Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Roger007, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Roger007

    Roger007 Member

    Can anyone tell me the location of HMT GAIRSAY sunk off Normandy on 3rd August 1944.
    My father was signalman Norman Coupe.
    Am sailing in the area in Sept and would like to pay my respects at or near the site.
  2. Roger007

    Roger007 Member

    Hello Michel,

    Thanks for your help, have got coordinates from Nat Archive but they seem to be wrong, ship lost off Normandy but can't find position on map. Will keep trying.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Reading information, it would seem that Gairsay was part of what was called the Trout Line - a line of ships that defended the eastern end of the landing area from attack by boat or plane from the still held German sectors around Le Havre etc etc. Perhaps some investigations into the positioning of ships in this line may locate Gairsay's approximate position on the day in question.

    On the other hand I could be talking out of an unknown orifice :(


    edited to add:

    Ahh - I see you have raised that elsewhere
  4. Roger007

    Roger007 Member

    Thanks for your assist,

    I have heard of the Trout Line from a number of sources, but trying to find anything on line brings up a type of fishing line!!!

    Will try rewording it somewhat.

    Thanks. Roger
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Try this -


    My father Graham Rouse took off the crew from a sinking LCG off Sword Beach Normandy following D-Day. (He had recently taken over command of ML 197.) He would love to hear any news of the survivors which he took to a hospital ship at daybreak. (ROUSE@DSL.IPEX.COM) Here is an extract from his story:
    "A defence line called the TROUT line was established first East of the assault area. It comprised a North/South line of anchored landing craft (LCG’s and LCF’s). Our job every night was to patrol just to the West of the line to stop explosive motor boats, E boats and ‘human torpedoes’. One night, an LCG was torpedoed and we took off the crew before it sank. It was a chaotic situation in the darkness - we went alongside and were taking some men off the deck and pulling others from the water. I thought I could hear some one in the water shouting to get our attention (“ML! ML!) and I called back into the darkness to “Hang On”, I do not know what happened to the owner of this voice.

    OR if you got to -
    Someone is asking a very similar question to yours -

    Message 1 - HM "Europa"
    Posted on: 15 September 2005 by rogercoupe
    My father Norman Coupe was at Europa
    and then at Sparrows Nest in Lowestoft,
    He was signalman on HM Trawler Gairsay and was
    lost on 3rd Aug.1944 when on station in the Trout Line off Normandy.
    I would very much like to find out the position of the sinking, perhaps you may be able to help.

  6. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Had a look at a couple of things and came up with following.

    HMS GAIRSAY sunk by Human Torpedo whilst anchored in A 11 berth. One officer and twelve ratings were saved.

    Survivors picked up by ML 1378. “03.25 hrs. explosion, from the direction of position A.11


  7. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    What coordinates do you have?
  8. Roger007

    Roger007 Member

    Thanks Danny, how do I find A11 berth

    Regards Roger
  9. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    I had a look at a couple of things and the only place that has a “A” and “11” in the same place is towards the western end of the anchorage. See attached photo.

    The block ships are numbered on the chart and No. 11 is at the eastern end.

    I will have another look and see if it ties in with anything else.



    DSCF6567  ed.jpg
  10. Roger007

    Roger007 Member

    Danny, have never seen that chart before, really amazing, would you be able place Lat and long lines to show a position relative to a coastal location?

    Regards. Roger
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The diagram shows the line as Western Breakwater - which I assume is a sequence of boats adjacent to each other used to protect the inshore area, whereas the 'Trout Line' was a sequence of ships (not adjacent to each other) used to defend the landing zones on the eastern side from still held German areas such as Le Harve, Deauville, Honfleur etc from air or sea attack, so would it not be running on a North/South line on the eastern end of the landing zones, say from Ouistreham running North.

