Royal Navy - D-Day Casualties - Chatham Naval Memorial

Discussion in 'General' started by Tony Matthews QVRM VR, Feb 12, 2024.

  1. I'm looking for help compiling information on the 20 RN/RM casualties commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial from D-DAY.
    In particular i'm after details on the following:

    Able Seaman William Clifford Smith
    Marine Peter Robert Wadsworth
    Able Seaman Lawrence Batty
    Stoker 1st Class William Gibbin
    Stoker 2nd Class Robert Hayward
    Ordinary Seaman – Sidney Bartley
    Able Seaman Arthur Ernest Dixon
    Stoker 1st Class Robert Arthur Cecil Knight
    Marine Cyril Jesse Williams

    Grateful of any help researching cause and circumstances of death, thank you in advance for any help
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  2. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

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  4. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Hi Tony,
    How much do you already know about each of them? Do you know what vessels they were serving on?

    I can tell you that Marine Cyril Jesse Williams HBL 48 RM Commando died aboard HMCS ALGONQUIN. Further research suggests he may have been on an assault craft that came alongside with casualties.

    Able Seaman William Clifford Smith died aboard H.M. LBV20.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
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  5. pete

    pete Junior Member

    There are two on the Commando Veterans Archive website who died at Normandy, Major Barclay RM and Marine Williams RM. The others shown all died elsewhere.

    Kent, Chatham Naval Memorial | ͏Commando Veterans Archive.
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  6. pete

    pete Junior Member

    Marine Wadsworth

    Lynn Advertiser
    28 July 1944

    Attached Files:

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  7. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Able Seaman Lawrence Batty
    He was a crew member on LCT 898, 41st LCT Flotilla, Group S3, Force S which was assigned to land troops on Sword Beach on D-Day.
    The exact circumstances of his death are not known and there is no known place of burial for him so he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial to the Missing.

    This will be the case for most of those named on the naval memorials - killed in action and they have no grave but the sea.

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  8. According to LCT 898's CO Ty Sub-Lieut Charles Flynn, AB Lawrence Batty was killed on landing by a mortar shell on the port winch house. His body was then transferred to LSI(S) HMS Prinses Astrid, from where it was buried at sea in mid channel.

    Account by Charles FLYNN, CO LCT 898 - 1.jpg
    Account by Charles FLYNN, CO LCT 898 - 2.jpg

    From the D Day Report:

    302. L.C.T. 898, Tempy. Sub Lieut. C.F. FLYNN, R.N.V.R., immediately
    on beaching was hit by a shell which passed through the winch-
    house from starboard to port. Later two near misses caused
    some underwater damage. Another direct hit from a mortar shell
    on the port winch-house killed Able Seaman L. Batty, C/SR.8475
    and wounded Able Seaman G. WELLS, P/KX429679 and Able Seaman
    J. McKINNON, C/JX 235851. Near misses caused slight injury
    to the First Lieutenant, Tempy. Sub Lieut. E.R. WILLIS,R.N.V.R.,
    and the Coxswain, Leading Seaman G. TYSON, C/JX236851. In
    spite of the damage and casualties. all vehicles were unloaded
    and the craft unbeached and returned to the United Kingdom at
    slow speed, the passage taking 29 hours. Sub Lieut. FLYNN is
    to be congratulated on his fine effort. Able Seaman WELLS
    displayed great courage and fortitude although wounded.

    From the Report by Lieutenant Commander CE HALL, RNR in command of HMS PRINCESS ASTRID:

    16. At 1105, L.C.T. 898 came alongside to disembark casualties. Her door
    was broken, and she had a shell hole in the port side. We embarked from L.C.T. 898
    the following ratings:-

    George WELLS, A.B., P/JX 429679 – seriously wounded, suffering from
    multiple injuries.
    Joseph McKINNAN, A.B. P/JX 362198 – wounded, suffering from shock and
    flesh burns of the cornea.
    We also embarked from the same craft the body of Lawrence BATTY, Able Seaman,
    C/SR.8475, and I buried the remains of this rating in mid channel during the passage
    home. The two wounded were landed to Totland Bay Hospital, Isle of Wight, on
    return to the U.K. Forms C.W.(C) 608 for all three were landed to “VECTIS” for
    transmission to Naval Casualty Record Office.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2024
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  9. From Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, June 1944

    Able Seaman William Clifford Smith - SMITH, William C, Able Seaman, C/JX 406669, MPK - LBV(2) 20, ship loss

    Marine Peter Robert Wadsworth – WADSWORTH, Peter R, Marine, CH/X 112639, killed – Copra (shore establishment, not actual location when killed - see Pete's Post # 6 above)

    Able Seaman Lawrence Batty – BATTY, Lawrence, Able Seaman, RNSR, C/SR 8475, killed – LCT(4) 898 (see previous post)

    Stoker 1st Class William Gibbin – GIBBIN, William, Stoker 1c, C/KX 151749, MPK– - LBV(2) 20, ship loss

    Stoker 2nd Class Robert Hayward – HAYWARD, Bernard R, Stoker 2c, C/KX 622251, killed – LBV(2) 42

    Ordinary Seaman Sidney Bartley – BARTLEY, Sidney, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 406793, DOW – LCT(3) 317
    LCT 317 (part of 11 LCT Flotilla, N LCT Squadron) carried LTIN 1406 (five Sherman DD tanks of C Sqn, 10 Cdn Armd Regt (Fort Garry Horse)) to NAN Sector, JUNO Area, and struck a mine on the beach.

