PORT and INLAND WATERWAY UNITS ROYAL ENGINEERS Royal Engineers were responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of ports. These were essential in order to maintain the flow of men, vehicles and supplies that the field armies needed. Inland Waterways Units worked in ports and on the canals of France and Belgium. PORTS and INLAND WATERWAYS Port Floating Equipment Company. War Establishment IV/205/1. December 1943 Headquarters Stevedore Battalion. War Establishment IV/207/1. December 1943 Stevedore Company. War Establishment IV/208/1. December 1943 Headquarters Port Operating Group. War Establishment IV/209/1. December 1943 Port Operating Company. War Establishment IV/210/1. December 1943 Engineer Stores (Port Section). War Establishment IV/211/1. November 1943 Transportation Stores Port Depot Type A. War Establishment XIV/1002/1. October 1944 Transportation Stores Port Depot Type B. War Establishment XIV/1001/1. October 1944 Docks Maintenance Company. War Establishment IV/22A/3. July 1944 Floating Crane Section Type A. War Establishment IV/223/1. December 1943. Port Artisan Company. War Establishment IV/162/1. June 1943. Dredging Company. War Establishment IV/143/1. May 1943. Headquarters Port Construction and Repair Group. War Establishment IV/116/1. July 1942. Port Construction and Repair Company. War Establishment IV/21B/2. July 1942. Port Repair Ship. War Establishment IV/117/2. March 1943. Port Maintenance Company. War Establishment IV/22N/2. February 1943 Headquarters Inland Water Transport Group Type C. War Establishment IV/222/1. December 1943. Inland Water Transport Heavy Workshop Company Type C. War Establishment IV/215/1. December 1943. Inland Water Transport Company Type C. War Establishment IV/213/1. December 1943. Inland Water Transport Light Aid Workshop. War Establishment IV/214/1. December 1943 Inland Water Transport Supervisory Group. War Establishment XIV/955/1. February 1945. Regional Inland Water Transport Control Team. War Establishment XIV/957/1. April 1945. Regional Port Control Team. War Establishment XIV/958/1. April 1945. Both of these have the note ‘Not to be implemented without the authority of 21 Army Group’. They were intended to control Inland Water Transport and Ports in Germany after the Armistice and did not operate during the campaign. The huge armies landed in Europe needed large quantities of every kind of supply. Initially all supplies would have to be landed over the Normandy beaches, very quickly augmented by the Mulberry Harbour. It was hoped that other ports would soon be become available, but most were so badly damaged that they required extensive repair and re construction, and some were not considered to be viable. 21 Army Group had the use of Ostend liberated on 10th September Le Havre liberated on 12th September but extensively damaged Calais liberated on 30th September but heavily damaged. The Mulberry Harbour continued in use until mid November when all Allied supplies concentrated on the port of Antwerp. This had been liberated on 4th September but the estuary leading to it from the sea was not cleared of the enemy until November. The first convoy arrived in Antwerp on 28th November and the Mulberry Harbour was then closed and dismantled. There had been plenty of time to prepare the port of Antwerp. Before it was opened to shipping the docks were fully operational, stores and offices had been prepared and civilian workers recruited and trained. In addition to the Royal Engineer units listed here there were RASC units engaged in unloading ships into DUKWs and lighters, and unloading landing craft and small freighters which beached themselves. The RASC also provided motor launches and harbour craft. PORT FLOATING EQUIPMENT COMPANY War Establishment IV/205/1. December 1943 These units designed to operate the Mulberry Harbours on the Normandy coast. This establishment applies to 870 and 969 Companies. Major Captain, second in command 2 X Captain 4 X Subaltern Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant Company Serjeant Major 5 X Military Mechanist (Mechanical) including one tugmaster serjeant clerk 6 X serjeant lighterman 16 X serjeant trained as pierhead operator serjeant storeman, technical and departmental, railway serjeant tugmaster 34 X lance serjeant 55 X corporal 239 X sapper including 41 X lance corporal 20 X driver officers mess cook 8 X cook 4 X blacksmith 4 X blacksmiths striker or hammerman 2 X barge engineer (IWT) steam or diesel, corporal 4 X boilermaker 8 X carpenter and joiner, including six lance serjeant and two corporals 4 X clerk draughtsman, mechanical 2 X driver, transportation plant, including one corporal driver mechanic 8 X electrician including six lance serjeants 32 X electrician, diesel electric locomotive 16 X engine fitter, IC and pumps including twelve lance serjeants 4 X fitter including two lance serjeants 98 X lighterman IWT including two lance serjeants, ten corporals and twenty eight lance corporals 2 X machinist, metal including one corporal and one lance corporal 8 X carpenters mate 48 X deckhand 24 X pioneer for duty as rigger 8 X rigger including two corporal and two lance corporal 4 X riveter 8 X shipwright including six lance serjeants 24 X steelwork erector including two corporals and six lance corporals 3 X storeman, technical and departmental, railway including one corporal 4 X timberman, port construction, including one lance corporal 8 X welder including two corporals and two lance corporals 2 X batman batman driver 10 X driver 6 X orderly 6 X bicycle 7 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt compressor 6 X 3ton 6 X 4 GS 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 Machinery RE 1 X 10 ton 6 X 4 GS to be fitted with winch 2 X water trailer Headquarters Major Captain, second in command 2 X Captain Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant Company Serjeant Major Military Mechanist (Mechanical), Tugmaster serjeant clerk 2 X serjeant lighterman serjeant trained as pierhead operator serjeant storeman, technical and departmental, railway serjeant tugmaster 2 X lance serjeant 7 X corporal 11 X sapper 16 X driver officers mess cook 8 X cook 2 X barge engineer (IWT) steam or diesel, corporal 6 X carpenter and joiner 4 X clerk draughtsman, mechanical 2 X driver, transportation plant, including one corporal driver mechanic 6 X electrician 6 X lighterman IWT 2 X machinist, metal including one corporal and one lance corporal 3 X storeman, technical and departmental, railway including one corporal 2 X batman batman driver 6 X driver 6 X orderly 2 X bicycle 3 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt compressor 2 X 3ton 6 X 4 GS 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 Machinery RE 1 X 10 ton 6 X 4 GS to be fitted with winch 2 X water trailer 4 X Section each Subaltern Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant Military Mechanist (Mechanical) including one tugmaster serjeant lighterman 4 X serjeant trained as pierhead operator 8 X lance serjeant 12 X corporal 57 X sapper including 41 X lance corporal driver blacksmith blacksmiths striker or hammerman boilermaker 2 X carpenter and joiner 2 X electrician 8 X electrician, diesel electric locomotive 4 X engine fitter, IC and pumps fitter 23 X lighterman IWT including 2 X carpenters mate 12 X deckhand 6 X pioneer for duty as rigger 2 X rigger riveter 2 X shipwright 6 X steelwork erector timberman, port construction 2 X welder driver 1 X bicycle 1 X motorcycle 1 X 3ton 6 X 4 GS Notes: - The following are to be trained as pierhead operators (all to be lance serjeant) 6 X carpenter and joiner 6 X electrician 12 X engine fitter, IC and pump 2 X fitter 6 X shipwright - The following are to be trained as winchman 24 X lighterman 24 X deckhand - The following are to be trained as divers carpenter and joiner, corporal 6 X shipwright, lance serjeant 2 X steelwork erector, corporal timberman, lance corporal - 32 lighterman IWT and or deckhands are to be trained in light AA duties. Note: This unit was designed to operate the Mulberry Harbour. The harbour consisted of a large sheltered area of water protected from the worst of the winds and waves by prefabricated breakwaters and scuttled ships. Inside this area several activities were carried on - The beaches remained available for landing craft of all sizes to beach and unload vehicles, personnel and stores. Small cargo ships could also be beached and unloaded into lorries. - There was a stores pierhead where small or medium sized cargo ships could moor and be unloaded onto RASC lorries which reached the pierhead via floating roadways. - There was an LST pierhead where LST’s could unload direct onto a pier and floating