HDML 1301

Blackmore, Bideford, Devon 6/4/43

HDML 1301

London Gazette 5/9/44 – For Operation Brassard the landings on Elba 17/6/44

  • DSC Lt Peter William Spencer

During the landing on the South Coast of Elba, Lt Peter William Spencer in HDML 1301 was responsible for finding Louise Green Beach and for landing 9 LCA carrying the French Battalion de Choc at 0100 on 17 June 1944.

After releasing the craft for the last position of their run in, HDML 1301 was attacked by a German F-Lighter. In the action which followed, the Commanding Officer of HDML1301 was killed and the First Lt wounded. Lt Spencer took charge and brought the HDML back to SNO(L) in LC(H) 315, 4miles from the beach in time to lead in the US landing craft in the main assault on Kodak Green Beach at 0400. This officer displayed outstanding gallantry, initiative and determination of purpose. [Errol C L Turner, Captain RN, CO].

This recommendation is strongly concurred in. The successful manner in which the US landing craft were manoeuvred and brought in for the assault under heavy fire after the damage and casualties sustained by HDML 1301 in her encounter with the enemy 3 hours previously, was a splendid example of resolution and fighting spirit. [Rear Admiral Trowbridge].

Alan John Godfrey, Temporary Sub-Lt RNVR, awarded Mention in Dispatches. At about 0100 on 17 June 1944, HDML 1301 in which he was First Lt., had a close engagement with a German F-Lighter off the coast of Elba. He was wounded many times by shrapnel in the chest and back, and in spite of this he went aft to superintend the making of smoke. By doing so, he set a fine example to those around him, many of whom were wounded. [Errol C L Turner, Captain RN, CO].

London Gazette 11/12/45 – Wind up of the war in Europe

  • MID POEng Lawrence Lamb LT/KX125465
  • MID LSea Ralph Pritchard P/J42257

Known Crew

  • Lt Frank Leslie CarterLt Frank Leslie Carter RNVR TSLt 23/10/41 HMS Iron Duke for MLs 29/12/41 15th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow First Lieutenant ML 231 1942 TLt 23/10/42 Commanding Officer HMS St Christopher HDML 1301 1/2/43 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily Operation Avalanche -Salerno Landings Operation Brassard – Invasion of Elba Who died of wounds during the landings on Elba on Saturday 17 June 1944 in M.L. 1301. Son of Frederick Gordon and Jessie Lilian Carter; husband of Kathleen May Carter, of Wood Green, Middlesex. Buried in Biguglia War Cemetery, Corsica Served in HMS Letitia (AMC) as a rating. Born 26/3/14 in Edmonton, Middlesex
  • Lt Peter William Spencer HDML 1301 For Operation Brassard the landings on Elba 17/6/44 DSC
  • Lt J T K Paisley RN Commanding Officer HDML 1301 5/45 Surveyor 2nd Class
  • TSLt A J GodfreyTSLt A J Godfrey RNVR TSLt 30/4/43 First Lieutenant HDML 1301 30/4/43 MID HMS Gregale 18/6/44 HMS Orlando (RN base, TLt 1/1/45 Greenock) (for staff duties) 10/45 Born in Chertsey and died in Cambridge
  • POEng Lawrence Lamb LT/KX125465 HDML 1301 Wind up of the war in Europe MID
  • Tel James Alexander Stirling HMDL 1301 29/07/44 to 20/12/45
  • LSea Ralph Pritchard P/J42257 HDML 1301 Wind up of the war in Europe MID

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 10/7/43 Operation Husky Invasion of Sicily
  • 9/9/43 Operation Avalanche -Salerno Landings
  • 17/6/44 Operation Brassard – Invasion of Elba

HDML 1301 is to take station 200 yards, 335o from LC (H) 315 ready for LCAs to form up. He is to show a steady red light towards the group. Craft are to be manned and formed up as quickly as possible in accordance with the diagram below. Lt P W Spencer will be embarked on LCI (L) 303 with the Commander of Battalion de Choc and is to transfer to HDML 1301 as LCAs are forming up.

At H–2.45hrs HDML1301 is to lead off to position 211, Marina di Capo light 25.5 cables, marked by PT 211 who will flash Z’s. HDML 1301 is to pass him at H–2.10hrs and steer to arrive at the inner release position 236, Marina di Capo light 21.5 cables at H–1.95hrs. This course is in line with Mt Caponne, the highest point on the island.

The Folboat in position 248, Marina di Capo light 17.2 cables, will be flashing L’s to seaward from H–2.25hrs until passed by the LCAs. Don’t worry if the light not sighted – the light may not have made it. As soon as the HDML 1301 stops, the Flotilla Officer is to reduce speed and turn his flotilla to starboard and make straight for the beach.

On clearing the beech craft are to return to HDML 1301 at slow speed, on no account rev up engines unless fired on by enemy. Form up in original order except both LCS (M) on starboard side ready to return to waiting area. When Lt Spencer in HDML 1301 has collected his group, he is to steer at slow speed to waiting area C for 10 minutes. After this, he is to check compasses with Flotilla Officer.

