British lct 711

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Edward Ions, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    Hello I'm looking for any info on lct 711.
    Have been told it was in assault group G3, u lct squadron. On d day
    Any information about any of its crew, where it was used and what it carried during its operations. Any pictures would be helpful as well
  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Welcome to the Forum.

    That's a bit of an open question. Would you like to provide some background information about why you would like to know because this will help us to help you.
  3. Hello Edward,

    I was going to ask the same question as SDP, but now you have edited your post to answer it so here's what I can tell you about LCT 711 and/or her colleagues of Flotilla 55:

    For Operation NEPTUNE LCT Mark IV 711 was part of 55 LCT Flotilla (based in Porstmouth) and part of "U" LCT Squadron, itself part of Assault Group "G" 3.

    However, for the initial landings ten of the twelve craft of 55 Flotilla were attached to other squadrons: the first division was attached to "L" LCT Squadron (Assault Group "G" 2 = KING Sector, GOLD Area), whereas the second division was attached to "D" LCT Squadron (Assault Group "G" 1 = JIG Sector, GOLD Area).

    The twelve craft in 55 LCT Flotilla were LCT(4) hull numbers 564, 565, 711, 732, 907, 922, 923, 924, 926, 1120, 1121 and 1122.

    Unfortunately, I have not found any document which would directly link those hull numbers to the corresponding Landing Table Index Numbers (LTINs or Serials), which themselves would give us their respective loads and landing times and places, nor do I know which craft were part of which division (plus this could vary with time...).

    However, luckily enough I found a narrative by one of the officers in 55 Flotilla, which I reproduce here in its entirety (my highlights in bold):

    Source: Philip Warner in "The D Day Landings", Pen & Sword 2004 (ISBN 1 884415 109 3) pages 68 to 71

    From Mr P. S. Evetts, former Lieutenant (E) RNVR
    As a Lieutenant (E) RNVR, my duties were as Flotilla Engineer Officer in the 55th LCT Flotilla. This meant that I had very little to do from the time that our ten Mark IV LCTs had loaded their fifteen (or so) each Bren Carriers manned by the Durham Light Infantry. The remaining two LCTs (732 and 907) stayed at home in reserve. After the twenty-four hours’ delay at anchor in Southampton Water I felt that this wait had enabled officers and men of both services to compare notes and understand each other’s difficulties.
    We left at about 1300 on 5th June; on rounding the Needles at 1450, my craft (LCT 1121) detonated a mine which did no damage but was the only warlike occurrence during the passage. I slept very well (fully-clothed), waking at about 5 a.m. In LCT 1121, Sub-Lieutenant D. M. Horner, RNVR (the CO) and our Flotilla Officer (Lieutenant D. R. Linn, RNVR) were on the bridge. Astern were 926, 922, 564 and 924. Abeam were 1122, 1120, 711, 923 and 565. Beyond was the biggest number of ships I had even seen in my life. Ahead was the dim outline of the French coast with flashes from guns or bombs.
    The soldiers were preparing their vehicles and breakfasting on field rations. I felt rather guilty when the FO and I sat down to a cooked breakfast in the LCT’s tiny wardroom. But of course the LCT’s galley could cook for a crew of 12 to 14, but 80 or so soldiers could not have been given any facilities.
    After our main course the FO said to me : ‘Luck is in our favour, the weather has improved, and last but not least morale is very good. Do you agree?’
    As I replied, ‘Yes, sir,’ I realised how lucky I was to have a very good working relationship with my FO. To the general reader it should be explained that the Executive Officer is in command, even though an Engineer was of equal rank and seniority. In some cases I can recall that Executive Officers and their Technical Officers were barely on speaking terms.
    Everything seemed quiet as we approached the beach; in fact strangely so because some of us had expected very stiff resistance in the initial assault. For myself, I was apprehensive rather than afraid. I imagined that some terrible secret weapon might be used. As we beached, the ramp door was lowered, the vehicles were started up and orders were given to disembark (by whom I did not know). By this time I had joined the seamen in order to assist in closing the ramp door – a tedious process by handwinch. Shouts of goodwill emanated from naval men to all Army ranks; my own to our DLI captain brought the reply : ‘Thank God we’ve got off this rattletrap – we feel safer on dry land.’ I felt exactly the opposite and was only too happy to realise that we had done the most important part of our job and were now on our return journey.
    As we went astern off the beach the tide had ebbed a little and my thoughts went back to the nightmare worry of broken propellers, choked filters, lack of cooling water, overheated engines, cracked cylinder blocks. As we wound up the door I saw dark brown water and felt shudders as the stern thumped on the bottom. My poor screws ! Go up, door !
    With the FO’s approval I had decided to allow each Petty Officer Motor Mechanic (one per LCT) to work out his own craft’s mechanical problems; after all, his training foresaw this. However if problems beyond his ability or authority arose then it was my job to overcome these and/or advise my FO. Out of three LCT flotillas, I was the only FEO to make the passage because it had been decided at high level that two out of three should stay in the UK. Therefore I had the possibility of being asked to advise on thirty craft in all, i.e. ‘U’ LCT squadron.
    When we had arrived in the assembly area for the run back to UK I realised that some craft had broached to, some had been shelled and others had stopped for various reasons. Then my FO said in a firm voice, ‘564 has been badly holed and looks like sinking so I am going alongside. You will transfer and see what you can do.’ Five minutes later I jumped aboard 564 and went straight into the engine room. The PO M/M told me that the bilge pumps could not cope with the inflow of water and suggested that, when the craft met the open sea, the usual bending of the boat would increase the inflow. I agreed and recommended the CO, Sub-Lieutenant B. M. Jones, RVNR, to stop one engine so that we could arrange for the inlet cooling water pipe to be disconnected from the inlet valve on the bottom and take its cooling water from inside the engine room. This worked and we got the boat back to Southampton on the morning of 7th June where 564 was beached and (if my memory serves me correctly) was still there on the mud in 1946.
    All of us agreed that it was a great relief to be back home even though it meant another load for France. Some joker said, ‘I’ll bet Jerry will have his artillery on the beach next time.’ In fact it was the bad weather of 18th-22nd June was the LCTs’ enemy.
    After reporting to my FO, I was able to spend a night with some friends in Chandlers Ford where the hot bath was most welcome.
    Later our squadron moved to Portland in order to assist the build up of the US forces on the east side of the Cherbourg Peninsula.
    On arrival I was accosted by our RN captain, complete with silver-knobbed walking stick. He ordered me to return to where I came from; my reaction was to compare him with a certain type of stage comedian ! Fortunately a Commander (E) Moule, RN, intervened and told him that a complaint would be lodged with C-in-C if my duties were obstructed. The captain went on his way and one of my ratings said, ‘That is the type of RN officer who gives the Service a bad name.’
    After a few days I went over with a maintenance party in an American LST. On arrival near Carentan, we were given the job of patching up several LCTs marooned on the beach. The weather was perfect, we lived in a tented USN CB camp. The work went very well and we were able to see some of the countryside, even going as far as Bayeux before returning home for fourteen days’ leave in late September.
    On reflection it was an experience I wouldn’t have missed and dare I say — one of the most pleasant operations during my service which started as an ERA in general service from 1939 onwards until 1943 when I joined CO as a sub-lieutenant (E). For all this I received a Mention in Despatches. Yet I got nothing for months of grilling convoy work with plenty of danger !