roadway. This greatly speeded up the unloading of vehicles of all types. - Larger cargo ships could moor inside the breakwaters and transfer their loads to barges which were in turn unloaded into vehicles at a barge pierhead. - Ships could also be unloaded into DUKW’s which could drive ashore and continue to dumps inland. The floating equipment company operated the pierheads, barges and tugs. Winchmen were required to operate the winches which raised and lowered the pierheads. Lightermen operated the barges. There were light AA guns (20mm) mounted on the pierheads. HEADQUARTERS STEVEDORE BATTALION RE. War Establishment IV/207/1. December 1943 Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain, Adjutant Subaltern Quartermaster Regimental Serjeant Major Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant Chief Clerk corporal 5 X sapper 8 X driver 2 X cook ACC Trades 4 X clerk driver mechanic 2 X motorcyclist 3 X batman batman driver 2 X orderly sanitary dutyman 2 X bicycle 3 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS STEVEDORE COMPANY RE War Establishment IV/208/1 Stevedores were commonly used in civilian ports to load and unload cargoes. Army stevedores were trained to unload vessels by manhandling cargo into cargo nets in ships holds. The nets were then hoisted using the ships own derricks, booms and winches. In some cases, especially when unloading into DUKWs, the cargo net was placed directly into an RASC vehicle. More usually cargo was loaded into vehicles by hand. Major 2 X Captain 4 X Subaltern Warrant Officer Class I Technical Warrant Officer Class II Technical Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant 8 X serjeant 8 X lance serjeant 21 X corporal 25 X lance corporal 255 X sapper 20 X driver officers mess cook ACC serjeant cook ACC corporal cook ACC 5 X cook ACCC Trades 4 X carpenter and joiner 4 X clerk 24 X driver, crane 4 X driver, transportation plant motorcyclist 272 X stevedore 3 X batman 2 X driver medical officers orderly, lance corporal 10 X orderly 4 X sanitary dutyman 2 X motorcycle 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS Headquarters Major 2 X Captain Warrant Officer Class I Technical Warrant Officer Class II Technical Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant corporal clerk lance corporal medical orderly 3 X clerk motorcyclist 2 X driver 3 X batman 2 X orderly officers mess cook ACC serjeant cook ACC corporal cook ACC 5 X cook ACCC 4 X Section each Subaltern 2 X serjeant 2 X lance serjeant 5 X corporal 6 X lance corporal 63 X sapper 3 X driver Trades carpenter and joiner 6 X driver, crane driver, transportation plant 68 X stevedore 2 X orderly sanitary dutyman Note: driver class personnel serve as batman, orderly and sanitary dutyman. HEADQUARTERS PORT OPERATING GROUP RE War Establishment IV/209/1. December 1943 This applied to Port Operating Groups 2, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11. This headquarters was designed to control A Port Maintenance Company An Inland Waterway Operating Company 4 X Port Operating Company However the headquarters could control five Port Operating Companies and with an increment could control up to seven Port Operating Companies. Lieutenant Colonel Major, Second in Command 2 X Major Captain, Adjutant 2 X Captain Subaltern, Administrative Officer Quartermaster Regimental Serjeant Major quartermaster serjeant, clerk 3 X serjeant lance serjeant 4 X corporal 3 X lance corporal 25 X sapper 14 X driver Medical Officer RAMC Ordnance Officer 3rd Class, Major, RAOC 2 X clerk RAOC officers mess cook ACC 2 X cook ACC Trades 9 X clerk including one lance serjeant 15 X clerk, railway, including one corporal and two lance corporal driver mechanic 2 X motorcyclist 6 X regimental police storeman batman driver 5 X batman 3 X driver 4 X orderly 2 X bicycle 3 X motorcycle 3 X car 2 seater 1 X 5cwt car 4 X 4 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS 1 X water trailer 2 X Bren mg 1 X PIAT Increment when more than five companies are controlled Major Captain 2 X regimental police clerk batman driver 1 X car 2 seater PORT OPERATING COMPANY War Establishment IV/210/1. December 1943 This applied to 999, 1028, 1034 and 1043 Companies in Normandy Major 2 X Captain 5 X Subaltern Warrant Officer Class I, Technical 4 X Warrant Officer Class II, Technical Company Serjeant Major, Technical company quartermaster serjeant 19 X serjeant 8 X lance serjeant 18 X corporal 34 X lance corporal 248 X sapper 23 X driver officers mess cook 8 X cook including serjeant and corporal Trades 4 X carpenter and joiner 32 X checker (railways or docks) 4 X clerk 11 X clerk, railway 20 X driver, crane 8 X driver, transportation plant 4 X carpenters mate motorcyclist 4 X wagon labeller 3 X batman 6 X driver 2 X medical orderly 8 X orderly 4 X sanitary dutyman 4 X bicycle 4 X motorcycle 2 X car 2 seater 2 X 5cwt car 4 X 4, amphibious 2 X 3ton 4 X 4 GS 1 X water trailer 3 X Bren lmg 1 X PIAT Headquarters Major 2 X Captain Subaltern Warrant Officer Class I, Technical Company Serjeant Major, Technical company quartermaster serjeant 3 X serjeant 2 X corporal 2 X lance corporal 8 X sapper 11 X driver officers mess cook 8 X cook including serjeant and corporal Trades 4 X clerk including one lance serjeant 3 X clerk, railway, including one corporal and two lance corporal motorcyclist 3 X batman 6 X driver 2 X medical orderly 4 X Section each Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II, Technical 4 X serjeant 2 X lance serjeant 4 X corporal 8 X lance corporal 60 X sapper 3 X driver Trades carpenter 8 X checker 2 X clerk, railway 5 X driver, crane 2 X driver, transportation plant carpenters mate 55 X stevedore 2 X orderly sanitary dutyman Attached Fire Fighting Sub Section. AN INLAND WATER TRANSPORT FLOATING CRANE SECTION, TYPE A. War Establishment IV/223/1. December 1943. Designed for the operation of one 60 ton floating crane (dumb). Warrant Officer Class II, Master. serjeant, leading deckhand corporal barge engineer IWT 2 X driver, crane fireman, marine 2 X lighterman IWT, deckhands cook 2 X bicycle. A PORT ARTIZAN COMPANY. War Establishment IV/162/1. June 1943. This company consists of Headquarters Structural section Electrical section Steam and Hydraulic section IC and diesel section Shipwright section Headquarters Major Captain 4 X Captain, Technical Officer 5 X Subaltern, Technical Officer Adjutant and Quartermaster Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant officers mess cook serjeant cook corporal cook 5 X cook corporal clerk, pay duties 4 X clerk 4 X storeman (technical and departmental) 2 X orderly and general dutyman 2 X batman batman driver driver Structural Section quartermaster serjeant serjeant boilermaker serjeant fitter serjeant riveter serjeant steelwork erector corporal blacksmith 3 X blacksmith 4 X blacksmiths striker or hammerman boilermaker 4 X carpenter and joiner draughtsman, railway or port construction 3 X fitter corporal holder up or riveters helper 39 X holder up or riveter corporal rigger 5 X rigger 2 X corporal riveter 17 X riveter 2 X corporal steelwork erector 27 X steelwork erector 2 X welder, electric 2 X welder, acetylene pioneers for duty as 2 X boilermaker 4 X carpenter and joiner 4 X fitter 6 X rigger Electrical Section quartermaster serjeant serjeant electrician, maintenance serjeant electrician, wireman corporal draughtsman, mechanical corporal electrician, maintenance 12 X electrician, maintenance corporal electrician, wireman 5 X electrician, wireman machinist, metal 21 X electrician Steam and Hydraulic Section quartermaster serjeant serjeant boilermaker serjeant engine fitter, steam and reciprocating 2 X blacksmith 2 X blacksmiths striker or hammerman 3 X boilermaker coppersmith draughtsman, mechanical 11 X engine fitter, steam and reciprocating machinist, metal welder, electric welder, acetylene 4 X pioneer as boilermaker 12 X pioneer as fitter IC and Diesel Section quartermaster serjeant serjeant electrician, diesel electric locomotive serjeant engine fitter, IC and pumps electrician, diesel electric locomotive corporal engine fitter 10 X engine fitter machinist, metal sheet metal worker welder, electric welder, acetylene 2 X pioneer as electrician 12 X pioneer as fitter Shipwright Section quartermaster serjeant serjeant boilermaker serjeant shipwright 3 X boilermaker draughtsman, railway and port construction 20 X holders up or riveters helper corporal riveter 9 X riveter corporal shipwright 4 X shipwright 10 X timberman, port construction 2 X welder, electric 2 X welder, acetylene 4 X pioneer as boilermaker 5 X pioneer as shipwright 2 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS A DREDGING COMPANY. War Establishment IV/143/1. May 1943. Consists of Headquarters 2 X Bucket Dredging Sections. 