MTB 611 Crew

Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB)
John Ward
Seaman
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm

MTB 611 Crew

Postby John Ward » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:35 pm

Hi my name is John Ward and my uncle - Ernest Edwin Gavaghan (P/JX 420286) - served on MTB 611 from 13 July 1943 to 17 Jan 1945, stationed firstly at Aggressive and then Fervent. He left me several documents including his Certificate of Service and two or three photographs one of which I believe is MTB 611 as he noted this on the back. He also left me 3 books - Peter Scott's 'Battle of the Narrow Seas', Robert Hitchens 'We fought them in Gunboats' and Gordon Holman's 'The Little Ships' which I recall reading with him when I was a child (we made slow progress though as he had a habit of recalling his own stories!)

I would be very grateful if anyone has any information on MTB 611 and it's crew - according to his service record I believe his Captain was a J. L Barton (?). I would be happy to upload/share the documents and few pictures I have once I can work out the best way of doing this.

Thank you

Admin
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Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Admin » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:15 am

Hello John, and thank you for your enquiry concerning your Uncle, Ernest Edwin Gavaghan.

It's possible J. L Barton might have been an officer at the base or else an earlier officer. The February 1944 edition of the Navy List gives Lieutenant-Commander Ian Duff Lyle as the senior officer for the boat and Senior Officer of the 51st M.T.B. Flotilla. It also show Sub-Lieutenant K.J. Lethieullie and Sub-Lieutenant T. E. Atkinson for the boat too. MTB 611 had started life as MGB 611 and has awards and casualties recorded against both of its incarnations, including:

Awards
Lieutenant-Commander Ian Duff Lyle
Able Seaman James John Peters
Sub-Lieutenant Tudor Egmont Atkinson RNZNVR
Chief Motor Mechanic William Mathew Peak

Casualties
Able Seaman Norman Black (MGB 611)
Signalman John McAlister McWhinnie (MTB 611)

I'll have a dig later for further information of operations and any possible photos.

Regards
Admin

John Ward
Seaman
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm

Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby John Ward » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:55 am

Thank you for coming back so quickly - this is really interesting and any further information is much appreciated. Just a bit more background on Ernest - he volunteered on 13 February 1943 age 17 and joined MTB 611 as Ordinary Seaman before becoming Able Seaman on 3 January 1944.

He was released from the Navy as A/PO to the reserve on 15 June 1950 after serving on a variety of ships in the Mediterranean and Middle East (Palestine).

The only crew photo I have of MTB 611 is a small (5cm x 5cm) one which he wrote on the back H.M.M.T.B 611 ‘Old Ships’. He isn’t in the photo so I assume he was behind the camera - having studied the officer in the photo he has a strong resemblance to Lt. CD.r A.R.H Nye who I spotted a photo of in Peter Scott’s book. I’m not sure if Lt CD.r Nye had any connection with MTB 611 or the 51st Flotilla?

Regards
John

Admin
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Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Admin » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:41 pm

Yes, Lt. Commander A.R.H Nye had earlier been Senior Officer of MGB 312, but in November 1944 was made Senior Officer of a reformed 52nd MTB Flotilla which comprised MGBs 511-518 which were Camper & Nicholson boats originally ordered as gunboats but completed as motor torpedo boats, and new Fairmile ‘D’ boats, 758, 762, 764, 791, 798 and 5020.

I have found other crew members of 611 amongst the membership of the former Coastal Forces Veterans Association, who have written in detail about the boat’s participation in an action off Dieppe in which the vessel was badly damaged, and will get the materials digitised and posted online for you later. This incident however speaks of MGB rather than MTB 611, and happened in March 1944, before your Uncle would have joined, and he may have been a replacement for someone who was injured.

Addendum: Sorry, he joined in 1943 so he would have been present during this time, and may have been a replacement for Able Seaman Norman Black, who died on 28 July 1943

John Ward
Seaman
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm

Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby John Ward » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:41 pm

Thank you for the update - I have attached the photograph of MTB 611 along with the crew photo I mentioned - I believe Lt. Commander NYE is the gentleman third from left on the back row.
Attachments
IMG_0095.JPG
MTB 611 and Crew

Admin
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Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Admin » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:05 pm

Thanks for the photos. Looking at the group shot I think the younger man standing second left is likely the Motor Mechanic and sporting a Petty Officer’s cap, and the older gentleman next to him, is more likely the Coxwain, who would also have been a Petty Officer, and which makes more sense as a photo since they appear quite familiar with one another, whereas Officers were always slightly more aloof shall we say back then, and never seemed to pose for photos unless with one another, or with the entire ship’s crew.

