HDML Story – 1941
On passage to Cardiff for embarkation, ML 1030 takes shelter from a gale in Peel, Isle of Man. MLs were designed with the ability to transport them as deck cargo in merchant ships and this governed their dimensions.
ML 1003 and ML 1037 were lost when being transported to Malta as deck cargo aboard SS Empire Endurance torpedoed by U 73 in position 53-05N 23-14W at 0332.
ML 1092, ML 1093, ML 1094 and ML 1095 are destroyed on the stocks by an air raid whilst building at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
ML 1011 is bombed and sunk during the Battle of Crete on passage from Suda Bay to Sphakia. One crew member is awarded a DSM and the Commanding Officer is mentioned in despatches for services during the withdrawal from Crete.
c0500, 15 miles west of Gavolopula, Crete, ML 1030 is attacked by two German bombers dropping single bombs in repeated runs in turn. AB Thomas Shiels, lying on his back, directs the Commanding Officer in attempting to avoid the bombs. The first aircraft misses with all bombs. On the last run by the second aircraft one bomb blows off the bow of ML 1030 all the way back to the forward engine room bulkhead.
ML 1030 stops engines to assess damage. Both aircraft then begin strafing runs. The telegraphist is wounded and the dinghy is damaged.. The aircraft depart. POMtrMch Thomas Andrews goes over the side to inspect the running gear which has been damaged by near misses but repairs are not possible.
ML 1030 is abandoned with six men taking to the damaged dinghy one on the carley raft and three swimming and taking turns in the boat. The survivors land on Crete after approximately twenty hours where they join up with a group of New Zealand soldiers. The crew splits up with the First Lieutenant, coxswain and five men joining a group heading overland for Sphakia whilst the Commanding Officer PO Motor Mechanic and the remaining three men take the dinghy. The overland party reaches Sphakia and awaits evacuation. The First Lieutenant is evacuated that night. The surrender takes place that day and the remainder of the crew become prisoners of war and march to Suda Bay.
ML 1062, towing two motor boats departs Singapore for Port Swettenham. ML 1062 is subjected to a series of squalls and the tows have to be recovered several times during the night.
Christmas dinner in ML 1062 consists of prunes and condensed milk due to the rough weather and tea consists of a Christmass cake. In the evening, ML 1062 arrives in Port Swettenham.
ML 1062 departs Poirt Swettenham to join ML 1063 at Sungei Burnan. A civilian rubber planter, William Harvey, acts as a guide and the two MLs rendezvous in the early evening. At last light, MLs 1062 and 1063 depart to land embarked troops between Taiping and the Perak River. ML 1063 transfers troops to a motor boat and retires. ML 1062 transfers troops to a motor boat but the engine will not start. ML 1062 recovers the troops and sinks the motor boat before returning to Port Swettenham. On the return trip, ML 1062 encounters a Koleb (Native boat) and embarks a rubber planter, his wife and 12 year old daughter who have travelled 300 miles in the open boat. A Chinese and a Malay choose to remain with the boat and head for the coast. ML 1062 returns to Port Swettenham and lands the survivors before taking on fuel and stores from Kudat.
In the early morning, Port Swettenham suffers an air raid by British aircraft identified as Bristol Blenheims. One aircraft is shot down amongst the mangrove swamps to the west. ML 1062 and ML 1063 conduct an unsuccessful search for survivors.
ML 1062 departs Port Swettenham to recover a raiding party. The raiding party are recovered after ambushing a Japanese motor transport convoy.
HDML Story – 1942
ML1096, ML1097, ML1167, ML1168, ML1169 and ML1170 are lost at the fall of Singapore.
In ML 1032, two men are mentioned in despatches for services during the withdrawal from Crete.
MLs 1062 and 1063, towing naval whalers, evacuate troops from the Malayan mainland to Singapore. Coverage is provided by the gunboats HMS Dragonfly, HMS Scorpion and HMS Grasshopper.
ML1213, ML1214, ML1215, ML1216, ML1217, ML1218, ML1219 and ML1220, are lost on the stocks at the fall of Singapore.
ML1062 is sunk by Japanese surface craft gunfire in the Banka Strait. The Commanding Officer, who was mentioned in despatches for services during the evacuation of Malaya and two crew members are killed in the action.
ML1063 is sunk by Japanese surface craft gunfire at Tanjong Priok.
