Canvas Assault Boats.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by sapper, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

  2. Stuart.tdb

    Stuart.tdb Member

    Not necessarily on D day Stuart, the RE port Co.s were involved with the floating port but also with the existing places like Ouistreham. If he was on sword then he could have had to scuttle for his life at any time.
    Sword was abandoned for unloading purposes as it was under long rang fire from LE Havre.

    I am never quite sure why D day is held in such regard for there were many times when the battles were far far fiercer than those earlier.
    Cheers
    Sapper
    Cheers Sapper

    Bill’s not talked about his experiences before so is a bit vague about where and when – he was in charge of 3 crawler cranes on Sword and did talk of being shelled; he spent most of his time in a slit trench….by the way he’s never worn his medals, still wrapped up in the envelopes they came in.
    You’re right of course that D day has superseded all the other battles that happened after - but in Bill’s case it’s importance was the fact that he never left the beach - never fired a round, even at Dunkirk - he stayed around Oiustreham until the end of the war so I’m trying to fill in the details….keep meaning to get up to Kew but never seem to get the time.

    Thanks mate and keep posting your memories…..nothing beats hearing history from those that were there and lived through it.

    Stuart
     
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Stuart.
    You may have heard me talk about our beloved "Coles Crane" We used it right up in the front line. The poor beasty paid the price several times over. But we managed to bring the old Girl back to life. Until she got a direct hit with an 88 whereupon the old lady burst into flames...If I recall correctly with a bloody great big bomb hung on her jib.....(They used air bombs along side roads etc) So the old lady gave up her soul and went to a better place. RIP Big Grin.

    You would be amazed where we took the old girl. Now, as to vets recalling what happened during their service? Hopeless....a great many cannot recall anything at all, and have even argued about events, that were proved they took part in ...But cannot remember.

    Fortunately at the staggering old age 0f 84/5,I can recall everything..With clarity and detail...But one thing I cannot do, is to get them in chronological order....That is asking too much.

    Sadly, a few years ago, I was in the verge of death, brought about by complications from my old war time injuries... During that time I lost some memory blocks.

    Try as a may, I have not managed to get them back... they are GONE... DEFUNCT... KNACKERED. But that old man with the grey beard, and bloody great big scythe, did not get me.

    That brings finally to SAINT PETER
    Bless him ! He had a pair of Pristine white wings put aside for me back in 1944. But I failed to turn up. So Saint Peter has put them in cold storage, wrapped in cellophane to keep them in good nick for when I do arrive.....

    Saint Sapper !
     
  4. Stuart.tdb

    Stuart.tdb Member

    Hi Stuart.
    You may have heard me talk about our beloved "Coles Crane" We used it right up in the front line. The poor beasty paid the price several times over. But we managed to bring the old Girl back to life. Until she got a direct hit with an 88 whereupon the old lady burst into flames...If I recall correctly with a bloody great big bomb hung on her jib.....(They used air bombs along side roads etc) So the old lady gave up her soul and went to a better place. RIP Big Grin.

    You would be amazed where we took the old girl. Now, as to vets recalling what happened during their service? Hopeless....a great many cannot recall anything at all, and have even argued about events, that were proved they took part in ...But cannot remember.

    Fortunately at the staggering old age 0f 84/5,I can recall everything..With clarity and detail...But one thing I cannot do, is to get them in chronological order....That is asking too much.

    Sadly, a few years ago, I was in the verge of death, brought about by complications from my old war time injuries... During that time I lost some memory blocks.

    Try as a may, I have not managed to get them back... they are GONE... DEFUNCT... KNACKERED. But that old man with the grey beard, and bloody great big scythe, did not get me.

    That brings finally to SAINT PETER
    Bless him ! He had a pair of Pristine white wings put aside for me back in 1944. But I failed to turn up. So Saint Peter has put them in cold storage, wrapped in cellophane to keep them in good nick for when I do arrive.....

    Saint Sapper !
    speaking of cranes, he did mention that in early 45, they floated the cranes up the coast….would that have been a Coles Crane?

    Sorry guys, hope I’m not hijacking this thread but on a slightly different tack could anyone explain the duties of a sapper gelignite man…before the evacuation to Dunkirk, Bill was involved in blowing bridges, fuel dumps ‘anything that wasn’t tied down’ as he described it. He said his job was the gelignite man…can anyone cast a light onto what that entailed?
    He did mention that it gave him terrible headaches…..
     
