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The Fate of MTB 671

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    Posted: 03 December 2006 at 10:44am

I had the privilege to read this article in the penultimate issue of the Coastal Forces Veterans Association’s Newsletter. I have since had the pleasure of speaking to ex Ldng Seaman Ken Forrester and Charles Milner DSM (CFVA Editor) and they have given permission for it to be reproduced here.

 

The Fate of MTB 671.

“I don’t remember reading in the journal about the fate of MTB 671 just off Alderney in the early hours of the 25th April 1944.”

The 55th MTB Flotilla was working from HMS Dolphin – Gosport at that time. Three “D” class boats sailed from that base at around 3.00pm on the 24th doing our usual patrol in the area of the imminent invasion of Europe, the boat numbers were MTB617-632-671. Lt Cdr D.G.Bradford was Leader, Lt Charles Ford 632 and “tail end Charlie” was Lt Larry Togood in671. We got to our patrol area about midnight and all three boats lay with engines and wireless contact cut – it was a lovely night and the sea calm, visibility good. We were laying with the water quietly lapping the sides of the boat, it was then 1 am. I was sat in my forward Pom Pom turret and the Captain had just spoken to me on the ‘gun phones’ and I asked him where we were, his reply was ‘just off Alderney – at that precise moment there was a sound of rushing water and of churning screws and the high white Bow waves of three German destroyers – travelling at speed straight for us. Our hearts missed a beat – we just could not believe what we were seeing. Both enemy and ourselves were unaware of each others presence until that very moment. We crash started engines, the Bow waves of the Destroyers died down as they reduced speed and at thirty yards range all Hell broke loose. No living man could describe what started to come our way; it was just a blazing Hell. It was the only time I had been ordered to load 100% Pom Pom Starshell to illuminate for the other boats.

Our boats turned to Starboard – the opposite way to the enemy – all guns blazing – 617 first, 632 second. Each in turn receiving heavy damage, casualties and loss of life, poor 671 perished in the onslaught with the loss of its entire Crew.

The two remaining boats remained in the area for quite some time and when the Destroyers had gone we searched the area – but the was no sign of wreckage or life. 617 had succumbed to the avalanche of gunfire.

I have since learned that two of 671’s crew did actually survive. With the casualties of the other two boats- in excess of thirty Sailors died in that hectic few minutes.

In hindsight, one wonders if the tragedy of the Americans would have happened if the 55th Flotilla had been complete, I am talking of Slapton Sands in Devon a couple of days later. The e-boats responsible for this carnage were based at Cherbourg very near our area of patrol.

Ex Leading Seaman Ken Forrester (262)

Second Cox.n MTB 632

 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pioneer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 December 2006 at 1:12pm
In L Reynolds book 'Dog Boats at War' he identifies the two survivors as being Sub Lt Colin Morley - Pilot of 671 - and A/B Alfred Day Twin Oerlikon Gunner - who was awarded the DSM for bravery in this incident in trying to save more from this onslaught.
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