Written by: R. W.Mackintosh
I have read the account by Midshipman Browne (No.1225) of the action off Dieppe by D-boats under the command of Lt. Cdr.Lyle on the night of 28th July 1943 in the March issue of the Newsletter. Being CPO. Motor Mechanic aboard the S.O’s boat, MGB 611, I would like to give my account of this action, as seen from the lower deck. We were not privy to the instructions of their Lordships and had to rely on rumour and the stars to know what we were doing and where we were going ; so could be excused for the mistake of a few miles like Le Treport and Dieppe.
Three D-boats, MGB 611, 613, 616 set off in this mission to France. MGB 6l3 had shaft trouble and returned to port; we continued and immediately closed up to Action Stations. After being closed up for some hours l sent a Stoker up top, a reliable fellow, to try and find out what was happening. He returned with a message that we were lost in fog and were about to enter a harbour somewhere. Almost immediately a cannon shell missed my head by inches. It took out one of the exhaust pipes to the starboard inner engine, showering us with hot water and exhaust gases. Our guns opened up and a number of holes appeared in the starboard side of the engine room. I well remember the engine speed indicator went crazy — it shot up the board and out of its case. As this was operated by hand from the bridge I realised that the situation was desperate and we had to give them all the revs we had. At the same time a ﬁre bomb burst through the forward port side of the engine room, setting ﬁre to the side of the boat and the outer port engine. l was able to put out the ﬁres out using hand operated extinguishers. I knew that if we had to use the Methyl Bromide, it would have stopped the engines and then we would have been in real trouble.
However, we managed to disengage and escaped into the fog. After a temporary repair to the exhaust, we were able to give full power on three engines back to Newhaven. The boat had taken a terrible hammering; there were twenty nine holes over the starboard side, a large ﬁre bomb hole on port side and two engines damaged.
We had run into three E-boats and two TLC’s with their 88mm armament; later intelligence confirmed that one E-boat and one TCL received considerable damage. MGB 616, which was astern of us received little damage and no casualties.
l cannot understand that the bridge having received a signal warning of impending enemy action did not see ﬁt to inform the engine room, sticking to A.F.O’s I suppose.
For this action against the enemy Lt Cdr.Lyle received the D.S.C
R. W.Mackintosh, member 1620
Editor: Mr Mackintosh voices a complaint that is regularly heard — the lack of communication between the bridge and that personnel that had to be below decks during actions. Have members any opinion on this subject?
CFVA News: Edition: September 1997 Volume: 91 Page: 38