Non substantive rating

Enquiries relating to individual men and women who served with HM Light Coastal Forces; help with interpreting service records, or with tracing former comrades
Chief Petty Officer
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Non substantive rating

Postby jonco » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:35 pm

Could somebody please confirm what T.O.(W/T) in non substantive rating column of service record means? Thanks

Site Admin
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Re: Non substantive rating

Postby Admin » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:17 am

Is that possibly Trained Operator (Wireless Telegraphist)? the non-substantive part referring I believe to having the training and the pay, but not the advancement—in terms of rank—that the training might ordinarily entitle you to. This enabled men to seek advancement in their particular trade without having to await an opening promotion wise—a situation that could apparently lead at times to an Ordinary or Leading Seaman being more advanced technically in their particular discipline, than the Petty or Chief Petty Officer in charge of them.

Chief Petty Officer
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Re: Non substantive rating

Postby jonco » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:12 am

Thank you - that ties in - I was thinking the W/T was war time but his substantive rating was telegraphist. There is an additional date inserted next to this entry of the 2nd Aug 1943. He was on the ML563 at the time but this was sunk by a mine on 16th August 1944. His record ( I have the original) still showed him as being St Angelo (ML563) until July 1945 but I cannot fill in the gap from the ML563 being lost off Frejus, France. Any further advice on where to look would be appreciated. Thanks again.

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Re: Non substantive rating

Postby Admin » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:08 am

It seems likely that HMS St Angelo would have been the pay and administration 'ship' for those serving with Coastal Forces at Malta, so the fact he is still recorded as being St Angelo would suggest he stayed within that administrative area (Malta), possibly serving on one or more Coastal Forces craft, and that the appending of a boat that had been sunk, may just have been an administrative slip up on the part of the shore staff writing it up.

Boat numbers don't always appear on service records of Coastal Forces members. My own father served in CF for some five years, and his original service record, which I have, does not record a single boat number served on in all that time, despite otherwise recognisable CF base names such as HMS Hornet appearing on his service record.

I keep on meaning to send off a Subject Access Request for details of his service record from the Royal Navy Disclosures Cell as I believe the details held on file, though basic, may contain further information to those written in the ones given to persons on their discharge, but I wouldn't know for sure about that until I send off myself.

Chief Petty Officer
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Re: Non substantive rating

Postby jonco » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:18 am

Thank you Admin - that could explain a few things. I have downloaded the forms and will give that a try. I'll let you know the results.

Chief Petty Officer
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Re: Non substantive rating

Postby jonco » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:06 pm

Hello Admin - further to your suggestion on previous post I (eventually) sent off for more detailed records.
Initially I was disappointed as the `ship in which serving' section did not reveal any new information and was really a just transcript of his discharge service record. There was still a gap from when ML 563 was lost in August '44 until the end of hostilities.
However, amongst the supplementary sheets was his medal record and written on this was `Oct 1944 to Jun 1945 - MTB 670'. His wartime photo album contains several photos of MTB 670 - I will post these in the MTB section once scanned in the hope more information may emerge.

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Re: Non substantive rating

Postby Admin » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:32 am

Hello again jonco

Thanks for the update, and sorry you haven't been able to learn a whole lot more. I wonder if you need to know the names of ships, boats, bases in advance to specifically ask for records relating to them, to be sure of getting all available information, or else the information simply isn't there because no one recorded the details officially. Imperial War Museum North has a book with complete crew lists and next of kin etc, compiled by the Senior Officer of SGB 4, and passed to the museum as part of a collection of his private papers. So that may be the only way crew lists were ever recorded, outside of official awards.

We are currently working on two databases covering boats and awards which we hope to have fully online later this year, and information we have on MTB 670 which you mentioned is given below. Interestingly the boat is recorded as lost on passage, so this could conceivably account for the second of two sinkings you mentioned.