2 X Grab Dredging Sections. 1 X Suction Dredging Section. 2 X Tug (up to 250 tons) 6 X steam barges. 6 X dumb barges. Personnel may be interchangeable between any type of vehicle available. Major 3 X Captain (Master) 3 X Captain (Engineer) Subaltern Administrative Officer Subaltern Surveyor 3 X Subaltern (Mate) 8 X Warrant Officer Class I Master Company Serjeant Major 3 X Warrant Officer Class II Boatswain 2 X Warrant Officer Class II Tugmaster 6 X Warrant Officer Class II Engineer company quartermaster serjeant serjeant clerk 2 X serjeant boatswain 3 X serjeant lighterman 9 X serjeant barge engineer 18 X corporal including four lance serjeant 133 X sapper 13 X driver Total 215 Attached 4 X officers mess cook 14 X cook Trades 20 X barge engineer (steam) 2 X clerk 8 X driver (transportation plant or crane) 34 X fireman (marine) 77 X lighterman 6 X pioneer for duty with surveyors 2 X storeman (technical and departmental) 2 X surveyor (engineering) (for port construction duties) Drivers for duty as 7 X batman driver of vehicle 5 X sanitary dutyman 1 X motor cycle 1 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 15 X pistol 216 X rifle 2 X machine carbine 22 X twin Bren gun including 1 for Headquarters 2 for each bucket dredging section 1 for each other vessel. Headquarters. Major Subaltern Administrative Officer Subaltern Surveyor Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant serjeant clerk 2 X clerk 6 X pioneer for duty with surveyors (includes a corporal 2 X storeman (technical and departmental) 2 X surveyor (engineering) (for port construction duties) 11 X sapper batman driver officers mess cook cook Bucket Dredging Section (X2) Captain (Master) Captain (Engineer) Subaltern (Mate) Warrant Officer Class II Boatswain serjeant lighterman corporal barge engineer (steam) 2 X barge engineer (steam) 2 X driver (transportation plant or crane) corporal fireman (marine) 3 X fireman (marine) 5 X lighterman 2 X batman sanitary dutyman officers mess cook cook Grab Dredger Section (X2). Warrant Officer Class I (Master) serjeant boatswain 2 X barge engineer (steam) 2 X driver (transportation plant or crane) 6 X lighterman sanitary dutyman cook Suction Dredging Section Captain (Master) Captain (Engineer) Subaltern (Mate) Warrant Officer Class II Boatswain serjeant lighterman serjeant barge engineer (steam) 2 X barge engineer (steam) 2 X driver (transportation plant or crane) corporal fireman (marine) 5 X fireman (marine) 9 X lighterman 2 X batman sanitary dutyman officers mess cook cook Tug (X2) Warrant Officer Class II Tugmaster serjeant barge engineer (steam) barge engineer (steam) 2 X fireman (marine) 2 X lighterman cook Steam Barge (X6) Warrant Officer Class I Master Warrant Officer Class II Engineer serjeant barge engineer barge engineer 2 X fireman corporal lighterman 3 X lighterman cook Dumb Barge (X6) corporal lighterman 2 X lighterman ENGINEER STORES (PORT SECTION) RE War Establishment IV/211/1. November 1943 To be administered by the port operating unit to which the section is attached. Captain 2 X serjeant 10 X checker (railway or docks) including 2 X lance serjeant 6 X corporal 2 X sapper batman driver 4 X bicycle 2 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 TRANSPORTATION STORES PORT DEPOT TYPE A War Establishment XIV/1002/1. October 1944 Captain 2 X serjeant 2 X corporal clerk 4 X checker (railway or docks) including two lance corporal 3 X driver, transportation plant including a lance corporal batman driver 2 X bicycle 2 X motorcycle 1 X car light utility TRANSPORTATION STORES PORT DEPOT TYPE B War Establishment XIV/1001/1. October 1944 Captain 3 X serjeant 8 X checker (railway or docks) including two lance corporal 3 X driver, transportation plant including a lance corporal batman driver 3 X bicycle 3 X motorcycle 1 X car light utility DOCKS MAINTENANCE COMPANY War Establishment IV/22A/3. July 1944 This establishment is for working with up to five port operating companies. An increment is added for six or seven companies. Major 2 X Captain 4 X Subaltern Warrant Officer Class I, Technical Warrant Officer Class II, Technical Warrant Officer Class II, Clerk Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant 11 X serjeant 3 X lance serjeant 11 X corporal 17 X lance corporal 119 X sapper 26 X driver Captain RASC 2 X staff serjeant RASC 4 X corporal RASC 10 X private RASC Captain or Subaltern RAOC 2 X Warrant Officer Class I, Clerk RAOC 2 X lance corporal RAOC 2 X private RAOC officers mess cook ACC serjeants mess cook ACC 5 X cook ACC Trades 3 X blacksmith 3 X blacksmiths striker or hammerman 4 X boilermaker 4 X brakesman and shunter 2 X bricklayer 10 X carpenter and joiner 6 X checker 3 X clerk 15 X clerk, railway 2 X draughtsman, mechanical draughtsman, rail and port 2 X driver, crane 9 X electrician, maintenance engine artificer 2 X fireman, locomotive 12 X fitter painter and decorator 8 X platelayer 2 X plumber 4 X boilermakers mate butcher 10 X carpenters mate 6 X dock gateman 12 X fitters mate 2 X plumbers mate 3 X railway engine driver 9 X rigger 2 X riveter 6 X storeman, technical and departmental, railway 2 X tinsmith and whitesmith 2 X welder 3 X batman batman driver 6 X driver 2 X motorcyclist 10 X orderly 2 X sanitary dutyman 2 X water dutyman 3 X bicycle 2 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 1 X car 4 seater 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt compressor 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS 5 X Bren lmg Note: A fire boat section was attached. Increment for six or seven companies Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II, Technical 2 X serjeant 5 X corporal 5 X lance corporal 38 X sapper 6 X driver cook Trades blacksmith blacksmiths striker or hammerman boilermaker 2 X brakesman and shunter 4 X carpenter and joiner 4 X checker clerk 5 X clerk, railway draughtsman, mechanical draughtsman, rail and port driver, crane fireman, locomotive 12 X fitter painter and decorator 5 X platelayer 2 X boilermakers mate 4 X carpenters mate 3 X dock gateman 2 X fitters mate railway engine driver 2 X rigger storeman, technical and departmental, railway welder batman driver motorcyclist 4 X orderly 1 X bicycle 1 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater PORT MAINTENANCE COMPANY War Establishment IV/22N/2. Consisting of a Headquarters and four Sections. Headquarters Major 3 X Captain Subaltern Regimental Serjeant Major, technical, mechanical Regimental Serjeant Major, technical, electrical Company Serjeant Major 2 X serjeant serjeant clerk 2 X corporal 5 X lance corporal 39 X sapper 10 X driver officers mess cook ACC serjeants mess cook ACC corporal cook ACC 5 X cook ACC Trades 2 X bricklayer corporal clerk 2 X clerk 2 X draughtsman, mechanical 2 X electrician, maintenance 2 X machinist, metal motor mechanic 2 X painter and decorator 8 X platelayer storeman, technical and departmental 2 X timberman 2 X turner Pioneers for duty as 4 X bricklayer 3 X electrician 2 X medical officers orderly orderly officers mess orderly 2 X serjeants mess orderly 4 X steelwork erector 2 X timberman batman batman driver 4 X driver motorcyclist water dutyman sanitary dutyman 1 X bicycle 3 X motorcyclist 3 X car 2 seater (including 2 for use by sections) 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt Compressor 4 X Section each Subaltern Quartermaster Serjeant, Technical serjeant, technical, construction serjeant, technical, maintenance of craft lance serjeant 2 X corporal 3 X lance corporal 37 X sapper 5 X driver Trades blacksmith 2 X boilermaker 3 X carpenter and joiner clerk coppersmith 2 X electrician, maintenance 3 X fitter engine fitter, IC and pumps engine fitter, steam reciprocating plumber and pipefitter sheet metal worker 3 X rigger 3 X riveter 2 X shipwright steel erector storeman, technical and departmental welder, acetylene welder, electric blacksmiths hammerman Pioneers as 2 X boilermaker electrician 3 X fitter orderly plumber and pipefitter 3 X riveter 2 X shipwright batman driver motorcyclist water dutyman sanitary dutyman 1 X bicycle 1 X motorcycle 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS A Fire Fighting Section will be attached. HEADQUARTERS PORT CONSTRUCTION and REPAIR GROUP War Establishment IV/116/1. July 1942. Lieutenant Colonel, Port Construction Engineer Major Captain, Adjutant Subaltern, Hydrological Surveyor Regimental Serjeant Major serjeant draughtsman, construction serjeant surveyor, engineering 2 X clerk driver mechanic draughtsman, port construction 4 X surveyor, engineering 12 X pioneer for duty with surveyors party 2 X batman 3 X driver IC 5 X motorcyclist 2 X cook