ML 1039 is lost at Tobruk. Both officers, both Petty Officers and five junior ratings are killed in the action ML 1046 escaped. The Commanding Officer was mentioned in despatches and the First Lieutenant was awarded a DSC for services during the withdrawal from Tobruk ML 1048 was one of the last vessels to leave Tobruk with German tanks in the harbour area. The Commanding Officer, who was wounded by gunfire, was mentioned in despatches and the First Lieutenant was awarded a DSC for services during the withdrawal from Tobruk. One AB was awarded a DSM and the stoker was mentioned in despatches. ML1069 attempted to sail from Tobruk but was hit by a shell within 100 yds of leaving the berth.and hit again by shells from a panzer on the road at the head of the harbour. On fire, ML1069 signalled for medical assistance and returned to the jetty. Five survivors were taken aboard ML 355 and ML1069 was abandoned to be captured by Axis forces. There was at least one German tank within 300 yds of ML1069 when ML 355 rescued the survivors. Three crew members were killed. AB Noel Jack Johnston (An Australian) was awarded a DSM. Although wounded in five places he brought the damaged vessel back alongside and then collapsed before being rescued by personnel from ML 355
ML1090 is lost in transport.
ML 1153 is lost on passage to Turkey. ML 1124, ML 1135, ML 1153, ML 1243, ML 1245, ML 1256, ML 1282, ML 1294 and ML 1296 are all transferred to the Turkish Navy.
Awards for services off the coast of Burma May 1942. In ML 1102, three men are mentioned in despatches. A Burmese civilian is also awarded a BEM for services as a pilot during a patrol off the coast of Burma May 1942. In ML 1103, one officer is awarded a DSC. In ML 1104, six officers from the Burmese RNVR are mentioned in despatches.
Two crew members of ML1009 die and are subsequently buried in their home towns.
HDML Story – 1943
ML1230 is engaged in minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse, Tunisia.
SS City of Christchurch is bombed and badly damaged off Portugal. Her master intends to make Lisbon and leaves a Gibraltar bound convoy escorted by HMCS Morden. By 1645 on the following day, SS City of Christchurch has her stern awash and is abandoned with the crew being taken off by HMCS Morden. Before leaving, the crew cast off the lashings on the MLs she is carrying in the hope that they will float off. HMCS Morden then fires into the forward part of the ship to increase the chances of her sinking horizontally. Around 1900, SS City of Christchurch sinks. ML 1229 and one other float clear but the other boat has a broken back. A volunteer crew from HMCS Morden is then put aboard ML 1229 and they sail her to Gibraltar arriving two days later. ML 1229 survives the war and subsequently serves in the French Navy
ML1157 is lost in transport aboard SS City of Melbourne when the ship was sunk by FW200 aircraft in the Bay of Biscay en route to Algiers. (This may actually have been part of the previous incident)
In ML 1146, one officer is mentioned in despatches for the salvage of a Catalina aircraft at Gibraltar.
ML1154 failed to return from a patrol off Bizerta having sunk after striking a mine laid by Third S Boat Flotilla on 6/5/43. The two officers were from New Zealand and the ratings were drawn from the Royal Naval Patrol Service.
Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily
ML1128, ML1221, ML1224, ML1252, ML1254. Five men are mentioned in despatches and one man from ML 1221 is awarded a BEM.
ML 1048 is caught in a violent storm, unable to turn around and with almost all of the crew incapacitated by seasickness. ML 1048 was carried over a rocky reef by a huge wave breaking the ASDIC dome off in the process. ML 1048 eventually returned safely to Alexandria.
Operation Baytown – Landing at Reggio
ML1128 One man is mentioned in despatches
ML1186 made an asdic contact while on patrol off Cape Brett, New Zealand and dropped depth-charges, but a search revealed no sign of any submarine.
Operation Avalanche – Salerno Landings
ML1242, ML1246, ML1247, ML1252, ML1254, ML1258, ML1270, ML1271, ML1297, ML1301.