    Because the Cruising Disposition normally reflected the LTIN sequence, we can safely deduct that one column had consecutive LTINs, and the other too (although not necessarily consecutive between the two columns).

    Now, looking at the Landing Tables for GOLD Area here (see Menu on the left):
    D-Day : Normandy 1944 - GOLD BEACH : British Troops

    as well as in Trux' admirable thread on GOLD here:

    it appears that the only candidates for these ten craft are the five LCT(4) LTINs 2809 to 2813 carrying elements of 6, 8 and 9 DLI (151 Br Inf Br) to land on KING Sector at H + 3½, plus the five LCT(4) LTINs 2910 to 2914 carrying elements of 2 SWB, 2 ESSEX and 2 GLOSTERS (56 Br Inf Br) to land on JIG GREEN East side at H + 3½ as well.

    Finally, because Lt Evetts mentions the DLI as being on board his craft, it must follow that he was part of the column with LTINs 2809-2813 (because there were no DLI on board 2910-2914), therefore the Left column and 1st Division. The Hull Number LTIN match can therefore be considered with a high degree of certainty as being the following:

    ...........55th LCT Flotilla, “U” LCT Squadron
    ..........................To land H + 3½
    ......1st Division............................2nd Division
    ..att “L” LCT Sqn......................att “D” LCT Sqn
    Assault Group "G" 2..............Assault Group "G" 1
    .. ..KING Sector...................JIG GREEN East side
    ..151 Br Inf Bde..........................56 Br Inf Bde
    . .........6 DLI....................................2 SWB
    .. ........8 DLI.................................2 ESSEX
    ... .......9 DLI...............................2 GLOSTERS
    Left column (East)...............Right column (West)
    Hull Number...LTIN...............Hull Number...LTIN
    ........926.........2810........... ........1120.........2911
    ........922.........2811.......... ...........711.........2912
    ........924.........2813........... ..........565.........2914

    I therefore believe that LCT(4) 711 was part of the second division of the 55th LCT Flotilla, attached to "D" LCT Squadron and carried the LTIN 2912 planned to land on JIG GREEN East Side at H + 3½ hours on D Day, with her load as per Trux' post here:

    You might find out more about her actions early on D Day by reading the War Diary of the units she carried.

