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W LCT Squadron /12
My father-in-law, Lieutenant Commander
Frank (Francis) Poile RNR (deceased), was a Sub-Lieutenant RNVR at the
time of the D-Day landings. His service record indicates in Reports
about him that his ‘Ship’ was “W” LCT Squadron under the command of
Lieutenant Commander G.A. Martelli RN.
As Communications and Staff Officer
(Operations) he was involved in the training of Landing Craft
Signalmen as well as ‘working up of LCT Flotillas’ in particular with
the organisation of ‘movements and sailings’, planning ‘training
programmes and exercises’ and was considered ‘fully capable of
exercising a Flotilla in manoeuvres or beachings by himself’. The
family story, based on some limited statements by him, is that he was
involved with the D-Day landings and the fact that his service record
mentions the 12 LCT Flotilla involved in the Normandy Forces Shuttle
Service seems to lend support to this aspect of his story. However, no
other detail is forthcoming from his record which would indicate the
specific part he played in in the landings (if he did), either on
which craft or which of the assault beaches they served.
I would be grateful for any information
which can be supplied. I cannot trace any information about “W” LCT
Squadron nor the 12 Flotilla apart from a US website reference to LCTs
from this being involved in the Omaha landings. The impression I get from
various sources I have looked at is that craft in a Flotilla were not
confined to one assault beach.
One other piece of information which may be
relevant is that, from a list of ship/shore establishments to which he was
posted, compiled for us from Payment and Victual Ledgers, HMS Alice is a
regular entry from May 1944 to December 1945. I have discovered that this
might have been a ‘Yacht’ used as an accommodation ship but any further
information would be appreciated.
Many thanks for any help at all in the
Dieppe Raid - Operation Jubilee. Royal Navy Landing Craft Crews
Dear Geoff, I'm a historian looking for any
information about the early days of Combined Operations in 1941-42. I'm
interested in hearing from veterans, their families and friends or anyone
with knowledge about the men who crewed landing craft during the Dieppe
Raid. I'm also interested in the experiences of sick berth attendants,
gunners and Royal Marines involved in the landings on 19 August 1942.
If you have any memories, diaries, ship's
logs, documents, letters, stories, names, photographs or information about
Royal Naval personnel training with Landing Craft generally and those
involved in Operation Jubilee in particular, I'd love to hear from you. No
information is too little or inconsequential.
Clíck on the e-mail icon opposite to
thanks in anticipation.
591 LCA Flotilla
Dear Mr. Slee, I found
some old papers relating to my father's
war service recently and they led me to your website, combinedops.com.
I thought I’d send you
the crew roster and photo I found.
father was S/Lt. S
Smythe of LCA1101 and
he is sitting on the far left of the photo, I’m afraid I can’t put names
to any of the others.
you find it interesting and feel free to use them as you please.
[If you can name
anyone in the photo or have information about 591 LCA Flotilla,
please let me know. Perhaps in time, the story of the flotilla's
activities on Gold beach will be told. Thank you. Geoff Slee.]
654 LCM(3) Flotilla.
Geoff , I wonder if you can help me directly or
perhaps point me in the right direction. I've been searching,
without success so far,
for information on the 654 LCM (3) Flotilla. My interest arose from a photograph
of the landing craft crews (see opposite) taken in October 1944.
My father is at the very top on the right
Since I can find no information about the photo, I'm wondering if the craft
of 654 LCM Flotilla were, perhaps, not deployed on active service. If
anyone has information on the Flotilla, or recognises the photo, please
get in touch with me through the e-mail link below.
Yours sincerely, Val
Landing Craft Gun 18 (LCG 18).
My father, William Fredrick Yells, served on LCG18. I wondered if
anyone has information about my dad or LCG18. Thank you.
Beach Party, Kabret.
Hi all, Just wanted to know the colours on
the sun-helmet insignia worn by RN beach party in combined
training camp Kabret. If you can help, please click on the e-mail icon opposite. Thank
you in anticipation.
might expect, Jim's health is not as good as it once was, but I'm hoping
to take him to The National Memorial Arboretum, later this year, to see
the Combined Ops memorial.
