HDML Boats 1051 to 1100

HDML 1051

Morgan Giles, Teignmouth, Devon 10/2/41

Known Crew

  • TSLt Norman V Stallworthy RNVR HMS Stag (Port Said) for MLs 22/2/42 First Lieutenant ML 355 1/43 Anti submarine patrols based on Beirut 102nd ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria Commanding Officer HDML 1051 28/2/43 TLt 11/5/43 Commanding Officer ML 354 10/43 Operations in the Aegean HMS Mosquito (Alexandria) Commanding Officer ML 918 31/7/44
  • TSLt Douglas John Snelgar RNVR TSLt 15/7/43 102nd ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria Commanding Officer HDML 1051 15/12/43 HDML 1023 HMS Mosquito (Alexandria) New Year Honours List 1945 MID For services in the clearance of the Aegean and the relief of Greece 1945 DSC HMS Lanka (Colombo) 1946 Vicar of Steep (1957-92); Priest-in-Charge of Froxfield with Privett (1988-92); Hon. Canon of Portsmouth Cathedral (1985-92). Born 1917 in Paddington, London and died 18/6/2008 in Petersfield, Hampshire
  • TASLt P B Jensen RNVR HDML 1051 22/1/44
  • TSLt A L Moseley RNVR TSLt 12/9/43 43rd ML Flotila Based at Alexandria ML 350 16/9/43 ML 348 25/4/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1051 27/3/45
  • TSLt J G Oliver RNVR TASLt 23/7/44 HDML 1051 17/4/45
  • TLt A J K Jenkins RNVR TSLt HDML 1051 24/7/44 TLt 7/10/44

Wartime Activities

  • 3/41 In company with HDMLs 1005, 1007and 1015, on passage Hamble – Appledore – Holyhead – Clyde (Holy Loch) for transport to Middle East.
  • 5/41 Vessel loaded in Norwegian vessel SS Belpareil for transport to Suez.
    SS Belpareil departed as part of Convoy OB-329
  • 1/6/41 Officers and crews of the boats embarked in SS Orbita, on the Clyde.
  • 5/6/41 Convoy dispersed and S.S. BelPareil steamed independently to Suez (via Freetown, Capetown, Mombasa, Aden, Massawa, and Port Sudan, as well as other ports.)
  • 27/7/41 SS Orbita arrived Durban, crew transferred to the Dutch ship Nieuw Amsterdam
  • 8/41 Vessel arrived, in transport, at Suez and unloaded.
  • 1/1/42 102nd ML Flotilla
    Based at Alexandria, Egypt
    ML 1012, ML 1015, ML 1017, ML 1023, ML 1038, ML 1039 and ML 1051
  • 21/1/42 In thick weather, store ship Manoula and corvette HMS Peony ran aground at Ras Aszaz. Tug St Monance, anti-submarine whaler Sotra, and ML 1051 were sent to assist. The ships were refloated on the 22nd and the corvette returned to Alexandria for docking

Post War History

  • 4/9/45 On loan to Greece – Greek Navy = Portaria
  • 1961 Sold in Greece
  • 2002 = Rodos, Based in Estapona
  • 2004 Based in Alamaria

HDML 1052

Morgan Giles, Teignmouth, Devon 8/5/41

Known Crew

  • TLt A R Vallance RNVR 104th ML Flotilla Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone. Commanding Officer HDML 1052 12/4/43 TLt 25/6/43 ML 455
  • TSLt H A Hagman RNVR TSLt 5/8/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1052 20/8/44 HMS Iron Duke (Scapa Flow) ML 540 Rescue Motor Launch
  • TSLt G A Dunnett RNVR TSLt 26/9/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1052 11/12/44 HMS Philoctetes II (Freetown, Sierra Leone) HMS Braganza (Bombay)

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 104th ML Flotilla
    At Greenock to be freighted to Freetown, Sierra Leone
    ML 1006, ML 1014, ML 1016, ML 1018, ML 1019, ML 1041, ML 1042 and ML 1052
  • 1/42 104th ML Flotilla
    Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone
    ML 1006, ML 1016 and ML 1052 are at Freetown
    ML 1014, ML 1018, ML 1019 and ML 1042 are at Lagos
    ML 1041 is at Takoradi
  • 6/11/42 ML 1209, ML 1041, ML 1052, ML 285, HMS St Wistan arrived at Takoradi
  • 10/11/42 Anti submarine trawler HMS Copinsay, ML 1052, ML 1019 sailed from Takoradi for Lagos escorting
  • 11/11/42 Anti submarine trawler H.M.S. Copinsay and ML 1019 and ML 1052 arrived in Lagos from Takoradi
  • 24/2/43 ML 1052 sailed for Cotonomu with French recognition signals
  • 25/2/43 ML 1052 arrived in Lagos from Kotonou
  • 12/3/43 ML 1052 sailed from Lagos for Porto Novo with Free French recognition signals
  • 10/4/43 ML 1052 sailed from Lagos for Port Novo
  • 11/4/43 ML 1052 arrived in Lagos from Porto Novo
  • 20/4/43 ML 1052 sailed from Lagos for Porto Novo
  • 21/4/43 ML 1052 arrived in Lagos from Porto Novo

Post War History

  • 1/46 For disposal at Freetown, Sierra Leone

HDML 1053

Morgan Giles, Teignmouth, Devon 12/7/41

Known Crew

  • ChSkipper A G G Jenner RNR Skipper 24/1/39 Commanding Officer HDML 1053 18/9/43 AChSkipper 3/7/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1035 18/11/44
  • Skipper C J Lazenby RNR Commanding Officer HDML 1053 18/11/44
  • LtCdr C R K Roe RN Commanding Officer HDML 1053 5/2/45 Assistant Surveyor 1st Class (DSC)

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 103rd ML Flotilla
    Based at Falmouth on completion
    ML 1009, ML 1013, ML 1025, ML 1027, ML 1033, ML 1034, ML 1035 and ML 1053. Mostly at Plymouth
  • 1/1/42 103rd ML Flotilla
    ML 1013, ML 1027, ML 1033, ML 1053, at Falmouth
    ML 1009, ML 1025, ML 1034 and ML 1035 based in Plymouth
    1944 Fitted with echo sounders and allocated to Hydrographic Survey duties.
    Held as a reserve for ML 1001 in the event of damage or breakdown

Post War History

  • 1945 Survey Motor Launch = SML 2
  • 1949 SML 322
  • 20/4/59 Sold

HDML 1054

Burn, Wroxham, Norfolk 6/11/41

Known Crew

  • TLt G G Pinder RNVR TLt 5/6/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1054 10/43
  • Skipper R J Quinton RNR Skipper 1/9/39 109th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow Commanding Officer HDML 1054 23/9/42 AChSkipper Commanding Officer HDML 1091 12/43 ChSkipper 6/1/44 150th ML Flotilla Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy Operation Big Drum
  • ChEng Thomas Mckinnel HDML 1054 based at Granton. Crew transferred to HDML 1091 6-7/43
  • AB John Tyler HMS Royal Arthur (Skegness), HMS Europa (Lowestoft) for cookery course. HDML 1054 based at Granton. Crew transferred to HDML 1091 6-7/43

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 109th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1047, ML 1054, ML 1055, ML 1056, ML 1060, ML 1075, ML 1081 and ML 1085.
  • 1/42 ML 1054 is at Great Yarmouth
  • 6/43 Based at HMS Claverhouse, Leith and Granton
  • 11/10/43 Stranded near Heugh Light, Tees and declared Constructive Total Loss

Serving on HDML’s in WWII – From Able Seaman Cook John Tyler

“I received my call up papers for the Royal Navy on December 24th 1942 at the age of 21 and was instructed to report to Royal Arthur Skegness on December 30th. Not being too best pleased at this I began a few days of visiting pubs, especially over the Christmas period. I eventually arrived on the said date and set about my induction and basic training for about a 4-week period after which I was moved to the Royal Navy School of Cooking at HMS Europa in Lowestoft. I took the 5-6 weeks cookery course qualifying as an assistant cook.

I was then billeted out with a local family for another 2 weeks before being posted to Granton Dock in Edinburgh where I joined ML1054. The skipper was Sub/Lt. Quinton RNVR who was a trawler skipper and wanted to return to this life as soon as he could.

The Chief engineer was C.P.O. Tommy Mckinnel and seamen Stokes and John Miller were also crewmembers. My sea experience on ML’s began there with regular patrols of 2 boats patrolling from the Forth Bridge to Bass Rock. We would patrol for 2 days and nights and as we came back in to Granton, 2 more of our flotilla’s boats would go out. When out we would sometimes anchor in the lee of Bass Rock overnight to rest and listen. We were patrolling for enemy submarines and E-boats.

ML1054 had Glenifer engines, which proved to be at best unreliable and sometimes unworkable. We would have done better with paddles. Around June or July the entire crew and skipper transferred to ML 1091, which was fitted with Gardener engines and had no crew. ML1054 remained un-crewed at the dockside.”

HDML 1055

Burn, Wroxham, Norfolk 14/3/42

London Gazette 14/6/45 – Birthday Honours List 1945

  • MID Skipper Vincent Nicolini RNR
  • MID Sea Robert Lees LT/JX514100

Known Crew

  • TSkipper J G Cook RNR Commanding Officer HDML 1055 14/2/43 ChSkipper 20/12/44
  • Skipper Vincent Nicolini RNR Skipper 1/8/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1055 1/1/44) 150th ML Flotilla Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy MID in Birthday Honours List 1945
  • Skipper G W Duffield RNR Skipper 1/4/43 First Lieutenant HDML 1055 18/7/44 – End
  • Sea Robert Lees LT/JX514100 150th ML Flotilla HDML 1055 Birthday Honours List 1945 MID

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 109th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1047, ML 1054, ML 1055, ML 1056, ML 1060, ML 1075, ML 1081 and ML 1085
    To join on completion
  • 6/43 Based at HMS Claverhouse, Leith and Granton
  • 6/44 Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy
    150th ML Flotilla
    ML1055, ML1056, ML1060, ML1081, ML1085, ML1091, ML1279, ML1382, ML1390

Post War History

  • 7/46 For disposal
  • Yacht = Gerenik

HDML 1056

Hillyard, Littlehampton, West Sussex 18/8/41

Known Crew

  • Skipper J Jappy RNR Skipper 1/3/41 Commanding Officer 150th ML Flotilla HDML 1056 21/2/44 Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy Commanding Officer HDML 1058 9/44
  • Skipper G F Mutten RNR Skipper 1/1/42 150th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1056 1/12/44 HMS Cochrane II (Rosyth)

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 109th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1047, ML 1054, ML 1055, ML 1056, ML 1060, ML 1075, ML 1081 and ML 1085
  • 1/42 At Scapa Flow
  • 6/44 Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy
    150th ML Flotilla
    ML1055, ML1056, ML1060, ML1081, ML1085, ML1091, ML1279, ML1382, ML1390

Post War History

  • Air Safety Launch = ASL 6
  • 8/46 For disposal

HDML 1057

Hillyard, Littlehampton, West Sussex 30/9/41

Known Crew

  • TLt R C N Pirie RANVR TLt 21/10/41 110th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1057 6/1/43 ML 824 6/44
  • TMid M G Arkwright SANF(V) TMid HDML 1057 26/8/43 TSLt 12/6/44 59th ML Flotilla ML 366 ML 896 19/2/45 Arakan
  • TSLt N J S Carr RNR TMid 110th ML Flotilla HDML 1088 5/8/42 TSLt 18/12/43 110th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1057 25/3/44
  • LSea Robert William James Wilson P/JX 160843 died in an explosion on 13/10/1944, at Kilindini, Kenya, aged 21. Son of Harold G. and Hannah C. Wilson, of Reading, Berkshire

Wartime Activities

  • 1/42 At Fort William for training duties and temporarily attached from 110th ML Flotilla
  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla
    Destined for East Indies
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 are at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 are to be freighted upon completion
    Transported to South Africa
    110th ML Flotilla
    HDMLs 1057, 1080, 1086, 1098
  • 13/10/44 Accidental loss, by explosion of demolition charges, at Kilindini, Kenya. See also HDML 1108

HDML 1058

Sussex Woods, Potter Heigham, Norfolk 8/9/41

Known Crew

  • Skipper E J Attridge RNR Skipper 1/9/40 107th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow Commanding Officer HDML 1058 2/7/42 Duchesse De Brabant 1945
  • Skipper J Jappy RNR Skipper 1/3/41 Commanding Officer 150th ML Flotilla HDML 1056 21/2/44 Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy Commanding Officer HDML 1058 9/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow on completion
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071
  • 1/42 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071

Post War History

  • Fast Despatch Boat = FDB 52
  • 1947 Chinese Navy

HDML 1059

Sussex Woods, Potter Heigham, Norfolk 27/9/41

Known Crew

  • Lt Henry Percy Sympson RNVR. HMS St Christopher for MLs 2/8/41 107th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow HDML 1059. Died in an accident 1/8/42. Son of George Percy and Hilda Clara Sympson, of Westminster, London. Solicitor of the Supreme Court. Buried in Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery Plot P. Row 4. Grave 13
  • Skipper J W Shell RNR Skipper 24/2/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1059 5/5/43
  • TSkipper F J Setterfield RNR TSkipper 20/8/41 Commanding Officer HDML 1059 31/3/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow on completion
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071
  • 1/42 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071

Post War History

  • Fast Despatch Boat = FDB 53
  • 1947 Chinese Navy

HDML 1060

Sussex Woods, Potter Heigham, Norfolk 12/1/42

Known Crew

  • Skipper A Clark RNR 109th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow HDML 1060 23/9/42 106th ML Flotilla Operating in Iceland Commanding Officer HDML 1067 26/11/43
  • Skipper W R Durrard RNR 106th ML Flotilla Operating in Iceland Commanding Officer HDML 1026 9/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1060 3/11/43 Based at HMS Claverhouse, Leith and Granton Commanding Officer HDML 1300 8/11/44
  • TSkipper G Cowie RNR 150th ML Flotilla HDML 1060 15/7/44 Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy
  • Sea John Thomas Armstrong LT/JX 185361. Died 06/08/1944, aged 27. Son of Robert T. Armstrong and Ida May Armstrong, of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea; husband of Anne Jane Armstrong, of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Buried in Newbiggin (St. Bartholomew) Churchyard
  • Sea Frank Covell LT/JX 305514. Died 06/08/1944, aged 21. Son of Florence Maria Covell, of Clayton, Manchester. Buried in Poole (Parkstone) Cemetery
  •  Ord Robert Kenneth Forrester (pictured below) P/JX295085 HMS Collingwood 14/8/41 HMS Excellent AA3 HMS St Christopher Manor Naval Barracks, Brightlingsea, Essex HDML 1060 Based at HMS Claverhouse, Leith and Granton HMS Attack (Portland) 5/42 17th MGB Flotilla Based at Great Yarmouth MGB 606 AB LSea HMS Ganges 8/43 HMS Hornet 55th MTB Flotilla Based at Portsmouth MTB 632 Further award for Operation Neptune MID
  • OTel Douglas Nicoll C/JX 405278 HDML 1060. Died, 06/08/1944, aged 20, in an ammunition explosion in the Poole Area. Son of Alfred George and Elizabeth Nicoll, of Aberdeen. Buried in Poole (Parkstone) Cemetery

