LCT 864 on D-Day and beyond...

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by J Chaplain, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Yes!
    J Chaplain likes this.
  2. J Chaplain

    J Chaplain Member

    Incredible! You mentioned that LCT 864 is recognizable by the Le Tourneau crane on her after tank deck - I'm wondering how you knew to look for that?
  3. Sorry, my sentence was not clear: it's LCT 675 which has the Le Tourneau crane on board. I simply noted it was there on various views of 675:

    Note that this crane was not listed in the March 1944 Landing Tables.
  4. J Chaplain

    J Chaplain Member

    Ah sorry, my mistake! I checked the landing table and couldn't see any mention of the crane, so thanks for clearing that up.
  5. Anna Lisa Young

    Anna Lisa Young New Member

    My father was the officer in charge of this LCT and I have many photos and documents. Email me at
  6. Anna Lisa Young

    Anna Lisa Young New Member


    Attached Files:

  7. Anna Lisa Young

    Anna Lisa Young New Member

    I'm desperate to find footage of LCT 864 as my father was the officer in charge. I don't see it in the film clip although it is mentioned!
  8. Anna Lisa Young

    Anna Lisa Young New Member

    Oh SORRY GUYS! I saw LCT 864 and thought US, not British Ha! They had the same numbers.
  9. Dave Lewis

    Dave Lewis New Member

    Hi Michel,
    I’m new to this group so hello.

    LCT647 (LTIN 2030)
    My late father Ronald Lewis was an Able Seaman who served on LCT647 on D-Day.
    I have been reading all the posts on this site with great interest, especially the information you have relating to the various LCT’s that are mentioned in previous posts.

    I do have some information that I obtained from Andrew Whitmarsh at the D-Day story museum relating to dads LCT647 on D-Day, however I was wondering if you knew any of any sites I could get photos of LCT 647 or more interestingly any photos of the crew?

    Thanks in anticipation, and thanks for being a fountain of knowledge to the families of the brave generation that fought on D-Day and WW2 in general.

    Dave Lewis - Son of A/S Ronald William Lewis on LCT647 on 6/6/44
  10. Hello Dave,

    Welcome to the forum!

    Here is what I have on LCT 647 (20230) on D Day.