Best wishes, Steve Hempsall.
Lofoten Raid - Operation
Hi Geoff, I am looking to see if you have any knowledge
of any persons who were from the
Lofoten Raid in 1941 who came to England with the British after
Operation Claymore. I also wonder if any of your members or visitors may
be able to help. We are looking to
recreate a list of 314 people. We
have made some good progress.
This, and other photos I've seen of 45 RM
Commando, show what appears to be half a troop with only forty or so in
the picture. I wonder if they are officers and NCOs only. 45 RMC was, at
the outset, 450 men strong, so each troop would amount to about 90.
In the photo, perhaps taken in 1943, there
are at least 4 officers I know of. However, one of them was not 45 RMC as
far as I recall, but he was 'with them' as my father explained. He has a
lighter tie than the other three, and a cap. The ones I recognise are from
A and E troops of 45 RMC and one from Royal Artillery.
If anyone can shed any light on the
occasion this photo was taken, or if they recognise anyone in it, I'd be
very grateful if they would let me know. Thank you in anticipation.
Yours sincerely, David Beadle.
LCG (L) 2 - Gold Beach,
Craft Support Squadron’. Part of the memoirs of CERA, Robert
Wallace-Sims, posted on this site includes this extract;
After D-day we spent the
next three days throwing 4 ½ inch shells at unseen targets, Army Forward
Observation Officers positioned inland giving us instructions. D plus 5
arrived and LCG (L)2, in which I was billeted, was ordered to close the
shore and attempt to draw the fire of an enemy shore battery which had
defied the efforts of the RAF to destroy it. With not a little
trepidation we weighed anchor and proceeded inshore firing in the
general direction of the battery. There was no response from the enemy
until we made a 180 degree turn to avoid beaching. As we headed away
from the cliffs our guns were now unable to bear on the enemy position.
There were then three explosions, the first lifted our stern out of the
water, the second was a 15" salvo from HMS Warspite, and the third
saw the end of the battery as eight 15" HE shells hit their target. I
was afterwards told that this battery was mobile, on railway lines and
normally ran into a tunnel at the first hint of danger.
I would be grateful if anyone could
identify the approximate position of LCG (L) 2 when she fired at the
railway gun. I hope to travel to Normandy next year and would like to
visit the area that my father was in.
Thank you, Howard Wallace-Sims.
My father, Lt John Norgett RNVR (Jack to everyone) was at
HMS Quebec from 09/08/1942 to
29/08/1943 on landing craft training. His papers were transferred to
HMS COPRA on 30/08/1943 for landing
During his period at
HMS Quebec he was photographed at
HMS Monch with LCV 880 in the
background. Were LCAs converted to minesweeping craft at
I’d really like to know. Christopher Walton.
[ There's some information here
Craft Flak (LCFs) at Walcheren.
My late father served as a Royal
Marine during WWII, joining up in 1942 at Chatham in Kent. After
finishing his basic training, he volunteered for Combined Ops and was
subsequently posted to LCF 29. In June 1944, he set sail from Poole in
Dorset to take part in the Normandy Invasion. Their destination was Juno
beach in support of the Canadian Forces. They arrived there at
approximately 06.30 hours and set about the task of taking out shore
defences and supplying air defence at the same time. At the end of the
day, they were sent out to form what dad referred to as a 'trout line'.
While there, they assisted in the shooting down of a Junkers JU 88 that
was trying to bomb a hospital ship.
In October/November of 1944, while still on LCF 29, they were sent to
Walcheren in Holland. For some reason my dad would talk for ever about
Normandy but had very little to say about Walcheren. The last time I saw
my dad alive, I sat holding his hand (he was dying of cancer). I said to
him "Dad, were you at Walcheren?" He opened his eyes looked at me and
said "yes I was". The look on his face told me I needed to find out
more. I have read accounts of what happed to the LCFs that were sent
there but have not been able to find out any hard facts. That night, my
dad sadly passed away. A few weeks after his death I was contacted by a
chap who served on LCF 29 (Jim Grant), but all he would say about
Walcheren was "we lost some good lads there and your dad knew most of
My dad suffered very badly with his nerves all the time I knew him, and
I remember my grandmother saying "your dad was never right when he came
home from the war". I am just beginning to understand why he suffered so
much. If anyone has information about the deployment of Landing Craft
Flak (LCFs) during Operation Infatuate (Walcheren),
or knows where I might find it, please let me know. I'll be very
Landing Craft Flotillas
263 & 801.
