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Fred Cuthburt Holmes

100th Anniversary – 14th August, 2022

Fred Holmes
FRED HOLMES DSM
LEADING SEAMAN CLASS 1
August 14th 1922 - July 2005
Volunteered and joined the Royal Navy
September 10th 1941 - May 15th 1946
Port Division - Devonport

In memory of my Dad who would have been 100 years old on this day.

Not knowing about your fathers war time service is a familiar story, his Medals, ‘Certificate of Service Record’, some original documents, newspaper cuttings and a few photographs were all pushed to the back of a drawer, it was a subject never talked about. I thought it would not be possible to find out what my Dad did over 75 yeas ago, but, with the material I had I soon found out on the Internet that my Dad had been in an outfit called Coastal Forces, a unit I had never heard of.

Luckily for me I came across a site called Coastal Forces Veterans (cfv.org.uk). What's remarkable is that Kevin Costello one the Administrators sent me copies of pages from a hand written Log Book dated April 30th 1943 by a Motor Torpedo Boat crew member of an action off the Dutch coast, it contained an account of what happened between German E boats and my Dad's MTB 31st (later 55th) Flotilla and his MTB 630. This was where my Dad carried out an act of bravery, for which he received the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) from King George V1 on February 16th 1945.

After nearly three years of research I now know most of my Dad's remarkable story.

How proud I am of my Dad.

Peter Holmes

Eddie Dibley
  Eddie Dibley (© London Branch CFVA)
Eddie Dibley
Above: Elements of the 66th MTB Flotilla moored outside of the former German U-Boat pens at Le Havre. The depth charges which replaced their normal armament of torpedoes are clearly visible on deck. Photo: Courtesy of National Museum of USN
Below: Boats of the 66th MTB Flotilla passing over the minefield at speed while releasing depth charges. Photo: Courtesy of National Museum of USN

Eddie Dibley

Award of the Légion d'Honneur

Légion d’honneur

London Branch Coastal Forces Veterans are pleased to announce that Chairman Eddie Dibley has been awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French Government. A notice about his award may be read on the forum.

Able Seaman (Radar) Eddie Dibley served on MTB 757, which was part of the 66th MTB Flotilla. The boat's Commanding officer was Robert LeLacheur Atkinson.

The boats of the 66th MTB Flotilla which comprised MTBs 731, 733, 737, 747, 750, 752, 757 and 760, had earlier had their torpedo tubes removed and their decks fitted with racks of depth charges, to function in an anti-submarine role. At Le Havre they had been called upon to destroy sea mines laid by the Germans in the approaches to the port.

Len Reynolds in Dog Boats at War describes the situation: “...the Germans had sown the approaches liberally with a new type of pressure mines — named oyster mines — which took on the character of either an acoustic or a magnetic mine according to the pressure of water displaced by a ship passing over them at more than 10 knots...the 66th were asked to attempt a method of steaming fast over the minefield and dropping a pattern of depth charges.”

Eddie recalled how ahead of the planned operation, the boat disembarked several of its crew at Portsmouth, so as to only carry a skeleton crew over the minefields.

MTBs dropping depth charges whilst passsing over a minefield

IN MEMORIAM

poppy wreath

On this day: 17th August

Petty Officer Joseph Richard Ward (H.M.M.G.B. 313)
Able Seaman Edwin William Cunningham (H.M.M.G.B. 6)
Able Seaman John Edward Knibb (H.M.M.G.B. 609)
Ordinary Seaman Kenneth Mattison (H.M.M.G.B. 609)

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them