MTB 670

Design Type: Fairmile D, Motor Torpedo Boat
Construction Yard: Wallasea Bay Yacht Yard of Rochford, UK
Completion Date: Mar 1943
Notes: Lost on passage Malta-Alexandria 30 January 1946

For operations ln the Adriatic and the Aegean
Temporary Lieutenant Eric Hewitt RNVR DSC
Able Seaman Wilfred Turner C/JX 374043 RN DSM
Able Seaman Leslie Byhurst Boswell C/JX 301773 RN MID
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant John King Finlay RNVR MID
Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Andrew Newall Goplen P/MX 117307 RN MID
Able Seaman James Thomas William Holdway C/JX 373750 RN MID

For an attack on enemy forces in the Planinski channel on 12 Apr 1945
Temporary Lieutenant Eric Hewitt RNVR DSC
Able Seaman Thomas Conway C/JX 559543 RN MID
Able Seaman Henry Harrison C/JX 542116 RN MID
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant James Oliver Young RNVR MID

For the surrender of German naval forces in the Adriatic
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant John King Finlay RNVR MID

The London Gazette entry for the second of actions listed may be read online by clicking the link provided. The actual citation reads:
For courage, audacity and skill shown whilst serving in the 59th M.T.B. Flotilla, in an engagement with a superior German force on the I2th-13th April off the coast of Jugoslavia during the course of which an enemy destroyer was sunk.

Brian Holmes
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Location: Portsmouth

Re: Non substantive rating

Postby Brian Holmes » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:01 pm

MTB_670 Wallasea Bay Yacht Station Ltd, Wallasea Bay, Nr Rochford 7/3/43

For operations in the Adriatic and Aegean (Gazette Date - 5/12/44)
DSC TLt Eric Hewitt RNVR
MID TSLt John King Finlay RNVR
MID POMtrMch Andrew Newall Goplen P/MX117307
MID AB Leslie Byhurst Boswell C/JX301773
MID AB James Thomas William Holdway C/JX373750
DSM AB Wilfred Turner C/JX374043

For an attack on enemy forces in the Planinski Channel 12/4/45
DSC TLt Eric Hewitt RNVR

Known Crew
TLt Cdr Ronald Robert William Ashby RHKNVR Commanding Officer MTB 07 26/04/40 –26/12/41 (Escaped) Commanding Officer SGB 4 10/7/42 Commanding Officer MTB 670 and Senior Officer 33rd MTB Flotilla 1-11/43 Naval Officer-in-Charge, Chittagong [HMS Salsette (Combined Operations base, Bombay)] Senior Officer Coastal Forces (Arakan) 7/44 - Commanding Officer, HMS Boxer (fighter direction ship) 1946 Commanding Officer, HMS Duncansby Head (repair ship) 1947 DSC 1942 DSC 1945 MID 1944 Born 9/7/10 in Watford and died 1/98 in Wayland, Norfolk
TSLt J G Ham RNVR Commanding Officer 22/1/43
TLt I A B Quarrier RNVR Commanding Officer MTB 670 31/5/43 Commanding Officer MTB 703
TLt N M MacLeod RNVR Commanding Officer 9/10/43
TLt Arthur Stephen Rendell RCNVR Commanding Officer MTB 670 30/2/44 Commanding Officer MTB 633 31/5/44 HMCS Stadacona (Halifax NS) 7/5/45 Died in Vancouver, British Columbia 19/7//93
TLt Eric Hewitt RNVR First Lieutenant MTB 635 Commanding Officer MTB 670 1944
TLt A G D Heyburne RNVR First Lieutenant 1/1/43
TSLt John King Finlay RNVR First Lieutenant 10/2/43 and 9/10/44
TSLt J O Young RNVR 9/10/43
POMtrMch Andrew Newall Goplen P/MX117307
AB Leslie Byhurst Boswell C/JX301773
AB James Thomas William Holdway C/JX373750
AB Wilfred Turner C/JX374043