I am trying to piece together
my late father's ( Jack Skidmore ) service history during WW2 between Dec.
1942 and Sept 1946. Navy Command have provided me with details of his
Service Record but I'm trying to put some meat on the bones that they have
After initial training he was assigned to 801 Flotilla as Stoker
Class 2 on July 1 1943 and then Stoker Class 1 on December 14 1943. He was
then posted to HMS Copra - Largs from March 11 1944 and had two postings
to LCI's - 300 and 169 from May 1 to May 25 and June 1 to June 3
respectively. Both these ships were part of 263 Flotilla and Navy Command
confirm that from September 10 1944 to May 8 1945 he was posted to 263
Flotilla serving on various LCI for varying periods of time. The
longest periods were served on board LCI 378 from October 17 1944 to
November 14 1944 and on LCI 181 from February 11 1945 to April 17 1945.
If you or anyone can provide me with more information regarding Flotillas
801 and 263 during the time of my father's postings this would be greatly
the Admiralty's so called Green Files may contain some information of
interest. They're held at the National Archive at Kew and can be accessed
by personal callers or 'paid for' researchers. These files are in Group
ADM, Class 210 and Piece ?. I have seen Piece 8 which covers
the D-Day landings. Photo of one file cover opposite plus a typical page
of information. The NMA website is at
If anyone has news, information or
photos of the crew of LCT 1315, the craft itself or the flotilla in which
it served, Arthur Hensher would love to hear from you.
Peter Harmer and Lt Arthur Hensher commissioned LCT 1315 at Alloa in
Scotland and sailed to Southampton in Feb 1944 for training. With the
start of Operation Overlord, they journeyed overnight to Juno beach and
the small French town of Courcelles to deliver 9 Sherman tanks of the 7th
Armoured Division on D-Day +1. During one of LCT 1315's trips they carried
Aero Engines to one of the beaches and dried out overnight. In the morning
a LCT of their Flotilla snagged a mine with its Kedge anchor and sadly all
their crew were killed in the ensuing explosion. LCT 1315 was only yards
away and Arthur Hensher had the unenviable task of identifying the crew.
1315 did a total of 15 Channel crossings when she was badly damaged in a
collision with Trinity House Vessel, 'Patricia.' LCT 1315 returned to
Portsmouth for repairs and in the subsequent enquiry her crew was cleared
of all blame since the Patricia was deemed to be the overtaking vessel
with responsibility to undertake the manoeuvre safely.
damage was repaired and LCT 1315 was given a tropical refit in Aberdeen in
preparation for action in the Far East. The craft and crew returned to the
south coast of England (Falmouth) before travelling through the
Mediterranean to Port Said in Egypt on their way to the Japanese conflict.
However, with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese
surrendered and LCT 1315 was paid off and handed over to the Indian Navy
at HMS Saunders on the
bitter lakes. Her crew returned home.
LCT 1315 Crew members
Lieutenant Peter Harmer; 1st Lietenant Sub Lieutenant Arthur Hensher;
Leading Seaman John McNulty Coxwain; Ordinary Seaman Charles Lincoln;
Ordinary Seaman Simms; Leading Seaman Learmouth Wireman; Leading Motor
Mechanic (??); Leading Stoker Evans; Ordinary Signalman McLennan; Ordinary
Seaman Brenchley (?). The
Reverend Sub Lieutenant McTavis, from Newfoundland, joined us for the
voyage to the Mediterranean.
Please e-mail Arthur's brother, Alan, who will pass on any information
Can anyone please help me to identify
my great grandfather's uniform?
I'm told there may be an Edinburgh connection. Regiment and approximate
date would be very helpful.