    The War of the Landing Craft by Paul Lund and Harry Ludlam (1976) pages 163-166​

    GOLD sector was centred on Arromanches. Lieutenant R. B. Davies, RNVR, commanded LCT 647 of the 28th LCT Flotilla which went in on the first wave.
    `On our slow, all-night passage across to France our force took the western Solent before turning east, then south ("Decided not to invade the USA after all", as someone remarked). All LCTs towed barrage balloons against possible dive-bomber attacks. My craft also towed two LCA hedgerows, the mortar-firing craft, which were due to slip and run in under their own power as we beached to start their job of mine clearance. The weather continued pretty rough, however, and in the end proved too much for them. We used every type of wire and rope we had, but in spite of all our efforts most of the lines chafed through and we cut the last one as the crews stepped aboard our craft and the waterlogged Hedgerows went down. This was a bitter disappointment for the young lads who had put up with so much, including seasickness, in these small craft during the long hours of towing.
    `We saw a floating mine ahead and received the signal "Do not open fire – warn next astern." There wasn't a clear stretch of water to be seen, craft of some sort ploughing along wherever one looked, but the message apparently just beat the mine. St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, was our last view of home. About 4 a.m. we saw the red glow of the RAF attack on the French coast ahead, and at dawn we tried to identify landmarks. We saw no enemy aircraft nor any of ours, either. The weather continued very lively and this doubtless added to the element of surprise. We aimed to beach at half flood tide, which would leave most of the underwater beach mines exposed and give the assault craft the best chance of pulling clear after beaching. (At the final briefing at Southampton we of the first wave had asked for instructions regarding our movement after the assault. There was some hesitation and consultation on the platform, and then a candid staff officer said, with great charm, "As a matter of fact, we hadn't included you in the Turnround Organisation at all. However, if you do get off the beach you'd better go to the waiting position and join a convoy back here.")
    `Well, we were going in now, the guns of HMS Belfast firing over us. Landmarks were clear – we were coming up into line-abreast, six craft covering a mile of beach, my craft on the left flank. Our beaching mark was an old wooden wreck. Tanks were manned and revving up, the ramp door eased, two hands aft by the kedge wire, all of us dressed and armed and provisioned against a probably enforced stay ashore, feeling and looking like pirates. The squadron commander circled round in his headquarters craft and hailed us all in turn. `Can you see your beach marks? – OK, beach at full speed. Good Luck!'
    `A terrific "Whoosh" sounded on our starboard quarter and we saw the streaks of 500 rockets rising shorewards from one of our rocket craft. We made for our beach, allowing for the strong easterly tide and going in at full speed. This last minute order made me wonder how our reel of kedge-wire would take it, for even at normal speeds it needed careful control.
    `The last mile coming up – no opposition yet noticeable – then suddenly hundreds of flashes right along the sand dunes. "Here it comes," I thought, "Coast batteries opening up at the last moment." But nothing came and I realised that the flashes were rocket explosions from those we had seen launched seconds before. However, something was flying around – my tin hat registered a "ping". One or two plumes of water were shooting up here and there but we could see nothing likely to fire stuff that big. There was a pillbox on our port bow – point-five or similar, we thought. It was spitting away at us and our port gunner on the Oerlikon got well on to it with his first burst. His second put tracer right inside and the box just blew up. We were due to beach at 7.23 a.m. – the last few hundred yards now – strong cross-tide expected – next craft to starboard had hoisted a child's wooden horse as mascot – more shell splashes – ramp door partly lowered – "Stand by kedge" ... "Let go." And roughly what I had feared happened. The kedge dropped and our speed jerked the wire drum off its frame, the wire jammed and the anchor bounced along behind us at the end of fifty feet of useless wire – but we were there. I felt us take the ground and continued pushing at full speed to make sure of it. She was slowing up now. On our port side three survivors from a DD tank asked for assistance. "Get them aboard if you can," I told two of the lads. Then "Down ramp" and the Royal Engineers went ashore, their first item down the ramp being a seven-foot high roll of coconut matting pushed by a tank to provide a helpful surface for tracked vehicles through the soft sand. Then the exodus of a mechanised Noah's Ark began – Flail tanks, armoured trucks with impossible gadgets, metal monstrosities of all types – pride of the REME designed to clear beach mines and other defences for the infantry coming in behind us.
    `The shell splashes were coming from the right, we saw, from a gun emplacement a mile along the beach where the flotilla officer's craft had landed. The craft was still there. The others were kedging off – the kedge wires had survived. The signalman told me the three tank survivors were aboard.
    `The Army were ashore. Now, apart from the FO's craft we were the only craft still on the beach. The splashes were coming closer – we were almost a broadside target. For a long minute the rising cross-tide took charge as we moved slowly ahead dragging a useless kedge, before No 1 had dashed aft from the ramp door and, with an engineroom Chief, cut the kedge wire so that I could go astern. We slewed round immediately, providentially facing the troublesome gun and presenting the smallest target. We were still well afloat and still slewing broadside to the beach. I decided that rather then going astern I could get quicker results by continuing the turn with a hard-astarboard rudder and engines full ahead, which I did. Two splashes went up, one either side of us as we turned; we gathered way, completed the turn and unbeaching right against the rule hook, we got clear. The gun, a French 75, had knocked out the flotilla officer's craft (the only one lost of our six) and he and the rest of the survivors nipped aboard their neighbouring craft which unbeached safely.
    `The first wave had done its job; casualties were few, contrary to all expectations, thanks, I am sure, to the RAF's earlier work on the beach defences. We set course for the waiting position, No. 1 took over and I went down to the tank-hold to have a word with the DD tank crew, one of whom had a shoulder wound.
    `Passing follow-up waves going in as we made our way to the waiting position, brief chit-chats over loud-hailers took place.
    "What's it like?" "Not as bad as expected." And, aided by hot drinks and sandwiches, a cheerful reaction set in. In the comparative peace of the waiting position our casualty was transferred to the care of the flotilla's chief sick berth assistant aboard the hospital craft, and with nightfall we joined a northbound convoy.'​

    LIFE photographer Frank Scherschel crossed the Channel post-D Day on board 647 and took a number of shots, most of them shwing the US troops she was then carrying. Only one of them shows a crew member:
    31 - TimeLife_image_116679287 - 5x5 - 884 (2543) LCT(4) L24 - Frank Scherschel - Jun 44.jpg

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2024

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