During the Main Assault Lt Spencer in HDML1301 will wait at (R). When the group arrives, he is to take up a position 100 yards east of LST 4. LCV (P) are to form up as follows: As each LST completes loading her 5 craft, they are to form up and close HDML 1301 which will be stationed 100 yards east of LST4. At H–85, HDML 1301 will lead off to join up astern of main assault flight which will be marked by HDML 1246 showing a red light toward convoy.

Assault on Kodak Green Beach. On reaching position 093o Marina di Capo light 10 cables, HDML 1301 is to lead the 14 LCV(P) round to starboard until heading for the beach, when he is to stop. LCV(P) Flotilla Officer is to proceed on in and to touch down in two waves, first at H–10. Both waves must beach on either side of the rock in the centre, the fist wave clearing outwards to allow the second to come in.

On clearing the beach, LCV (P) are to rejoin HDML1301 who is to lead them out in line ahead on a reciprocal course keeping as close to the coast as possible. Major LCs will be entering at some time but it is the responsibility of the minor LCs to keep out of their way. HDML1301 will lead them back to (R) proceeding on a track ½ mile east of approach course. Lt Spencer in HDML 1301 is to proceed at full speed to (T) as soon as LCV(P) have found parent LSTs. On arrival he is to take up position as “Return Convoy Controller” where he will be joined by LCI(L)316 and transfer to it.

On the South Coast one or two F-Lighters thought to have been evacuating Pianosa Garrison, possibly accompanied by an E-boat were sighted at 0030 by the PT boats. … Short engagement, both PT boats damaged, one man killed. One of the F-Lighters then encountered ML1301 which had just released the 9 MCAs making the most westerly landing. ML1301 came under heavy cannon and machine-gun fire to which she replied. The Captain was killed, First Lt and 5 ratings injured. F-Lighter then passed into Golfo di Campo without sighting the landing craft. The F-Lighter appears to have rounded Elba to the west after encounter with PT Boats.

During all this time ML 1301 and her 9 LCAs and 2 LCS (M) for Louise Green were not having such an easy time. They led off from position (R) at 2350 hours and the approach to this dispersal point was not entirely to plan. The only exception was PT 211 who was well over to eastward but as the details of the land were clearly visible this caused no difficulty. The Folboat was in the correct position.

At 0055 ML 1301 was lying pointing roughly North-West having released the LCAs at 0040 in position 9 cables 198o centre of Louise Green, when a vessel was sighted off the Port Bow steaming South-East about 2 cables distant. It looked like an F-Lighter and this was confirmed a second or two later when German voices were heard. Guns were trained on the enemy but it was hoped they would not see us.

The enemy opened fire about 10 seconds after we first sighted him with intense 20mm and machine gun fire. At the same time, fire was returned and many of the ship’s company reported hearing screams as Orlikon bursts found their marks. The enemy disengaged and when last seen was steaming for Golfo di Campo. At 0105 hours, course was set for position (R) as I considered it paramount import to report presence of the enemy and secure medical assistance.

All casualties were transformed to LC (H) 315 and Sub Lt Rossiter, one of SNO (L)’s staff and one signalman lent to him. ML 1301 then proceeded to the LST to gather up the 14 LCV (P)s he was to lead to Kodak Green Beach.

HDML 1301

James Alexander Stirling

James Alexander Stirling
Photographs courtesy of John Stirling, his son

HDML 1301

HDML 1301

Post War History

  • 1945 Employed on port surveys in the Mediterranean
  • 1946 Mediterranean Survey Unit 2
    Survey work off Pantelleria, the Adriatic, Greek Islands, Piraeus, Cyprus and Beirut
  • 1947 Survey work off Tobruk, Cyrenaica, Cyprus and Malta
    Survey Motor Launch = SML 352
  • 1948 Survey work off Zuara, Tripoli and Cyprus
    Returned to the United Kingdom to replace HMS Gulnare
  • 1949 Renamed HMS Meda and employed on survey duties in the approaches to Portsmouth, the Solent, Portland and off the Channel Islands.
  • 1950 Survey work off Portsmouth and in the Solent
  • 1951 Survey work off Portsmouth and in the Solent
  • 1952 Survey work off Portsmouth and in the Solent
  • 1953 Survey work off Portsmouth, Chichester and in the Solent
  • 1954 Survey work off Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bembridge Harbour and Chichester Harbour
  • 1955 Survey work off Portsmouth, Plymouth, Dartmouth and the Beaulieu River
  • 1956 Survey work off Portsmouth, in the Solent, the Needles Passage and Devonport.
    (Renamed HMS Meda before this point)
  • 1957 Survey work off Portsmouth, Shoreham, Portland and in Swanage Bay.
  • 1958 Survey work off Portsmouth, Rye Bay, Swanage Bay and the approaches to Par and Charlestown
  • 1959 Survey work off Portsmouth, Cowes, Alderney and Braye
  • 25/6/66 Sold
  • 2002 = Gibel Tarik Based in Gibraltar
  • 2008 Sold to Dutch Owners and transferred to Ijmuiden


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