    Able Seaman Arthur Ernest Dixon – DIXON, Arthur E, Able Seaman, C/JX 353886, MPK – LSI(S) HMS PRINCE CHARLES (probably on board one of her LCA)

    Stoker 1st Class Robert Arthur Cecil Knight – KNIGHT, Robert A C, Stoker 1c, C/KX 118889, killed – LSI(S) SS EMPIRE ANVIL (probably on board one of her LCA)

    Marine Cyril Jesse Williams – WILLIAMS, Cyril J, Marine, CH/X 3264, killed – 48 RM Commando
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2024
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  10. Steve49

    Steve49 Boycott P&O...

    LCT317 (11th LCT Flotilla, N Sqn, Group J-321, Force J-2) was damaged after being hit by shore fire during landing operations at Nan Beach, Juno Beach. The craft was hit repeatedly by shell and mortar fire after landing and later drifted offshore (with two tanks still embarked). Two crew including OS Bartley were killed.

    The Prince Charles Flotilla (501st LCA Flotilla) lost LCA401, LCA418, LCA458 and LCA750 during the Pointe du Hoc landing. The crew of LCA750 were recovered, LCA401 is noted as having its bow blown off with one crew seen to be killed, so this could be AB Dixon, but I've no further details on either LCA418 or LCA458 so he could also have been lost with one of them.


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  11. Michel
    Thank you so much this is just what I’m looking for. May I have your permission to share this with the CWGC
  12. Tony,
    Yes, of course you may share this.
  13. From the Report by Flotilla Officer, 11th LCT Flotilla:

    4. Due to severe weather, my Flotilla Group 321, was unable to launch D.D.tanks. As decided by the Group Commander, the craft took the tanks into the beaches, Nan White and Red. At this point I would like to mention Temporary Lieutenants Ronald Barker, R.N.V.R., Commanding Officer L.C.T. 324 and Charles Yule Stewart, R.N.V.R., Commanding Officer L.C.T. 354, for their excellent leadership as Divisional Commanders.

    All craft in my Flotilla were successful in getting their tanks ashore. One craft, L.C.T. 317, unfortunately struck a mine on the beach and was so damaged that she was unable to return to the United Kingdom. A shell from enemy defences penetrated the engineroom of this craft and killed a stoker. One seaman was also killed on the deck.

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  14. The mention of "their own hedgehog" would mean that these men were on board a LCA(HR) i.e. Landing Craft, Assault (Hedgerow), in which case they were not from 48 RM Commando. Unless they were not all from the same craft...
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  15. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    All we know for sure is that he died aboard HMCS ALGONQUIN - the reference to the assault craft coming alongside with casualties was all I could dig up that could fit the scene so it was worth putting up there to be ruled in or out.

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  16. Steve49

    Steve49 Boycott P&O...

    Thanks for that. I'd seen in the book 'The Armoured campaign in Normandy', the comment that LCT317 had been 'hit repeatedly by shell and mortar fire and drifted back out to sea'. Though the Flotilla Officer is incorrect in saying that the LCT failed to return as, it survived the war (unless of course he just means that it remained in beachhead area for repairs rather than returning to the UK after landing).


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  17. After checking, it may not be ruled out, because a LCA(HR) had a crew of four only, so the six casualties must have included at least two men from other outfits, one of which very possibly Mne Williams as you suggested. 48 RM Commando was landed by LCI(S), plus a dozen vehicles and crew by LCT.
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  18. pete

    pete Junior Member

    Extract about 3 casualties taken on board from this document titled 'A Brief History of Algonquin' compiled by the Naval Historical Section, Naval HQ, Ottawa. The full document is here Stories - A Brief History of Algonquin

    "The following day the weather was still unfavorable due to high winds. However, the unloading on the beaches proceeded at full speed in spite of this difficulty. The forenoon was uneventful for HMCS ALGONQUIN and there was time, after the preparations and activity of "D-Day", to organize a more normal routine aboard ship. Full meals were prepared and served, and the wardroom was converted into a second sick bay for three casualties taken aboard the previous day."
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  19. pete

    pete Junior Member

    Registers of Reports of Deaths - Naval Ratings / National Archives file ADM 104/137.

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  20. 48 RM Commando War Diary for 6 Jun 44 states that many men were lost by drowning, but the fact that Mne Williams died on board ALGONQUIN suggests he was wounded while still on the landing craft. The only craft specifically mentioned as being hit before/during disembarkation of troops is the one carrying Z Troop:

    At first it appeared that the landing would be unopposed and most craft dismounted the 2" mortars which were prepared to cover the landing with smoke. Then MG's opened up from the strongpoint at ST AUBIN which was almost opposite the Easternmost landing craft and perhaps 200 yds from the Westernmost and the craft were subjected to mortar and shell fire; the Z Tp craft received a direct hit amidships.
    Jour J - Documents - 4th Special Service Brigade - No.48 (Royal Marine) Commando - War Diaries

    Mne Williams might thus have been fatally wounded while on board the LCI(S) carrying Z Tp. Unfortunately I do not know which craft that was, nor have I found any naval report covering those craft.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2024
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