Thank you. Christine Stewart.
grandfather's next of kin can apply for a copy of his service record. For
more information just click on the FAQ link in the page banner above
and scroll down until you find the Veterans UK link you need. Geoff.]
650 LCT Flotilla.
I'm looking to find out more about 650 landing craft flotilla part of
Force J (Juno beach). Any help will be gratefully appreciated.
Thank you. Simon
[650 Squadron was part of Force J, F Build Up Squadron with
HMS Sea Serpent as its HQ. The craft were LCM 3 (Landing Craft Mechanised
Mark 3s) numbered 1100,
1164, 1197, 1212, 1213, 1214, 1215, 1216, 1234, 1235, 1236, 1240, 1241,
1242, 1277, & 1278. Geoff.]
In 1944 just prior to or soon after D-Day there was a
plan to carry out a 'cockleshell' like operation to sink ships in
Cherbourg harbour to prevent them being used to block the port. A number
of personnel including some Merchant Navy people were trained at a
“country house estate”. The operation never got past the planning
and training phase. My uncle claimed that he took part in this training
which included explosives, swimming and using a canoe. Can anyone verify
that this operation was planned?
Granville Raid - 9th March,
I am researching the Granville Raid of 9th March 1945 when
a German force from the then occupied Channel Islands raided the harbour
at Granville, France to the East. During the raid
Lt Frederick Roger Lightoller was
killed. Any information about him and in particular his postings at HMS
Osborne, IOW and HMS Odyssey, Ilfracombe will be very welcome. What were
these Combined Ops establishments?
Many thanks indeed. EF
Malet de Carteret (Ned).
[They're not listed as Combined
Operations establishments. HMS Odyssey was an accounting base located in
the Collingwood Hotel, Ilfracombe. Later moved to Chelsea Court London
SW3. (May have had a similar function as HMS Copra).
There were 2 bases named HMS Osborne - Cowes and Ryde. The former was
commissioned in Jan 1942 and pensioned off in June 1942 when it merged
with HMS Tormentor II to form HMS
Vectis and the latter was commissioned in Oct 1942 and pensioned off
in Aug 1945.]
Combined Operations Conundrum.
My father, Robert Edward Johnson - KX 112783, Stoker 1st class, Royal
Navy, served with Combined Operations. Although I've traced a good deal of
his service history, I feel it's not a complete record, perhaps for good
shows training at HMS Quebec from 13.01.1942
– 12.3.1942, Dorlin
House from 13.03.1942 until 08.10.1942.
Then shows "Duty" from
back at Dorlin
House from 24.10.1942
Duty Inveraray 6.11.1942 – 08.11.1942,
back to Dorlin
09.11.1942 until 18.3.1943
and then duty at Liverpool from 19.03.1943 until 31.03.1943. Dorlin and
Quebec were, I believe, landing craft training/beach signals training
On 01.04.1943 until 07.01.1945 he was assigned to 89 Flotilla. From
08.01.1945 until 18.01.1945 he served on LCI (L) 281. From 19.01.1945
until 16.02.1945 he was hospitalised in Brindisi. From 17.02.1945 until
30.09.1945 he served on LCI (L) 281.
His medal entitlement card shows that he also served on 767 LCP (R)
between 07.01.1944 and 07.03.1944. Although his records state Stoker 1st
class, we know that he was involved in many operations in the
Mediterranean/Italy/Yugoslavia etc. which suggest that the official record
may be incomplete
Amongst the many items he left behind are his campaign medals, two of
which are "Africa Star" with silver 8 plus 8th Army Clasp on Ribbon/Medal
plus "Italy Star". The others are 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Defence
Medal and War Medal. Other items include a circular Combined
Operations shoulder flash and a green, woollen cap/comforter (as worn by
My father never spoke much about the war and only mentioned that, apart
from the 8th Army, he was involved in operations to do with Tito's
partisans. On one operation they were told not to take prisoners since to
do so might jeopardise their mission. On one such operation, my father
suffered shrapnel wounds to his legs and lower torso.
