Princess Maud D Day

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by coldstreamer20, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    I've recently done a thread on the colour photographs that date to 1 June, which you can read here. Unfortunately Princess Maud doesn't appear in the Force O embarkation orders I have (which date to 19 May), so I presume she was a later addition. From the shadows, we can deduce these pictures were taken at about 2pm, but 2 June was a full day of troop loading at the pier, so unless Princess Maud was shoehorned in, I doubt it was then. In the Eastern Task Force, stores were loaded in the days before the troop embarkation to avoid congestion, which is why I'm more inclined to think it's very late May, before full embarkation began on 1 June. I haven't been able to find thes epictures in US archives so far(not that they're usually dated particularly accurately!).
  2. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Winser writes: The conversion work completed, she [Princess Maud] left the Mersey on Feb 5 1944 and reached Southampton five days later. Training exercises were carried out off the English South Coast and during one, codenamed trousers, PRINCESS MAUD collided with an LST off Slapton Sands on Apr 12. With damage to her bow plating, she needed to be at Southampton for repairs from Apr 27-May 12 and, to minimise disruption to the troop training programme, she and PRINCESS MARGARET switched roles.

    Therefore Stephen, I assume you will find details of her embarkation orders under PRINCESS MARGARET (which went to SWORD).

  3. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    Ah, that makes sense, thanks. Princess Margaret was due to load just after the Rangers on 1 June. I suspect these photos will predate that then, as there wouldn't be time/space to load stores and men at the same time.
  4. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thanks for the thread on the colour photos. In the original set there was one with the LCAs alongside an LSI(H). It wasn't the Maud, but an HMS one (Prince Leopold?)
  5. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    Do you mean this one, which appears further down the thread? There's some video of the same view in the tweet below it.

    (Edit: unfortunately, linking to Twitter doesn't always take you to the exact tweet in a thread, so you'll need to scroll down to find the attached image).

    Prince Baudouin.jpg
  6. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    That's the one, thanks
    Spitfires of the Sea likes this.
  7. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Michell, you may already have this, but the following link gives you Pennant Numbers of many of the ships on your post above, sorry can’t help much more with the Landing Craft of ship codes pennant numbers.pdf
  8. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Well-Known Member

    Late addition to this thread but can anybody clear up who is correct here. This pic is from Christopher Jary's "D-Day Spearhead Brigade" and labelled "Empire Crossbow from an LCA" and photo attributed to Geoff Hebden
    View attachment 294667
    And the same picture is in Tim Saunders' "Gold Beach - Jig" labelled "HMT Empire Spearhead with 1 Dorset's Battalion HQ LCM being lowered to starboard shortly after dawn on D-Day"

    And were the Motor Launches stowed on board (as shown here), or towed across as they had vehicles on them I believe? Empire Crossbow had a ML with 2 men from the 147 Field Regt and I think the plan was to go alongside LCH100 and disembark the CO and Adjutant and attempt to beach them @ H+60.
  9. Ian,

    From the photo alone, it could be either, since the letter on the funnel is not clear enough to determine whether it is S for Spearhead or C for Crossbow, and no other meaningful feature is apparent.

    Photo captions in Saunders' book are notoriously fanciful, and often made up to match the text in the book rather than the reality...

    Since Jary mentions the source of the photo, he might be correct this time. Does he positively identify Geoff Hebden as shooting the photo himself while on board an LCA from CROSSBOW, bearing in mind that there are countless examples of veterans thinking a photo is showing their own craft/ship whereas it was shot by someone else on a different vessel?

    By the way, I think you meant LCM, not Motor Launches :D

  10. Some nice shots of PRICESS MAUD in IWM film BTF 48 (starting 07:09).

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
  11. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Well-Known Member

    The Empire xxxxxxxxx Pic in Tim Saunders book (attached) is a little clearer but still no visible letter on the funnel.

