extensive use of the ‘Mulberry Harbour ‘ constructed in the JUNO section.”
The Mulberry Harbour he referred to was a remarkable British invention of steel
tank sections that were towed across channel and sunk off the beach at
Arramanches to form a harbour large enough to service the immediate needs of
the Invasion. What is particularly striking when reading Alan’s notes is the
remarkable work-load demanded of his ship. For 2 months, they were
constantly crossing the Channel, loading and off-loading and navigating in
waters where there must have been a perpetual traffic-jam of shipping, and
requiring the most alert seamanship to keep them from collision at the same
time making the variety of landfalls required of them-all without the benefit of
The scene now changes to Cardiff strangely enough. It is 5th.December 1944.
Alan has at last been promoted to Lt.Commander, and already assumed his first
command, that of another Tank Landing Ship - No. 11 ( why didn’t they have
names ?) which had been refitting in Cardiff Docks and is now under orders to
sail to Plymouth preparatory to leaving for the Far East .Here they loaded a
Landing Craft (tank) on the Upper Deck and 22 D.U.K.W.s on the Main
Deck.They proceeded to Milford Haven, where they linked up with a convoy
departing on 19th December on passage to India, passing through the
Mediterranean to Port Said, the Suez Canal and Aden, arriving after a lengthy
and slow passage in Calcutta on 31st.January 1945.
Here they offloaded their deck-cargo -the Landing Craft - launching it over the
side by listing their ship to the required angle, and sliding the vessel off using
steel runners - an interesting manoeuvre provided that you stood well clear!
Immediately L.S.T. 11 was pressed into service recording 37 missions from the
date of his arrival in India to V.E.Day (8th.May 1945) when they were to beach
near Rangoon five days after the port had been re-taken. Again Alan writes with
such a clear memory spanning all the years (dictated to Sheila of course):
“After reloading we left Calcutta on 10th February for Chittagong arriving the next
day where we embarked further personnel. We left on the 12th. arriving at
Kyaukpyu on the Burma coast which was already in British hands .Here we
beached successfully and discharged all vehicles .On Feb 14th LST.11. left
Kyauk Pyu for the short journey north to Akyab (Burma) where we beached .All
this while Allied troops were driving the Japs south -out of Burma. All LST’s
were now acting independently, taking supplies and troops to back up our
advance. For three months our ship was similarly occupied. There was the
occasional air raid, but no Japanese naval craft were encountered.”
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