Operation Ferdy – Landing at Vibo Valentia, Italy
Group One consisting of ML 1127 with nine LCI(L)s At 0800, with Rear Admiral Rhoderick R McGrigor, Flag Officer Sicily and supervising the landing, embarked, MTB 77 is around three miles west of the small harbour when an air attack develops. A near miss from a bomb dropped by a FW 190 rips out the bottom of the boat. MTB 77 sinks off Vibo Valentia, Italy and survivors are recovered by ML 1128. ML 1128 takes over as the flagship of Rear Admiral Rhoderick R McGrigor who continues to direct operations despite a leg injury. ML 1128 leads an LST, carrying artillery, into the beach under heavy fire. Landing the artillery proves to be the turning point of the action. ML 1128 is hit forty times during the action.
ML 1015 is lost in a gale near Alexandria, Eastern Mediterranean.
ML 1054 is stranded near Heugh Light on the Tees and declared a Constructive Total Loss.
ML1244 and ML1289 are lost in transport (or passage).
ML1273 is present during the air attack on Bari. An American liberty ship, loaded with bombs containing mustard gas, explodes. The Commanding Officer of ML 1273 is mentioned in despatches for good service during the air attack on Bari on this day.
Awards for Operation Antidote (Minesweeping from Galita Island to Sousse 3/43.
In ML 1230, two men are mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1236, two men are mentioned in despatches.
Awards for Operation Husky
In ML 1128, two men are mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1158, one officer is awarded a DSC.
In ML 1221, one officer is mentioned in despatches. One rating is subsequently awarded a BEM.
In ML 1224, one officer is mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1253, one officer is mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1254, one rating is mentioned in despatches.
ML1121 foundered off Pantelleria, Central Mediterranean.
HDML Story – 1944
New Year Honours List 1944
One man in ML 1045 and one man in ML 1160 are mentioned in despatches.
ML 1115 and ML 1120 sailed from Chittagong to land agents in the Irrawaddy Delta (A trip exceeding 1000 miles that the Fairmile Bs could not make). ML 477 relayed radio messages.
ML1252 captured two German merchant vessels.
Awards for Operations Baytown and Ferdy 9/43. In ML 1128, one man is mentioned in despatches
ML 1083 is lost after grounding in the Gulf of Kos, Aegean.
ML1226 is on passage with wounded German prisoners as stretcher cases on the upper deck and refugees crowded into the wardroom. (Seven adults and two children). ML 1226 sights three lighters and a schooner. ML 1226 puts a boarding party onto a lighter. The German eight man crew are driven into the bows and held at gunpoint by two ratings. ML 1226 sheers off and the other vessels open fire damaging ML 1226. Ammunition in deck lockers begins to explode, the forward gun crew are killed as are several of the German wounded. ML 1226 breaks off the action. The two ratings left on the lighter are attacked by the crew and jump over the side. The Germans open up with a machine gun and kill one of the ratings in the water. The other rating reaches the shore and goes into hiding. He later contacts Greek partisans who return him to Casteloriso. Two crew members are killed in the action. One officer is awarded a DSC and one rating a DSM. ML 1226 survives the war but is lost after striking a mine off Alexandropolis in the Aegean on 4/10/45. Three crew members are killed on this occasion.
ML 1007, ML1143 (Free French), ML1158 and ML1164 (Free French) are engaged in fire fighting after an explosion in ML 387 at Beirut. Four men are mentioned in despatches. ML 387 is lost and her Commanding Officer is awarded an Albert Medal for fire fighting until the boat blew up.
ML1380 is lost in the Aegean. Vessel foundered in heavy weather after both engines were put out of action. All hands are lost.
In ML 1115, one officer is mentioned in despatches for Operations Blast and Bandoola (Eastern Fleet ML operations in late 1943).
Operation Fabius I
ML 1387 and ML 1409 form part of the escort for the practice landing at Slapton Sands, Devon.
Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy
ML 1001 Fitted with echo sounders and allocated to Hydrographic Survey duties. Crew replaced by a specialist surveying party and engaged in surveying the site for the British Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches. The Commanding Officer is mentioned in despatches. ML 1053 was held as a reserve for ML 1001 in the event of damage or breakdown.
ML1269, ML1274, ML1300 are involved in the protection of Weymouth Anchorage during the build up to Operation Neptune. ML 1300 survived the war and eventually became the training vessel Vincent.
