Written by: G. M. Hudson
A few members raised queries in the March issue of the Newsletter. Here CFVA Historian G.M. Hudson gives the answers.
L.M. Shadwick (RML 553) mentions the 69th Flotilla. This was originally a four boat ﬂotilla - RML 547 (SO), 520, 550 and 553. Increased to ten boats about October 1944, when RML 544 and 546 were transferred from the 66th and RML 497, 522. 523 and 532 were transferred from the 52nd.
The same member, while serving in ML 559, 31st Flotilla. asks "What happened to ML 558?" She joined the original 32nd ML Flotilla. As Fairmiles were built by 45 different yards, it became impracticable for boats forming new flotillas to have sequential numbers. Consequently, new flotillas normally formed up with boats which completed about the same time.
The 31st ML Flotilla formed up between October 1942 and February 1943 with ML 554-557. 560, 561, 564 and 566 and then sailed to the Mediterranean: based at Oran. After arrival. ML559 and 562 (ex 32nd Flotilla) were added. making ten boats. In September 1943, ML 561 and 564 transferred to the 8th and, in February 1994, ML 554 transferred to the 3rd. ML 562 was badly damaged on 6 October 1944 and disposed of the following month. The remaining six boats. ML 555-557. 559. 560 and 566 survived the war.
The original 32nd ML Flotilla formed up at HMS St Christopher, Fort William, around February 1943, for Foreign Service, with ML 558, 559, 562, 563, 568, 569, 574 and 575, but its boats were transferred to strengthen other flotillas. By April 1943. ML 559 and 562 had left to join the 31st. ML 568 joined the 22nd, ML 575 the 28th, ML 558. 563 and 569 the 29th and ML 574 the 27th.
A new 32nd Flotilla was formed at the end of 1943, with ML 582, 583, 585-587, 590, 592 and 593 and remained in Home Waters - Lowestoft, Queensboro', Sheerness.
"Nobby" Clark (ML 189, 11th Flotilla) asks, "What happened to them?" In addition to ML 189-191, 193, 194, 214 and 230 mentioned, ML 187 was the eighth boat in this flotilla, as formed. At the end of 1943, ML 190 and 191 transferred to the 20th and, in anticipation of D-Day, 6 June 1944, when the 11th acted as Navigational Leaders for landing craft, the flotilla's strength was increased to twelve ‘B’ class. ML 118, 153, 163, 304 (all ex 7th), 448 (ex-St Christopher) and 907 (new) were added. The 11th did not “leave for Foreign Parts". It remained in Home Waters and after the war ended was at Kiel.
However, after D-Day, seven boats of the 11th ML Flotilla (ML 187, 193, 194, 214, 230 and 907) paid off, were reﬁtted as Gunboats and then joined a new flotilla, the 34th. They sailed for the East indies in October 1944.
CFVA News: Edition: June 1995 Volume: 82 Page: 26