X.23 and X.20 were towed by H.M. Trawlers Sapper and Darthema till in Lat. 50° 22' N., Long. 0° 50' W., when they were slipped at about 0430, 3rd June. They proceeded under their own power dived throughout daylight, 3rd June, surfacing after dark to cross the enemy mine barrier, and arrived off the French coast about 0500, 4th June.
14th M.L. Flotilla
ML 190 Ty. Lt. D. K. B. Bound, R.N.V.R.
20th ML Flotilla
ML 205 Ty. Lt. W. A. Crossley, R.N.V.R.
13th MTB Flotilla
MTB 205 Ty. Lt. P. G. A. Irvine, R.N.V.R.
Regarding ML 190: were the 14th ML Flotilla and the 20th ML Flotilla based together in mid-January 1944?
The operational orders say: “The Naval Commander Force J will sail the ML escort to rendezvous with the trawler off the Nab Tower.” This suggests that the MLs maybe set out from HMS Vectis/Cowes on the Isle of Wight?
Regarding D-Day itself:
• X-20 was towed out by HMT Darthema (the operational orders say to be escorted by ML 146)
• X-23 was towed out by HMT Sapper (the orders say escorted by ML 196).
X-20 was due to be met by ML 902. It’s very possible that ML 902 also had a COPP team on board: COPPist Geoff Galwey wrote after the war that he provided pilotage in to Juno Beach from on board an ML, after which they were meant to meet X-20 – he couldn’t remember which ML it was but that it had a New Zealander as skipper, which tallies with what Uboat.net says for ML 902: Bernard Donald Jukes, RNZNVR.
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