I have read much about Combined Operations training establishments in and
around Inveraray during the war, but what I cannot find out about are the
actual operations he was involved in. Here, I hope someone may be able to
help. I know, for example, that LCI (L) 281 was in and around Yugoslavia
during operations involving 2, 9, 40RM and 43RM Commandos. I have read of
heroic actions undertaken by those incredibly brave men in this theatre of
operation and I wonder if anyone has copies of battle diaries/after action
reports and the like that may contain information of possible interest. I
am also interested in the smaller craft of 767 LCP (R) Flotilla between
January and March 1944 and what was 89 flotilla?
Any information or sources of information will be very welcome and
Kind regards, Ann Johnson.
to track my grandfather's WW2 service since his family know little of what
he did. He only ever said he was in intelligence and that his missions
were top secret. He was an officer in RE and has campaign medals for
France/Germany and also North Africa. We only have vague details that he
was part of a 'recon' team that collected soil samples from the D-Day
beaches prior to Operation Overlord - and that's it!
read in the Times that Major General Logan Scott-Bowden had sadly passed
away. His mission history lead me to read about COPPs, which I now believe
my grandfather served in. The photo opposite shows him second from the
left in the back row. Does anyone recognise the photo, group or
background? It may have nothing to do with COPPs - we simply don't know.
My grandfather was
a very outgoing Irish chap. It would help our family greatly if we knew
more about what he did that haunted him so much to his dying day.
(LCpl 3 Sqn HAC).
US 746th Tank
Battalion, Utah - Henry B. Maguffee.
I am an exhibit
builder for a local museum, the Jacksonville Museum of Military History in
Jacksonville, Arkansas. I am expanding our D-Day exhibit for the 70th
anniversary and wish to honor Arkansans who gave their lives or at least
participated in the invasion. One such was T/5 Henry B. Maguffee, Company
C, 746th Tank Battalion who is listed as lost at sea, 6 June 1944, off
The U.S. LCT site states he was on board a British LCT (4). I have some
numbers of LCTs the 746th were aboard. 801, 824, and the only one I can
find that lost tanks was 593. Can anyone help me to honor this man by
providing additional information or confirming which landing craft he was
Thank you in anticipation,
LCM 650 Flotilla.
My father, who is
88yrs old, was on LCM 650 Flotilla to Juno Beach. When he was
returning to UK on the 21st of July on the
LCM, they were rescued by the Minesweeper HMS Hornbeam after almost
sinking. Looking for anyone who was there. David Lakey.
Craft in Albanian Waters.
Does anyone recognise the service personnel in this photo?
[Click to enlarge.]
I came across it after my father, Robert Edward Johnson died and believe
it may show crew members from either LCI(L) 281 or 278 or even LCP(R)767.
In common with all landing craft crews he was seconded to the Combined
Operations Command from the Royal Navy and was designated "stoker" on
service records. He was involved in the invasion of Italy along with the
8th Army and saw service in the Adriatic /Aegean /Albanian and Yugoslavian
theatres of operation. In this troubled and politically sensitive
geographical area, Army Commandos, Royal Marine Commandos, Special Boat
Service, Highland Regiment and elements of Tito's Yugoslav partisans were
active. The photo may have been taken shortly after an action against the
enemy having acquired a 'battle-scarred', German Kriegsmarine flag in the
process! My father has written "Albania 1944" on the reverse of the photo.
information will be gratefully received.
Marine Commando/George Arthur Thomas Neave.
My father served in 45
RM Commando and in, or alongside, 3 Commando. In North Africa he was
affectionately known as "Nigga Neave" (acceptable terminology then)
because of the dark tan he acquired from the desert sun. He also served in
Normandy driving DUKWs - 6 wheeled amphibious craft for transporting
troops and supplies over land and water. They were known as "duck boats".
If anyone knows of my father, has photos or
can suggest where I might find more information, please let me know on the
you, George Neave.
COPP 8 / PO Gascoigne.
I'm seeking information on
P.O Gascoigne who
served in Copp 8 and also a couple of information sources cited in Ian
Trenowden’s book “Stealthily by Night”. These are Alec Colson’s transcript
of the COPP 8 logbook and his unpublished manuscript about Operation David
(“Double Handle”). In particular I'm interested to know if these documents
are still available to public scrutiny.
will be greatly appreciated
you in anticipation, Paul Miller.
