomas Kirkup P/JX 369879 20th MGB Flotilla MTB 657 Killed in action 10/7/43 aged 19. Son of Edwin Thomas Kirkup and Maud Amelia Kirkup, of Blackfriars, London
Ord Michael John Joseph Reed-Lethbridge P/JX 368196 20th MGB Flotilla MGB 657 Died 1/8/43 cause unknown Son of Stanley and Mary Reed-Lethbridge, of Durrington, Wiltshire
Sto1 Dennis Colegate P/KX158666 56th MGB/MTB Flotilla MTB 657 For actions in the Adriatic 8 - 9/44 MID
20th MGB Flotilla
MGB 657, MGB 658, MGB 659, MGB 660, MGB 661, MGB 662, MGB 663, MGB 674
30/4/43 Convoy departs Milford Haven for the Mediterranean with MTB 670, MTB 667, MTB 654 and MTB 655 and MGB 648, MGB 657, MGB 658 and MGB 663. ML 240.
3/5/43 The convoy is approached and circled, out of range, by a German Condor reconaisance aircraft. At one point the aircraft comes within range and is engaged
4/5/43 At 0100, convoy bound for Gibraltar is attacked by U 439 and U 659 in a surface gun action. MGB 658 runs down the tracer bearing. MGB 657 is hit and set on fire amidships. MGB 657 turns head to sea and the fire is extinguished by waves. MTB 654, MTB 667 and MTB 670 attempt a search for the attackers. U 439 and U 659 collide and both boats sink. MTB 667 picks up two German survivors. MTB 654 picks up a further ten survivors. Convoy then proceeds to Gibraltar
10/7/43 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily
20th MGB Flotilla
MGB 657, MGB 658, MGB 659, MGB 660, MGB 662
10/7/43 Near missed by a bomb. Four men are wounded and are transferred to the hospital ship Talamba.
26-27/7/43 MGB 657, MGB 658 and MGB 659, bombard the railway station and sidings at Taormina, Sicily.
56th MGB/MTB Flotilla
MGB 657, MGB 658, MGB 663, (MGB 642) MTB 655, MTB 633, MTB 640, MTB 649
Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona
MGB 657 and MGB 663 take the surrender of the Galita Islands off Tunisia.
Based on Maddalena
21/1/44 Operation Lurcher
1700 MGB 657, MGB 658, MGB 663, MTB 640, MTB 655 and MTB 659 depart Bastia to create a diversion at Civitavecchia in support of the landings at Anzio twenty miles to the south.
2109 The vessels are on patrol between Giglio Island and Giannutri Island.
2341 The vessels rendezvous with USN PTs 203, 209, 211 and 217, form two columns and head for the ‘release’ point off Civitavecchia.
0147 PT 209 reports Radar contacts on the port bow at 2800 yds. The USN vessels continue with the diversion whilst MGB 657, MGB 658, MGB 663, MTB 640, MTB 655 and MTB 659 turn to close the Radar contacts. The cruiser HMS Dido commences a bombardment firing over the force. MGB 657 reports two Radar contacts at 1500 and 1700 yds.
0207 The contacts are identified as a Flak Lighter escorted by two E Boats heading southeast at 7 kts.
0211 The targets are engaged and repeatedly hit by gunfire from all six boats.
0213 The boats turn onto a reciprocal northwest course and make a second run. The Flak Lighter is again hit, one E Boat is set on fire and stopped and the other E Boat makes off.
0216 The boats turn onto a reciprocal southeast course and make a third run. The Flak Lighter is now also on fire.
0222 MTB 655 disengages to the west due to action damage. The remaining boats close the Flak Lighter and engage with gunfire. Shore batteries open up on the boats but they evade and retire towards MTB 655.
0240 The Flak Lighter explodes and sinks.
22/1/44 Operation Shingle Landings at Anzio
56th MGB/MTB Flotilla
MGB 657, MGB 658, MGB 663, MTB 640, MTB 655 and MTB 659
22/1/44 At 1745, MGBs 657, 659 and 663 depart Bastia for a patrol north of Civitavecchia arriving on patrol at 2125.
2327 MGB 657 reports a possible Radar contact on the starboard bow at 4200 yds.
2331 MGB 663 reports a Radar contact correlating with the first contact.
2341 There are three or four confirmed contacts and MGBs 657, 659 and 663 change course to intercept.
2347 Targets are in sight at around 700 yds.
2349 A convoy of six Flak Lighters and at least four E Boats is identified.
2351 MGBs 657, 659 and 663 alter to port to engage the last Flak Lighter in the starboard column now at a range of 400yds. The leading ship of the starboard column flashes a challenge and is now identified as a small destroyer. MGBs 657, 659 and 663 engage the Flak Lighter at 100 yds and set it on fire. An E Boat cuts through the starboard column, is engaged by MGBs 659 and 663 is set on fire and suffers an internal explosion. MGBs 657, 659 and 663 shift target to the suspected destroyer and the Flak Lighter astern of her. MGB 659 is hit and pulls out of the line with one engine and her 2 pdr gun out of action. MGBs 657, 659 and 663 then break off the action.