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 109th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1047, ML 1054, ML 1055, ML 1056, ML 1060, ML 1075, ML 1081 and ML 1085
  • 6/43 Based at HMS Claverhouse, Leith and Granton
  • 6/44 Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy
    150th ML Flotilla
    ML1055, ML1056, ML1060, ML1081, ML1085, ML1091, ML1279, ML1382, ML1390
  • 6/8/44 Constructive Total Loss by ammunition explosion Poole Area

Memory of Ken Forrester P/JX295085

Robert Kenneth Forrester“Once we had commissioned the boat and provisions on board, we sailed down the Broads to Lowestoft. By that time it was late January 1942. It was a cold winter with lots of snow around. I had just been to the naval base for a bath when the air raid sirens sounded on my way back to the boat. The wind was blowing and it was snowing, when out of the swirling snow came a German aircraft at zero height, machine gunning. I lay prostrate in the snow and just hoped for the best. Luckily I was unscathed. A couple of days later and still tied up alongside a sea wall, the sirens sounded again for some reason I can’t remember. I was one of a few that was on board at that time, but no officers. I had just armed myself with the Lewis gun and put the ammunition pan in place, when sure enough a German bomber, a Heinkel 111, came in view at a height that could just about be in range, so I fired the Lewis gun from the shoulder at the hostile plane, but alas nothing came down. Thus were my first shots of anger duly dispatched. I was not aware then of what was to follow in the next three years.

We were soon on our way, leaving Lowestoft for Great Yarmouth on our journey to our destination, which turned out to be Granton on the Firth of Forth, in close proximity to the Forth Bridge where our duties would be boom defence. We stayed at Great Yarmouth for a couple of days. It was here I had my first good fortune. Alongside us was moored a brand new ML, as was our boat. That ML was going down to Cornwall, our boat to Scotland. A seaman from the ML got in conversation with me. He was a Scotsman, and he asked me if I would change boats with him so that he could be near home. It seemed to make no difference to me, so I agreed to his suggestion, but my Captain would not let me go. No one knew that three months later that ML would be one of fifteen MLs, one MGB and one MTB and an ancient destroyer that were to take part in the raid of the French port of St Nazaire.

On route we encountered storms and heavy seas and being new to the sea I found it difficult to do any sort of duty because of sickness. I found that my stint on the wheel (steering the ship) gave me most comfort. Eventually we took shelter in Bridlington Bay in the Lee of Flamborough Head for twenty-four hours until conditions improved. The next leg took us to Blyth where once again we took shelter from the storm. In the middle of the night the air raid sirens sounded. By that time we were tied up alongside the quay. German bombers were soon to be heard droning high in the night sky, the wavering pitch of their engine noise immediately identifying them. The anti-aircraft guns were firing and searchlights pierced the darkness in thin long beams. Bombs were falling in the distance, when all of a sudden there came this loud crunch and a flash — a bomb had just missed us and exploded in the water. Luckily that was the only one that came our way. The next morning we were on our way again, but only as far as Berwick on Tweed, the last town in England. Quite why we called there I don’t know, but I have a recollection of a long stone bridge with many arches. Then finally to our destination, Granton, from where we sailed to our station off the Island of Inchkeith, to pick up radio signals and hydrophone watches.

To put it in a nutshell, it was a ‘cushy job’. When back at base there was shore leave, which in my case was spent in nearby Edinburgh, usually dancing at the Palaise. All this was short lived and my honeymoon period was drawing to a close. HDML 1060 was taken to dry-dock at Leith, where the crew were paid off and we were drafted down to HMS Attack at Portland in Dorset, around the end of May. l understand HDML 1060 had a copper bottom fitted and armaments updated and was shipped out to the Far East where she did not survive the war: another let off.”

HDML 1061

Sussex Woods, Potter Heigham, Norfolk 23/4/42

Known Crew

  • TSLt D C Kapoor RINVR TSLt 24/3/43 120th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1061 28/5/43 56th ML Flotilla ML 416 HMS Cheetah (Bombay) 1944
  • SLt A J Adams RINVR 120th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1061
  • TLt H S Holt RINVR TLt 25/3/43 120th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer and previously First Lieutenant HDML 1061 15/6/43 as TSLt HMS Cheetah (Bombay)
  • TSLt S C R Reading RINVR Mid 5/4/43 HMIS Dalhousie (Bombay) 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1061
  • TASLt Sh Ibne Ali RINVR 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1061
  • TMid J M Storrow RINVR TMid 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1061 TASLt 13/5/44 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1084
  • TMid D N W Knight RINVR TMid 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1061 15/6/43 TASLt 24/5/44 HDML 1120 TSLt 24/11/44
  • TMid O S Dawson RINVR 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1073 15/6/43 120th ML HDML 1061 28/10/43 TASLt 1/7/44 HMS Cheetah (Bombay)

Wartime Activities

  • 5/43 Royal Indian Navy
    120th ML Flotilla
    ML 1061, ML 1073, ML 1079, ML 1084, ML 1087

Post War History

  • 6/46 For disposal

HDML 1062

Thornycroft, Singapore 1/42?

London Gazette 29/1/46 – For the evacuation of Sungei Punngor in 1942

  • MID TLt Colin Edward McMillan RNZNVR (Post)

Known Crew

  • TLt Colin Edward McMillan RNZNVR Commanding Officer HDML 1062 For the evacuation of Sungei Punngor in 1942 MID killed in action 16/02/1942 when HDML 1062 was sunk by Japanese surface craft gunfire, Banka Strait. Son of Robert John and Mabel Macmillan (nee Hart), of Tauranga, New Zealand
  • Lt Richard Anthony West Pool RN HDML 1062 (Senior Officer for operations off the west coast of Malaya – 12/41)
  • LSea William Edward Wells C/J 98299 HDML 1062. Killed in action16/02/1942 when HDML 1062 was sunk by Japanese surface craft gunfire, Banka Strait. Previously awarded a DSM. Son of William Edward and Elizabeth Waterman Wells; husband of Ethel Amy Wells, of Romford, Essex
  • AB Bin A Ismail MN545 HDML 1062
  • Sto1 William Rowland D/KX 116122 HDML 1062 killed in action 16/02/1942 when HDML 1062 was sunk by Japanese surface craft gunfire, Banka Strait. Son of Arthur and Elize Ella Rowland, of Miles Platting, Manchester

Wartime Activities

  • 12/41 HDMLs 1062 and 1063 assigned to special operations on the west coast of Malaya
  • 24/12/41 HDML 1062, towing two motor boats, departed Singapore for Port Swettenham. HDML 1062 subjected to a series of squalls and tows had to be recovered several times during the night.
  • 25/12/41 Christmas dinner consisted of prunes and condensed milk, due to rough weather and tea consisted of a Christmas cake. In the evening, HDML 1062 arrived in Port Swettenham
  • 26/12/41 HDML 1062 departed Port Swettenham to join HDML 1063 at Sungei Burnan. A civilian rubber planter, William Harvey, acted as guide and the two HDMLs rendezvoused early evening.
  • 26/12/41 At last light, HDMLs 1062 and 1063 departed to land embarked troops between Taiping and the Perak River. HDML 1063 transferred troops to a motor boat and retired. HDML 1062 transferred troops to a motor boat, but the engine would not start. HDML 1062 recovered the troops and sank the motor boat before returning to Port Swettenham. On the return trip, HDML 1062 encountered a Koleb (native boat) and embarked a rubber planter his wife and 12 year old daughter, who had travelled 300 miles in the open boat. A Chinese and a Malay chose to remain with the boat and headed for the coast. HDML 1062 returned to Port Swettenham and landed the survivors, before taking on fuel and stores from Kudat.
  • 27/12/41 In the early morning, Port Swettenham suffered an air raid by British aircraft identified as Bristol Blenheims. One aircraft was shot down amongst the mangrove swamps to the west. HDMLs 1062 and 1063 conducted an unsuccessful search for survivors.
  • 28/12/41 HDML 1062 departed Port Swettenham to recover a raiding party. The raiding party were recovered after ambushing a Japanese motor transport convoy.
  • 6-7/1/42 HDML 1062 escorted the tug Elisabeth from Port Swettenham to Malacca, which has been evacuated. Both vessels continued on towards Muar in company with two steamships. SS Kinto was attacked, hit several times by Japanese aircraft, and set on fire. HDML 1062 and the tug Elisabeth were machine gunned but did not suffer casualties.
  • 1300/7 The convoy reached Muar. In the evening someone representing himself as the District Commissioner boarded HDML 1062 and ordered the vessel to leave as its presence was provoking a Japanese attack. He was ordered to leave at gunpoint.
  • 8/1/42 HDML 1062 and the tug Elisabeth reached Batu Pahat.
  • 9/1/42 HDML 1062 and the tug Elisabeth reached Singapore Naval Base.
  • 1/2/42 HDMLs 1062 and 1063, towing naval whalers, evacuated troops from the Malayan mainland to Singapore. Coverage was provided by the gunboats HMS Dragonfly, HMS Scorpion and HMS Grasshopper.
  • 1942 Evacuation of Sungei Punngor
  • 14/2/42 HDML 1062 wassheltering in the Bulang Archipeligo south of Singapore in the next bay to ML 310.
  • 16/2/42 Sunk by Japanese surface craft gunfire, Banka Strait

Harbour Defence Motor Launch 1062
Sunk by gunfire Banka Straits 16 February 1942
[Version 2. 0. 0; February 2020]
Michael Pether

A Harbour Defence Motor Launch of the same design as HDML 1062

HDML 1062 was one of two (the other was HDML 1063) Fairmile Harbour Defence Motor Launches built in Singapore and completed for the Straits Settlement RNVR. Others, with batch numbers up to 1220, had been planned or construction started, but wartime events and the invasion of Singapore meant they were not completed – and some never started. In fact, post War in 1946 the ‘Straits Times’ newspaper had an advertisement for the sale of HDML1086 “… in bad condition…” at Thornycroft, Tanjong Rhu. HDML 1086 must have languished, incomplete, in Singapore during Japanese occupation.

There were also a small group of similar size and design launches used by the SSRNVR,” … Four had been earlier built for the SSRNVR. by Thornycroft but were outside the normal Royal Navy numbering system for HDML and received names instead: ‘Pahalwan’, ‘Panglima’, Pennigat’, and ‘Panji’. Large numbers were apparently ordered but only these two actually completed – and many never begun. These were small patrol boats that belied their designation. With excellent sea keeping capabilities and a 2000 mile range, they served with coastal forces worldwide…”. (“A Bit of History – RNVR HDML in the Far East 1941).

The HDML are sometimes confused in historical narratives with the HMML serving in Singapore, but the HDML were 40 feet shorter than the HMML with much less speed.

Harbour Defence Motor Launch specifications were:

  • 72 foot overall
  • 46 tons
  • Twin diesel engines
  • Maximum speed 12.5 knots/ Cruising speed 10 knots
  • Fuel: 1500 gallons diesel
  • Range 1000 nautical miles at 12 knots and 2000 nautical miles at 10 knots
  • Standard Armament was a 3 pounder Mk1 gun on the foredeck and two .303 Lewis Guns. plus, eight depth charges

The earliest actions of HDML 1062 with Lt Colin MacMillan, RNZNVR, in command were in December 1941 after the Japanese had invaded northern Malaya – it was assigned to ‘special operations’ on the west coast of Malaya with its twin vessel HDML 1063. On Xmas Eve 1941, HDML 1062 set off from Singapore towing two motor boats headed for Port Swettenham and arrived there on Xmas Day 1941. On Boxing Day, it left Port Swettenham with a civilian rubber planter (William Harvey) as a guide to join HDML 1063 at Sungei Burnam. They landed troops between Taiping and the Perak River and on the return journey to Port Swettenham picked up another rubber planter with his wife and 12-year-old daughter from a native boat. On 28 December they left Port Swettenham again and recovered a raiding party who had ambushed a Japanese motor transport convoy.

Lt Colin MacMillan
Lt Colin MacMillan, RNZNVR, M.I.D. [ Photo TCL /Ellen McCormack]

On 6-7 January 1942 HDML 1062 escorted the tug ‘Elizabeth’ from Port Swettenham to Malacca which had been evacuated and motored to Muar in company with two steam ships – one, the ‘SS Kinto’ was attacked and hit several times by Japanese aircraft and set on fire. HDML 1062 and ‘Elizabeth’ were machine gunned but did not suffer casualties. After reaching Muar and having a confrontation with the local District Commissioner who complained that the presence of the Motor Launch was provoking a Japanese attack, Lt. MacMillan appears to have ordered the District Commissioner to leave at gunpoint and motored off to the Singapore Naval Base with ‘Elizabeth’.

On 1 February, HDML 1062 and 1063, towing naval whalers, evacuated troops from the Malayan mainland to Singapore – under cover provided by the ex – Yangste River gunboats ‘HMS Dragonfly’, ‘HMS Scorpion’ and ‘HMS Grasshopper’. It was around this time that Lt. Colin MacMillan assisted in the evacuation of Sungei Punngor and for his deeds received his ‘Mention In Despatches’.

On the night of 8 February 1942 the Japanese forces landed on the north west coast of Singapore island and over the next few days the front line moved south through the outer suburbs of Singapore.

On the evening of 13th February 1942 as the Japanese Army tightened its encirclement of the central area of the city of Singapore the Allied troops and civilians endured constant bombing and artillery shelling – the city was in flames; thousands of dead bodies littered the streets and much of the city lay in ruins. In the suburbs hand to hand fighting was taking place in last ditch attempts to stop the Japanese overrunning the city.

