Eddie Dibley
  Eddie Dibley onboard HMS Belfast
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 (CFVA: 2217)

1925 — 2024

London Branch Coastal Forces Veterans have sadly learned of the death of long-standing member, and last ever London Branch Chairman, Eddie Dibley. Eddie ‛crossed the bar’ peacefully, at home, on 20 April, 2024, aged 98. He had originally retired from the post of Secretary of London Branch in 2014, but took on the role of Branch Chairman, ably assisted by his daughter Julie, on the retirement of Ken Gadsdon. Eddie was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French Government in July 2022, having represented Coastal Forces during the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in 2019.

Able Seaman (Radar) Eddie Dibley served on MTB 757, part of the 66th MTB Flotilla which comprised MTBs 731, 733, 737, 747, 750, 752, 757 and 760. These boats had their torpedo tubes removed in the late summer of 1944 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. His own account of those events may be read by following the link provided.

Lest we forget

Eddie Dibley (right) with Reg Ellis at a London Branch meeting in 2014
An MTB of the 66th MTB Flotilla sets off a depth charge at Le Havre in an attempt at detonating German acoustic sea mines


poppy wreath

On this day: 17th June

Lieutenant Frank Leslie Carter (H.M.M.L. 1301)

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