27/3/44 Operation Gun An operation off the west coast of Italy
MGB 657, MGB 660 and MGB 662
24-25/4/44 Operation Newt - LCGs 14, 19 and 20, MGB 657, MGB 660 and MGB 662, MTB 633, MTB 640 and MTB 655 with USN PT 202, PT 209, PT 211, PT 212, PT 213, PT 216 and PT 218 depart from Bastia. The LCGs depart at 1500, the MGBs and MTBs depart at 1800 and the PTs at 1830. At 2000, the force forms up and sets off at 7kts. Also at 2000, Flak Lighters F-515, F-423 and F-621 with the tug Tebessa depart Livorno for San Stefano with supplies. Also in the area are ‘Armed Flak Lighters’ (Gunboats) F-350, F-589 and F-610 in one group and patrol vessels M7607 and Vp 7013 in another group.
2125 PT 202, PT 212 and PT 213 are detached to the Vada Rocks area.,
2205 PT 202, PT 212 and PT 213 report a southbound convoy.
2207 PT 218 reports a Radar contact off Piombino Point and this is assessed as an escort group about to rendezvous with the convoy.
2300 The force turns north in an unsuccessful attempt to get between the two contacts.
2320 The force turns south and, shortly afterwards the ‘escort group’ turns west making interception inevitable. At 0005, the force opens fire. Starshell illuminates two Flak Lighters.
0008 A tug and three more Flak Lighters are encountered. The tug is hit repeatedly and sinks. One Flak Lighter explodes and a second is set on fire before later blowing up. A third Flak Lighter is sunk. MGB 657, MGB 660 and MGB 662 close the beach and encouter and engage an undamaged and apparently abandoned Flak Lighter which is set on fire and explodes. MGB 657, MGB 660 and MGB 662 recover twelve survivors including Dutchmen from the tug crew. The force is now closing on the ‘escort group’ and fires starshell. The Germans fire a recognition signal and the force waits for two minutes whilst closing before opening fire. Flak Lighters F-350 and F-610 are repeatedly hit by gunfire. On F-610, ammunition starts to explode and the crew abandon ship. F-589 is hit by gunfire putting two guns out of action and starting a fire amonst ammunition that the crew extinguishes. F-589 attemps to escape behind a smokescreen. MTB 633, MTB 640 and MTB 655 are tasked with destroying F-589 and lose contact with the force. F-589 is severely damaged and is beached south of San Vicenzo.
0120 PT 202, PT 212 and PT 213 encounter a third group that opens fire on them before thet are in a firing position. PT 202 fires a five star recognition signal and the Germans cease fire. The boats attack with torpedoes causing a Flak Lighter to explode and sink before gunfire from the other two lighters forces the boats to retire behind a smokescreen. The force then breaks off to return to Bastia.
0400 Bastia reports an enemy force, on the return route, off Capraia.
0440 The scouting force reports being in an attacking position and then makes an unsuccessful torpedo attack on German Torpedo Boats TA 23, TA 26 and TA 29.
56th MTB/MGB Flotilla
8 - 9/44 Actions in the Adriatic
17-8/8/44 c2300 MGB 657, MGB 658 andMGB 663 are on patrol. MGB 657 detects a convoy on Radar. The convoy closes to around 300 yds with MGBs 657, 658 and 663 lying invisible close to a cliff. MGB 663 fires starshell and the boats close to attack. Two large armed trawlers return fire. An I Boat is sunk. MGBs 657 and 658 are damaged. MGB 658 extinguishes a fire on deck. MGB has been hit in the engine room by a 37mm shell and three engines are stopped.
c2359 MGBs 657, 658 and 663 make a second attack. c0035 MGBs 657, 658 and 663 make a third attack. The schooner Dora catches fire and blows up. Schooner Jota turns towards the cliffs. The convoy has scattered.
0150 Schooner Jota is found and is set on fire.
0250 A tanker barge is found and sunk.
0325 Schooner Jota explodes.
0400 MGBs 657, 658 and 663 are engaged from the shore and retire. Schooners Jota and Dora and I48 have been sunk. Tanker barge Peter is burnt out and is sunk by RAF Hurricanes the following day. Tanker Barge Helga and I68 are damaged but hide close inshore before reaching Korkula eventually.
Attacks on enemy shipping in the Tyrrhenian Sea
11-12/9/44 Mined in Mediterranean around sixty miles north of Ancona. The stern is blown off aft of the petrol space and five men were killed. MGB 657 is towed back to base by MGB 658 and MTB 633 and declared a Constructive Total Loss.
12/44 Broken up