John Ward
Seaman
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm

Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby John Ward » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:29 am

Thanks for having a look - on reflection I am sure you are right - it does look like a more informal group. Hopefully the photo may be of interest to anyone else who’s relatives served on MTB 611 or with 51st MTB Flotilla - I would be interested to hear from them along with the material you mentioned about the Dieppe action.

Thanks again for all your help with researching this.

Admin
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Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Admin » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:12 am

John I hope to get those materials on the Dieppe action posted online over the weekend.

Admin

Peter
Able Seaman Radar
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Peter » Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:00 pm

It is a great pleasure to read of the MTB 611 especially that spirit of comradeship that was evident in pictures shown , having served 2 years on a D Boat in the Mediterranean I can fully appreciate what this means, I can see from the picture we all had our comedians aboard (front row centre) and all the smiles and joy is deeply reflected.
For is she MTB or MGB I note that the cut outs to enable torpedoes on leaving the tubes to hit the water smoothly are not shown
The boat on closer inspection has V letter before its number
I also attaché photo's of our motley crew as we were referred at times, including one of better times relaxing on the Isle of Capri with me holding on to the tree so it was not always hands to action stations
Attachments
Isle of Capri 1945.jpg
img644.jpg

Admin
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Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Admin » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:06 pm

For is she MTB or MGB I note that the cut outs to enable torpedoes on leaving the tubes to hit the water smoothly are not shown
The boat on closer inspection has V letter before its number
Hello Peter

Yes I'd noticed that. This is one of the early MGBs constructed without the scallops, yet it's bearing the 'V' flag of an MTB, possibly dating the photo to the period after all the Home Waters MGBs had been re-designated MTBs, but before 611 had torpedo tubes fitted (if they ever got round to it?), and which would have been mounted on blocks to compensate for the lack of clearance provided by scallops on the MTB variants, and the later build MGBs.

Admin
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Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Admin » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:49 pm

I have managed to add a new section to the web site which in the fullness of time will hopefully contain all the entries from the former Coastal Forces Veterans Association newsletters.

The three entries I managed to find which reference MGB/MTB 611 are:

MGB 614
The 51st Flotilla
Rough Time for MGB 611

John Ward
Seaman
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:55 pm

Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby John Ward » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:49 pm

Thanks for posting this information - really interesting to read of these accounts and add to the little information I have on Ernest and his time on MTB 611. The only other photographs I have that relate to this time are one of 4 unidentified vessels moored up but I do not know which type they are or the relevance to Ernest as he hasn’t written anything on the back of them.

I have also added a photo of Ernest when he was serving in the Mediterranean, some time from 30/9/45 onwards when he had been transferred to St Angelo (H.S.T.S Gregale) which I believe was taken in Malta - Ernest is second from right, middle row, seated - should any body recognise him from crew photos of his MTB/MGB 611 days.
Attachments
0496165E-C71C-45B2-80E1-19F6A31FFDD3.jpeg
4D63FB0C-5CDC-4E10-99BD-8D8732C11662.jpeg

Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 329
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Admin » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:50 pm

John, thanks for the latest photos. The first one looks like a guard detail possibly, and the second is taken at Malta and show Control Target boats, which were converted MTB/MGBs. These ones I believe are US built Higgins PT boats which were transferred to the Royal Navy in October 1944. There's what looks like a HDML at the far side of the harbour in the distance.
ct40 at sea.jpeg
Control Target Boat 40 at sea
ct40 at sea.jpeg (110.58 KiB) Viewed 1259 times

Peter
Able Seaman Radar
Posts: 81
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: MTB 611 Crew

Postby Peter » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:10 pm

Good Afternoon All
To add to the post re MTB 633 to which we seem to have advanced ahead
some what , I am interested in the last post of the boats moored in Malta and attaché a painting of 3 Boats of the 28th flotilla which were American built Vosper's to create the 28th Flotilla which replaced the 24th Flotilla in which I served on MTB 243 and to note that one of the boats in picture still had the American ppi Radar installed .
I note that the other picture there is a Royal Marine seated and the ret of the group kitted out for a rifles as a Combined Operation raiding
A11 MTB 410 28th Flotilla.jpg
A11 MTB 410 28th Flotilla.jpg (512.23 KiB) Viewed 1254 times
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