Small Scale Raiding Force.
I have been commissioned to write the full
history of Gus March-Phillipps’ Small Scale Raiding force from its origins
as Maid Honor force
in 1940, though Operation Postmaster to
its evolution into 2 SAS in early 1943.
most anxious to trace the next of kin of Major Gus March-Phillipps DSO,
MBE and Major Geoffrey Appleyard DS0, MC and bar, MA and to make contact
with any surviving members of that original raiding force, cover-name No
Foot note. Tom's
book on SOE and Operation Frankton –
the Cockleshell Heroes – entitled Cloak
of Enemies is being
published in August 2012 by History Press with a foreword by Lord Paddy
Goulding RNR (SSRF & COPP).
Grandfather was Commander Harry Goulding RNR assigned to COPPs (Combined
Operations Assault Pilotage Parties). He received a DSO with Bar and I
believe he may have been awarded a second bar. He was also a very active
member of SSRF (Small Scale Raiding Force) and may
have been instrumental in setting up this team and being involved in their
operations. We have various documents some marked 'Secret' and 'Most
Secret' and others such as manuals, a newspaper cutting and a 1946 letter
to my father from Laycock. He was a very close friend of Blondi Hassler.
A COPP memorial is being planned for Hayling Island Seafront which has now
passed planning and I am keen to find out more about my grandfather's war
service in these special forces before it is unveiled. If any visitors to
your website have information or can recommend sources of information I'd
be delighted to hear from them.
Many thanks in advance,
During the war my
father, W J Gardner served with 105 Wing from April 1943 until August
1944 when he was posted to HQ Ship Personnel Holding Unit. His rank at
that time was Flight Lieutenant later promoted to Squadron Leader. He
may have been involved in the use or development of radar but the
information I've gleaned so far is ambiguous. I'd be grateful to receive
any information, or sources of information, about the kind of work he
may have been involved in.
Many thanks in anticipation. Anita Cook.
Major Jack Crane – COPP 1.
would like to hear from anyone who served in Combined Operations Pilotage
Parties (COPP), or from their relatives. My grandfather was Major Jack
Crane, Royal Engineers (277770), who was part of the COPP 1 re-commission
that served in the Far East (Sri Lanka, Burma, India) from November 1944
to September 1945.
I would especially like to hear from anyone related to the other
members of that COPP 1: Lt-Cdr Peter Wild RNVR, Sub-Lt Robin Harbud RNVR,
Sub-Lt Michael Pearson RNVR, Sub-Lt David White, Sergeant E Cook, Petty
Officer EA Fish, Corporal Richey SBS, Sapper Hawkin RE, Leading Seaman
Stewart, Petty Officer A Briggs (P/JX 144952), Leading Stores Assistant FI
Wilkins (P/MX 59960), Lance Corporal RNW Kedge RE (1949872), Able Seaman A
Prior (P/JX 19124).
My grandfather also did a few operations in Burma working within the
COPP 4 re-commission led by Lieutenant DH Mackay.
I would also be interested to hear from anyone who would have been
completing their commando training at around the same time as my
grandfather (around June 1944 to October 1944).
With many thanks
in advance,Rob Crane
I'm chair of a
heritage group on Hayling Island called Discover Hayling charged with
raising awareness of our island's history. We have been going for 3 years
and, as I delve deeper into our past, I'm both fascinated and saddened
that locally so little is known of the COPPs presence here at Hayling
Island Sailing Club (HISC). We aim to remedy that by giving the COPP story
on Hayling the prominence it merits. I'm anxious to speak to any surviving
members, or their families, for information of interest and to create some
sort of memorial to the COPPists on the Hayling seafront. We have had full
cooperation from HISC, but the logistics of their operation precludes a
public memorial on the original site. I would appreciate your views
help in making contacts. I have already been fortunate to meet and talk to
Logan Scott-Wilmott. Yours, Robin Walton.
[Anyone with information likely
to be of interest to Discover Hayling should contact Robin on the e-mail