- Contributed by
- Philip Goldacre
- People in story:
- PO Leslie Goldacre
- Location of story:
- HMS Mantis mostly (Lowestoft)
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 10 July 2005
PO Les Goldacre. 1946
Name: Leslie Gordon Goldacre
Service Number: P/JX 325182
Date Volunteered: 29 Jan 1942
I have always found it a great shame that the story of Royal Navy Coastal Forces has not been told more widely. These men went out night after night in Motor Torpedo Boats, Motor Gun Boats and Motor Launches, all the same hull with different armaments, and never expected to come back. They kept the shipping lanes clear, fought close engagements with German E-boat (Schnellboot) flotillas and landed Royal Marine Commandos on enemy occupied territory to carry out sabotage raids, etc.
Some of those who survived, like my father, had an horrendous war. He was still having nightmares and bits of metal were still emerging from his body 20 years and more later. A lot of the shrapnel he took stayed with him until he died.
15 Feb 44* Penetration HE wound right thigh. F.B. left in situ. Officer’s evidence: Lt Geoffrey Raymond Dale DSC RNVR
11 May 44** Multiple high explosive wounds of right chest and shoulder. Officer’s evidence: Lt Geoffrey Raymond Dale DSC RNVR
* I found this German account of the action on 14/15 Feb 44 in which I believe my father received his leg wounds (I translate below):
In der Nacht vom 14./15.2. wirft die 2. S-Flottille (S 89, S 98, S 92, S 80 und S 67) 21 LMB-Minen südöstlich von Great Yarmouth. Auf dem Rückmarsch werden die Booten von den brit. Korvetten Mallard und Shearwater verfolgt. Von der dt. Luftaufklärung wird der Vorstoß der brit. MTB 439, MTB 441, MTB 443, MTB 444 und MTB 455 beobachtet, so dass die zurückmarschierende 2. S-Flottille und die ausgelaufene 8. S-Flottille mit S 93, S 64, S 117, S 127, S 129, S 85, S 133, S 99 und S 65 gegen sie angesetzt werden können. Bei einem Gefecht mit 3 Booten der dt. 34. Minensuch-Flottille werden MTB 455 und MTB 444 beschädigt. Das dt. M 3411 sinkt beim Ausweichmanöver nach einer Kollision. In nachfolgenden Gefechten werden die anderen brit. MTBs sowie S 89 und S 133 beschädigt.
During the night of 14/15 Feb the 2nd E-boat Flotilla (S 89, S 98, S 92, S 80 and S 67) laid 21 LMB mines south-east of Great Yarmouth. While retreating the boats were pursued by the British corvettes Mallard and Shearwater. Offensive actions of the British MTB 439, MTB 441, MTB 443, MTB 444 and MTB 455 were spotted by German aerial reconnaissance so that the retreating 2nd E-boat Flotilla and the freed-up 8th E-boat Flotilla, comprising S 93, S 64, S 117, S 127, S 129, S 85, S 133, S 99 and S 65, were able to be deployed against them. In a battle with three boats of the German 34th mine-sweeping flotilla the MTB 455 and MTB 444 were hit. The German M 3411 sank while taking evasive action following a collision. In subsequent engagements the other British MTBs were hit as well as the S 89 and S 133.
From the accounts which Dad gave us of his time with HMS Mantis in particular, I have to say that I have a strong impression of a large group of courageous, determined and dedicated men with strong bonds of camaraderie and esprit de corps. I understand some of what they went through from my own service in the Army, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, during the 1970s and I have to say I hold them in the highest esteem. To one and all I would like to say a huge thank you for the dedication and sacrifice they showed.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Philip Goldacre MSc
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