ACC 5 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 1 X car 4 seater 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS PORT REPAIR SHIP War Establishment IV/117/2. March 1943. Consisting of a Deck Sub Section, an Engine Room Sub Section and a Workshop Section. This establishment was intended to man a Port Repair Ship as described below. Deck Sub Section. Major, Officer Commanding and Master Captain, Second in Command and First Mate 2 X Subaltern, Ships Mates Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant (also to act as boatswain) serjeant lighterman 2 X corporal lighterman 10 X lighterman batman driver batman officers mess cook ACC 2 X cook ACC wireless operator RS Engine Room Sub Section Captain, Chief Engineer Captain, 2nd Engineer 2 X Subaltern, Engineer corporal barge engineer 3 X barge engineer 2 X corporal fireman, marine 7 X fireman, marine Workshop Section serjeant, workshop serjeant, constructional blacksmith blacksmiths hammerman 2 X boilermaker corporal clerk clerk draughtsman, mechanical 2 X electrician, maintenance engine fitter, steam reciprocating engine fitter, IC and pumps fitter machinist, metal plumber and pipefitter lance serjeant shipwright steelwork erector storeman, technical and departmental sheet metal worker 2 X turner 2 X welder, acetylene 2 X welder, electric 3 X pioneer as welder 1 X 15cwt GS General Eisenhower requested Port Repair Ships for the Invasion of Europe. The original request was for five such ships for the US Army Engineers and two for the British Army. The US Maritime Commission N3 – M – A1 was selected for conversion. There were considerable delays and the US ships did not arrive in Europe until July/August 1944. The delivery date for the British ship(s) is not known. The Port Repair Ship was designed to provide - heavy lifting gear for clearing away rubble, sunken small craft and other obstructions - power from its generators and compressors for the use of its own and other engineers - workshop facilities to assist with the repair and replacement of damaged docks - transport for engineer plant and equipment It was intended that it would arrive as soon as possible after a port was captured and start the work of repair. It would later be joined, and later replaced, by larger and more permanent engineer units. The N3 – M – A1 was a diesel engined coaster 0f some 2,500 tons and a length of 291 feet. There were three holds but when converted only the forward one was used as such and carried engineer machinery and equipment. Number 2 hold was converted into a machine shop, a carpenters shop, a welding shop and space for generators and air compressors. No 3 hold was converted to stowage for steel stocks, portable generators, salvage equipment and crews quarters. It was well provided with heavy lifting gear including two 5 ton booms, two 10 ton booms, a 50 ton boom and a 40 foot cathead at he bows. PORT CONSTRUCTION and REPAIR COMPANY War Establishment IV/21B/2. July 1942. Consisting of a Headquarters and 4 sections. Headquarters Major 3 X Captain Subaltern 2 X Warrant Officer Class I Warrant Officer Class II Warrant Officer Class II as Tugmaster Company quartermaster serjeant 5 X serjeant 4 X corporal 2 X lance corporal 44 X sapper 13 X driver officers mess cook ACC 2 X serjeants mess cook ACC corporal cook ACC cook ACC Trades 2 barge engineers blacksmith boilermaker 3 X carpenter and joiner clerk draughtsman mechanical draughtsman rail or port construction 3 X driver mechanic engine fitter IC and pumps engine fitter steam reciprocating 4 X fitter 2 X lighterman IWT 2 X mason painter and decorator platelayer 2 X plumber and pipefitter 2 X quarrymen rigger 2 X riveter 2 X shipwright storeman technical turner welder, acetylene 3 X welder, electric blacksmiths hammerman pioneer as general dutyman pioneer as water dutyman 2 X pioneer as fitter 2 X pioneer as riveter sanitary dutyman 2 X orderly 3 X batman 8 X driver IC 2 X motorcyclist 2 X bicycle 3 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 15cwt compressor 1 X 15cwt water 1 X 3ton winch 1 X 3ton workshop 1 X 3ton GS 1 X 6ton with crane 1 X 10ton with winch 1 X 15cwt trailer 4 X Section each Subaltern Warrant Officer Class I 3 X serjeant 2 X lance serjeant 2 X corporal 4 X lance corporal 34 X sapper 5 X driver cook ACC trades blacksmith 2 X bricklayer 3 X carpenter and joiner 3 X concretor clerk draughtsman rail or port construction 3 X driver, transportation plant 2 electricians, maintenance 2 X fitter lighterman IWT mason miner platelayer plumber and pipefitter quarryman rigger steel bender, ferro concrete steelwork erector storeman technical surveyor 5 X timberman, port construction welder, acetylene blacksmiths hammerman stoker pioneer as electrician pioneer as plumber and pipefitter pioneer as riveter 4 X driver IC motorcyclist 1 X bicycle 1 X motorcycle 1 X 15cwt compressor 3 X 3ton tipper The Warrant Officers Class I will each have one of the following specialisms Diver General Foreman Timberman Mechanical Steelwork Erector Electrical 20 tradesmen will be trained as divers and 10 will be trained as diver’s attendants. HEADQUARTERS INLAND WATER TRANSPORT GROUP TYPE C. War Establishment IV/222/1. December 1943. Lieutenant Colonel Major, second in command Major, Technical Duties Captain, Adjutant Captain, Technical Duties Subaltern, Administrative Duties Quartermaster Regimental Serjeant Major Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant 2 X serjeant clerk corporal clerk 8 X clerk draughtsman, mechanical draughtsman, rail or port construction 2 X motorcyclist storeman, technical and departmental, railway 3 X batman batman driver 3 X driver 4 X general dutyman and orderly sanitary dutyman 2 X bicycle 4 X motorcycle 2 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 1 X car 4 seater 4 X 2 1 X 15cwt GS Note: When this headquarters controlled two port floating equipment companies and one inland water transport light aid detachment (as at Mulberry) the establishment was modified by deleting Major, Technical Duties Subaltern, Administrative Duties serjeant clerk 3 X clerk draughtsman, mechanical draughtsman, rail or port construction INLAND WATER TRANSPORT HEAVY WORKSHOP COMPANY, TYPE C. War Establishment IV/215/1. December 1943. Major Captain, Diesel Engine Maintenance Captain, Hull Maintenance 2 X Subaltern, Diesel Engine Maintenance Subaltern, Draughtsman-Designer Subaltern, Administrative 2 X Subaltern Warrant Officer Class II for Technical Stores quartermaster serjeant, technical, IWT mechanical staff serjeant 4 X serjeant for technical duties 3 X serjeant officers mess cook corporal cook 3 X cook corporal blacksmith 4 X blacksmith 5 X blacksmiths striker or hammerman 2 X boilermaker corporal carpenter and joiner 4 X carpenter and joiner corporal clerk 7 X clerk 2 X coppersmith corporal draughtsman, mechanical 3 X draughtsman, mechanical corporal driver, transportation plant 3 X driver, transportation plant corporal electrician 5 X electrician 2 X corporal engine fitter, steam reciprocating 8 X engine fitter, steam reciprocating 2 X corporal engine fitter, IC and pumps 9 X engine fitter, IC and pumps 2 X machinist, metal 4 X painter and decorator corporal pattern maker 4 X plumber and pipefitter corporal rigger 3 X rigger corporal riveter 11 X riveter 2 X sawyer 2 X sheet metal worker corporal shipwright 9 X shipwright corporal, storeman, technical 7 X storeman, technical corporal turner 4 X turner corporal welder, acetylene and electric 4 X welder, acetylene and electric pioneers as 2 X boilermakers mate 5 X carpenters mate 6 X electricians mate 16 X fitters mate 4 X plumbers mate 12 X riveters mate 10 X shipwrights mate 2 X motorcyclist 3 X batman 3 X driver 4 X orderly and general dutyman sanitary dutyman 2 X bicycle 4 X motorcycle 1 X car 2 seater 4 X 2 1 X 15cwt GS 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS INLAND WATER TRANSPORT OPERATING COMPANY RE TYPE C War Establishment IV/213/1. December 1943. Lighters were standard steel Thames lighters. They were used to carry cargo from ships which were too large to use the pierheads and anchored in the sheltered water of the harbour. Ships own derricks transferred cargo to the lighters which then went to the barge pierhead to be unloaded. Unloading and transfer of cargo to vehicles at the pierhead was a task for stevedores. Most lighters were unpowered and were towed by the powered lighters. Major 2 X Captain for Technical Duties 4 X Subaltern 4 X Quartermaster Serjeant, Technical Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant for company duties company quartermaster serjeant as cranemaster 10 X serjeant lighterman in charge of flotillas 11 X tugmaster 9 X lance serjeant 