  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes the charges came in sticks rolled up in brown greaseproof paper. In wooden boxes...The trouble started when the outside showed little beads of clear liquid Gelignite...Unstable....Look out... BANG. the number was something like 108 ??? And the fumes did give you one hell of a headache.

    My Late Pal Jock Mathers, and myself, were ordered to unload a three tonner full of boxes of explosives, while under a very heavy bombardment, in an orchard, with shell, mortar, small arms, and Moaning Minnies. They were all unloaded and put into fox holes. At Speed! That is why I am still here.

    That was at Sannerville East of the Orne, on the "Goodwood" offensive..which I hated evey minute of.
    The Sannerville, Bannerville, Troarn, theatre of operations.
    Sapper
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Brian,

    Getting back to the origins of your thread.

    I do believe that you and everyone else who used those collapsable boats in action, should have received the CBM or Collapsable Boat Medal.

    All joking aside Brian, I find your posts inspiring and have nothing but admiration for what you and the other veterans did on behalf of mine and other generations.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  7. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Never thought of it like that Tom. its just conversation with friends...

    One day I will get the Book I wrote published...If I was not so bloody lazy.....
    Sapper
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Brian,
    Put me down for the first copy.:)

    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    This information board can be found behind the Folly Inn on the Medina River IOW. The factory where the boats were built is derelict now.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    The picture at the head of this thread is indeed the British collapsible Infantry Assault Boat, probably a Mk 3 - the Mk 2 had a square transom (I have paddled several in my time, though not in action). It was awkward, not too horribly heavy but serviceable and, as has been said, it was made of canvas with a wooden bottom and collapsed down to a few inches thick. There was indeed an Assault Boat Raft available, which used two Assault Boats linked together which could carry light trucks (I doubt a Bedford 3 tonner would fit (too long) but a 15 cwt would probably be OK or a carrier. It should not be confused with the Folding Boat Equipment boat which was bigger (21 ft 5 inches long as against 16 ft 8 in for the Mk 3 Assault Boat)and made almost entirely of three pieces of plywood. It also collapsed down to nearly flat; the entire bottom of the boat was plywood and formed a smooth curve from the very top of the pointy bit at the front to the very top of the pointy bit at the back. Doubtless this was the 'bridge building boat' referred to above. It could be used to build a Class 9 bridge, or a Class 9 raft; much greater load capacity than the Assault Boat Raft. Current Assault Boats are aluminium and do not collapse, though they can be stacked within each other.

    In the picture which forms part of the post immediately above this one, an Assault Boat (open topped) can be seen in the bottom row; not to be confused with the canoes, folding or not, used by the Cockleshell Heroes, either the real ones or the ones in the film.

    There has also been correspondence on Missing Lynx about 'Storm Boats' which are another breed. if somewhat similar, and intended to be driven with outboard motors. There appear to have been several types, but I never came across them so cannot comment.

    Chris
     
  11. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the feedback, and re-reading the information placard I would just note that in the top right picture is the canoe which the text Cockle refers, and the the bottom row picture is indeed an open assualt boat.

    So, as you have pointed out, the pictures have been transposed in the placard.

    My interest was actually in the assertion that Fred Goatley has named the canoe the Cockle, and so the term 'Cockleshell Heroes' came from that.
     
  12. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Plaque discovered in Lake Nipissing, Ontario in 2010.

    One of 390 12-foot MK IIc assault boats built for the Canadian Army in WW 2 by the Port Carling Boat Works, located 170 km to the south.

    55489101_2239253846190064_7115438131343523840_o.jpg
     
  13. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    @ Sapper; Your memory is at fault; so is mine but I do know that folding canvas assault boats (yes I have used them, well postwar) are much smaller and lighter, and of different construction, compared with the FBE boats. The FBE Mk 1 boat was approximately 21 ft 5 inches long and 6 ft wide and was basically made of three pieces of half inch plywood connected with fabric hinges. Mk 2 and Mk 3 boats were basically the same with different bridge fittings. The infantry assault boat Mk 2 was about 12 ft long and 4 ft 8 inches wide. The Mk 3 was bigger, about 17 ft long and 5 ft 5 inches wide and weighed 350 lbs. Both consisted of a flat wooden bottom and canvas sides with a wooden gunwale. Both types of boat could be folded flat for transport.
    Source: One more river to cross by Col JH Joiner RE.
    Chris
     
    JohnS and canuck like this.

Share This Page