103rd ML Flotilla (Plymouth during Assault Phase)
ML 1013, ML 1021, ML 1025, ML 1027, ML 1033, ML 1034, ML 1035
149th ML Flotilla (Special Operations)
ML1295, ML1309, ML1383, ML1387, ML1389, ML1391, ML1392, ML1393, ML1407, ML1409, ML1421. ML1422
150th ML Flotilla
ML1055, ML1056, ML1060, ML1081, ML1085, ML1091, ML1279, ML1382, ML1390
151st ML Flotilla (Based on Portsmouth)
ML1379, ML1396, ML1403, ML1405, ML1408, ML1413, ML1417, ML1419
Operation Big Drum – ML1081, ML1091, ML1417, ML1419 Jamming German Radar on the Cotentin peninsula on D-Day. Operating around 6 miles east of Cap Barfleur from 0230 to 0440.
ML1295, ML1309, ML1389 marking turning points for the American airborne divisions on the eve of D-Day.
ML1421 and ML1422 are channel markers at Utah Beach on D-Day. The Commanding Officer of ML 1422 is awarded a DSC and two men are mentioned in despatches. All awards are for good service distributing instructions in the assault anchorage after the first landings in Normandy.
ML1383 and ML1387 are channel markers at Omaha Beach on D-Day. The Commanding Officer of ML 1383 is awarded a DSC one rating is awarded a DSM and two men are mentioned in despatches. The Commanding Officer of ML 1387 is mentioned in despatches. All awards are for good service distributing instructions in the assault anchorage after the first landings in Normandy ML1391 and ML1392 are channel markers at Gold Beach on D-Day. Two ratings in each vessel are mentioned in despatches for good service distributing instructions in the assault anchorage after the first landings in Normandy.
ML1393 and ML1407 are channel markers at Juno Beach on D-Day. Two ratings in ML 1407 are mentioned in despatches for good service distributing instructions in the assault anchorage after the first landings in Normandy ML1415 and ML1416 are channel markers at Sword Beach on D-Day. The Commanding Officer of ML 1415 is awarded a DSC and one man is mentioned in despatches. In ML 1416 one rating is awarded a DSM and one man is mentioned in despatches. All awards are for good service distributing instructions in the assault anchorage after the first landings in Normandy.
Operation Brassard – Invasion of Elba
ML1246, ML1301. In ML 1246 a DSO and two DSMs are awarded and one man is mentioned in despatches. The Commanding Officer of ML 1301 is awarded a DSC.
ML 1019 is damaged by fire off Freetown, Sierra Leone.
ML1060 ibecomes a Constructive Total Loss by ammunition explosion Poole Area. Three men are killed.
ML1179 is beached in a hurricane at Rio Bueno, Jamaica. The boat is driven further up the beach by the storm and subsequently declared a Constructive Total Loss. ML1181 successfully rode out the hurricane that wrote off ML 1179.
ML1381 is captured at Sirini by five Axis craft.
ML 1001 Entered Cherbourg, which was still mined, for a four week survey of the port.
Sunk by German surface ship gunfire off Piraeus. ML 1227 had encountered TA 38 and TA 39 whilst they were conducting a defensive minelaying operation.
ML1119 is lost in Indian waters. Two Indian ratings are killed. Two Indian ratings from ML 1120 die on the same day.
ML1057 becomes a accidental loss, by explosion of demolition charges, at Kilindini, Kenya. ML 1108 rescued survivors. One man was killed in ML 1057 and engineman Solomon G Kennar of ML1108 was awarded a Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal for the rescue of survivors from ML 1057. AB Bertie Reginald John Green of ML 1108 was mentioned in despatches for removing a burning demolition charge.
ML1259 is paid off due to hull damage caused by gunfire from German shore batteries in the South of France.
Awards in recognition of a. series of actions in the Channel over two years.
In ML 1010, one man is mentioned in despatches
In ML 1269, one man is mentioned in despatches
In ML 1274, one man is mentioned in despatches
Awards in recognition of a. series of actions in the Channel over two years.
In ML 1310, one officer is awarded a DSC
In ML 1399, one officer is mentioned in despatches
In ML 1465, one officer is mentioned in despatches
Awards in recognition of carrying despatches, escorting, defensive patrols and rescue work in the Channel.
In ML 1031, three men are mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1049, three men are mentioned in despatches
ML1388 is a Constructive Total Loss after grounding near Hartlepool.
HMS Medusa Medusa The crew
HDML Story – 1945 to 1947
New Year Honours List 1945
Two men in ML 1055, one man in ML 1222 and one man in ML 1252 are mentioned in despatches.