The governmental authorities had been very tardy and inefficient in the evacuation of civilians until only a few days before and now, as the last vessels that could be remotely called ‘ships’ prepared to leave, chaotic scenes were taking place at the Singapore wharves as dozens of European and Eurasian civilian men, together with hundreds of servicemen from the UK, Australia, India and New Zealand scrambled onto any vessel departing that would take them. Most women and children who wanted to escape by ship had already gone – albeit that most of the ships which had left in the previous couple of days were doomed to be sunk.

The military had intensified their efforts to evacuate skilled servicemen to Batavia in Java, to prepare for another stand against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies, and amongst this group it appears that a small contingent of men from the RAOC ( Royal Army Ordnance Corps) were assigned to depart on HDML 1062.

At Collier Quay at the Singapore wharves (now part of the Fullerton Hotel) a small flotilla of modest sized vessels had been gathered to transport key army personnel and another group of very senior Navy and Airforce Officers to Java.

Amongst the vessels (Captains) were;

  • The ‘Pulo Soegi’, a small coastal merchant vessel (Lt. A. J. Martin, RNZNVR)
  • Fairmile ‘B’ launch ML 310 (Lt. H. J. Bull, RNZNVR)
  • Fairmile ‘B’ launch ML 311 (Lt. E. J. H. Christmas, RANVR with Lt. E. Staples, RNZNVR as First Officer)
  • Fairmile ‘B’ launch ML 432 (Lt. L.H. Herd, RNZNVR with Lt. W.A. Bourke, RNZNVR as First Officer)
  • Fairmile ‘B’ launch ML 433(Lt. Cdr. H. Campey, RANVR with Lt Bob Arkley, RNZNVR as First Officer)
  • HDML 1062 (Lt. C. E. MacMillan, RNZNVR with Lt G. K. Stein, MRNVR, as First Officer)
  • ’HMS Grasshopper’ – a 200-foot ex Yangste River gunboat and its sister ships,
  • ‘HMS Dragonfly’
  • ‘HMS Scorpion’

Departure from Singapore…

At about midnight on 13 February 1942 (some sources say 2200 hrs and others say it was at 0100 hrs on 14 February) there are references to a ‘naval launch’ which we presume to be HDML 1062 (since 1062 is identified specifically as being with the Yangste River gun boats the following day) leaving Singapore harbour in company with ‘HMS Grasshopper’ and ‘HMS Dragonfly’ ( statement by L/Cpl Hollard, Reconnaissance Group and a passenger on ‘HMS Dragonfly).

For specific events and chronology, we can draw on a ‘Narrative’ compiled by Lt. G.K. Stein in Palembang POW camp (it is part of a much larger collections of reports ordered by the Allied Commanding Officer in the camp in 1942 Cmdr. Reid, RN). Stein tells us that; “… 13.2.42 2150 hrs. Left Singapore en route to BATAVIA: ship’s complement 45. Via Durian, Berhala and Banka Straits…”.

Then there is (in page 106 of the book “Course for Disaster: From Scapa Flow to the River Kwai” by Lt Richard Pool) a record that on 14 February HDML 1062 was sheltering in the Bulang Archipelago, in the next bay to HMML 310. In the book Pool recounts how after HMML310 left Singapore Harbour late on 13 February they motored through the night south through the islands south of Singapore past the large Pulau Batam, but early next morning they began to see aircraft culminating in the sighting of a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft which forced HMML310 to “… turn into the Bulang Archipelago only about 35 miles south [ of Singapore] which we did at 10. . A small bay with a Chinese village lay behind a fringe of palm trees … We noticed ML1062 make its way into the bay just beyond ours …”. Bulang Archipelago, a group of islands dominated by what is now named Pulau Bulan (spelt Bulang in Chinese), lies to the southwest of Pulau Batam.

Who was aboard HDML 1062:

Lt Stein recorded 30 RAOC on board which means his vessel had been required to embark one of the large groups of RAOC out of some 100 RAOC specialists who were being urgently evacuated from Singapore as men with a high level of skill needed to continue the war elsewhere.

Other RAOC men had boarded the ‘Pulo Soegi’, HMML 311 – both also sunk in the Banka straits – and HMML 432 (the latter beached safely on Banka Island without casualties). Also, on 14 February Lieutenant I. D.S. Forbes, on ‘HMS Grasshopper’ says he saw ‘1062’ when it joined ‘HMS Grasshopper’ and observed at about 0900 (approx.) “… At this time we were joined by a ‘Fairmile’ launch ML1062 with troops of the Gordon highlanders on board …”, this may be a ‘red herring’ or may just mean that the ‘Infantryman’ recorded by Lt Stein was a lone soldier from the Gordon Highlanders and that person was seen by Lt Forbes.

In the written family history of Lt MacMillan (the Tauranga City Library document, htpp://tauranga.kete.net.nz) there is the comment that “… there were around 50 passengers on board …”, but the source of this information is unknown and this is not backed up by sources who were POWs in Palembang and Changi ( below) so must be discounted,

  • Firstly , the authoritative report compiled by Cmdr. Reid, RAF in Palembang camp states that there were 3 Officers ( who must have been MacMillan, Stein and another unidentified naval officer) in command of HDML1062, 9 naval ratings and that there were 35 Army and 1 RAF as passengers – this should be interpreted in the context of Steins ‘narrative’ below particularly insofar as ‘Supernumerary’ naval personnel.
  • In the book “Spotlight on Singapore’ by Denis Russell–Roberts, who became a POW in Changi and whose wife Ruth had escaped on the ‘Mata Hari’ but been captured by the Japanese and initially imprisoned on Banka Island (she tragically died in January 1945 in another of the horrendous Palembang Internment camp in southern Sumatra). As a result of his wife being interned and nothing known of her fate during the War, Denis Russell–Roberts was very focussed on the fate of the evacuation ships – he states in his book that HDML 1062 was “… sunk by gunfire in the Banka Straits on 16th February 1942… “and there were “… 10 survivors and 38 missing …” which equates to the same total number aboard as recorded by Cmdr. Reid.
  • Because Russell–Roberts was in Changi POW camp in Singapore he would have been aware of the work by another POW in that camp by the name of Captain David Nelson, SSVF, who for much of the War headed the team comprising the ‘Bureau of Record and Enquiry’ who amassed a veritable room full of records on the tens of thousands of servicemen in the region – and their fate. Russell – Roberts may even have sourced his information on the HDML 1062 from Captain Nelson’s files because in a post war book written by Captain Nelson he records insofar as what he calls ‘ML1062’ the following “… left Singapore 13.2.42. Sunk by gunfire south end of Bangka Straits, 16.2.42. Passengers Army and RAF 35, including Lt. G.K. Stein, MRNVR. Estimated 10 survivors…”.
  • However, the final word must be given to Lt G.K. Stein as the only surviving naval officer and from his ‘Narrative’ compiled in Palembang he recorded,

“CREW:

    • Permanent 10 (2 officers & 8)
    • Supernumerary 4 (1 officer & 3)
    • Passengers 30 RAOC
    • 1 Infantryman
    • Total 45”

An interesting discrepancy in Stein’s short ‘narrative’ is that he also later records one ‘RAF’ man as being a ‘survivor’ (below). It is completely understandable that Lt Stein had been severely traumatised by the events of the shelling and sinking of his vessel, so it is not clear whether he meant the ‘Infantry man’ to be from the ‘RAF’ or not. Probably an RAF man.

Voyage to the Banka Strait:

Lt. Stein recorded in his Palembang ‘Narrative’,

  • “… 14.2.42. 0615 hrs. Proceeded through DURIAN, astern ‘TAPAH’
    1200 Anchored Monkey Island Besar. ‘TAPAH’ some 5 miles off also anchored.
  • 1430 Fairmile, proceeding easterly direction possible intention of taking shelter, passed at approximately 2 miles distant. No signals exchanged, unable to confirm name.
  • 1700 Weighed and proceeded on journey. Numbers of planes had passed us during the day.”

[A Lt Forbes on one of the Yangste gunboats travelling in the same course also records that at about 1130 hours on 14 February 1942, two formations of Japanese bombers with attendant fighters flying in the direction of Singapore, broke formation and attacked in flights of nine planes at a time. “… the flights came from all directions at 5-minute intervals, ‘Dragonfly’ was sunk by the first wave. The Fairmile 1062 was machine gunned and beached herself…”. This would appear to be incorrect given Stein’s narrative – it seems that the Fairmile Forbes saw might have been ML432 beaching itself later in the week. Here we have a number of survivors from the ‘HMS Grasshopper’ also giving accounts of where the bombing attack might have occurred – one John Duke says 50 miles south of Pulau Batam; Sir John Bagnall talks of being bombed near ‘Pulau Mas’ and one John Robins talks of the ‘Lingga Archipelago’ provides a rough hand drawn map of ‘ Pulau Belakan Ulu Hitam ‘ and ‘Pulau Mas’ ; he also records seeing a ‘’Fairisle’ (sic ‘Fairmile’) trying to rescue people from the sinking ‘HMS Dragonfly’ but being driven away by machine gun fire from the Japanese planes.]

Stein continues…

  • “15.2.42. 1000. Anchored Behala Light House: ‘TAPAH’, ‘RELAU’, ‘RANTAU’ in vicinity. Seaplane dropped one bomb at approximately 1600 amongst ‘TAPAH’. ‘RELAU’,’RANTAU’. No damage. Army personnel ashore.
  • 1630.Weighed and proceeded towards Banka Strait. Planes overhead, no bombs. Nothing seen except numerous searchlights.
  • 16.2.42. 0630. Anchored in middle Banka Strait, close shore.
  • 0700. Warships passed.
  • 0930. Permission given army to go ashore if desired. 5 put off in dinghy. Trouble experienced with tide.
  • 1015. Weighed to pick up dinghy.
  • 1100. Anchored about half mile further down Strait; unable to return to old anchorage owing fall of tide.
  • 1140. Warship returned. Enemy cruiser.
  • 1145. Cruiser opened fire; hit in wheelhouse; ship on fire; order given” prepare to abandon ship” and then “abandon ship”. 1062 sinking when last seen.”

A file in the UK Archives states “…HDML 1062 sunk by gunfire in the south end of the Banka Straits 16/2/42 …”.

The modest sized HDML 1062, really a large launch, would have been totally shattered by the first hits from shells from a large warship like a Cruiser – if Lt Stein was correct in his identification of the specific type of warship. If a Japanese Cruiser it would have been either the flagship of the Japanese invasion fleet, the ‘Chokai’ and its eight-inch shells, or the ‘Kashii’ and its five-inch shells: 

The wooden hull HDML 1062 would have provided no protection to those on board (see photo at head of document). The first shell burst appears to have been on the ‘wheelhouse’ where Lt McMillan would have almost certainly been located with a helmsman in charge of actual steering.

The location of the sinking – made clear in this document probably for the first time since 1942 – is confirmed in the authoritative report compiled in Palembang POW camp by Cmdr. Reid, RAF (no doubt with help from Lt Stein) and that tells us more precisely that HDML was “… Sunk – gunfire South of Bank Strait. PO Nanki Kitchil…”. This almost certainly means that HDML 1062 was sunk near ‘Little Nanka’, since ‘Ketchil’,’ Kechil’ or the word used ‘Kitchil’ means ‘small or little’, which is an island near ‘Great Nanka’ – the ‘PO’ probably being an abbreviation for ‘Pulo’ – amongst the Pulo Nanka group in the Banka Strait ,south of Muntok and about halfway down the Banka Straits.

So it is now clear that HDML 1062 after making it half way down the Banka Straits was sunk by shelling from a Japanese cruiser – in the same manner as ‘Pulo Soegi’, HMML 311 and HMML 433 together with many other small ships – and the survivors swam to the south west coast of Banka Island. Because they were not sunk until 16 February 1942 it is most likely that any survivors made land on Banka Island (or on the Sumatran mainland) by 17 February. This was two days after the Japanese troops had landed on Banka Island with specific orders to kill shipwrecked survivors they found on the beaches of Banka Island – which they had been doing in the previous couple of days.

Casualties

The death toll on these small Royal Navy patrol boats (including the ‘Pulo Soegi’ and the larger ‘HMML’ vessels of 112 feet in length) sunk around Banka Island as they were confronted by the waiting destroyers of the Japanese navy was extremely high – because the servicemen passengers tended to have been literally standing unprotected on the decks of these rather fragile craft, which were constructed of wood and are recorded to have shattered at the impact of high explosive shells.

Lt Stein recorded that there were 45 men on board HDML1062 and that, “… CASUALTIES: The following known survivors are prisoners of war;

  • R.N. 7
  • Army 9
  • RAF 1

This means that 28 men lost their lives in the shelling and sinking of HDSML 1062 – it is speculated that the RN casualties would have included the 2 or 3 men below decks in the engine room – or were murdered by the Japanese when they reached the shores of Banka Island.

There are however discrepancies in the records made by Lt George Keir Stein, as First Officer, since he also reported to the War Office, after the war, recording all other members of his crew, apart from Stoker Day, as “Missing” as opposed to “Died” – whereas he has stated above in his 1942 records made in Palembang camp that of the 14 naval personnel on board there were 7 survivors. Research has found that there 8 deaths amongst naval personnel on board – including Lt McMillan. This indicates also that the circumstances of the sinking of the vessel must have been very chaotic – the point is that he did not appear to see them die. Comparisons with the sinkings of vessels of a similar size and construction, that the survivors usually saw first-hand at least some of their fellow crew members killed in the shelling or bombing of the vessel.

The fact that the records also show that Stoker George Day ‘died of wounds’ on 20 February on Banka Island and Lt George Stein reported this date specifically to the War Office after the War, suggests that Day and Stein had made it together to Banka Island ( maybe via ‘Pulo Naka Ketchil’) and perhaps were hiding in the jungle there when Day passed away. Some survivors from other ships sunk around that island had similar experiences. George Stein was not captured for another three days and the location of his capture is given as Pangkal Pinang – a major town which is a long way from the south coast of Banka Island, being situated on the north east coast. Stein must have acquired some food from local Indonesian people to have survived for that long ashore and including his trek of some 80 – 90 kilometres across the large island before being captured.