    The Jary book has Geoff Hebden in brackets after the equivalent pic in my post above and also after a "1st Dorsets anti tank platoon aboard LCA" pic which is reported to be the only D-Day pic of an inhabited LCA on Gold. This one courtesy of the Keep Museum. I will try and find out who he is View attachment 294717
    Yes I am sorry I meant LCM! I still get confused as you know! This is the craft of Brigadier Stanier & Lt Col Phayre that eventually detonated a post mounted shell and everybody had to abandon ship
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  12. Thanks for the additional info Ian.

    First question that rings in my compulsively skeptical mind is why would members of an anti tank platoon would land from an LCA? They were to land with their carriers and anti tank guns from LCT, or else what good could they possibly have been?

    Secondly, even if those chaps actually belong to 1 DORSET (and perhaps even, by a stretch of imagination, some of them, but definitely not all, an advance party for one of the the A Tk plns), they landed from both SPEARHEAD (A & B Coys in LTINs 2045-2054, D Coy 2075-2079) and CROSSBOW (2070-2074), so knowing their regt is not enough to determine the LSI.

    So, yet another dubious caption...

  13. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Well-Known Member

    Geoff Hebden was a Captain in the 1st Dorsets Support Company and commanded the 1st Dorsets A/Tank Platoon and he carried an illicit camera. I haven't been able to confirm the SP Company was with "C" Company on the Crossbow, but it looks probable.

    The Dorsets in the LCA picture also appears in Simon Trew's Battle Zone Normandy - Gold Beach book (pp 50) where the caption adds " three beach group personnel (identifiable by the white band around each of their helmets)". So there were other units in the LCA and his must have been the advance A/Tk party as you suggested.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  14. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    According to the war diary, "Bn was on board LSI G62 Empire Spearhead with exception of C Coy on LSI G64 Empire Crossbow and Sp Coy on LCTs and LSTs." That said, if Hebden did take the picture on the LCA, he was almost certainly part of a small SP advance party on board one of the LSIs, arriving ahead of the rest of the company.
  15. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Well-Known Member

    Thanks Stephen. I will go back to Christopher & Keep Museum to see if they are certain where an advance A/Tank party were. Wearing my 147 Field hat I don’t know very much about the Dorsets. But if it is the Empire Crossbow then presumably that LCM dangling over the side has 2 x 147th men on board if that is how it launched. I will also try & get permission to use a better quality picture. Ian
  16. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Not all of the Empire landing ships had an LCM, those that did launched them using the after derrick, as in the photo. I assume that the LCMs were too long or heavy to be davit launched. While the Empire ships were merchant ships the LCAs they carried had a naval crew and I assume that the LCM would have also had one
  17. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Well-Known Member

    Christopher is not 100% certain which LSI Capt Geoff Hebden's Anti/Tank advance party from the Dorsets Support Company were on. So I suppose we cant be 100% sure that it is Crossbow in the picture. There is another of Geoff Hebden's pictures I dont have permission to post which shows Capt Hebden's party inside their LCA. There are Beach Group personnel with them with white rings around their helmets, and there were 2 men from 36 Beach Group due to land at H+20 from Crossbow; and there weren't any on Spearhead I dont think. If I can get permission I will post a better quality picture in due course. Ian
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  18. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Michel, you may already have this, but spotted on this video of Canadian Landings at Juno Beach, LCA from Mecklenburg, with MK marking, and thought I’d post for you


  19. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    I don't know if this is relevant, I have a note by s.s. Empire Spearhead: 231st Infantry Brigade. 1st Battalion Dorset Reg. with a source: Daily Sketch reporter!
  20. IanTurnbull

    IanTurnbull Well-Known Member

    Thank you Roy that would be interesting. Can you post it here? I still don’t have permission to post the quality picture of the LSI or of the men within the LCA. I will chase. Incidentally isn’t that the LCM still aboard the Crossbow in the picture above? Ian

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