39 X corporal 25 X lance corporal 11 X driver 182 X sapper corporal cook ACC 6 X cook ACC Trades 71 X barge engineers IWT including eleven corporals and 25 lance corporals 6 X clerk including one corporal 2 X driver, crane including one corporal 22 X fireman, marine 150 X lighterman including thirty five corporal 4 X orderly 5 X batman batman driver 3 X driver sanitary dutyman water dutyman 6 X bicycle 5 X motorcycle 2 X car 2 seater 1 X 15cwt 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS Plus one spare tug crew of serjeant tugmaster corporal barge engineer 2 X fireman 3 X lighterman including one corporal Headquarters Major 2 X Captain for Technical Duties Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant for company duties company quartermaster serjeant as cranemaster 2 X serjeant lighterman in charge of flotillas 3 X tugmaster 12 X corporal 5 X lance corporal 6 X driver 30 X sapper corporal cook ACC 6 X cook ACC Trades 15 X barge engineers IWT 2 X clerk including one corporal 2 X driver, crane including one corporal 2 X fireman, marine 22 X lighterman including thirty five corporals 4 X orderly batman batman driver 3 X driver sanitary dutyman water dutyman 2 X bicycle 1 X motorcycle 2 X car 2 seater 1 X 15cwt 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS 4 X Section each Subaltern Quartermaster Serjeant, Technical 2 X serjeant lighterman in charge of flotillas 3 X tugmaster 9 X corporal 5 X lance corporal 1 X driver 38 X sapper Trades 14 X barge engineers IWT clerk 5 X fireman, marine 32 X lighterman batman 2 X bicycle 1 X motorcycle INLAND WATER TRANSPORT LIGHT AID WORKSHOP RE War Establishment IV/214/1. December 1943 Major Captain 4 X Subaltern, including one for Administration Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant serjeant clerk 16 X serjeant, technical 18 X corporal 144 X sapper 16 X driver, including one corporal 4 X cook ACC Trades 3 X blacksmith including a corporal 3 X blacksmiths striker and hammerman 6 X boilermaker including one corporal and one lance corporal 15 X carpenter and joiner including two corporal and one lance corporal 4 X clerk including one corporal for pay duties 3 X coppersmith including a lance corporal draughtsman, mechanical, corporal 12 X electrician including two corporals and one lance corporal 36 X fitter including three fitters and a lance corporal 12 X holders up or riveters helper 2 X motorcyclist 12 X shipwrights mate 3 X plumber and pipefitter including a lance corporal 3 X rigger including a lance corporal 24 X riveter including three corporals and three lance corporal 12 X shipwright including two corporals and one lance corporal 5 X storeman, technical including one corporal and one lance corporal 6 X welder including one corporal and two lance corporal 2 X batman 10 X driver including one corporal 3 X orderly sanitary dutyman 4 X bicycle 5 X motorcycle 4 X car 2 seater 3 X 15cwt GS 3 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS 1 X 1ton trailer GS Headquarters Major Captain Subaltern, Administration Company Serjeant Major company quartermaster serjeant serjeant clerk 5 X serjeant, technical 3 X corporal 6 X sapper 9 X driver, including one corporal 4 X cook ACC 4 X clerk including one corporal for pay duties draughtsman, mechanical, corporal 2 X motorcyclist 2 X storeman, technical including one corporal 2 X batman 4 X driver including one corporal 3 X orderly sanitary dutyman 3 X Detachment each Subaltern corporal 10 X sapper 2 X driver blacksmith blacksmiths striker and hammerman 2 X boilermaker carpenter and joiner coppersmith plumber and pipefitter rigger storeman, technical 2 X welder 2 X driver 12 X Sub Section each serjeant, technical corporal 9 X sapper carpenter and joiner electrician 3 X fitter holders up or riveters helper 2 X riveter shipwrights mate shipwright INLAND WATER TRANSPORT SUPERVISORY GROUP RE War Establishment XIV/955/1. February 1945. To supervise chartered craft. To consist of Supervisory Group Headquarters Up to 15 Supervisory Company Headquarters Up to 45 Supervisory Sections. Headquarters Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain 4 X Subaltern company quartermaster serjeant serjeant clerk serjeant duty NCO 3 X serjeant lighterman 2 X serjeant tugmaster 11 X clerk (50% to be ATS) 3 X draughtsman mechanical driver mechanic batman 3 X batman driver 5 X motorcyclist 5 X orderly officers mess cook ACC 2 X cook ACC 5 X bicycle 8 X motorcycle 2 X light utility 1 X car 4 seater 4 X 2 saloon 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS Each Supervisory Company Headquarters Major Captain Subaltern serjeant clerk serjeant lighterman serjeant tugmaster corporal clerk 2 X clerk 2 X batman driver motorcyclist 2 X orderly 2 X bicycle 2 X motorcycle 1 X car 4 seater 4 X 2 saloon 1 X 15cwt 4 X 4 GS Each Supervisory Section Subaltern serjeant lighterman clerk 1 X bicycle 1 X motorcycle FIRE BOAT SECTION War Establishment/246/2. June 1944 These were operated by the Army Fire Service and attached to RE units. The AFS fire crew and the RASC navigating crew varied with the size of the fireboat. There were also National Fire Service boats deployed. A Medium Fireboat serjeant AFS corporal AFS 3 X fireman AFS serjeant RASC corporal RASC A Large Fireboat serjeant AFS corporal AFS 4 X fireman AFS serjeant RASC 2 X corporal RASC An Extra Large Fireboat serjeant AFS 2 X corporal AFS 8 X fireman AFS staff serjeant RASC 2 X corporal RASC 2 X private In each case one Fireboat and one dinghy were operated. PORTS and SHIPPING. NOTE: For details of the ships see Others/Royal Navy. PORTS It was a long established principle that the operation of ports used to supply the army in the field should be an army responsibility. The actual construction, repair and operating of the ports was the responsibility of the Royal Engineers. By 1944 they had considerable expertise having already constructed and operated the military ports at Faslane and Cairnryan in Scotland. THE BEACHES. The Normandy beaches were the worst ever used for a combined operation from the point of view of slope; the gradient varied from 1/100 to 1/250, with a rise and fall in tide of the order of 20 feet. It was impossible to discharge M.T. from craft for two hours on either side of low water, and on a falling tide it was rare for a craft to be able to beach and retract owing to the speed of the ebbing tide. The beaches were divided into three sectors, "Gold", "Juno" and "Sword". "Gold" consisted of one beach used by L.S.Ts. and M.T./stores coasters, and one for L.C.Ts., landing both personnel and stores. "Juno" had one stores beach and one for M.T.; "Sword" was a mixed beach. "Gold" sector extended from Port-en-Bessin to La Riviere, "Juno" from La Riviere to Petit Enver, and "Sword" from Petit Enver to Ouistreham. On 16th July "Sword" was in effect closed because of enemy shelling. Transhipment areas for transferring stores from DUKW to lorry were set up behind all beaches, so as to economize in the turnround of the DUKWs and make the maximum use of them for their primary amphibious purpose. In the "Sword" sector, however, for tactical reasons, DUKWs continued to work right through to dumps for a long period. MULBERRY. To provide sheltered water for the many thousands of small craft operating to the beaches, and for their protection during heavy weather, five groups of block ships, known as "Gooseberries", were sunk off the beaches in such a way as to form small artificial breakwaters. The 30 ships used were placed in position with speed and accuracy on all three beach fronts between D+2 and D + 4. The construction of the artificial ports known as "Mulberries" was a fundamental part of the invasion plan. The two main component parts of "Mulberry" were breakwaters and piers. The breakwaters consisted of lines of concrete caissons known as "Phoenix", equipped with light A.A. protection and ranging in size from 2,000 to 6,000 tons; the size was so arranged that as far as possible the tops of the caissons when sunk in position were at the same level. The "Phoenix" were sited in conjunction with the "Gooseberry" so as to form one continuous line, thus affording the sheltered anchorage desired. The piers were composed of pierheads, and floating roadways connecting the pierheads to the shore. The pierheads were in two parts, the "Spuds" resting on the bottom and supporting upright piers on which the floating steel pontoons rose and fell with the tide. There were three separate piers, the Barge pier and the L.S.T. pier each with a single floating roadway and the stores pier with two floating roadways connecting it to the shore. The Advanced Party arrived at Arromanches at 08.00 hours on 8th June and construction