Postscript: the men who lost their lives on HDML 1062 in this one sided conflict in the Banka Strait were avenged later in the war when, firstly the ‘Chokai’ was sunk in1944 during the Battle off Samar with the loss of the entire crew of men (when the Japanese warship which rescued them was itself sunk with loss of all on board), and then in January 1945 the ‘Kashii’ was sunk near Indochina by a Grumman Avenger fighter plane torpedo, with only 19 survivors out of its 640 crew.

Japanese planes bombing a ship in the Banka Straits

“Japanese planes bombing a ship in the Banka Straits”
from a contemporary WW2 Japanese magazine (source: Facebook page “Khota Baru 8.12.41” by Zafrini Arifin).

[Note: this vessel looks remarkably like the profile of either a HMML or HDML patrol launch at speed and is likely a shallow draft vessel in shallow water, because the waves are breaking on the shoreline or a reef very close by at top of photo.]

Anyone who has corrections, amendments, clarifications or additional material on the events, the crew or passengers of HDML 1062 is most welcome to contact the researcher and compiler of this document: Michael Pether, 2/23 Sanders Avenue, Takapuna, Auckland, 0622, New Zealand. Email is mncpether@gmail.com. Telephone number is New Zealand 09-4865754 or mobile New Zealand 0274543695.

This document and the information contained within may be used for any non – commercial purpose. Anyone wishing to use the content of this document for commercial purposes, book publication, magazine, newspaper or internet articles receiving payment or compensation is required to firstly obtain the agreement in writing of Michael Pether, Auckland, New Zealand who retains the copyright for the content of the document.

Sources:

  • Auckland War Memorial Museum – War Graves project.
  • Book “Spotlight On Singapore” by Denis Russell – Roberts, published by Times Press, Great Britain, 1965.
  • Book “The Story of Changi” by David Nelson, published by Changi Publication Co., Australia 1974.
  • JM – Jonathan Moffatt, researcher and author, his database of ‘Malayans’
  • Medusa Trust, United Kingdom.
  • Naval – history .net website – ‘Casualties of the Royal Navy’.
    “Papers Past “– archive of New Zealand newspapers
  • Singapore National Library – newspaper archive
  • Tauranga City Library – Debbie McCauley, Heritage Specialist, Tauranga city council – http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/remembering_war/topics/show/1016-colin-edward-macmillan-1899-1942
  • Photo TCL /Ellen McCormack – this means Tauranga City Library file below:
  • File from UK Archives of ‘Royal Navy’ compiled by Cmdr. Reid, RN, CO of Palembang POW camp and a copy kindly provided to the researcher by Kevin Snowdon in the UK, see aotn.dvrdns.org and his website “From Percy Main to Sumatra via France”.
  • McCormack, Ellen (20158). Family history documents relating to the lives of Colin Edward Macmillan and Lillian Marie Elise Macmillan [Tauranga City Libraries, Research Collections: Sladden Collection, 929.3 MACM]
  • UK National Archives files.

Crew:

  • BURKE – Able Seaman Burke. “…Formerly ‘HMS Prince of Wales’ and now ‘Missing’…” (reported by Lt. G.K. Stein). The CWGC states ‘… Ordinary Seaman Edward Burke, D/MD /X 3139, Royal Naval Reserve, died 16.2.42, ‘HMS Sultan’ [this is the RN shore base in Singapore which Edward would have been attached after the sinking of the ‘HMS Prince of Wales’ and prior to the evacuation …”. It is also noted that the website ‘www.forcez-survivors’ does not list Edward Burke as a crew member of ‘HMS Prince of Wales’ or ‘HMS Repulse’.].
  • DAY – Stoker 1st Class H. Day – “… died of wounds on about 20.2.42 on Banka …” (reported by Lt. G.K. Stein) which is probably the most accurate record of the death of George Lewis Day. The CWGC states “… Stoker 1st Class George Lewis Day, C/KX 99667, Royal Navy, died 16.2.42 (died ashore) ‘HMS Mauritius’. Son of Edward Stanley and Clara Day of Manor Park, Essex. Memorialised on the Chatham Naval Memorial Panel 83…” but this looks like it has been dated to align with the sinking of HDML 1062 and the CWGC may not have been aware of Lt Stein’s report. The light cruiser ‘HMS Mauritius’ was a relatively new ship in 1941 when it went to Singapore for a refit for ‘degaussing’ in November 1941 but left on 11 December 1941 when the Japanese invaded northern Malaya – it had taken on survivors of the sinking of the ‘HMS Prince of Wales ‘and ‘HMS Repulse’. Why Lewis Day was put ashore to soon join the crew of HDML1062 is unknown. After the sinking of his HDML he must have been wounded and somehow reached Banka island (perhaps with Lt Stein?) but died of his wounds on that island.
  • ISMAIL – Able Seaman Ismail Bin Awang, #MN45, Royal Navy (Malaya Section) according to the CWGC he died on 14.2.42 (date appears to be incorrect) and on ‘HMML’ (should be HDML) 1062.
  • MACMILLAN – Lt. Colin Edward Macmillan, RNZNVR. Mentioned in Despatches, died 16.2.42 (also reported as “Missing” by Lt. G.K. Stein). ‘The Medusa Trust’ website states that Lt MacMillan gained the MID for his courage during the evacuation of Sungei Punngor in 1942.Colin Edward Macmillan served in both World War One and the Second World War. He was born in Thames, New Zealand on 20 January 1899 to Robert and Mabel (nee Hart) Macmillan and had three siblings. As a small boy he lived on Beach Road, Katikati and attended No. 2 School, Beach Road, Katikati but his father died when he was 13 years old and Colin and his 15-year-old brother attempted to run the family farm with their mother whilst attending school – this proved impossible. The family returned to Thames and Colin attended Thames High School from 1913 to September 1915. Colin enlisted in Wellington, NZ on 21 January 1918 and embarked as a Gunner with the 43rd Reinforcements on the ‘Matatua’ for London on 2 October 1918 but it was soon noted he was underage and suffered from ‘claw foot’, so in April 1919 he was discharged as no longer physically fit for war service. He returned to Wellington, NZ., and worked for the Ministry of Health. He played rugby in that city and had a passion for the sea and boats, apparently owning his own yacht in Wellington at that time – he was also a member of (possibly Secretary) of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington at that time. When World War Two was declared, Colin applied to Admiralty House in London and was then assigned to training at the RN shore base in Singapore, ‘HMS Sultan’, as a Probationary Temporary Sub- Lieutenant attached to an ex- Yangste River gunboat, ‘HMS Grasshopper’. On 14 May 1941 Colin was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant serving in ‘HMS Grasshopper’ until 2 September 1941 and appears to have taken command of HDML 1062 as early as October 1941. Letters home during this period talk of his move and his regret at leaving his ‘ship’ (probably HMS Grasshopper’) and his move to command “… a small patrol launch…” plus comments that “ … of course life is most interesting, but some of our patrols are a little boring …, but other times we do some really interesting work …”. In December 1941 Colin and his launch were assigned to Special Operations on the west coast of Malaya and this is when he earned award of ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ (posthumously awarded). The 22.4.42 issue of the ‘Bay of Plenty Times” carried the only newspaper record in New Zealand of his fate – it simply said that he had been reported ‘Missing’ and “… is the son of the late Mr R.J. Macmillan and that his next of kin is his sister, Miss Vera MacMillan who is living in Sydney. The last word that his relatives in Tauranga received was that Lieut. Macmillan was in command of a small naval vessel at Singapore …”. In a letter to Colin’s sister Vera, dated 15 August 1946, Lieutenant – Commander Victor Cecil Froggatt Clark, RN wrote “… he served in ML1062 under my orders from some time during Dec 41 and Jan 42 and I came to know him well and liked him very much. In fact, I can say there was no ML. I liked being around so much. I was a POW from March 42 – last Sept and it was then I learned of his ML being sank and I was very sad to hear it … once again can I say how very sorry I am that your brother did not come through, but you may be proud of his always cheerful contribution to the cause in the blackest of days …” (sources – Tauranga City Library, Debbie McCauley, Heritage Specialist, Tauranga City Council – file, http://tauranga.kete.net.nz/remembering_war/topics/show/1016-colin-edward-macmillan-1899-1942 and Ellen McCormack – Tauranga City Library file,
    McCormack, Ellen (20158). Family history documents relating to the lives of Colin Edward Macmillan and Lillian Marie Elise Macmillan [Tauranga City Libraries, Research Collections: Sladden Collection, 929.3 MACM]).
  • MANNING – Able Seaman Manning. “… Formerly ‘HMS Prince of Wales’. Missing…” (reported by Lt. G.K. Stein). The CWGC states “… Able Seaman Peter Manning, D/JX 213548, age 25 years, Royal Navy, ‘HMS Sultan’ [this is the RN shore base in Singapore to which Peter Manning would have been attached after the sinking of the ‘HMS Prince of Wales’ on which he is listed as crew]. Son of William and Annie Manning, of Leeds, Yorkshire. Also recorded on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, panel 66, Col.1 …”. A contemporary newspaper cutting displayed on the website ‘www.forcez-survivors’ records him as Able Seaman Gunner Peter Manning, son of the late Mr and Mrs William Manning, Vulcan Lane, Dewsbury. [Dewsbury is in West Yorkshire].
  • MUHAMMAD – Able Seaman Tabal Bin Muhammad Yusuf, MN 508 (Royal Navy Malay Section), died 14.2.42 HDML 1062. Also commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, panel 97, Col.2 (CWGC).
  • UMAR /OMAR – (a Malay rating by the name of ‘Omar’ was reported “Missing” by Lt. G.K. Stein), MPK. This may very well have been Ordinary Seaman UMAR Bin H. H., SE/X 716, (Malayan RNVR) ,MPK, 14.2.42 ‘ ( www.naval-history.net) who is recorded as attached to the Royal Navy’s shore base ‘HMS Sultan’.
  • ROWLAND – Stoker 2nd Class William Rowland, D/KX 116K122, “… Missing, from Manchester…” (reported by Lt. G.K. Stein). The CWGC states “… Stoker 1st Class William Rowland, D/KX116122, age 21 years, died 16.2.42, HMML [should be HDML] 1062, Royal Navy. Son of Arthur and Elize Ella Rowland of Miles Patting, Manchester. Also recorded on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, panel 70, Column 1 …”.
  • STEIN – Lt. George Keir Stein, MRNVR b.1915. From Bedford and at the time of his wedding in 1946 was recorded as the only son of Mrs N.J. Stein of Bedford. To Malaya 1939. Assistant, Joseph Travers Ltd. George Stein was a very good sportsman, in tennis and other sports, and has the distinction of there being 432 separate references to him in Singapore and Malayan newspapers! Appointed Lt SS RNVR September 1940 to Lt MRNVR, and by the time of the evacuation from Singapore he was First Officer under Lt MacMillan, RNZNVR, on HDML 1062 – sunk in the Banka Straits 16.2.42. George appears to have been the only survivor of the crew of HDML 1062 and was not captured until 23.3.42 at Pangkal Pinang, on the north eastern coast of Banka island so must have swum to the western coast and trekked cross the Island. Later a POW in Palembang, Sumatra. And again, later to Changi, Singapore. Returned to Joseph Travers, Penang 1946. Remained in Singapore a where he had the business of the representative of Phillips Bicycles. He married Mrs Natalie Denton, youngest daughter of the late Mr. Robert Wood & Mrs. Nellie Wood, from Wellington, NZ in September 1946 at St Andrews Cathedral, Singapore. Their daughter Amanda (later Mandy Elder) was born in 1949. George died 19 March 2004 in Berkshire aged 89 years. (JM and SFPMA 16.9.46). George Stein appears to have been to have been the only member of the crew of HDML 1062 to have survived what would have been a horrendous experience in the sinking of that launch.
  • WELLS – Leading Seaman William E. Wells, (L.T.O.), RFRC?? C/J 98299, “… Missing…” (reported by Lt. G.K. Stein). The CWGC states “… Leading Seaman William Edward Wells, C/J 98299, Royal Navy (DSM.), age 38 years, died 16.2.42, HMML [HDML] 1062, son of William Edward and Elizabeth Waterman Wells, husband of Ethel Amy Wells of Romford, Essex…”. (CWGC and www.hmsmedusa.org.uk).

Passengers:

Although there are no records to date directly linking the following men to HDML 1062, it is the view of this researcher that the dates on which they were individually captured i.e. after the sinking of HDML 1062, and the fact that they were captured on locations on Banka island suggest strongly that one of them might have been the man described as “ … troops of Gordon Highlanders …” seen on the vessel on 14 February;

  • CLARK – Private Alfred B. Clark, # 2878440, 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders. Alfred Clark was born on 19.3.21 and enlisted on 19.2.38. His NOK contact whilst in Palembang POW camp was shown as 64 School Street, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. According to his MI9 questionnaire he was captured at Muntok, Banka island on 16.2.42 and was a POW at Muntok camp until April 1942 when he was transferred to Palembang POW camp in southern Sumatra where he remained for the duration of the War.
  • CLEARY – Private Francis G. Cleary, # 2761836, 2nd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders. Francis Cleary was captured on 24.2.42 which is a week after the sinking of HDML 1062. He was a POW in Palembang camp until he joined a ‘Japan Party’, with 93 other POWs, which left by ship on 17.7.42 for Japan. His NOK address whilst in Palembang was Mrs Cleary, c/o Mrs Fodey, 5 Dalfield Terr., Dundee, Scotland.
  • GALLACHER – Private Hugh Gallacher, # 2876873, 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders. Hugh Gallacher was born on 10.11.18 and enlisted on 11.11.35. His NOK address whilst a POW was ‘Father- Mr. W. Gallacher, 5 Stanton Crescent, Neatherton, Wishaw, Lanarkshire’. Captured on 17.2.42 at Pangkal Pinang, Banka island – this sounds like a possible mistake if the ship was sunk on 16.2.42 because Pangkal Pinang is on the opposite side of Banka island to where the HDML 1062 appears to have been sunk. On his MI9 questionnaire Hugh Gallacher recorded that he was in Sungei Ron Camp in March 1942, then ‘Chung. Wha ‘B’ Camp, then Mulo School camp – all in Palembang, Sumatra.
  • MCGURK – Private Hugh McGurk, # 3054253, 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders. He was born on 29.10.17 and enlisted on 5.1.35. His NOK address whilst a POW was recorded as ‘Primrose Cottage, Boat O Garten, Inverness’ – this is a small village near Inverness. He was captured on 28.2.42 at Pangkal Pinang, Banka Island. This is of course some ten days after the sinking of HDML 1062 and perhaps the explanation is contained in his recording of his ‘1st Escape attempt ‘during the war ( as per his MI9 questionnaire) which stated “ … When sunk by a Jap cruiser on 17th February , instead of being picked up as a survivor I swam ashore and lived in the jungle with native fishermen. After about seven days like this I picked up four women and three children survivors of the SS Van Der Brook (sunk by Jap cruiser). These survivors were cared for by Malay women. The Japs were 80 miles away. After another three days the Japs found us through a native informer and took us to Pangkal pinang…” (MI9 questionnaire – COFEPOW website). The researcher can confirm that these women and children were almost certainly three generations of the Armstrong family from Singapore and an unnamed “White Russian” woman plus a child by the name of June Bourhill, who had all been passengers on the ‘SS Vyner Brooke” which had been sunk off the west coast of Banka Island on 14 February 1942 (see pp. 47-50 in the book “A Short Cruise on the Vyner Brooke “ by Ralph Armstrong). In what appears to be the record of the post war death of Hugh McGurk, there is a headstone in Lithgow cemetery (findagrave.com) that records Hugh Francis McGurk as the son of Hugh and Catherine McGurk , both of whom had died before the war, and two brothers who lost their lives during the war, plus an epitaph “ In loving memory of Hugh Francis McGurk, MN [researcher note – Merchant navy?]. Drowned at sea 27th January 1948 aged 30 years”.

