Saturday, February 3, 2018

Photographs: Training on Landing Crafts (7).

Combined Operations Camps, Landing Crafts and Crews.

A23103. Landing Craft (Assault) returning to the EMPIRE HALBERD (LSI)
after landing their troops on to the beaches during pre-invasion fleet exercises
in the English Channel, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight area. Photo Credit -
Lt. E.E. Allen, RN Official Photographer. Imperial War Museum (IWM).

Introduction:

As World War II continued Combined Operation Centres or camps began to dot the shoreline of the United Kingdom. Thousands of men would eventually pass through the doors of some of the more extensive camps, as at HMS Quebec in Scotland and HMS Saunders, at Kabrit, on Bitter Lakes, Egypt.

Canadians in Combined Operations became acquainted with ALCs and LCMs at HMS Northney camps on Hayling Island in early 1942 and new Landing Craft Infantry (Large), aka LCI(L)s during training exercises in the English Channel near the Isle of Wight prior to D-Day Normandy.

In between those dates much training related to landing crafts was completed at HMS Quebec just south of Inveraray, Scotland as well as at Irvine at RAF Dundonald and Camp Auchengate (Navy), west of Glasgow.

My father Doug Harrison recalls some of his early training at HMS Quebec (spring 1942) in his Navy memoirs:

ALCs carried soldiers and LCMs carried soldiers or a truck, a Bren gun carrier, supplies, land mines, gasoline, etc. ALCs were made of 3/16th inch plating, thick enough to stop a .303. LCMs wouldn’t stop a bullet. ALCs sat three rows of soldiers including two outside rows under 3/16th inch cowling, but the center row was completely exposed.


"We did this training on a liner called the Ettrick": Inveraray. Photo - combinedops.com

We clambered up scrambling nets and Jacob’s ladders and became very proficient because we learned to just use our hands. We did this training on a liner called the Ettrick, which we will hear more about later on. Her free board was high, i.e., the distance between the water line and hand rails, and we got so it took about three seconds to drop 25 - 30 feet on scrambling nets. (Page 13, "DAD, WELL DONE")

The number of training centres, the types and sizes of landing craft, and the numbers of men trained to man landing crafts gradually grew as WW2 progressed toward its ultimate conclusion.

In this and subsequent entries, several photographs related to landing crafts will be displayed from the Imperial War Museum (IWM) as found within its extensive and valuable archives. Sites visited by the Canadians in Combined Ops will be featured on occasion.

[Please link to IWM at Search Our Collections and browse at your leisure through photographs, films and audios, etc.]

A23105. Tank landing craft astern of an infantry landing craft putting out to sea
during pre-invasion fleet exercises in the English Channel in the Portsmouth and
Isle of Wight area. Photograph taken from on board the landing ship infantry
EMPIRE MACE. Lt. J.E. Russell, RN Official Photographer, IWM.

A23109. DD Tanks being launched from LC(T)'s to assault the beaches.
Lt. J.E. Russell, IWM.

A23110. DD tanks being launched from LCTs to assault the beach.
Lt. J.E. Russell, IWM.

A23112. Loading beach party into assault landing craft.
Lt. J.E. Russell, IWM.

A23113. Assault landing craft leaving the infantry landing craft.
Lt. J.E. Russell, IWM.

A23139. Gun layers and sight setters on duty at a 4.7 gun.
Lt. L. Pelman, RN photographer, IWM.

A23144. LC(G) 17 laying a smoke screen during pre-invasion exercises off
the Isle of Wight. Royal Navy photographer Lt. L. Pelman, IWM.

Heading: Invasion craft officers at school, 16 May 1944, at Combined Operations Camp HMS Dinosaur, Troon. Officers and ratings undergo initial and refresher courses in major landing craft.

A23623. An initial training lesson.
Lt. S.J. Beadell, RN photogr. IWM.

A23624. Gunnery ratings at gunnery practice in the Gunnery Dome.
Photo Credit - Lt. S.J. Beadell, RN official photographer, IWM.

A23625. Ratings in the aircraft recognition room.
Lt. S.J. Beadell, IWM.

A23631. Rating at anti aircraft gun practice.
Lt. S.J. Beadell, IWM.

A23632. Physical Training class on the lawn. In the background is the base,
HMS DINOSAUR. Lt. S.J. Beadell, IWM.


Unattributed Photos GH.

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