work started the next day. The discharge of coasters inside the artificial breakwater began on 11th June, and the first coaster discharged at the stores pier, served by a single roadway, on 18th June. The storm of 18th-22nd June did considerable damage to "Mulberry B". Construction then went ahead again and the second roadway to the stores pier, completing the traffic circuit, was in operation on 6th July. After that date coasters regularly discharged at the pierhead, but its main use was as a non-tidal lighter quay. In the sheltered anchorage originally designed for 16 coasters only, there were by the end of July berths for seven Liberty Stores ships and an average of 23 coasters. Cargo was discharged overside to DUKWs and ramped power barges (P.B.R.), this being the only place in the British area where DUKWs could work to large store ships. The L.S.T. pier had been planned to deal with 20 L.S.Ts. a day from 18th June onwards but, as a result of the storm, was not in fact opened till 20th July. This failure to open the L.S.T. pier on time meant that LST had to continue to beach which resulted in a far higher figure of L.S.T. casualties, which in turn had a serious effect on the vehicle build-up. The pier was designed to discharge both decks of a L.S.T. simultaneously, but in order to do so the L.S.T. required a slight modification to the upper deck. The pier worked to capacity until the end of July but after that the period of rapid build-up by L.S.T. was over, and the importance of the pier declined. COURSEULLES. The fishing port of Courseulles was unsuitable for shipping but well suited for barges which were used for unloading ships in the anchorage. The draught over the bar was 9 ft. 6 in. A steady average of 850 tons a day in June and 1,500 in July and August was attained, and the port continued in use until 7th September. The Royal Navy based a portion of their repair and salvage organization on the port. It was also the only place where rail-served berths were available, although initially the rails did not run anywhere; as soon as rail working was opened up, heavy lifts were cleared through the port. Courseulles was made part of the beach organization on "Juno" beaches under the Principal Military Landing Officer. PORT en BESSIN. Port-en-Bessin was used primarily as a bulk petrol port, and was operated on a joint British/U.S. basis, the petrol installations being inter-connected with the U.S. installation some two miles to the westward. Tankers of up to 14 feet draught were taken alongside in the outer harbour, and "Tombola" lines (pipe-lines from shore to ship) for tankers of up to 5,000 tons dead weight at moorings were in operation by 1st July. Small coasters of limited draught were accommodated in the inner port, and the quays, which were relatively undamaged, were used for the discharge of heavy lifts from L.C.Ts. and barges. The port was opened for stores on 12th June and for bulk petrol on 24th June. The Port Commandant was put under the Port Commandant "Mulberry", thus making Port-en-Bessin a satellite. The total bulk petrol discharged up to 31st July was 86,000 tons. The port was finally closed on 25th September. CHERBOURG. The port of Cherbourg was opened by the U.S. Forces on 16th July, and 500 tons a day were allotted to the British. There was a long road and rail haul to the R.M.A.; rail connection was opened on 26th July. The port was very useful since it contained the only deep-draught tanker berths in the whole allied area, and the strain on the small class tankers using Port-en-Bessin had been considerable. In particular locomotives were landed for the British army. OUISTREHAM. Ouistreham, at the seaward end of the Caen-Ouistreham canal, was captured on "D" day with the locks virtually intact, and although it was too near the front line to be used as a port, preparations for its eventual use were made by the building of hards and quayside berths, and by shoring up and sandbagging on the lock gate. It was not until 21st August that the course of operations enabled work on mine-sweeping to begin at Ouistreham. Work on the development of the port installations themselves had begun about a fortnight earlier, and plans were based on the assumption that Caen would be a major bulk coal port, handling some dry cargo in addition. CAEN. The limitations on the working of the port of Caen were the draught, which was limited at the canal entrance, and the working of the locks, which would only permit a certain number of ships through at high tide. The port was opened for discharge on 3rd September, and averaged 2,300 tons a day for the first month. Owing to the rapid advance of the Allies and the capture of Dieppe and Ostend, Caen was not used to its fullest extent for general cargo, and remained only as a coal port except for a small maintenance tonnage for troops based in Normandy. This use remained until the end of hostilities. It was used for the loading of coasters to transfer stocks from the RMA to Antwerp and for the return of surplus stocks to the UK. DIEPPE. A programme for 4,000 tons a day of P.O.L., supplies and ammunition in coasters had been arranged with the War Office before the port was captured. Plans had also been made for discharge over beaches by DUKW if the ports were blocked, in view of the vital importance of shortening the L. of C. Port reconnaissance parties entered Dieppe on 1st September with 2 Canadian Division, and found a good deal of destruction and blockships, but large-scale demolition of the quays, although prepared, had not taken place. Prompt action saved the port, and by the time minesweeping and wreck dispersal was complete several berths had been cleared of debris for alongside discharge. The beaches were so heavily mined and covered with obstacles that discharge over them would have been impossible. The first convoy of coasters entered the port on 7th September carrying mainly P.O.L. and supplies. Import of vehicles by L.C.T. and personnel by L.C.I.(L) also started on 8th September. A rail fitted L.S.T. hard was built, but was used only on one occasion owing to difficulties of dealing with these large vessels in a small harbour already being used to capacity. Construction of a train ferry terminal and connecting rail track was put in hand, and the first train ferry of the Zeebrugge type discharged there on 29th September. This innovation enabled rolling stock to be imported north of the Seine instead of through Cherbourg. There was only one berth in Dieppe suitable for L.S.I, and this was reserved for hospital carriers, the first of which embarked casualties on 16th September. The port was extensively used from mid-September for the evacuation of prisoners of war by L.C.I. (L) and occasionally by LCT. Although Dieppe was invaluable during September and October, it was already far behind the front line. It would only deal with a substantial traffic until the more forward ports were brought into use. During October, in anticipation of the rapid advance being resumed before Christmas, a very large tonnage of bridging was imported through Dieppe. This included "wet" Bailey with pontoons. Traffic declined in November and the port was closed on 28th December except for import of coal under French arrangements. LE TREPORT. Le Treport, a very small port with limited facilities, was brought into use as a satellite of Dieppe on 2nd October, but was used only to a limited extent for small craft. Traffic was mainly confined to a "shuttle" service of up to four L.C.Ts. (Mark 4) daily, carrying R.A.F. "Queen Mary" trailers loaded with crashed aircraft bound for the United Kingdom, and returning to the Continent with urgently required RAF stores. BOULOGNE. The urgent need for more port capacity north of the Seine, particularly for deeper draught ships, coupled with the preliminary reconnaissance which showed that damage to port installations was not serious, prompted the decision to open the port of Boulogne although it was rather far back on the L. of C. In fact, the clearance of sunken obstructions proved to be a difficult task and delayed the planned programme, and the first stores ship did not arrive until 12th October. Several alongside coaster berths were available by this time and, in addition, three buoy berths in the Rade Carnot anchorage (two Liberty type ships and one coaster). It provided a useful tonnage in coasters and larger type vessels and was also used for the import of replacement vehicles in L.C.Ts. from Dover at the average rate of eight to ten landing craft a day. The stores programme continued in a small way until 13th January, but L.C.Ts. continued to use the port until the end of hostilities. CALAIS. After much