Original report by First Officer Lt G K Stein MRNVR

Original report by First Officer Lt G K Stein MRNVR
Courtesy Michael Pether

HDML 1063

Thornycroft, Singapore 1/42?

Known Crew

  • AB Rahmat Bin Saleh MN.254. Died, between 01/01/1944 and 31/12/1944, cause unknown
  • Sig Bin Midi Ibrahim MN 928 (RN Malay Section), HDML 1063. Died 3/3/43

Wartime Activities

  • 12/41 HDMLs 1062 and 1063 assigned to special operations on the west coast of Malaya
  • 23/12/41 HDML 1062, towing two motor boats and the depot ship Kudat, depart Singapore for Port Swettenham
    25/12/41 HDML 1063 with 25 Australian troops embarked and towing two motor boats, departs Port Swettenham for Sungei Burnan.
  • 26/12/41 At last light, HDMLs 1062 and 1063 departed to land embarked troops between Taiping and the Perak River. HDML 1063 transferred troops to a motor boat and retired. HDML 1062 transferred troops to a motor boat but the engine would not start. HDML 1062 recovered the troops and sank the motor boat before returning to Port Swettenham.
  • 27/12/41 In the early morning, Port Swettenham suffered an air raid by British aircraft identified as Bristol Blenheims. One aircraft was shot down amongst the mangrove swamps to the west. HDMLs 1062 and 1063 conducted an unsuccessful search for survivors.
  • 1/2/42 HDMLs 1062 and 1063, towing naval whalers, evacuated troops from the Malayan mainland to Singapore. Coverage was provided by the gunboats HMS Dragonfly, HMS Scorpion and HMS Grasshopper.
  • 1/3/42 Sunk by Japanese surface craft gunfire at Tanjong Priok

HDML 1064

Bolson, Poole Dorset 3/7/41

Known Crew

  • Skipper J C Scott RNR Skipper 1/12/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1064 20/10/43
  • Skipper A W Bruce RNR Skipper 1/3/44 HDML 1064 10/5/44 – End

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow on completion
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071
  • 1/42 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071

Post War History

  • Fast Despatch Boat = FDB 61
  • 1947 Sold

HDML 1065

Blackmore, Bideford, Devon 16/7/41

Known Crew

  • TSLt John Edward Branch RNVR TSLt 30/4/42 HMS Edinburgh Castle (Freetown Sierra Leone) for MLs 17/8/42 108th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1065 4/43 HMS Philoctetes II (Freetown Sierra Leone) 51st ML Flotilla Commanding Officer ML100 2/6/44. Operation Neptune TLt 30/10/44 Commanding Officer ML106 17/4/45
  • TSLt C M Risk RNVR TSLt 4/3/43 HMS Melampus (Base at Dakar) 108th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1065 25/3/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1310 22/11/44 TLt 4/3/45
  • TSLt H A Shearring RNVR TSLt 13/2/44 108th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1065 28/8/44 HMS Braganza (Bombay)
  • TSLt A G Sturrock TASLt First Lieutenant ML 113 19/12/43 TSLt 28/11/43 108th ML Flotilla HDML 1065 HMS Philoctetes II (Freetown Sierra Leone) 1944
  • Ord Cornelis Dougan C/JX 259007. Died by drowning 26/09/1941, aged 26. Son of Cornelis and Margaret Dougan

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 108th ML Flotilla
    Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone
    ML 1044, ML 1050, ML 1065 and ML 1066 have been delivered.
    ML 1028, ML 1076, ML 1077and ML 1078 on the Clyde awaiting freighting
  • 3/11/42 ML 279, ML 277, ML 1065 and HMS Spaniard arrived at Bathurst
  • 1/3/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 sailed from Bathurst and arrived in Dakar
  • 17/2/43 ML 287 and ML 1065 sailed from Dakar for Bathurst arriving the same day
  • 30/3/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 sailed from Port Etienne escorting three merchant vessels to Dakar
  • 1/4/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 arrived in Dakar from Port Etienne escorting SS Mary Kingsley, Buffle, and Persistante
  • 2/4/43 HMS Orfasy with ML 1065 and ML 1066 sailed from Dakar escorting SS Medie II and SS Finisterre to meet HMS Burdock and HMS Inkpen escorting SS Tovelil from Bathurst and subsequently to join Convoy SL 127.
  • 3/4/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 arrived Bathurst from Port Etienne escorting SS Alsace

Post War History

  • 11/45 For disposal in West Africa

HDML 1066

Blackmore, Bideford, Devon 20/8/41

Known Crew

  • TLt E C Mercer RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 23/2/42 TLt 12/6/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 30/9/42 108th ML Flotilla (Freetown, Sierra Leone) Commanding Officer HDML 1066 9/43 HMS Melampus (Dakar) 1944 51st ML Flotilla Commanding Officer ML 100 26/3/45
  • TSLt T Blair RNVR TSLt 8/4/44 108th ML Flotilla (Freetown, Sierra Leone) Commanding Officer HDML 1066 1/9/44 HMS Turtle (Poole)
  • TMid P D Catlow RNVR TMid 10/3/44 108th ML Flotilla (Freetown, Sierra Leone) HDML 1066 12/44 TASLt 18/12/44 110th ML Flotilla HDML 1086 18/12/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 108th ML Flotilla
    Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone
    ML 1044, ML 1050, ML 1065 and ML 1066 delivered.
    ML 1028, ML 1076, ML 1077 and ML 1078 on the Clyde awaiting freighting
  • 2/9/42 ML 1066 left Bathurst for Bissao, Portuguese Guinea, to collect five survivors from a Sunderland aircraft
  • 5/9/42 ML 1066 returned to Bathurst from Bissao with five survivors from a Sunderland aircraft
  • 17/12/42 Anti-submarine Trawler HMS Portsdown with ML 1044 and ML 1066 sailed from Freetown for Bathurst escorting one merchant vessel
  • 21/12/42 Anti-submarine Trawler HMS Portsdown with ML 1044 and ML 1066 arrived in Bathurst from escort duties
  • 1/3/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 sailed from Bathurst and arrived in Dakar
  • 30/3/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 sailed from Port Etienne escorting three merchant vessels to Dakar
  • 1/4/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 arrived in Dakar from Port Etienne escorting SS Mary Kingsley, Buffle, and Persistant
  • 2/4/43 HMS Orfasy with ML 1065 and ML 1066 sailed from Dakar escorting SS Medie II and SS Finisterre to meet HMS Burdock and HMS Inkpen escorting SS Tovelil from Bathurst and subsequently to join Convoy SL 127.
  • 3/4/43 ML 1065 and ML 1066 arrived Bathurst from Port Etienne escorting SS Alsace

Post War History

  • 11/45 For disposal in West Africa

HDML 1067

Moody, Swanwick Shore, Southampton 8/5/41

Known Crew

  • Skipper W E Bilton RNR Skipper 1/3/41 HMS Baldur (Reykjavik) for HDMLs and MLs 106th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1067 12/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1021 1/44 – End 103rd ML Flotilla Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy
  • Skipper J Cormack RNR Skipper 1/10/42 HMS Baldur (Reykjavik) for HDMLs and MLs 106th ML Flotilla HDML 1067 12/42 Bedlington
  • Skipper A Clark RNR 109th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow HDML 1060 23/9/42 106th ML Flotilla Operating in Iceland Commanding Officer HDML 1067 26/11/43
  • TSkipper J A MacK Garden RNR TSkipper 8/8/43 HDML 1067 12/43
  • Skipper J Wood RNR Skipper 1/6/42 HDML 1043 18/10/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1067 13/12/44 [FS Mouique Camifle]

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 106th ML Flotilla
    For duty in Iceland on completion
    ML 1026, ML 1043, ML 1045 and ML 1067
  • 1/1/42 106th ML Flotilla
    Operating in Iceland
    ML 1026, ML 1043, ML 1045 and ML 1067
  • 2/43 Based at HMS Baldur, Reykjavik, Iceland

Post War History

  • Fast Despatch Boat = FDB 34
  • 1/48 Sold to France = VP24

HDML 1068

Moody, Swanwick Shore, Southampton 25/6/41

Known Crew

  • Skipper R Read RNR Skipper 29/3/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1068 5/5/43 Van Oost
  • TSkipper F Welch RNR TSkipper 1/3/41 107th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow Commanding Officer HDML 1068 18/6/44
  • TSkipper G W Ling RNR TSkipper 1/6/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1068 16/2/45

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow on completion
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071
  • 1/42 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071

Post War History

  • Fast Despatch Boat = FDB54
  • 1947 Chinese Navy

HDML 1069

Watercraft, West Molesey 28/5/41

HDML 1069

London Gazette 10/11/42 – For services during the withdrawal from Tobruk 1942

  • DSM AB Noel Jack Johnston PM/3322 RANR

Known Crew

  • TALt Cdr A G Brooks RNR Lt 4/7/41 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria, Egypt Commanding Officer HDML 1069 1942 TALtCdr HMS Saker (Washington DC)
  • Lt Morton HDML 1069
  • Lt Thomas HDML 1069
  • Mid Desmond Cyril Gurney Simpson 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria, Egypt HDML 1069 Killed in action on Saturday 20 June 1942 Age: 18. Son of Cyril George Simpson and Mary Alice Margaret Simpson (nee Bond), of Winchelsea, Sussex
  • AB Anthony James Thomas Gilmore D/JX 186868 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria, Egypt HDML 1069 Killed in action 20/06/1942
  • AB Noel Jack Johnston PM/3322 RANR 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria, Egypt HDML 1069 For services during the withdrawal from Tobruk 1942 DSM Wounded in five places he brought the damaged vessel back alongside and then collapsed before being rescued by personnel from ML 355
  • AB James Vincent Lang C/SSX 23874 101st ML Flotilla Based Alexandria, Egypt HDML 1069 Killed in action 20/06/1942, aged 21, when HDML 1069 was lost. Son of George and Florence Brandis Lang, of Erith, Kent
  • AB A Morris X21205A RNR *101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria, Egypt HDML 1069
  • MtrMch J Ashley D/MX70134 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria HDML 1069*
  • Sto B S W Biggs KX120146 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria HDML 1069*
  • Tel T R Gilfroy D/JX170916 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria HDML 1069*
    = Survivor rescued by ML 355

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 101st ML Flotilla
    Based at Alexandria, Egypt
    ML 1004, ML 1005, ML 1007, ML 1032 are delivered. ML 1046 and ML 1069 are being freighted. ML 1079 and ML 1083 are awaiting freighting.
  • 17/3/42 At 23.03, U-83 fired a spread of three torpedoes at a steamer in convoy AT-34 near Tobruk and missed. At 23.17, one torpedo was fired that hit Crista and set her on fire. Two officers and five ratings were lost. The survivors abandoned ship and were picked up by the South African M/S whaler HMSAS Bokburg.
    The abandoned Crista was located by the British motor torpedo boat MTB-266, which anchored her off Bardia where the fires were extinguished. She was taken in tow by HMS St. Monance (W 63) to Alexandria for repairs, escorted by the British armed trawler HMS Southern Isle and the British motor launches HMS ML-1005 and HMS ML-1069, arriving on 28 March
  • 1942 Withdrawal from Tobruk
  • 28-9/5/42 During the night, enemy tanks were reported to be attempting to reach the coast in longitude 23 40E. HDML 1069 was reinforced by two MTBs and drove off two E boats in this area. It was possible that this defeated an enemy attempt to fuel tanks20/6/42 Tasked with recovering demolition parties.
  • 1800 Attempted to sail from Tobruk but was hit by a shell within 100 yds of leaving the berth and again by shells from a Panzer on the road at the head of the harbour. On fire, the vessel signalled for medical assistance and returned to the jetty. Five survivors were taken aboard ML 355 and the vessel was abandoned to be captured by Axis forces. There was at least one German tank within 300 yds of the vessel when ML 355 rescued the survivors. Four personnel from ML 355 were decorated for services during the withdrawal from Tobruk 1942.

