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12th MTB Flotilla (MTBs 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 345)

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:17 pm
by Warrior-researcher
I am researching the activities of the 12th MTB Flotilla between October 1941 and January 1942, and would value as much information as anyone has about what the 12th MTB Flotilla was stood up to achieve, why they trained at Dartmouth, what they were training for (was it a specific operation, or just trials), and why they were paid off after only three months.

The 12th MTB Flotilla consisted of six MTBs (spelt out to aid internet searches): MTB 327; MTB 328; MTB 329; MTB 330; MTB 331; and MTB 345. My specific interest is MTB 331, which was Commanded by Derek 'Jake' Wright DSC** RNVR, whose biography I am presently researching. Having said that, any information about the 12th Flotilla in this period will greatly aid my research.

What I know:
- The 12th MTB Flotilla consisted of 55' Thorneycroft MTBs, five of which (327-331) were due to have been sold to the Phillipines navy.
- On 28 Oct 41 MTBs 327-331 were ordered by A.L. T.O. 2283/41 (dated 6/10/41) to form up. This note (which I do not hold, but would really like to find) required removal of one set of Ram Discharge Gear for torpedoes from one of these boats (to be replaced earliest) and to despatch this to The Captain HMS Vernon.
- On 14 Nov 41 MTB 327 was "Detailed for special trials with HMS Vernon"
- This 'Special Service' reported directly to Combined Operations HQ.
- They formed the 12th MTB Flotilla. Based on 'Red List' data, between 21 and 28 Dec 41 they sailed from HMS Hornet (where they had formed up) and arrived in Dartmouth.
- Between December 1941 and January 1942 they practiced attacking anti-torpedo booms with depth charges.
- They reported directly to Commodore Mountbatten, who had recently (on 27 Oct 41) taken over as head of Combined Operations from Admiral Keyes.
- They occasionally forayed to the Solent, where a boom had been laid against which they practiced.
- The plan to attack anti-torpedo booms with depth charges failed, and the 12th MTB flotilla proceeded back to HMS Hornet.
- The decision to decommission the 12th Flotilla appears to have been taken on 21 December 1941 and promulgated by a signal from DDOD(C) on 21 Dec 41.
- They departed from Dartmouth (based on Red Lists) between 11 and 18 Jan 42.
- Once back in Hornet, the 12th Flotilla was laid up until summer 1944, with the exemption of MTB 345 which was recommissioned in March 1943 for road transport to Inverness (then sailed onward to Lerwick).

Any information whatsoever about the 12th MTB Flotilla, either collectively or any individual boat, during the period October 1941 to January 1942, will be most gratefully received. What they were up to is a real mystery!

(I have attached the 'ships card' for MTB 327, which has some details and references regarding their activation).

Re: 12th MTB Flotilla (MTBs 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 345)

Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:21 pm
by Admin
Hello Warrior and thank you for your enquiry.

I will look through my sources later for any information I may have on the 12th MTB Flotilla. What I would say, is that the thing which came to my mind on reading about the depth charge attacks on anti-torpedo booms, was the plan devised by Sub-Lieutenant "Micky" Wynn to use the specially converted MTB 74 to mount an attack on the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen, hold up around the time in question at Brest, and which famously escaped under heavy German escort back to Brunsbuttel and Wihelmshavaen in mid-February 1942, in an operation known to the Royal Navy as the Channel Dash. MTB 74 was later to be deployed instead on the St Nazaire Raid in March 1942. Reading of the involvement of Combined Forces with the flotilla, it is possible they could have been experimenting with their possible use for this operation too. The article on our web site has some details of the involvement of MTB 74.


Re: 12th MTB Flotilla (MTBs 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 345)

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 3:33 pm
by Warrior-researcher
Dear Admin (And everyone else).
It looks as if there is indeed very little information out there regarding the 12th MTB Flotilla, although I agree with the connection to the St Nazaire raid together with the potential for attacks on Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen.
By way of further aid to any enquiries as I try to learn more, the Commanding Officers of the 12th MTB Flotilla for the period in question were:
MTB 327: Ty Sub Lt F L Tomlinson RNVR
MTB 328: Ty Sub Lt A D Foster RNVR (Possibly with Ty Sub Lt M J Pollard RNVR as his 1st Lt)
MTB 329: Ty Lt L F Ramseyer RNVR (Possibly with Ty Sub Lt G W Elton RNVR as his 1st Lt)
MTB 330: Lt M A Keyworth
MTB 331: Ty Lt D G H Wright RNVR (Ty Sub Lt M T R Yeo RNVR as 1st Lt)
MTB 345: Ty Sub Lt D Mortimer RNVR (Possibly with Ty Lt W H Keefer RCNVR as his 1st Lt)
Any information about any of the above officers in the period October 1941 to February 1942 (which is the period of the 12th MTB Flotilla's first activation) will be very gratefully received as it may be an alternate way to determine what the Flotilla was up to. This includes any verification of who was the 1L in each boat.
In anticipation, thank you.

Re: 12th MTB Flotilla (MTBs 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 345)

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 5:15 am
by Warrior-researcher
I've now managed to confirm the Command Teams in each boat within the 1941/42 12th MTB Flotilla, as per the Navy List for Feb 1942 (in fact three weeks after most of the boats were decommissioned).
As per my previous posts, any information on the activities of the 12th MTB Flotilla or of any of the 12th MTB Flotilla personnel in the period November 1941 to February 1942 will be most gratefully received.