discussion Calais was finally allocated by S.H.A.E.F. on 20th October to British operation. The port was severely damaged and obstructed and its clearance was a long and difficult task. First objectives were to construct a train ferry terminal for the "Twickenham" type ferries and rail fitted L.S.T. hards, and to restore the Quai Maritime for future personnel traffic. The "Shepperton Ferry" successfully berthed on 21st November, and on the following day the first hard was ready for use. This began the work of Calais, which was destined to become the busiest personnel port in the British sector. OSTEND. The capture of Ostend, on 9th September, gave to the British Forces a port which could make up for some of the deficiencies from which they were suffering - berths for personnel ships, L.S.T. hards and additional stores import capacity on a shortened L. of C. The clearance and development was therefore pushed rapidly ahead. The chief obstacle was the number of vessels sunk in the entrance, but by the 26th September these wrecks had been sufficiently dispersed to allow stores coasters to enter the harbour. Repairs to roads and bridges and the construction of L.S.T. hards were also put in hand. By early October L.C.Ts. and L.S.Ts. were discharging vehicles on the beach at the west side of the entrance, though this method ceased as soon as the hards inside the harbour were completed. The first L.S.I, arrived from Southampton on 13th October. The port was also brought into use for hospital carriers on 21st October, thus reducing the long haul back to Dieppe, and L.S.Ts. were used for the evacuation of prisoners of war from 23rd October. The work of the port was considerably upset on 27th October when Royal Naval Force "T" arrived for the mounting of the combined operation against Walcheren Island. The stores programme for Ostend was based on a capacity of 4,000 tons a day, but this included types of traffic requiring more than the normal amount of handling and supervision (e.g. mail, stores by express coasters, special ordnance and M.F.O. packages in containers). The original intention was to operate the port on a purely transit basis and to forward the stores direct to the Advanced Base Depots. As Antwerp soon began to flood these depots this idea proved to be impracticable and local depots for certain commodities had to be established. As well as coasters with stores from the United Kingdom, those from Caen clearing the Rear Maintenance Area were also dealt from December onwards. The port was notable for its rapid turnround of shipping. In December the average discharging time for each coaster was 1¼ days, a record not equalled in any other port. The import of bulk petrol in small tankers into a newly constructed installation was also an important part of the work of the port. By November it was usual for the port to be working three L.S.Is., a hospital carrier, five L.S.Ts., and several coasters and tankers each day. This variety of work and the ideal situation on the L. of C. made Ostend the most important port in the British area during October and November. Even after the opening of Antwerp, Ostend still continued to be used for stores and vehicles up to the end of the campaign, as well as being firmly established as the principal port for duty personnel travelling to and from the UK. ZEEBRUGGE. A L.S.T. hard was constructed at Zeebrugge to relieve Ostend, but owing to silting of the entrance channel, heavy mining, and the destruction of the Mole, the hard was never brought into use. ANTWERP. Although Antwerp was captured virtually intact on 4th September, the Germans still held both banks of the Scheldt below the port. While the difficult and hard-fought operations to clear these were going on there was ample time to plan the use of the port, to put its rusty equipment into working order and to lay out the depots in the Advanced Base area of Antwerp and Brussels. It was decided by S.H.A.E.F. that the port would be controlled in the broad sense by the British (in whose territory it lay) but would be operated jointly by the British Army and U.S. Army under detailed plans to be worked out. The Port Staff (British and American) were appointed, and in a joint Port Executive Committee under the Chairmanship of the British Naval Officer-in-Charge started to plan the daily working arrangements. The port was in a unique position in this war in that a number of the depots which it was to serve were already working by the time the port was open. These had been partially stocked by stores moved up the L. of C. from as far back as the R.M.A. (Bayeux). The only limiting factor that could be foreseen in the operation of the port to achieve the planned discharge figure of 40,000 tons a day was the shortage of inland movement facilities for moving the stores from port to depots. With the fall of Walcheren Island, the Scheldt was clear of the enemy; then began one of the biggest naval minesweeping jobs in history, to clear the river for navigation. This was achieved ahead of the estimated date and on 26th November the first Allied ships - the coasters "Lysland", "Thyra III" and "Fano" - entered Antwerp. The real importance of Antwerp, however, was in its berths for deep draught shipping. Antwerp soon got into its stride and by early December stores were pouring ashore as fast as the depots could accept them. In addition M.T., bulk oil and frozen meat were being handled. A large proportion of the stores imports consisted of food for the liberated countries. Food for Belgium was handed over to the Belgian authorities in the port and that for Holland was stockpiled to be ready for movement into Dutch territory as it was liberated.The importance of Antwerp was so obvious as the main supply port for both the British and the U.S. Forces that it was only to be expected that the Germans would do their best to limit its use. They accordingly turned on to the Antwerp port and town area much of the weight of the V-l and V-2 attack which up till then had been directed at London. In fact, apart from ugly incidents both in the port and the town, and considerable loss of life and property, the attack by "V" weapons was a miserable failure. The Belgian dockers continued to work even on the worst days, and no ships or cargo were seriously damaged or destroyed during the whole period. Up to "V.E." Day, on British account alone Antwerp dealt with a total of nearly 50,000 vehicles; over 1½ million tons of general stores and 160,000 tons of bulk grain. GHENT. It was decided to open the port of Ghent as a standby in case Antwerp should be wholly or partially put out of action. A small programme of stores on U.S. and British account was arranged within the estimated capacity of 12,500 tons a day. The port suffered from a draught restriction of 24 feet and could not, therefore, deal with the bulk of the ships loaded in North America. At first it was uncertain whether Ghent was to be used for British or U.S. traffic, although plans had been made for it to handle both, as at Antwerp; the U.S. Forces were keen to use it, particularly as the Antwerp quays were getting filled up with stores that could not be cleared, and they had several ships under load. On 19th December the first ship entered Ghent and started to discharge, being accorded a suitable civic reception. Initially, at any rate, British traffic only was passed through the port. During January it was decided to divert American ships from Antwerp to Ghent owing to the risk of damage in Antwerp from V-l and V-2 attack. This decision took time to implement owing to certain draught limitations in the entrance to Ghent. Like Antwerp and Ostend, Ghent was worked entirely by civil labour, which meant a material saving in Transportation units, which could then be used elsewhere. A small reserve of Transportation personnel was kept for use in the event of strikes. On 22nd April the port was closed to British military traffic. SHIPPING. For the "Assault" and "Follow-up" in Naval ships and craft, and for the M.T. ships in the pre-loaded "Build-up", the allocation of personnel and vehicles was planned in extreme detail. Loading tables showed exactly what vehicles and personnel would be carried. After the initial flight of ships and craft, all subsequent personnel and vehicles had to be transported in the same ships and craft as had been used initially; it was not, therefore, possible to prepare tables showing the allocations in any detail until about 48 hours before embarkation. The vessels used included L.C.Ts. (Mks. Ill and IV), L.S.Ts., M.T. ships, L.S.Is., and also, on D + l and D + 2, large personnel ships carrying over 2,000 personnel each. L.C.Ts. were beached for