Operation TORCH, Invasion of N. Africa, Nov. 1942.
Caption: A12705. LCP's (Landing Craft, Personnel) leaving the troop ship for shore.
Photo Credit - Royal Navy Photographer Lt. L. Pelman
and Imperial War Museum (IWM)
About 200 Canadians were sprinkled among landing craft crews during the invasion of North Africa in 1942. Before the invasion they passed Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean Sea aboard an assortment of troop carriers, e.g., converted oil tankers and passenger liners, etc.
Doug Harrison (RCNVR and Combined Operations) recalls the following in memoirs:
We left Greenock in October, 1942 with our LCMs aboard a ship called Derwentdale, sister ship to Ennerdale. She was an oil tanker and the food was short and the mess decks where we ate were full of eighteen inch oil pipes. The 80th and 81st flotillas, as we are now called, were split between the Derwentdale and Ennerdale in convoy, and little did we know we were bound for North Africa. (Page 23, "DAD, WELL DONE")
Many excellent photographs - revealing the troop carriers in convoy and flotillas of landing craft in subsequent action - related to the Allied cause during WW2, are part of a vast collection belonging to the Imperial War Museum, U.K.
RN photographers and those from other countries, for example, worked aboard troop ships, landing craft, on the beaches and in foxholes, etc., and a few created valuable still photographs and newsreels while standing upon the shores of North Africa when troops came ashore.
I encourage readers to browse IWM collections at their leisure. By adjusting the number of the top photograph, e.g., change A12705 to A12706, one will see the next photo in the collection. Copies of rare photographs can be purchased, if desired.
Please link to Search Our Collections.
Displayed below are a few pictures taken by Royal Navy photographers during World War 2. They are now archived at IWM and may assist those searching for more information about the role of Canadians in Combined Operations - and many other divisions, regiments, etc. - during Operation TORCH.
The accompanying captions are found with the photos as well:
A12708. Troops making their way inland after landing at Algiers. Here some men are
pulling and pushing a trailer of equipment over the sandy beach, and in the back-
ground two soldiers are manhandling a motorbike. Lt. L. Pelman, and IWM
A12710. Troop ships anchored off shore, showing VICEROY OF INDIA, KARANJA
and MARNIX VAN ST. ALDEGONDE. Lt. L. Pelman, and IWM.
A12711. An Auxiliary aircraft carrier escorting the convoy.
Lt. L. Pelman, and IWM.
Doug Harrison (RCNVR, Combined Ops) recalls the following in memoirs as well:
In the convoy close to us was a converted merchant ship which was now an air craft carrier. They had a relatively short deck for taking off, and one day when they were practicing taking off and landing a Swordfish aircraft failed to get up enough speed and rolled off the stern and, along with the pilot, disappeared immediately. No effort was made to search, we just kept on.
A12718. Landing craft mechanised (LCM 594) with stores and light guns on the way
to the beach at Algiers. Lt. L. Pelman, and IWM.
A12725. Invasion Fleet anchored off Algiers with landing craft going to
the beaches. J.A. Hampton, and IWM.
A12730. Landing craft on their way to the beaches.
J.A. Hampton, and IWM.
A12732. General view of transports anchored off shore near Algiers. Two lorries
are parked on the beach, whilst two landing craft are beached and several more
can be seen between the beach and the large number of supply and
troopships stretching across the horizon. J.A. Hampton, and IWM.
A12739. General view of the convoy en route for Gibraltar.
Lt. S.J. Beadell, and IWM.
A12752. HMS MARNE, whose stern was blown off by a torpedo, being towed
into Gibraltar. Lt. S.J. Beadell, and IWM.
In the book entitled H.M.C.S by Royal Canadian Navy Photographer Gilbert A. Milne, one finds a photo of a Dutch liner with a gaping wound made by a U-Boat torpedo.
Credit - G. A. Milne
A12756. A night attack by enemy aircraft is met by a barrage of tracer shells from
the guns of the convoy and escorting warships. Lt. R.G.G. Coote, and IWM.
A12795 HMS ARGONAUT approaching Gibraltar; "The Rock", during the transport
of men to the North African coast. Lt. C.H. Parnall, and IWM.
Please link to Photographs: Imperial War Museum - N. Africa, 1942 (3)
Unattributed Photos GH