royal navy landing craft crews on LCIS at sword beach queen red

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by wb1945, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. wb1945

    wb1945 Member

    Please excuse me if I have not posted this in the correct forum, I have just registered as a member today.

    I believe that my father William Bennett was the RN signalman on board LCIS 518. Although he was reluctant to relate his experiences on DDay, he did mention that he was with the flotilla commander, possibly Jack Deslandes, and that several crew mates had been killed during the landing. I am trying to piece together what little he spoke about, which was mainly the training prior to the invasion so that I can pass the information on to his Grandsons.

    Is there any way to confirm the names of the navy personnel aboard LCIS 518 ?
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Whilst waiting for the D Day, beach, movement experts to pick up on this thread have you tried to search the site? if you type in sword beach queen red there are a number of threads that may (or may not) have an answer to your question.

    Good hunting

    You may also need to view the section

    Trux 21st Army Group | WW2Talk, which covers most if not all the different activities & units etc involved in D Day
    timuk likes this.
  3. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Lt. Cdr. John Ashby Deslandes was in command of L.C.I.(S) 518 (284) and 201st Flotilla . 518 landed men of 45 R.M. Commando on Queen Red, Sword Beach at 0910hr. (H+105)

    Strangely our second wave found that enemy fire on the beach had not slackened. Touching down at 0910 the ramp crew in 518, the leader Lieut.- Commander Jack Deslandes' craft, were beheaded by a shell while mortar bombs set off ammunition abaft the bridge and killed sailors and Commandos.

    Rupert Curtis 'Chronicles of D-Day'

    518 also went to assitance of 509 which had struck a mine and was sinking. The crew of 509 transferred aboard 518.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
    Tricky Dicky and timuk like this.
  4. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    There were five Naval Ratings killed and 3 wounded on LCI(S) 518. At the same time five Commandos were killed and 6 wounded.


    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. wb1945

    wb1945 Member

    Many thanks to all who replied, the information you have provided is consistent with what I remember of my father's recollections.
    One of his stories was that as the signalman, he was instructed to take his leave at the same time as the commander during the time that the training exercises for dday were taking place.
  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    From Royal Navy casualties, killed and died, June 1944

    6 June 1944
    LCI(S).518, Normandy invasion, operation Overlord

    DOOLEY, Charles S, Electrical Mechanic, D/MX 105715, MPK
    GILES, Cecil N, Able Seaman, P/JX 389099, killed
    JONES, Kenneth, Able Seaman, D/SSX 29498, killed
    MILNE, Louis E, Act/Able Seaman, D/JX 4200025, killed
    MORRIS, James, Able Seaman, P/JX 386550, killed

    Guy Hudson and Tricky Dicky like this.
  7. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    L.C.I. (S) 518 returned to the UK on D+4. The crew from 509 remained onboard to replace the men killed on 518.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  8. ddaycolin

    ddaycolin Member

    Hi to all participants and WB 1945.
    What an interesting discussion!

    I have a lot of information on 201 Flotilla that I would be more than happy to share with you.
    I was in touch indirectly with Jack Deslandes in about 1997. This was through the Sec Gen of the
    LCI(s) Association, Norman Fitzsimon (LCI(s) 516). I attended one of their meetings in 1998 and spoke to quite a few LCI(s) officers. The aim of this encounter was to tell the detailed story of 201 Flotilla and the Commandos from 45 RM
    and 3 Commando who landed from the LCI(s). And Flotillas 200 and 202. I also corresponded with Les Jordan (Cox'n 530) and he sent me a wealth of information he had compiled with his parallel LCI(s) association and he put me in contact with members of the LCI(s) Flotillas.

    I also contacted and corresponded or spoke with Commandos who sailed with 201 Flotilla (idem for 200 and 202 Flotilla).
    I met Tommy Treacher at a Commando association reunion in 1998 and have IWM audio copies of his and other interviews.I transcribed most of Tommy's interview.

    I have very high quality copies of the film of 201 flotilla landing at La Brèche, filmed by Sgt Ian Grant from 528. One frame from this film possibly shows the moment that a shell burst burst over 518 causing all the casualties. With LCI(s) officers and men of 201 and a number of commandos we endeavoured to work out the exact landing order of 201 which is now fairly complete. There is much detail in this film that I am certain could be uncovered thanks to the observational skills of ww2talk contributors.

    As regards LCI(s) 518, I corresponded for several years with Peter Musgrave who was 1st Lieutenant on 518. He had a camera with him. Just before touchdown he was below deck operating 518's radar. He informed Deslandes that 518 was about to touch down. Deslandes politely informed him that he was aware of that. Just then, while Peter was coming up on deck, the shell burst overhead. (full story another time) and that put paid to any photos. Peter did however take quite a few photos of LCI(s) at sea before and after DDay. He kindly lent me the negatives so I made good copies. There is a photo of HMS Swift sinking.

    I did recently discuss with Danny the idea of 'serializing' AFPU film, sequence by sequence, frame by frame and then posting the results. Danny and I already did some of this while working on the 'D Day as it happens' documentary. There is so much that could be discovered in this way. I knew 5 AFPU cameramen and photographers and corresponded with them. George Laws, Desmond O'Neill, Peter Handford, Ernest Walter and Dick Leatherbarrow. I used to send them stills from their films and they would add information.

    So there you are. I now have a bit more time on my hands having retired today!