discharging. L.S.Ts. were to have been discharged by the use of "Rhino" Ferries (a floating raft of Naval pontoon equipment with its own engine and tugs), but as numbers of these became unserviceable on the voyage across, it was decided to beach the L.S.Ts. for discharging. M.T. ships were unloaded by their own derricks into L.C.Ts., L.C.Ms., "Rhino" ferries or, during emergency, into L.S.Ts., though this was uneconomical. Vehicles were unloaded onto the upper deck of the LST and lowered to the main deck by the vessels lifts. The LST then beached or docked at the LST pier as normal. The unloading of personnel ships and L.S.Is. could be carried on at any time using the L.C.As., or L.C.Ms., carried at the ships' davits, plus any other craft available. The first hospital carrier for the evacuation of casualties was brought over on 14th June 1944, and thereafter in general there was always one hospital carrier off the British beaches. Evacuation to the carrier was by water ambulance, a number of which were carried by each ship. These were not hospital ships. When other ports were opened vehicles were landed by much the same methods. Hards were built for LCT and LST. MT ships were unloaded at wharves or onto barges. Unloading was greatly helped by the fact that most vehicles by this time had sling hubs fitted. These enabled a rope sling to be slipped over each sling hub and then the vehicle could be lifted and lowered. The slings could be fitted and removed in seconds. Personnel were mainly carried in small LSI, most of which had been cross channel ferries. From the United Kingdom there were reinforcement drafts, formations to cover the German thrust in the Ardennes, and later for garrison duties on the L. of C. and in Germany. Movement to the United Kingdom was also great, owing to the disbandment of formations, the return of personnel of all arms for conversion to infantry, and the sending home for training of Belgian, Dutch, Czech and Polish liberated manpower units. A daily shipping lift of 1,500 duty personnel to Ostend was usually met by LSIs but L.C.Ts. and L.S.Ts. were also used. Calais handled leave personnel. Antwerp was not used for personnel because of the danger from mines. Casualty evacuation from January onwards was primarily by air, but the balance, amounting to one or more carrier sailings a week, was dealt with on the Ostend-Tilbury route by the ex-L.M.S. steamer "Duke of Argyll". Calais was used to bring over part of 6 Airborne Division to strengthen forces west of the Ardennes. This formation also returned through Calais after the crossing of the Rhine. The first B.L.A. leave ship "Canterbury" sailed from Calais to Dover on 1st January 1945. From 4th January 1945 the leave rate was 3,000 a day, spread over the three routes to Dover, Folkestone and Harwich. The leave rate was increased to 4,000 a day from 1st March 1945, achieved by increasing the transit facilities at Dover and Folkestone. At the camp at Calais was extended to cater for 14,000 sleeping and 22,000 feeding each day. After the opening of Antwerp vehicle movement was allocated to ports as follows:- Boulogne - awkward vehicles and unit vehicles required in France by L.C.T. shuttle service from Dover. Ostend - the majority of Army and R.A.F. unit vehicles in L.S.T. from Tilbury. Later this route was used for replacement vehicles and Civil Affairs vehicles. Antwerp - replacement vehicles in M.T. ships and tracked vehicles in L.S.Ts., both loaded in Tilbury. In addition to the normal Army replacement requirements, vehicles for equipping liberated manpower units, Civil Affairs, and even those imported on a commercial basis by the French, Belgian and Netherlands Governments were all carried in military shipping. Return movement of vehicles also increased considerably. Army units were normally permitted to take only specialist vehicles out of the theatre, but the majority of R.A.F. units returned with all their vehicles. Unaccompanied vehicles (including tanks) were shipped back in large numbers for repairs - "runners" usually in craft and "non-runners" in M.T. ships. The train ferry service started on the Southampton-Dieppe route, but after the sinking of the "Daffodil" by a mine in March, all traffic was dealt with on the Dover-Calais route. A large number of locomotives and wagons were ferried over and in emergencies the ferries were used for personnel and vehicles also. Stores for the first seven days were pre-loaded before the operation was launched, and the ships due to arrive on the first two or three days were tactically loaded. In addition a number of craft were also pre-loaded with stores, both to assist in the rapid initial landing of essential stores before the coasters could be reasonably worked, and also as an emergency reserve in case of need. After the pre-loaded phase, subsequent deliveries of stores were dependent on returning shipping, and on certain Liberty type ships which were introduced to deal with the increasing volume of the stores programme. The first Liberty type ships on the British sector were planned for D + 9. In addition to routine programmed shipments, an Express Coaster service was instituted, by which one coaster load of stores which was given priority in loading and unloading was provided daily, bids for which were required at from three to four days' notice. A similar arrangement was instituted for ordnance stores, because the United Kingdom was acting as the Base Ordnance Depot for the Force. These express and ordnance coasters carried a reverse traffic on their return voyages, consisting of repairable M.T. assemblies, crashed aircraft, mail and M.F.O. traffic, and any other high priority stores. The first coasters were due to return to ports in the United Kingdom on D + 3 and it soon became apparent that the assumptions which had been made about turnround time were optimistic. To fill the gap caused by the failure of coasters to return to the United Kingdom as planned, coasters which had not been allotted to the operation were taken up at very short notice. Seven coasters on Ministry of War Transport coasting service and two coasters on RASC service were pressed into service. In order to make the maximum use of Dieppe and Ostend (opened on 8th and 26th September 1944 respectively) and Boulogne (opened on 13th October 1944) it was necessary, owing to the limited number of alongside berths and the absence of suitable anchorage berths where coasters could lie pending discharge, to regulate the daily sailings to these ports. This was achieved by daily telephone calls from the United Kingdom to the Port Commandants, who gave their coaster requirements for 48 hours ahead and were informed of the code numbers, cargo and draft of coasters which would arrive within the next 24 hours. During September a demand was placed by 21 Army Group for a large quantity of bridging, part of which was given the highest priority. In all, seventeen coasters were loaded with this material (including five which also carried supplies) and all were to be discharged through Dieppe, but owing to clearance difficulties at that port it was necessary to hold some of these coasters for a considerable time under load until they could be called forward. Antwerp was opened on 26th November 1944 and discharge of six small coasters began on the 27th when 789 tons were landed. Seven ocean-going stores ships were received in the port on the 29th, seven on the 30th and six on the 1st December 1944. The first shipment of coal was made in the 12 coasters which arrived off the beaches on "D" Day, each taking, among other general cargo, approximately 2 tons of bagged coal. In order to facilitate handling over the beaches it was necessary during the early stages of the operation to ship all coal bagged. This method of shipment was discontinued as soon as rolling stock, which was being shipped in train ferries, was available for the carriage of unbagged coal. 6,600 tons were shipped in bags during the period 7th August 1944 to 23rd September 1944, and 375 tons by R.A.S.C. M.T. companies. As from the end of August, however, it had been possible to deliver in bulk, first to Caen for British requirements and to Cherbourg for U.S. requirements, and then to a number of shallow draft ports. Coasters were used for the carriage of this bulk coal. As they had to be drawn from the "Overlord" coastal fleet, at that time heavily employed in the carriage of stores, it was only possible at the outset to allocate a small number for the purpose, with the result that only 50 per cent, of the demand was met. The opening of Antwerp and the employment of ocean-going shipping released more of the coastal fleet for the carriage of coal.