HDML 1070

Watercraft, West Molesey 28/5/41

HDML 1070

Imperial War Museum

London Gazette 14/6/45 – Birthday Honours 1945

  • MID Engmn John Reid LT/KX160095

Known Crew

  • TLt J H Want RNVR TLt 3/10/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 24/10/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1070 3/43 HMS Copra (Largs)
  • TSkipper J Clark RNR TSkipper 20/8/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1043 7/12/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1070 15/1/44
  • TSLt Richard Henry Beale RNVR TSLt 13/5/41 HMS Wildfire for MLs 24/6/41 HDML 1070 1/10/42 Based at HMS Orlando, Greenock HMS St Christopher 3rd ML Flotilla Based at HMS Gregale (Malta) Commanding Officer ML 135 6/2/43 Operation Husky – Invasion of Sicily Commanding Officer HDML 1234 23/10/43 TLt 8/11/43 ML 135 For opening up the ports of Piraeus and Itea MID
  • TMid R G Woodhead RNVR HDML 1070 28/6/43 TASLt 1/9/43 HMS Orlando (Greenock) TSLt 1/3/44 65th ML Flotilla Based at HMS Mentor II, Stornoway ML 536 27/3/44
  • Engmn John Reid LT/KX160095 HDML 1070 Birthday Honours 1945 MID

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 105th ML Flotilla
    Based at Sheerness on completion
    ML 1001, ML 1010, ML 1020, ML 1021, ML 1024, ML 1036 and ML 1070. ML 1008 joins by end of 1941
  • 1/42 105th ML Flotilla
    Based at Sheerness
    ML 1001 on the Thames refitting, to complete 12th January
    ML 1008, ML 1010, ML 1020 and ML 1021 repairing, to complete 10th January
    ML 1024, ML 1036 and ML 1070 at Sheerness repairing, to complete 8th January
  • 10/42 Based at HMS Orlando, Greenock

Post War History

  • Fast Despatch Boat = FDB 55.
  • 1948 Sold

HDML 1071

Sittingbourne Shipbuilding Company, Kent 21/8/41

Known Crew

  • Skipper G Innes RNR Skipper 1/7/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1071 20/10/43

Wartime Activities

  • 1/7/41 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow on completion
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071
  • 1/42 107th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1002, ML 1022, ML 1040, ML 1058, ML 1059, ML 1064, ML 1068 and ML 1071

Post War History

  • Fast Despatch Boat = FDB 56
  • 11/47 Sold

HDML 1072

Sittingbourne Shipbuilding Company, Kent 13/10/41

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla
    (Destined for East Indies)
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 to be freighted upon completion
  • 13/1/43 HMS Bredon with ML 278 and ML 1072 sailed from Bathurst for Freetown, escorting HM Tug Charon, SS Starling, and SS Kajang
  • 15/1/43 HMS Bredon with ML 278 and ML 1072 arrived Freetown, escorting HM Tug Charon, SS Starling, and SS Kajang
  • 1/2/43 ML 1072 escorting Malakal sailed from Freetown for Sulima
  • 5/2/43 ML 1072 arrived Freetown, escorting Malakal from Sulima
  • 18/4/43 HMS Burdock, HMS Crocus, HMS Portsdown and HMS Butser with ML 209, ML 272, ML 1072, and ML 1231 sailed from Freetown, escorting Convoy FT 7 (five ships).
    HMS Burdock and HMS Crocus with ML 1072 and ML 1231 to Bathurst with SS New Northland and SS Pinto. HMS Burdock and HMS Crocus to escort remaining ships towards Trinidad, subsequently to disperse and proceed to Recife to escort HM LSTs to Freetown.
  • 20/4/43 HMS Portsdown and Butser with ML 1072 and ML 1231 arrived Bathurst, from Freetown, escorting SS New Northland and S.S. Pinto
  • 24/4/43 HMS Orfasy with ML 1072 and ML 1231 sailed from Bathurst, escorting Cable Ship Lady Dennison Pender to repair cable
  • 26/4/43 HMS Orfasy with ML 1072 and ML 1231 arrived Bathurst from Dakar, escorting Cable Ship Lady Dennison Pender
  • 30/8/44 Free French
    Transferred at Dakar

Post War History

  • 1945 French Navy = VP21

HDML 1073

Robinson, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 18/5/41

Known Crew

  • SLt H Revell RINVR Commanding Officer HDML 1073
  • TSLt R L Pereira RINVR TSLt 24/5/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1073 19/1/44
  • Mid A M Arklie RINVR Mid 24/5/43 HDML 1073
  • Mid S C Raghubir RINVR Mid 2/7/43 HMIS Dalhousie (Bombay) HDML 1073 TASLt 5/11/44
  • TMid O S Dawson RINVR 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1073 15/6/43 120th ML HDML 1061 28/10/43 TASLt 1/7/44 HMS Cheetah (Bombay)

Wartime Activities

  • 1943 Royal Indian Navy
    120th ML Flotilla
    ML 1061, ML 1073, ML 1079, ML 1084, ML 1087

Post War History

  • 1946 For disposal

HDML 1074

Robinson, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire /42

London Gazette 24/7/45 – Hydrographic service in the Far East 1944 and 1945

  • DSC LtCdr Stanley William Scott Robertson RAN

Known Crew

  • LtCdr Stanley William Scott Robertson RAN Commanding Officer HDML 1074 5/44 Hydrographic service in the Far East 1944 and 1945 DSC 1945
  • Lt E J McKenzie RANR SLt ML 801 20/5/43 Lt 8/3/45 HDML 1074
  • Alt William E Officer RANVR Lt 7/8/43 First Lieutenant HDML 1074 6/44 HMAS Miramar II
  • Alt W G Stevens RANVR HDML 1074 10/43
  • Alt B H Leak RANR TSLt 8/3/43 HDML 1074 28/11/43 HMAS Ladava (Milne Bay, New Guinea)
  • Lt Norman Grieve RANVR Lt 7/4/41 Commanding Officer HDML 1074 9/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1321 8/43 HMAS Rushcutter
  • TSLt L Mushins RANVR TSLt 9/10/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1074 11/44 HMAS Penguin
  • SLt Arthur A Wordsworth RANVR First Lieutenant HDML 1074 9/42 Lt 24/11/42 Commanding Officer ML 430 4/43 HMAS Ladava Milne Bay, New Guinea ML 817 4/45
  • SLt Christopher R Cundall RANR SLt First Lieutenant ML 425 12/42 HDML 1074 10/43 Lt 16/2/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1340 12/5/44 HMAS Rushcutter
  • SLt Raymond G Evans RANR HDML 1074 6/42 SLt 9/8/42 First Lieutenant ML 426 129th Flotilla Based on Darwin Commanding Officer HDML 1324 12/6/44 Lt 9/8/44
  • SLt G T Dyson RANR SLt 22/2/43 HDML 1074 12/3/43 12/3/43 Lt 10/9/44 128th Flotilla Based in New Guinea HDML 1356 20/12/44 ML 819
    Frank Lindsay (Coxswain)
  • MtrMch George Richards HDML 1074
  • AB Roy Christie HDML 1074 ML 425
    ‘Bonk’ Sims HDML 1074
  • Sto Alex Campbell HDML 1074
  • Tel ‘Blue’ Nolan HDML 1074

Wartime Activities

  • Shipped to Australia as deck cargo in Port Aukland
  • 7/10/42 Royal Australian Navy
    Based on Port Moresby – Conducting anti-submarine patrols in Basilisk Passage
    Milne Bay
    Wedau in Goodenough Bay for air sea rescue duties with some crew living ashore in a long house
    Milne Bay
  • 1944-45 Hydrographic service
  • 10/44 Battle of Leyte Gulf – Passage of 1500 miles from Manus losing touch with convoy in a storm and running short on fuel.
  • 14/10/44 Challenged twice by light by a destroyer which failed to see the responses and closed eventually colliding with ML 1074 taking off the bow in front of the collision bulkhead.
  • 15/10/44 Carried out immediate repairs and refuelled from YMS 316 in heavy weather fouling a propeller, when hoses broke.
  • 17/10/44 In calm waters in Surigao Strait where propeller was cleared
  • 18/10/44 In action at Morotai assisting in shooting down a plane
    Subsequently charted the harbour before being repaired.

Post War History

  • 24/1/48 Sold

Recollection of Roy Christie…

“An inspection of my ship revealed a forward messdeck in which I could not stand up; my bunk, an upper one, was also the squab, or back of the seat, around the messdeck table. The table was a drop-side type to enable crew to move to the heads in the fo’cstle. The squab for the mess seats hung on chains which supported my bunk, and because of its proximity to the deck head, did not allow sufficient room to sit up. My belongings were stowed alongside my bunk in small lockers and under the bottom bunk or seat.”

HDML 1075

Robinson, Lowestoft, Norfolk 11/12/41

Known Crew

  • TSkipper R J Spalding RNR Skipper 1/8/40 106th ML Flotilla Operating in Iceland HDML 1045 16/9/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1075 3/11/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1047 19/1/45
  • ChSkipper P Reid RNR Skipper Commanding Officer HDML 1047 4/2/44 Act ChSkipper 29/8/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1075 19/1/45
  • Mid G P Pinder RNVR Mid 19/7/43 HDML 1075 SLt(A) 8/9/44 HMS Sanderling

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 109th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1047, ML 1054, ML 1055, ML 1056, ML 1060, ML 1075, ML 1081 and ML 1085.
  • 1/42 ML 1075 at Lowestoft

Post War History

  • Air Safety Launch = ASL 19
  • 8/46 For disposal
  • = Ancelia

HDML 1076

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 1/8/41

Known Crew

  • TLt I D B Newman RNVR 108th ML Flotilla Based at Freetown Commanding Officer HDML 1076 24/5/43 TLt 11/9/43 HMS Black Bat (Devonport) 1944 10th ML Flotilla Based at Plymouth Commanding Officer ML 259 24/8/44
  • TSLt M Matthews RNVR TSLt 24/3/44 108th ML Flotilla Based at Freetown HDML 1076 20/4/44 HMS Philoctetes II (Freetown, Sierra Leone) HDML 1471
  • TSLt R T Hignell RNVR 18th ML Flotilla Based at HMS Mentor II, Stornoway ML 227 17/4/43 TSLt 11/6/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1076 2/1/45

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 108th ML Flotilla
    Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone
    ML 1044, ML 1050, ML 1065 and ML 1066 delivered.
    ML 1028, ML 1076, ML 1077 and ML 1078 on the Clyde awaiting freighting
  • 28/12/42 ML 1076, ML 1077, ML 1160, and ML 1089 sailed from Freetown to carry out an A/S Sweep
  • 10/1/43 ML 1077 and ML 1076 arrived Freetown, escorting SS Pinzon
  • 14/1/43 ML 1077 and ML 1076 arrived Bathurst, from Freetown, escorting SS Pinzon
  • 29/1/43 HMS Fandango with ML 1077 and ML 1076 sailed from Bathurst for Freetown escorting SS Empire Limba
  • 31/1/43 HMS Fandango with ML 1077 and ML 1076 arrived in Freetown from Bathurst escorting SS Empire Limba
  • 18/4/43 FS La Malouine, ML 1076, ML 287, ML 1137, ML 1018, ML 296 and ML 279 sailed from Freetown for a submarine hunt
  • 20/4/43 ML 296, ML 279, ML 1018 and ML 1076 returned to Freetown from submarine hunt

Post War History

  • 22/12/45 Sold at Freetown, Sierra Leone

HDML 1077

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 12/8/41

Known Crew

  • TLt H Proctor RNVR 108th ML Flotilla Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone Commanding Officer HDML 1077 13/9/42 TLt 7/5/43
  • TSLt R W Burlton RNVR TASLt 23/4/43 TSLt 23/10/43 First Lieutenant HDML 1269 17/4/44 HMS Philoctetes II (Freetown, Sierra Leone) Commanding Officer HDML 1077 1/1/45
  • LMtrMch Keith Thomas Stratton Meaden D/MX573544 who died on Wednesday 8 November 1944 Age 18 having been attacked by a shark. Son of Thomas William Hazel and Dorothy Isabel Meaden of Whitehouse, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland Buried in Freetown (King Tom) Cemetery, Sierra Leone 5. B. 1.

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 108th ML Flotilla
    Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone
    ML 1044, ML 1050, ML 1065 and ML 1066 delivered.
    ML 1028, ML 1076, ML 1077 and ML 1078 on the Clyde awaiting freighting
  • 28/12/42 ML 1076, ML 1077, ML 1160, and ML 1089 sailed from Freetown to carry out an A/S Sweep
  • 10/1/43 ML 1077 and ML 1076 arrived Freetown, escorting SS Pinzon
  • 14/1/43 ML 1077 and ML 1076 arrived Bathurst, from Freetown, escorting SS Pinzon
  • 29/1/43 HMS Fandango with ML 1077 and ML 1076 sailed from Bathurst for Freetown, escorting SS Empire Limba
  • 31/1/43 HMS Fandango with ML 1077 and ML 1076 arrived Freetown, from Bathurst, escorting SS Empire Limba

Post War History

  • 12/45 For disposal at Freetown, Sierra Leone

HDML 1078

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 17/11/41

Known Crew

  • TLt J W A Leach RNVR TLt 6/4/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1141 8/7/43 108th ML Flotilla Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone Commanding Officer HDML 1078 25/9/43 ML 241
  • TSLt J B Molloy RNVR TSLt 2/10/43 21st ML Flotilla ML 276 23/8/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1078 20/2/45

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 108th ML Flotilla
    Based at Freetown, Sierra Leone
    ML 1044, ML 1050, ML 1065 and ML 1066 delivered.
    ML 1028, ML 1076, ML 1077 and ML 1078 on the Clyde awaiting freighting
  • 1/43 ML 1078 is surveyed for repairs at Lagos
  • 6/1/43 HMS Hertfordshire, HMS Lady Rosemary, ML 263, and ML 1078 sailed from Takoradi

Post War History

  • 12/45 For disposal at Freetown, Sierra Leone

HDML 1079

McLean, Renfrew Scotland 6/4/42

Known Crew

  • TLt G R Keay RINVR TSLt 12/8/43 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1079
  • TSLt P E Brewer RINVR TSLt 4/2/43 HMS St Christopher 55th MTB Flotilla Based at Great Yarmouth MTB 671 12/4/43 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1079 Commanding Officer ML 420 22/10/44
  • TSLt K A R Kirwan RINVR 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1079
  • Mid K A Sultan RINVR Mid 23/4/43 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1079 HMIS Dalhousie (Bombay) TASLt 13/5/44 HMS Cheetah (Bombay) HMIS Baluchistan (Minesweeper)
  • TMid R A Mousinho RINVR 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1079 27/1/44

Wartime Activities

  • Mediterranean
  • 1/1/42 101st ML Flotilla
    Based Alexandria, Egypt
    ML 1004, ML 1005, ML 1007, ML 1032 delivered. ML 1046 and ML 1069 being freighted. ML 1079 and ML 1083 awaiting freighting.
    Royal Indian Navy (1943 – 46)
    120th ML Flotilla
    ML 1061, ML 1073, ML 1079, ML 1084, ML 1087

Post War History

  • 1947 Sold

HDML 1080

Ekins, Christchurch, Dorset 8/10/41

Known Crew

  • TLt M R Bromell RANVR TSLt 23/10/42 HMS Lanka TLt 24/1/43 110th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1080 12/3/43 HMAS Rushcutter 1944 ML 427 4/45
    John Milles Commanding Officer HDML 1080
  • TSLt C Turnbull RNVR HDML 1272 14/6/43 TSLt 5/9/43 110th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1080 12/44
  • TASLt P M Cromer SANF(V) TASLt 10/1/43 110th ML Flotilla HDML 1080 12/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/42 At Fort William for training duties and temporarily attached from 110th ML Flotilla
  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla (Destined for East Indies)
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 to be freighted upon completion
    Transported to South Africa
    110th ML Flotilla
    HDMLs 1057, 1080, 1086, 1098
    Operated out of Trincomalee to the Irrawaddy and Sittang deltas Burma, taking soil samples for analysis at Kandy. Under Colonel Haslar (Blondie). (As a Major, Colonel Haslar had taken part in the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ raid on Bordeaux.)
  • 9/9/45 Operation Zipper – Invasion of Malaya diverted to Penang.