    This is only my thoughts


    edited to add:
    The minesweeping flotillas, having been given the honour of leading the way for the Allied Assault Forces, now moved northwards, either widening the channels or withdrawing to holding areas in what was to become, over the next few days, the ‘Trout Line’. This was a defence barrier set up around the Normandy anchorage to protect the ships from the multiple threats of E-boats, R-boats, human 'Neger' torpedoes and Linsen explosive motor boats. The ‘Trout Line’ itself was composed of LC(Guns), LC(Flak) and LC(Supply) set up in a continuous double line one cable apart. The minesweepers slotted in at 5-cables (half mile) intervals six miles seaward on each side and parallel to the beaches. Sword Beach, on the eastern flank, was particular vulnerable to attack from the Le Havre area and enemy submarines were always a potential risk apart from the offensive threats above".
    As we progressed we came to Le Havre, where the Germans were hauled up of a night time, and we had what was called the 'Trout line' which was a line of LCG's and LCF's in a line from Le Havre to Arramanches harbour. At night 'Jerry' came out to cause havoc on one-man torpedoes (a man riding a torpedo and aligning it to a target then slipping off to try and swim to shore) they also had high explosive remote controlled motorboats, which they tried to get us with. They moved at about 35 knots.
    LC Flak
    LCF No. 1, formerly Beach Patrol craft (BPC) No. 1 was built experimentally in the summer of
    1942, as the forerunner of a monitor–like vessel to bombard Sicily’s defences. She had twin
    4–in HA/LA guns with several 20–mm cannons in a modified LCT Mark 2. Her gun houses were
    on a deck over the well. She accompanied several night raiding parties before her first
    daylight operation at Dieppe, on the French Channel coast. She was in action on 6 June 1944
    during the Normandy landings. Sunk by a torpedo while in the ‘Trout’ line on 17 August, there
    were few survivors from her RM detachment of 50 all ranks.
  12. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    The diagram in post #10 shows part of the Mulberry Harbour (known by then as Port Winston) at Arromanches so is unlikely to be the Trout Line, which I agree should be quite a distance to the East.

    What coordinates do you have?

    Edit: I've just done a Google search and apparently HMS Magic (a Minesweeper) was also sunk on the Trout Line. According to a wrecks database, the wreck of HMS Magic is just off the port of Ouistreham which is at the eastern end of the landing beaches, in this case Sword Beach. I hope that helps.
  13. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Just had a look at a few more things and although some of the reports mention “berths” they are not related to inside the Mulberry Harbour. Sorry if I misled you, I should have waited until I checked some of the other documents out. I knew where the Trout Line ran from.

    The minesweepers were anchored five cables apart on the “A” Line.

    The “A” Line ran from the western end of Gold Beach to the eastern end of Sword Beach parallel to the shoreline, 6 miles out. It then turned south. The “Support Squadron Eastern Flank” ( mainly support landing craft but with some ML and LCI(S) attached ) covered most of the southern arm, the “Trout Line”

    Not sure if this line was marked by buoys which were numbered, hence “A 11”, “A 12” etc mentioned in the reports. Unfortunately I have not found any charts with the buoys marked on them to confirm this.



    File0001  ed.jpg
  14. From British Assault Area Defences Orders (BAADO) No.2 - Established Anchor Berths and Defence Lines : System for indicating positions and areas :

    Method of Describing Anchor Berths
    2. Anchor berths spaced 3 cables apart are established along each of the lines described in
    paragraph 1 above, berths being numbered consecutively along each line from east to west
    with No. 1 situated on the eastern boundary of area “ SWORD ”.

    3. To refer to a berth, the letter of a particular line should be given, followed by the required
    number of the berth in that line.
    Example :
    (c )C.24 Code Pendant 5 ” describes the berth situated midway between C.24 and C.25.

    From the following chart it appears that the (approximate) coordinates of Anchor berth A11 were 49° 25' N, 00° 17' 19" W
    ONEAST-S9B - Appx II - AREA SWORD - Scheme of Anchorage and Defence Lines - Notes

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  15. Roger007

    Roger007 Member

    Dear all, many thanks for your much appreciated help regarding my posting, this has been the most info I have had over many months of searching.

    Regards: Roger Coupe

  16. Hello Roger,

    You're welcome. This is what this forum is good at, putting together pieces of information scattered across various members into a coherent picture, usually not before a few dead ends have been explored and recognised as such :)

    Could you kindly post what you have from the National Archives? I am sure that it would be of interest for many of this forum's members and also for others.

    You certainly know them already, but for the benefit of those viewing this thread here are the 3 online photos of HMT GAIRSAY from the IWM:
    A NEW BRITISH TRAWLER. 30 APRIL 1943, GREENOCK.. © IWM (A 16382)IWM Non Commercial Licence

    A NEW BRITISH TRAWLER. 30 APRIL 1943, GREENOCK.. © IWM (A 16383)IWM Non Commercial Licence


    plus the link to her "summary of service" (not online):

  17. CMH

    CMH Member

    A bit late for this thread but I have only just come across it. Here is a sonar scan of the wreck of HMS Gairsay. Hope it is of interest. Cheers Chris

    Attached Files:

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