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Coastal Forces' Role at the Invasion

Written by: Richard Bell

In a letter to the CFVA Historian, member 2843, Richard Bell asks Mr Hudson if he can answer a query that arose during a talk with a former RN member. It concerns the role of Coastal Forces and it was stated that the buoys, laid at Normandy were not laid by Coastal Forces but a special unit from Trinity House. Mr Bell stated that he served in HM ML 230 which was part of the 11th Flotilla and was a navigational leader — a fact, he says established in the June Newsletter.

Mr Bell asks the CFVA Historian if he can confirm that as a fact! In his reply, Mr Hudson states that he is not in a position to help Mr. Bell. He points out that his information concerns mainly the boats themselves rather than events.

At a guess, he says, he cannot imagine Coastal Forces craft would have been involved with these buoys, as the craft would not have been able to carry them, have the equipment to handle them or, except in some cases, the exacting navigational equipment.

Mr Hudson goes on, Coastal Forces craft acting as Navigational Leaders, for the first flight of landing craft is well established. Although he has no exact details, the 1st Coastal Forces Flotilla (6 Fairmile ‘C’ MGB's, for JUNO beach), the 1st SGB Flotilla (6 SGB's, Westem Task Force, USN area) and five flotillas of Fairmile ‘B’ ML's (7th, 11th, 13th, 14th and 20th; totalling fifty ML's) were involved in this role.

Many of these ML‘s were refitted for this purpose with a 970 radar set, with the lantern, on a lattice mast, replacing the funnel; side exhausts being fitted. The 970 set had a PPI, Plan Position Indicator. The 7th (GOLD Beach), 19th (SWORD Beach) and 20th (JUNO Beach) ML Flotillas were attached to the Eastern Task Force (British and Canadian beaches)and the 11th (OMAHA Beach) and 14th (UTAH Beach) to the Western Task Force (US beaches).

Mr Hudson suggests that some publicity of this question in the Newsletter might lead to a positive reply.

(Can any members give help Mr Bell? It's ’Over to You' - Editor)

CFVA News: Edition: September 1995 Volume: 83 Page: 10