Post War History

  • ML 3501
  • Malayan Naval Police = SDML 3501
  • 22/6/51 Malayan Navy = Sri Kedah

HDML 1081

Bolson, Poole Dorset 19/9/41

Known Crew

  • TSLt J G Stirrat RNVR TSLt 18/6/43 109th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow Commanding Officer HDML 1081 1/11/43 149th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1391 3/44 Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy Channel Marker at Gold Beach on D Day
  • Skipper L C Tomlinson RNR Skipper 1/8/40 109th ML Flotilla Based at Scapa Flow Commanding Officer HDML 1081 21/2/44 150th ML Flotilla Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy Operation Big Drum
  • Lt F W Hunt RN Commanding Officer HDML 1081 19/6/45 Assistant Surveyor 3rd Class (MBE)
  • TSkipper W H Bunce RNR TSkipper 1/6/43 150th ML Flotilla HDML 1081 15/7/44 (DSM) – End

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 109th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1047, ML 1054, ML 1055, ML 1056, ML 1060, ML 1075, ML 1081 and ML 1085
  • 1/42 At Scapa Flow
  • 6/44 Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy
    150th ML Flotilla
    ML1055, ML1056, ML1060, ML1081, ML1085, ML1091, ML1279, ML1382, ML1390
  • 6/6/44 Operation Big Drum
    ML1081, ML1091, ML1417, ML1419 jammed German Radar on the Cotentin peninsula on D Day. Operating around 6 miles east of Cap Barfleur from 0230 to 0440. Carried RAF Type 660 and 662 jammers, plus operators

Post War History

  • 1945 Survey Motor Launch = SML 3
  • 8-9/45 With HMS Franklin and SML 4, surveyed the Weser Estuary and the approaches to Bremen
    To Denmark to assist with opening ports
  • 1949 SML 323
  • 1951 Royal Malayan Navy SDML 3501 = Sri Kedah
  • 1959 Deactivated – To Iran
  • 1972 Listed in Janes Fighting Ships in Iranian Navy as Assion but out of service

HDML 1082

Bolson, Poole Dorset 1/12/41

Known Crew

  • TLt G G Macpherson RNVR TLt 24/4/41 Commanding Officer HDML 1082 11/11/41 Commanding Officer ML 916 28/8/44 For minesweeping off the Dutch coast and up to Antwerp 9 – 11/44 DSC
  • TLt R Gregory RANVR TSLt 23/10/42 First Lieutenant HDML 1082 12/3/43 TLt 23/10/43 HMAS Cerberus (Flinders Naval Depot, Williamstown, Victoria) 1944
  • TLt H Downes RNVR TLt 12/6/42 HMS St Christopher HDML 1082 Commanding Officer HDML 1288 19/5/43
  • TASLt R C George SANF(V) TASLt 15/1/43 First Lieutenant HDML 1082 7/44 HMS Braganza (Bombay) HMS Lanka (RN base, Colombo, Ceylon)
  • TASLt R S Franck SANF(V) HDML 1082 TASLt 7/1/43 HDML 1082 12/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla
    (Destined for East Indies)
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 are at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 are to be freighted upon completion
  • 9/9/45 Operation Zipper – Invasion of Malaya diverted to Penang.

Post War History

  • 22/7/47 Sold

HDML 1083

Blackmore, Bideford, Devon 23/10/41

Known Crew

  • Lt E D Bennett 101st ML Flotilla Based at Alexandria, Egypt Commanding Officer HDML 1083 1941 –
  • John Frederick FordTLt John Frederick Ford (pictured) RNVR TSLt 12/2/42 HMS St Christopher for MLs 20/4/42 HMS Mosquito (Alexandria) for MTBs 8/42 TLt 12/2/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1083 6/4/43 Commanding Officer ML 385 7/10/43-6/44 Commanding Officer ML 360 4/6/44 HMS Mosquito (Alexandria) For services in the clearance of the Aegean and the relief of Greece 1945 DSC. Born 10/3/17 in Bromley, Greater London / Kent and died 9/90 in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Ramsey Wilson Commanding Officer HDML 1083 1944

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42
    ML 1004, ML 1005, ML 1007, ML 1032 delivered. ML 1046 and ML 1069 being freighted. ML 1079 and ML 1083 awaiting freighting.
    Detected a submarine off the royal palace near Alexandria, which subsequently escaped
  • 2/9/42 Destroyers HMS Croome and Hursley carried out a patrol for a suspected enemy submarine to seaward near Alexandria. HDML 1032 and HDML 1083 patrolled close inshore.
  • 3/11/43 Landed an SBS raiding party on Khalki Island west of Rhodes
  • 20/2/44 Lost after grounding on a rock, Gulf of Kos, Aegean
    The crew got off and acquired a caique in Budrum, where they had been taken by the Turkish coastguard, and sailed the caique back to base. Ramsey Wilson was given command of LS 9 in the Levant Schooner Flotilla.

HDML 1084

Blackmore, Bideford, Devon 19/1/42

Known Crew

  • Lt Grant Commanding Officer HDML 1084
  • TLt H H Stewart RINVR TLt 8/9/42 120th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1084 13/7/43 – 12/43 ML 892 HMS Patunga (Chittagong)
  • TSLt Y Amin RINVR TSLt 18/1/43 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1084
  • TSLt P T Jenkins RINVR TSLt 22/7/43 120th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1084 19/1/44 – 6/44
  • TSLt J R B Harper RINVR TSLt 10/8/42 17th MTB Flotilla MTB 302 14/6/43 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1084
  • ASLt I J L Lang RINR ASLt 13/5/44 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1084
  • TSLt H J Rodricks RINVR TSLt 11/6/43 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1084
  • TASLt J M Storrow RINVR TMid 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1061 TASLt 13/5/44 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1084
  • Mid T C Pavledis RINVR 120th ML Flotilla HDML 1084 4/6/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla (Destined for East Indies
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 to be freighted upon completion
  • Royal Indian Navy 2/4/42 – 1946
    120th ML Flotilla
    ML 1061, ML 1073, ML 1079, ML 1084, ML 1087

Post War History

  • 1947 Sold

HDML 1085

Sussex Shipbuilding Company, Shoreham, Sussex 16/9/41

HDML 1085

London Gazette 14/6/45 – Birthday Honours 1945

  • DSC TLtCdr Harry Mannix Nees RNZNVR
  • MID TLt Kenneth Metcalfe Banks RNVR
  • MID POEng Jack Jacob Cotton LT/KX160104

Known Crew

  • TLtCdr Harry Mannix Nees RNZNVR TLt, 31/1/41 11th ML Flotilla 22/9/41 (230?) 24th ML Flotilla 3/43 ML 230 For Operation Jubilee – Raid on Dieppe 19/8/42 MID TLtCdr ML 1085 3/45 Birthday Honours 1945 DSC
  • TLt Kenneth Metcalfe Banks RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 25/8/41 TLt 8/10/42 HMS Iron Duke for MLs 11/42 Commanding Officer ML 1085 8/1/43 Birthday Honours 1945 MID
  • TSLt E T Melly RNVR TSLt 26/8/43 150th ML Flotilla ML 1085 11/44
  • POEng Jack Jacob Cotton LT/KX160104 HDML 1085 Birthday Honours 1945 MID

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 109th ML Flotilla
    Based at Scapa Flow
    ML 1047, ML 1054, ML 1055, ML 1056, ML 1060, ML 1075, ML 1081 and ML 1085
  • 1/42 At Scapa Flow
  • 6/44 Operation Neptune Invasion of Normandy
    150th ML Flotilla
    ML1055, ML1056, ML1060, ML1081, ML1085, ML1091, ML1279, ML1382, ML1390

Post War History

  • 1945 Survey Motor Launch = SML 4
  • 8-9/45 With HMS Franklin and SML 4, surveyed the Weser Estuary and the approaches to Bremen
  • 1949 SML 324
  • 9/6/59 Sold
  • 1973 = Shearwater Operated by Arisaig Marine as a ferry serving the Isles of Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna or even Soay or Skye
  • 2002 Transferred to new owners in Inverness

HDML 1086

Sussex Shipbuilding Company, Shoreham, Sussex 4/11/41

Known Crew

  • TSLt W Lockhead RNVR 110th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1086 from build
  • TLt N L McGawley RNVR 110th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1086 13/3/43 TLt 23/7/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1404 29/5/44 HMS Hornet Commanding Officer ML 113 7/2/45
  • TSLt G D Petrie SANF(V) ) TSLt 1/3/44 Commanding Officer HDML 1086 4/44 HMS Paladin (Destroyer)
  • TASLt P W Griffin RNR 110th ML Flotilla HDML 1086 10/42 TSLt 15/11/43 HMS Victorious (Aircraft Carrier)
  • TSLt D H Thomas RNVR TSLt 9/3/43 110th ML Flotilla HDML 1086 1944
  • TSLt R A J Webb RNVR HDML 1376 14/6/43 TSLt 12/9/43 Commanding Officer HDML 1086 7/2/45
  • TASLt P D Catlow RNVR TMid 10/3/44 108th ML Flotilla (Freetown, Sierra Leone) HDML 1066 12/44 110th ML Flotilla HDML 1086 18/12/44 TASLt 18/12/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla
    (Destined for East Indies)
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 to be freighted upon completion
    Transported to South Africa
    110th ML Flotilla
    HDMLs 1057, 1080, 1086, 1098
  • 10/2/42 HDMLs 1086 and 1098 departed Durban for Kilindini, Kenya, tasked to escort two boom defence vessels to Addu Attol in the Maldives. Six days later, at Port Victoria in the Seychelles, HDML 1098 tasked to recover US personnel from Coetivy Island, 160 miles south of Mahe, before rejoining at Addu Attol.
    Anti-submarine patrols at Addu Attol
    After twelve days, HDMLs 1086 and 1098, with a corvette, tasked to escort water carrier to Colombo. (Distance to Colombo is 600 miles, but the required route to avoid contact with Japanese forces doubles that and HDML 1098 arrives in Colombo with 20 gallons left.)
    Patrolled Trincomelee and Colombo
  • 9/9/45 Operation Zipper – Invasion of Malaya diverted to Penang.

Post War History

  • 10/46 For disposal

HDML 1087

Sussex Shipbuilding Company, Shoreham, Sussex 3/1/42

Known Crew

  • TSLt K P Nair RINVR TSLt Commanding Officer HDML 1087 3/7/43 TLt 121st ML Flotilla HDML 1118
  • TMid M F Barclay RINVR TMid 6/10/41 HMS Hindustan (Sloop) HDML 1087 15/6/43 55th ML Flotilla ML 440 TASLt 13/5/44 HMS Adyar (Madras)

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla (Destined for East Indies)
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 are at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 to be freighted upon completion.
    Royal Indian Navy 2/4/42 – 1944
    120th ML Flotilla
    ML 1061, ML 1073, ML 1079, ML 1084, ML 1087

Post War History

  • 1947 Sold

HDML 1088

McGruer, Clynder, Scotland 24/11/41

Known Crew

  • TLt R H Tigg RNVR TLt 7/9/40 Commanding Officer HDML 1088 29/3/43 HDML 1310 Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy For a series of actions in the Channel DSC ML 534 1944
  • TLt C W Robinson RNZNVR TLt 21/8/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1088 1/2/44
  • SLt F J Marks RNR SLt 24/5/43 HDML 1088
  • TMid N J S Carr RNVR 110th ML Flotilla HDML 1088 5/8/42 TSLt 18/12/43 110th ML Flotilla Commanding Officer HDML 1057 25/3/44

Wartime Activities

  • 1/1/42 At Ardrisaig for training duties, temporarily attached from 110th Motor Launch Flotilla
  • 1/1/42 110th ML Flotilla
    (Destined for East Indies)
    ML 1057 and ML 1080 at Hamble awaiting freighting.
    ML 1072, ML 1082, ML 1084, ML 1086, ML 1087 and ML 1088 to be freighted upon completion

Post War History

  • 1946 Sold at Kilindini, Kenya

HDML 1089

McGruer, Clynder, Scotland 29/5/42

Known Crew

  • TLt C B Baugh RNVR TSLt HMS St Christopher for MLs 2/3/42 HMS Edinburgh Castle (Freetown, Sierra Leone) for MLs 8/42 TLt 30/10/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1089 25/3/43 HMS Philoctetes II (Freetown, Sierra Leone) ML 530 1944
  • TSLt H E Munn RNVR TSLt 29/9/43 HDML 1403 Commanding Officer HDML 1089 1/3/44
  • TSLt W N Anderson RNVR TASLt 19/2/43 TSL 14/8/43 ML 125 23/11/43? Commanding Officer HDML 1089 20/4/45
  • TSLt J P M Sugden RNVR TSLt 26/5/44 ML 274 Commanding Officer HDML 1089 5/1/45

Wartime Activities

  • 4/9/42 ML 1209 and ML 1089 joined West Africa Command from U.K. by freight
  • 28/12/42 ML 1076, ML 1077, ML 1160, and ML 1089 sailed from Freetown to carry out an A/S Sweep
  • 26/1/43 HMS Arran arrived Bathurst with ML 1089 and ML 1160
  • 3/2/43 HMS Arran and ML 1160 and ML 1089 arrived Freetown from Bathurst escorting 2 merchant ships
  • 3/4/43 ML 1231 and ML 1089 sailed from Freetown to meet and escort stragglers from Convoy SL 127 and return with them to Freetown
  • 5/4/43 ML 1231 and ML 1089 returned to Freetown having been unable to meet the stragglers from Convoy SL 127, which arrived in Freetown independently