At 2130, ML 1163 is last heard of making an enemy contact report and is torpedoed and sunk by the German S 33 in the Adriatic. All hands are killed although one officer, the engineman and one seaman are recovered and subsequently buried in Belgrade.
Operation Pungent – Assault on Myebon, Burma
British TF.64 (RAdm. Martin) destroyer HMAS Napier, the Indian Sloops Narbada and Jumna, HMDL 1248 and ML 854 with transports and landing craft, land troops of 3. Commando Brigade near Myebon between Akyab and Ramree (Burma). ML 854 and ML 1248 launch COPP teams, prior to the Myebon assault for reconnaisance and demolition missions. They succeed in placing marker buoys in the estuary having identified two suitable landing sites.
ML 854 and ML 1248 survey the approaches to Ruywa. COPP teams from ML 1248 survey the landing beaches. Two men from ML 1248 are mentioned in despatches for operations off the coast of Arakan 11/44 – 3/45.
ML1417 is mined off Flushing, Holland and sank under tow
ML1392 captured a German Biber Type midget submarine off Breskens in the Scheldt Estuary. Eleven Bibers had sortied that day. Four were found abandoned along the coast at North Beveland, Knocke, Domberg and Zeebrugge. One was sunk by gunfire off Westkapelle on 8 March and five vanished.
ML 1399 is engaged in the rescue of casualties for which one man is subsequently awarded a BEM.
MTB 476 and ML1383 rescue survivors of MV GOLD SHELL mined and sunk off the Belgian coast in position 51.22n 02.55e. The Commanding Officer and two men of ML 1383 are mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1372, one officer is awarded a DSC and one rating is mentioned in despatches for the bombardment of the Gothic Line in the Adriatic 9/44.
Birthday Honours List 1945
In ML 1085, the Commanding Officer is awarded a DSC and two men are mentioned in despatches. Two men in ML 1405, two men in ML 1413 and one man in each of ML 1070, ML 1091, ML 1379, ML 1387, ML 1393, ML 1406, ML 1417 and ML 1476 are mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1242, the Commanding Officer is awarded a DSC and one rating is awarded a DSM for salvage work whilst under fire at Livorno, Italy during 1944.
Awards for operations off the coast of Arakan, Burma 11/44 – 3/45.
In ML 1248, two men are mentioned in despatches. This involved landing COPP teams to conduct covert beach surveys.
In ML 1275, one officer is awarded a DSC and one rating is mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1293, two men are mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1303, one officer is awarded a DSC and one rating is subsequently mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1368, two men are mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1074, Lt Cdr Stanley William Scott Robinson RAN is awarded a DSC for Hydrographic service in the Far East 1944-45. In action at Morotai having been damaged by a storm and collision with a destroyer. Subsequently charted the harbour before being repaired.
ML1322, ML1324 and ML1329 are present at the surrender of Timor ML1343 is preset at the surrender of Sandakan.
Awards for services in the clearance of the Aegean and the relief of Greece.
In ML 1158, one officer is awarded a DSC and two ratings are awarded DSMs.
In ML 1283, one officer is awarded a DSC.
In ML 1385, one rating is awarded a DSM and another is mentioned in despatches.
In ML 1402, three men are mentioned in despatches for the destruction of midget submarines in the Nore area 1944 – 45.
In ML 1463 one rating is awarded a DSM for minesweeping in the Irrawaddy river prior to the assault on Rangoon 5/45.
Wind up of the war in Europe (Gazetted in December 1945)
In ML 1005,the Commanding Officer is awarded an MBE. In ML 1007 one man is awarded a BEM. In ML 1242 one man is awarded a BEM and one man is mentioned in despatches. In ML 1254 one man is awarded a BEM and two men are mentioned in despatches. Two men are mentioned in despatches in each of ML 1301, ML 1386 and ML 1396. One man is mentioned in despatches in each of ML 1373, ML 1387, ML 1393, ML 1402, ML 1406, ML 1409, ML 1413 and ML 1475.
New Year Honours List 1946
One man in ML 1122 and one man in ML 1158 are each awarded a DSM.
In ML 1333, one officer is awarded a DSC and three men are mentioned in despatches for patrols off Sumatra after the Japanese surrender.