Wartime Activities
33rd MTB Flotilla
MTB 649, MTB 651, MTB 654, MTB 655, MTB 656, MTB 665, MTB 667, MTB 670
30/4/43 Convoy departs Milford Haven for the Mediterranean with MTB 670, MTB 667, MTB 654 and MTB 655 and MGB 648, MGB 657, MGB 658 and MGB 663. ML 240.
3/5/43 The convoy is approached and circled, out of range, by a German Condor reconaisance aircraft. At one point the aircraft comes within range and is engaged
4/5/43 At 0100, convoy bound for Gibraltar is attacked by U 439 and U 659 in a surface gun action. MGB 658 runs down the tracer bearing. MGB 657 is hit and set on fire amidships. MTB 654, MTB 667 and MTB 670 attempt a search for the attackers. U 439 and U 659 collide and both boats sink. MTB 667 picks up two German survivors. MTB 654 picks up a further ten survivors. Convoy then proceeds to Gibraltar
Sank, with others, Italian submarine Flutto off N. Sicily 37-34N 15-43E
33rd MTB Flotilla
10/7/43 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily
33rd MTB Flotilla
MTB 651, MTB 655, MTB 656, MTB 665, MTB 667, MTB 670
11/7/43 At 2115, MTB 640, MTB 651 and MTB 670, attack and damage a U Boat by torpedo, gunfire and depth charges. The U Boat returns fire causing seventeen casualties in the MTBs.
15-16/7/43 MTBs 634, 640, 651 and 670 intercepted five E Boats causing them to retire northwards.
15-16/8/43 MTB 76, MTB 85, MTB 640, MTB 665 and MTB 670 are on patrol in the Straits of Messina.
0124 The patrol is illuminated by searchlights. Shore batteries open up from both sides of the straits. The patrol turns through 180 degrees and makes smoke. MTB 665 is hit by a shell in the engine room, is set on fire and comes to a halt. MTBs 640 and 670 clear the area.
15-6/10/43 MTB 670 and MGB 660 sink a 300 ton schooner by torpedo off the Tiber.
11-2/11/43 MTB 670 and PT boats attack a convoy off Civitavecchia
1/44 57th MTB/MGB Flotilla
MGB 638, MGB 659, MGB 660, MGB 662, MGB 674, MTB 634, MTB 637, MTB 670
Based at Bastia, Brindisi, Komiza and Ancona
24-25/6/44 MGBs 659 and 662 with MTB 670 sight a two masted schooner, which proves to be partisan crewed, near Bacvica Rock.
2200 The Croatian torpedo boat T 7 is sighted. MTB 670 launches two torpedoes from 500 yds but they miss and explode against Kukuljari Island. In MGB 662, a partisan liaison officer from Marshall Tito’s staff clutches the Senior Officer, (Bligh) and begs him not to attack an obviously bigger and more powerfull enemy vessel. MGBs 659 and 662 with MTB 670 turn to give chase. At 150 yds, T 7 finally opens fire at MGB 662 with her aft gun. MGBs 659 and 662 with MTB 670 return fire and inflict severe damage on T 7 which turns to starboard heading for the shore and missing MGB 662 by about five feet. T 7 grounds on Murter whilst running at around 12 kts. MGB 659 stands off whilst MGB 662 and MTB 670 search along the track for survivors. MGB 662 goes alongside T 7 and conduct a search finding three wounded crew members. TLt William Darracott RNVR leads a party of men onto the island and captures five more crew from T 7. Four of them are seriously wounded. Prisoners confirm that there were escorting vessels. MGBs 659 and 662 with MTB 670 return to Komiza.
17-18/7/44 MGB 659 with MTBs 649 and 670 intercept a convoy of two lighters, escorted by E Boats and I Boats, in the Mljet Channel. Two escorting boats are sunk and a Siebel Ferry is damaged.
25-26/7/44 MTBs 651, 667 and 670 depart Komiza for a patrol and arrive on station at 2309.
0013 A small craft is sighted and MTBs 651, 667 and 670 turn to intercept. Shortly afterward, a 400 ton schooner, five E Boats and two I Boats are sighted.