    Best, Colin
  9. ddaycolin

    ddaycolin Member


    Here is the complete list of the officers and men of LCI(s) 518 compiled by Les Jordan (cox'n LCI(s) 530) and sent to me by Les in 1998 or thereabouts. Colin
    LCIS 518 list.jpg LCIS 518 list.jpg
    4jonboy, timuk and Guy Hudson like this.
  10. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Prior to his commission, Ordinary Seaman DJX 269360 J. A. Deslandes survived the sinking of H.M.S. Prince of Wales on the 10th December 1941.
  11. ddaycolin

    ddaycolin Member

    For WB1945,
    I've posted the complete list of the officers and men of LCI(s) 518 (27 in all)
    I mentioned that I have good copies of all the photos taken by 1st Lt Peter Musgrave of LCI(s) 518.
    Would you have a photo of your father that you could post?
    There is a photo of the combined crews of 518 and 509 so your father could be on it.
    There are other photos of 518 crew members that could be used for identification.
  12. ddaycolin

    ddaycolin Member

    Here is the photo of the combined crews of 518 & 509 along with the caption by 1st Lieutenant Peter Musgrave.
    Jack Deslandes in the centre. Signalman William Bennett should be in the photo.

    Attached Files:

    4jonboy and Guy Hudson like this.
  13. wb1945

    wb1945 Member

    Dear Guy,

    Sorry for the delay in replying, I have not been online for two weeks.
    I cannot thank you enough for providing this photograph.
    My Dad, William Bennett is in the front row at the extreme left side.
    I did not know that this photograph even existed.
    Once again my sincere thanks,

    William Bennett Junior
    4jonboy likes this.
  14. wb1945

    wb1945 Member

    Dear Colin ,

    Sorry for previous post, I failed to notice that the information was from yourself.
    My sincere thanks to you.
    I am 100% certain that my father is at the extreme left hand side of the front row.
    Unfortunately I have no photos from that period, the earliest would be in the mid 1950's, I will try to find one and post it if you wish.
    With regard to the crew list I see that Bennett E is listed as the Flotilla Signalman, but this should be Bennett W, Service Number JX340877.
    My father did speak of Deslandes as the Commander of that flotilla and of having to take his leave at the same time during training.
    I have the original of his Service Record and Signal History Sheet Examination Records if they would be of interest to you.
    Once again my thanks, I will organise all the information I have obtained on this site and give copies to his two Grandsons.
    You have certainly filled in alot of gaps in my knowledge because my Dad was very reluctant to discuss the events of D Day, he only briefly mentioned the loss of his shipmates. It obviously stayed with him for a long time, and now I know why.
    He was a few months short of his 20th birthday on D Day, fortunately for me he survived to see the 60th anniverary commemoration and passed away in 2008 aged 84.

    My warmest regards, William Bennett Jnr
  15. wb1945

    wb1945 Member

    To All Members who have contributed to my research into the history of William Bennett and LCIS 518 I send you my warmest good wishes.
    I have almost everything I need to pass on to his Grandsons.
    One last request, I remember at one time on this site seeing a document which was essentially a log of LCIS 518 from the approach to Sword Beach to the eventual return to England 4 days later. If anyone could point me to that document, that would be great.

    Thank you all

    William Bnenett Jnr
  16. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Can you produce this information for any landing craft?
    My late step-father was landing french Commandos.
    Had got it down to 2 boats.
    Try LCI 523 and 527.

  17. Hello Lawrence,

    Telling us your late stepfather's full name, rank etc. and any additional information you have on him or his craft, or the troops he carried, would be useful in order to find out more.

    By the way, did you see the response to your question back in 2014 here: ?

  18. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Well spotted.

    The 1er Battaillon de Fusiliers Marins Commandos (1er BFMC) was carried by LCI(S) 527 (LTIN 190) and 523 (LTIN 191), both of 201 LCI(S) Flotilla.
    LCI(S) 527 was commanded by Tempy. Lt. Charles Frederick CRAVEN, R.N.V.R. (seniority 11.6.43) and carried No.1 Troop.
    LCI(S) 523 was commanded by Tempy. Sub-Lt. John William Henry "Jack" BERRY, R.N.V.R. (seniority 1.7.43) and carried No.8 Troop.
    HQ and K-Guns Sections were split between the two craft.

    His name was Richard Ward. I unfortunately never met him.

  19. Jack's son

    Jack's son New Member

    Good afternoon.
    Jack Deslandes was my father and I have just been steered towards this web forum by a recently made, ex RN friend. You can imagine my surprise and delight at seeing my father's involvement on D'Day being discussed here.
    Unlike many heavily traumatised servicemen, Jack was able and willing to talk about most of what happened to him during the war and, in particular, during the build up, D' Day itself and the aftermath. He was hugely supported by his colleagues and shipmates with whom he served, many of whom he stayed in touch with via the LCI(S) Association until he died in February 1999 aged 88. Although he shared some of the lighter side of his time with Force Z on the PoW, he found that more difficult to talk about although some harrowing details came out over the years. In particular he had an abiding hatred of the smell of oil, having swum in water covered in bunkering oil for more than four hours before rescue.
    Many of the names mentioned in this thread are very familiar to me and I may have met several of them when I accompanied my parents to LCI(S) lunches at the Rising Sun on the Hamble where Rupert Curtis placed the memorial plaque.
    I hope you will forgive me saying that I am enormously proud of my father and he was equally proud of all the very brave men that he had the honour to serve with, both during Overlord and in other theatres and actions. After D' Day he was sent to the Far East where he was Staff Officer Operations 2 and commanded landing craft during the invasion of Sumatra. Fortunately the invasion was undefended so he and thousands of others lived to tell the tale, and he to father this unashamedly proud son.
    I still have his logbook from June 1944 which I would be happy to copy and share should it be of interest.
    Yours sincerely
    Paul Deslandes

Share This Page