    Regrettably I do not know anything about her crew, nor do I have any photo of her, and only very few of some of her mates in 55 Flotilla:
    565 LCT(4), FABIUS II, Hayling Island, 4 May 44 - Ernest Henri Walter - A70 14-7.jpg
    923 LCT(4) COLOUR beg - 65675038037_000529_3.jpg
    923 LCT(4) COLOUR end - 65675038037_000667_3.jpg
    1120 LCT(4) wreck - LD-Epaves de LCT (LCT1120).jpg

    I'm sure you already know about this webpage:
    HMS LCT 711 (LCT 711) of the Royal Navy - British Landing Craft Tank of the LCT (Mk 4) class - Allied Warships of WWII -

    May I ask why you are interestered specifically in LCT 711?

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
    Rich Payne likes this.
  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    You could also try contacting the Freeport Minerals Company in New Orleans that operated LCT711 as Freeport Sulphur #201 after the War. Vessel seems to have been registered until 1989.

    I'm sure there have been other enquiries on LCT's so try Googling in case there is more "out there"....

    EDIT: Michel has kindly pointed out that my links above are for the AMERICAN LCT711, a different Mark.....
    I'll leave, let the experts give you the proper gen :icon_petting:
  5. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    Im interested because my great uncle was the coxswain on LCT 711 through the war. thank you for this massive amount of information it is so helpful.
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Did he keep a diary? Could you share any other information with us?

    Note: my father landed on Gold Beach hence my interest.
  7. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    All the information I have on him is that He was in the RN his name was Eric Avery and was the coxswain aboard LCT 711. We do not know if he kept a diary at the time. I am currently trying to get my grandfather to contact my great uncles wife to see if she has anything from his time during the war. all the other info I have is on this thread and one little snippet I have which says what LCT 711's exact cargo was.
  8. Hi Edward,

    This sounds very interesting! Could you share this snippet with us please ?

    Thanks in advance,

  9. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    Attached Files:

  10. Thanks for responding. I was hoping for a new piece of information which could confirm LCT 711's actual load on D Day. Maybe once you get some feedback from your great uncle's wife...

  11. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    The attached picture is the actual load which it carried
  12. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    Wellbeing the info gathered in this thread and that picture come from a museum that at some point has got access to that sheet. It seems pretty certain that that is correct. Also the part of the story where the flotilla mate hits mines adds extra proof as 711 was hit by a line on the way to gold also
  13. Edward,

    This is not what I mean. I am well aware of the origin of this sheet, if only because I was the one to point it out to you in the first place. As an aside, I would not call the full transcription of the Landing Tables for four Infantry Brigade Groups a mere "snippet" - this transcription is pure "gold" ;) and represents a huge amount of work. Without it, identification of the probable LTINs for 55 LCT Flotilla would not have been possible.

    What I mean is:

    1. The LTIN of LCT 711 would be 2912, as a logical deduction from Lt Evetts' narrative, only if one essential condition is met, i.e. that the sequence he uses to list the hull numbers is exactly the LTIN sequence. Therefore this LTIN is by no means certain, unless a different source of information can fully confirm it (such as a photo with both hull number and LTIN), or at least significantly increase the likelyhood of the deduction (such as a description of the load by your great uncle). This is why I wrote "I believe that..." and not "I know that..." in my post #3 above :D

    2. The loads as described in the Landing Tables are only the planned ones at the date the LTs were written. There were changes (some minor, some major) made to the LTs in the form of Amendments, plus the actual loading sometimes differed from the planned one even of the latest Amendment.

    Sorry if I sound hair-splitting here, but I would not want you to believe that my conclusions regarding the LTIN and load of LCT 711 are proven facts when they are really only theories, even if they are very robust ones.
    This is the reason why it would be nice to have some new source of info to possibly corroborate them.

    Which brings me to my next point:
    I have not seen this anywhere else (711 being hit by a mine on the way the GOLD). What is your source for this? Does it come from your great uncle? This is quite interesting and might help, as might any other snippet that you might know.

  14. (double posting, pls delete)
  15. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    I see what you mean now and the mine story comes both from my great uncle and if you go into the British newspaper archives and type in lct 711. There is a news paper clipping about the mine
  16. DannyM

    DannyM Member

  17. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

  18. Edward Ions

    Edward Ions Member

    It appears he believes it to be the American one
  19. Excellent find Danny, and beautiful photos, the only ones showing LCT 711 so far! Let's hope that Edward can win this auction...

    The Flotilla and Squadron numbers sported by LCT 711 (59 Flotilla, N LCT Squadron) seem to indicate that the photos were shot some time after D Day, when LCT flotillas were reorganised after the Neptune losses . Do you happen to know when LCT 711 was alloted to 59 Flotilla (which was part of Q LCT Squadron for D Day)?


Share This Page