Vessels in Moidart, 1940 - 44
I am indebted
to the daughter of John Alderson for giving me a copy of part of her father's
diary (see here for a peek at that)
covering his training in this area during WW2.
In it he mentions two more ships, which must have been seen regularly
in this area at that time, and I have looked up some details:
(Flamingo, although she looked like an ugly duckling to me) was a French
fishery protection vessel built in 1918. She was 600 tons, steam driven
and carried a crew of 53. She was noted as visiting Fleetwood in July
1939. In 1940 she was taken over by the British and renamed HMS Quentin
Roosevelt (named after the youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt,
a pilot who was shot down over France in July 1918). She moved to the
northwest coast and was engaged in moving men and supplies between Oban
and Lochailort. She survived the war and returned to fishery protection
duties under her old name afterwards.
The Prince Leopold was a Belgian channel ferry built in 1930 and
working between Dover and Ostende as one of four identical ships. In 1940
they were all taken over by the Royal Navy and had the prefix HMS added
to their original names. They were all converted for the task of landing
infantry, transferring the troops to landing craft alongside. In 1944
HMS Prince Leopold was engaged in training troops to disembark
at several local sites, Laga Bay and Kentra were mentioned in the diary.
The ship later took part in the D-Day landings, taking US Rangers to the
infamous Omaha Beach. After D-Day she continued to cross the Channel with
more troops until 29th July when she was disabled by an acoustic homing
torpedo fired from the German submarine U621. The submarine was sunk in
the Bay of Biscay on 18th August 1944. HMS Prince Leopold was taken under
tow but sank before reaching safety. She is still in the news since she
is popular with divers and there is a controversy concerning the possible
presence of a rack of live depth charges on the wreck.
John Dye 20/3/13