0024 MTB 670 fires starshell at the schooner starting a major fire. MTB 651 engages the two I Boats silencing them and then stops to wait for MTBs 667 and 670 to reform.. MTB 670 sinks an E Boat by guhfire. MTB 667 puts a party aboard an I Boat and, with MTB 670, recovers survivors from the water. MTB 651 takes two men from a small boat heading for the shore. MTB 667 is recovering 50 prisoners and fighting a fire. The remaining E Boats have rushed off to the east. MTBs 651 and 670 proceed south and east inshore. The remaining E Boats see that MTB 667 is now alone and return to attack. MTBs 651 and 670 sprint out of concealement and have the E Boats silhouetted against the burning schooner. The E Boats fire three torpedoes at MTB 667. Two pass underneath and one misses astern. MTB 667 has also maneouvred the I Boat to act as a shield. The E Boats fire more torpedoes. Two pass astern of MTB 651 and two pass astern of MTB 670. MTB 670 engages the third E boat in the line with gunfire inflicting damage and causing an explosion. MTB 651 engages the fourth E boat in the line with gunfire inflicting damage.
0115 MTB 651 is hit and stops with her engines and guns out of action. In the confusion the two leading E Boats engage eachother and inflict damage by gunfire. MTB 670 takes MTB 651 in tow
Operations in the Adriatic and Aegean (Gazette Date - 5/12/44)
7-8/8/44 MGB 662 with MTBs 667 and 670 depart Komiza to patrol the Zara to Fiume route close to Vir Island.
2100 Vertical tracer and flares are observed to the south. Shortly after 2200, two Flak Lighters and a smaller vessel are sighted.
2212 The German group alters course closer to the shore. MGB 662 with MTBs 667 and 670 close to a beam position inshore of the Germans at 6 kts. MTB 667 is standing by with starshell and MTB 670 is standing by for a snap torpedo attack. The Germans open fire on MGB 662 putting two engines out of action and cause ten casualties. MGB 662 with MTBs 667 and 670 return fire and a slow speed close action ensues. MGB is hit repeatedly and has one man killed and nine wounded. The engine room is on fire as are two oerlikon ammunition lockers. The pom pom is out of action and there are small fires on the upper deck caused by phosphorous ammunition. One Flak Lighter is also on fire. The second Flak Lighter moves to finish off MGB 662 and MTB 670 is ordered to conduct a torpedo attack. The burning Flak Lighter ceases firing effectively and the other then disengages to the south but is sunk by a torpedo from MTB 670 at 2226 whilst MTB 670 is performing a short turn. In MGB 662, the engine room fire is extinguished using the methyl bromide system. The engine room crew manage to get below and MGB 662 slowly retires to seaward on one engine whilst MTBs 667 and 670 attempt to sink the burning Flak Lighter. MTBs 667 and 670 miss with three torpedoes.
0005 The Flak Lighter capsizes and sinks. MTBs 667 recovers six survivors including the captain and MTB 670 recovers a further five. The two Flak Lighters were F-963 and F-968. MGB 662 is carrying Capt B Keefe RAMC as a passenger. He treated the man who subsequently died of wounds as well as the other nine wounded. He also treated the motor mechanics for the effects of methyl bromide inhalation and, when the MTBs rejoined, he transferred and treated the wounded prisoners.
12-3/4/45 MTBs 670 and 697 with MGBs 643 and 658 are on patrol off the northern end of the Planinski Channel.
0130 MTBs 670 and 697 with MGBs 643 and 658 are lying stopped.
0215 Radar reports two large contacts at four miles entering the channel. MTBs 670 and 697 with MGBs 643 and 658 start up and close the contacts line abreast making a torpedo attack. Destroyer TA45 is hit by two torpedoes breaks in half and sinks. Eighty men out of a complement of a hundred and fifty are lost. Destroyer TA40 heads for Pola.
1-2/5/45 At 2230, MTBs 634, 651 and 670 depart Ancona to intercept a convoy of twenty plus vessels between Trieste and Tagliamento and apparently making for Grado. Seven Vosper MTBs of 28th MTB flotilla sail independently and three Mls are to stand by to the south to assist with escorting any vessels that can be induced to surrender.
0345 TLt Charles James Jerram decides that the weather is unsuitable for the vospers and orders them to return to base.