Post War History

  • 1/46 Sold at Freetown, Sierra Leone

HDML 1090

Ranalagh Yacht Yard, Wooton, Isle of Wight 22/1/42

Wartime Activities

  • 6/42 Royal New Zealand Navy

Post War History

  • 11/7/42 Lost in transport

HDML 1091

Ranalagh Yacht Yard, Wooton, Isle of Wight 16/7/42

London Gazette 14/6/45 – Birthday Honours 1945

  • MID PO Henry William Lucas LT/JX189944

Known Crew

  • Ch Skipper R J Quinton RNR Skipper 1/9/39 109th ML Flotilla Based Scapa Flow Commanding Officer HDML 1054 23/9/42 AChSkipper Commanding Officer HDML 1091 12/43 ChSkipper 6/1/44 150th ML Flotilla Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy Operation Big Drum
  • Lt D L Gordon RN Commanding Officer HDML 1091 6/45 Assistant Surveyor 2nd Class
  • TLt J G Rawson RNVR HMS St Christopher for MLs 29/12/41 TLt 20/3/42 HDML 1091 HMS Benbow (Trinidad) 1944 Commanding Officer ML 859 6/3/45
  • Skipper A S Ellington RNR Skipper 24/6/43 HDML 1091 15/7/44
  • CPO Thomas McKinnel HDML 1054 based Granton. Crew transferred to HDML 1091 6-7/43
  • CPO Joe Bradey HDML 1091
  • PO Henry William Lucas LT/JX189944 HDML 1091 Birthday Honours 1945 MID
  • AB John Tyler HMS Royal Arthur (Skegness), HMS Europa (Lowestoft) for cookery course. HDML 1054 based Granton. Crew transferred to HDML 1091 6-7/43

Wartime Activities

  • 11/42 Operation Torch – Invasion of Algeria
  • 6/44 Operation Neptune – Invasion of Normandy
    150th ML Flotilla
    ML1055, ML1056, ML1060, ML1081, ML1085, ML1091, ML1279, ML1382, ML1390
  • 6/6/44 Operation Big Drum
    ML1081, ML1091, ML1417, ML1419 were jamming German Radar on the Cotentin peninsula on D Day. Operating around 6 miles east of Cap Barfleur from 0230 to 0440. Carried RAF Type 660 and 662 jammers, plus operators

Serving on HDMLs in WWII
From Able Seaman Cook John Tyler

“I received my call up papers for the Royal Navy on December 24th 1942 at the age of 21 and was instructed to report to Royal Arthur Skegness on December 30th. Not being too best pleased at this I began a few days of visiting pubs, especially over the Christmas period. I eventually arrived on the said date and set about my induction and basic training for about a 4-week period after which I was moved to the Royal Navy School of Cooking at HMS Europa in Lowestoft. I took the 5-6 weeks cookery course qualifying as an assistant cook.

I was then billeted out with a local family for another 2 weeks before being posted to Granton Dock in Edinburgh where I joined ML1054. The skipper was Sub/Lt. Quinton RNVR who was a trawler skipper and wanted to return to this life as soon as he could.

The Chief engineer was C.P.O. Tommy Mckinnel and seamen Stokes and John Miller were also crew members. My sea experience on ML’s began there with regular patrols of 2 boats patrolling from the Forth Bridge to Bass Rock. We would patrol for 2 days and nights and as we came back in to Granton, 2 more of our flotilla’s boats would go out. When out we would sometimes anchor in the lee of Bass Rock overnight to rest and listen. We were patrolling for enemy submarines and E-boats.

ML1054 had Glenifer engines, which proved to be at best unreliable and sometimes unworkable. We would have done better with paddles. Around June or July the entire crew and skipper transferred to ML 1091, which was fitted with Gardener engines and had no crew. ML1054 remained un-crewed at the dockside. After a short while we got a new coxswain C.P.O. Joe Brady who came from Wembly.

After about 5 months with this boat ML1091 and 3 other boats were ordered alongside and fitted with 2 x 20 foot masts either side of the wheel-house with a cross-bar above the bridge, not unlike rugby posts. A large plate type structure was fitted to them which we were told had something to do with radar. A hole was cut in the deck behind the wheelhouse and a generator was lowered in to position in the P.O.s mess. The hole was plated over again once installed. This was all part of the new equipment to upset German radar. We then commenced sea trials to test the stability of the ML in all weathers. I remember being told off by the skipper when he overheard me say that I thought it all looked a bit dodgy to me. The test proved the stability of the boats and the Flotilla was ordered south, destination Newhaven. On the way we called at Grimsby and Lowestoft so our skipper could renew acquaintances from his trawling days and the crews could have a run ashore. In the Thames estuary ML1091 and 3 other boats split from the Flotilla and proceeded up river to Isleworth where we had some more electronic equipment fitted. Each boat got another crew member posted in to operate this equipment ours being a young New Zealander who came from Rotarua. After calibration and tests the 4 boats proceeded to Newhaven to join our other Flotilla members. These other boats had been fitted with big loudspeakers and powerful amplifiers. We did some exercises locally noticing a massive armada building up around us finally getting our orders for D-Day.

On the 5th June in the small hours we put to sea but were called back due to bad weather. On the 6th June we set off again this time it was on despite the weather being worse than the day before. We escorted the American ships and craft and at dawn, we were off the Omaha beach area. We tried hard to maintain station, bow on to the shore jamming Enemy coastal radar, dodging our craft, warships, landing craft, enemy gunfire etc. I had never seen so many ships and craft in my whole life. We were 2 – 4 miles off the coast until around mid-day when we were ordered back to Newhaven escorting returning ships. The 4 other boats of the Flotilla had been ordered to a quiet part of the French coast and were broadcasting sounds of an invasion there to confuse the enemy. During this action no one was allowed below decks for safety in case we got hit. As cook I made sandwiches, flasks of hot soup, cocoa and tea which was stored behind the wheelhouse for everyone to use during the day. My job when not cooking was as number 2 on the 2-pounder gun mounted aft. I remember lots of bodies in the water but we were ordered not to pick them up in case the enemy had booby-trapped them.

Back in Newhaven the ML’s were fitted with big canisters astern to make smoke when required. We returned to the French coast and were ordered between the capital ships like Warspite, Renown and Rodney and the shoreline. We moved back and forth making dense smoke screens to shield them from enemy gunners. Our shells screamed over our heads towards the enemy and the enemy shells screamed back occasionally falling very close to us as we operated.

As the allies moved up through France, Belgium and Holland we were off the coast eventually being ordered to the Walcheren Island. Again we jammed the enemy coastal radar as out invasion craft went in. I remember as we did our bit, the skipper of ML1081 got a roasting because as we operating he was seen with nets behind his boat trawling up the stunned fish. Waste not – want not.

After the attack on Walcheren we returned to Newhaven again this time we were ordered to patrol up to the Isle of White and occasionally as far as Dover. We were ordered to look for British mines that had come free and gotten in to the shipping lanes. When we found them the Orlikon gunner would sink them with cannon fire or as was more usual, explode them.

On one of these patrols the ML’s were in Poole harbour for a rest. ML1081 was tied up with our boat ML1091 tied up alongside. The crew of 1081 was going on leave so their boat was having its ammunition taken off. It was believed that someone dropped a case of 20mm Orlikon ammunition and it exploded killing 2 men and setting fire to the stern. I was below emptying a teapot in to the heads when it happened. The result was I ended up headfirst in the heads covered in wet cold tealeaves. We used axes to cut our moorings and pulled away from the burning 1081. She was later beached to save her sinking.

A few weeks later as the European war was ending ML1091 was renamed SML5 (Survey Motor Launch) and we got a new skipper. Sub/Lt Quinton had at long last been relieved to return to the trawlers. The Flotilla leader, Lt/Cmdr. Gordon became our new skipper and we crossed the Channel again to Ostende, up the river Maas and in to Rotterdam. As the war in Europe finished we were ordered to survey the river Rhine and find a navigable passage for the river traffic. Our days were spent zigzagging up the river looking for obstacles and wrecks. When we found them we would mark them with a buoy, plot them and find away round them. Other teams would remove them. When we had worked our way up river we moved to Neimegen then to Wessel, Duseburg, Dusseldorf and finally Cologne. Every day as the sun went down we would return to our base as we were not allowed to go ashore or tie-up anywhere else. On one particular day our skipper took us up river to see Bad Gottesberg where Chamberlain met Hitler at the start of it all.

We were back in Ostende on V-J Night and were allowed to go ashore to celebrate. As none of the crew had any money we took our spare boots with us. A deal had been struck with a café owner. He would get the boots and we would get beer all night. Unfortunately the café owner reneged and after a couple of beers he refused to give us any more. Well, being slightly miffed, this resulted in WWIII breaking out with bodies, chairs, tables and blood going all over the place. We managed to escape, with our boots, without being arrested and returned to our boat to sleep it off. The next morning we were ordered to parade on the key-side. The Café owner and police were there and began to pick us out. We had the option, pay for the damage or go to jail. We had no money so things looked bad for us but Lt/Cmdr. Gordon needed his crew so he paid for us, God bless him. In fact I think I still owe him 15 shillings.

We again returned to Newhaven where we tied up again for what was to be the last time. I was finally relieved and sent back up to HMS Europa where I was de-mobbed in 1946.

We were shot at a few times during my war service but never fired at anything other than a few errant mines. We hunted submarines but never found one. We did drop a 200lb depth charge once during a practice and we used most of our 4lb scare charges to stun fish and trawl them in. We never lowered our ensign once in fact, it was there from the day I boarded my first ML until the day I left them.

As the boats cook I operated in a tiny galley with a coal fired stove, which continually sooted up. The flue for this came out near the wheelhouse and I knew when it was time to clean it when the skipper would appear covered in black spots or with a complete black face. We normally had potatoes, onions, carrots and fresh veg. but most meat was canned. I invented 20 different ways to serve up Spam. All fruit was canned save for the occasional apple. That’s why the fresh fish was very welcome when we could get it.

They were great days with good shipmates’ all serving together on fantastic little boats that worked and worked their socks off continually. God bless them all.”

21.06.2017 Former AB John Taylor presented with Legion d’honneur
at RMB Chivenor, for services off Normandy from 06 June 1944.
Photo courtesy David Lickman

Post War History

  • 1945 Survey Motor Launch = SML 5
  • 1949 SML 325
  • 22/7/58 Sold

HDML 1092

Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Wartime Activities

  • 4-5/5/41 ML 1092, ML 1093, ML 1094 and ML 1095 destroyed on the stocks by an air raid whilst building at Harland & Wolff, Belfast

HDML 1093

Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Wartime Activities

  • 4-5/5/41 ML 1092, ML 1093, ML 1094 and ML 1095 destroyed on the stocks by an air raid whilst building at Harland & Wolff, Belfast

HDML 1094

Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Wartime Activities

  • 4-5/5/41 ML 1092, ML 1093, ML 1094 and ML 1095 destroyed on the stocks by an air raid whilst building at Harland & Wolff, Belfast

HDML  1095

Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Wartime Activities

  • 4-5/5/41 ML 1092, ML 1093, ML 1094 and ML 1095 destroyed on the stocks by an air raid whilst building at Harland & Wolff, Belfast

HDML 1096

Thornycroft, Singapore (Launched 1/6/41)

Wartime Activities

  • 1/42 Lost at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1097

Thornycroft, Singapore (Launched 10/6/41)

Wartime Activities

  • 1/42 Lost at the fall of Singapore

HDML 1098

Nichol, Durban, South Africa 2/42

Known Crew

  • LtCdr E L Bingham SANF(V) LtCdr 19/9/39 HMS Kongoni (Durban) HDML 1098 1942 (On commissioning) HMS Amzari (Vizigapatam)
  • Lt G C M Brown SANF(V) Lt 1/11/42 Commanding Officer HDML 1098 14/6/43 HMS Assegai (Durban)
  • TSLt S H Lane RNVR TSLt 21/11/43 HDML 1098 ML 464 9/4/45

Wartime Activities

  • Unofficially named “Insizwa”
  • 13/12/41 Commissioned
  • 19/12/41 Sailed for Simonstown. Next day forced into East London by a gale and spent three days repairing storm damage.
    Trials at Simonstown then returned to Durban and ordered to Ceylon.
    110th ML Flotilla
    HDMLs 1057, 1080, 1086, 1098
  • 10/2/42 HDMLs 1086 and 1098 departed Durban for Kilindini, Kenya and tasked to escort two boom defence vessels to Addu Attol in the Maldives. Six days later, at Port Victoria in the Seychelles, HDML 1098 tasked to recover US personnel from Coetivy Island, 160 miles south of Mahe, before rejoining at Addu Attol.
    Anti submarine patrols at Addu Attol
    HDML 1098 tasked to bury casualties from HMS Cornwall and Dorsetshire, who had died there.
    After twelve days, HDMLs 1086 and 1098, with a corvette, tasked to escort water carrier to Colombo. Distance to Colombo is 600 miles, but the required route to avoid contact with Japanese forces doubled that and HDML 1098 arrived in Colombo with 20 gallons left.
    Patrolled Trincomelee and Colombo
  • 9/9/45 Operation Zipper – Invasion of Malaya diverted to Penang.

Post War History

  • 1/47 For disposal at Hong Kong

HDML 1099

Nichol, Durban, South Africa /42

Known Crew

  • Lt J Ellis-Browm SANF Lt 22/3/41 Commanding Officer HDML 1099 from build HMS Kimberley (Destroyer)
  • TSLt D G P Strike RNVR Commanding Officer HDML 1099 10/5/43
  • TSLt P S E M Dickens RNR TSLt 1/7/43 HDML 1099 1/2/44 HMS Wolfhound (Destroyer)
  • TSLt A L Stuart RNVR HDML 1099 1/1/45

Wartime Activities

  • Unofficially named “Inkosana”
  • 3/42 Commissioned
  • 5/42 Departed for Kilindini, employed there on patrol and local duties until end of war.

Post War History

  • 1/46 For disposal at Trincomalee

HDML 1100

Irrawadi Flotilla Company, Rangoon 7/41

Wartime Activities

  • Royal Indian Navy 1944

Post War History

  • 1947 Sold
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