- Contributed by
- Vernon Copeland
- People in story:
- Vernon Copeland
- Location of story:
- Background to story:
- Royal Marines
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 09 January 2004
In 1991 this association was formed by a few members who served on Landing Craft Gun and Landing Craft Flak. A reunion takes place in Portsmouth every year for members to meet again and relive the times shared on these craft including many from overseas.
LCG were the brain child of Winston Churchill and were on the secret list even after the war. Consequently not many people have even heard of them. They were part of Combined Operations under Lord Louie Mountbatten. G's were intended to be first in line of battle to put out shore defences allowing troops to be landed far safer, getting in much closer than the big ships could.
LCG Armour was two 4.7 Guns plus two Orlikans. LCF carried Bofors and Orlikans. These being designed to fire at attaching air craft. Royal Marines manned all these Guns. Life on board these craft was very grim with no lighting on the mess deck, which was also the sleeping quarters as well.
The first twenty LCG were converted from LC Tanks in dock yards around the country by having a deck on three parts the length of the craft. They were all to rendezvous at Falmouth en route for the Mediterranean. LCG 15 and 16 started from Belfast they ran into stormy weather and both sank off Milford Haven with the loss of 79 lives, including 6 sailors from HMS Rosemary who went to the rescue. Water had entered the uncovered decks and the pumps could not cope. All remaining G's were recalled to the docks where they were converted for the remainder of the decks to be closed in. Again they rendezvous at Falmouth and left for the Mediterranean in June 1943 for the invasion of Sicily-Salerno-Anzio. After these actions six G's and some F's were left in the Mediterranean to see action at Corsica-Elba Dalmatian Islands and the South of France.
The remaining G's and F's returned to the UK for D-Day along with purpose built craft. These took part in the Normandy Landings also patrolling the English Channel which was called the "Trout-Line". Action was also seen at Walcheran helping the Commando’s and Canadians in a very nasty battle to open up the way to Antwerp and Amsterdam so that supplies could be got to the advancing troops.
This Association has erected a Memorial at Thornton Cemetery, Milford Haven where many bodies are buried from the 1943 disaster. A memorial has also been placed in the Rose Garden at the Royal Marine Museum Eastney in memory of all crew members lost in action and since. As all remaining members will be aged eighty or more this Association will close in 2005.
© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.