c0700 MTBs 634, 651 and 670 reach the rendezvous. Aircraft report more than forty vessels off Tagliamento including two destroyers. The vessels show no sign of surrendering and fire on the aircraft. MTBs 634, 651 and 670 slowly approach the vessels flying white flags. MTB 634 visually signals the largest ships without response. The approach takes forty five minutes. At 1105, MTB 634 comes alongside one of a unit of R Boats. The Senior Officer 6th Raumbote Flotilla and one of his commanding officers board MTB 634 to parley. Lt M Strnjshek RYN acts as an interpreter. They have no intention to surrender. T A Lt Cdr Timothy James Bligh points out that the Germans had left Trieste to avoid being captured by the partisans, that Tagliamento would probably be captured by the partisans and there were good facilities in British held Ancona. By this time there are around thirty German vessels within a few hundred yards of MTBs 634, 651 and 670. T A Lt Cdr Timothy James Bligh signals for reinforcements and returns to the parley where he proposes a conference of all captains on an R Boat. A scruffy individual approaches MTB 634 in a small boat flying the Croatian flag, announcing that he wants to surrender his Croatian force and requesting transport for his 500 troops. No action is taken. The conference is held but the Germans are ignorant about the course of the war and do not wish to surrender. T A Lt Cdr Timothy James Bligh suggests they consult their crews and restates that the partisans are about to capture the area. Two small transports and a schooner indicate an intention to surrender and MTB 670 is detailed to look after them. A Flak Lihter arrives and surrenders. The three MLs, under TLt David Robert Anidjar Romain, arrive and are tasked with escorting willing vessels to Ancona in the hope that this will start a trend. In the afternoon, New Zealand forces capture Tagliamento and signal MTBs 634, 651 and 670. A conference is held on board MTB 670 with T A Lt Cdr Timothy James Bligh, the Senior Officer 6th Raumboote Flotilla and a New Zealand army officer. The Germans surrender to the New Zealanders who want the Royal Navy to evacuate their new prisoners. T A Lt Cdr Timothy James Bligh points out that there are plenty of seaworthy vessels in the harbour but the Germans deny this. The R Boats enter harbour and run themselves aground. MTB 670 tries to prevent this but runs aground herself.
2-3/5/45 At 1930, MGBs 642, 643, 645, 659 and 662 arrive at Taliamento, from Ancona, to reinforce MTBs 634, 651 and 670. The weather is deteriorating and all eight boats anchor off the harbour. MGB 662 maintains a Radar watch through the night. At 0500, MGBs 642 and 643 round up and take in tow three vessels that have drifted out the harbour to the east. MGBs 642 and 643 also take a Flak Lighter in tow before anchoring it off the harbour with a prize crew aboard. During the forenoon the boats tow German vessels out of the harbour to the collection point and make them ready for towing to Ancona. The Germans try to get the New Zealanders to tow the Flak Lighters back into harbour on the pretext that they contain urgently needed food supplies. The prizes are searched and no significant food supplies are found.
1230 A convoy leaves Tagliamento for Ancona and consists of:
MGB 642 towing a Flak Lighter F509
MGB 643 towing a Flak Lighter
MGB 659 towing the barge ‘Karl’ and a caique
Adria, Sigismund and a small craft under power
MGB 645 acting as a pick up boat.
1445 A second convoy leaves Tagliamento for Ancona and consists of:
MGB 662
MTB 634 towing a Flak Lighter
MTB 651 towing ‘Eddie’ and a small boat
MTB 670 towing a Flak Lighter
Two Flak Lighters under power
A small hospital ship
Flak Lighter F1156D is unable to maintain steerage way and is abandoned, at anchor, eight miles off Tagliamento. MTBs 651 and 670 proceed at 8 kts and MGB 662 takes a Flak Lighter in tow.
1845 MGB 645 takes Sigismund and the small craft in tow.
1945 MGB 642’s tow parts for the fourth time and F509 is sunk by gunfire.
2130 MGB 662 parts her tow. The tow can not be taken up again and the Flak Lighter proceeds under her own power and MGB 662 stays in company.
0400 MGB 662 manages to take the Flak Lighter in tow again.
1200 MGBs 642, 643, 645 and 659, with their prizes reach Ancona.
1615 MGB 662 abandons her tow in Ancona.

Post War Fate
30/1/46 Lost on passage Malta – Alexandria

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