The Night of the 7th / 8th April 1945
  

 

 

 

 

 

To the left is a copy of the "London Gazette"  Honours and Awards Supplement of 19th June 1945. This is the action Rod received his "Mentioned in Dispatches" for.

 

Dudley Dixon also received an award, his second bar to his DSC. You may also notice other Officers names who have featured in this website.

 

 

 

To the left is a certificate showing the conduct of Rod while he was serving in the 35th Flotilla.

 

The report written in 1945 is signed by the Captain of HMS Beehive and states that Rod served :-

 

"Entirely to my Satisfaction. Outstanding as a First Lieutenant on an MTB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letter to the right is a copy of the original letter of congratulations Rod received from the Commanding Officer, HMS Beehive.

 

 
 

The Night of the 7th/ 8th April 1945

 

At the time of the action Rod was serving in MTB 482 as Dudley Dixon's 1st Lt. Rod kept detailed reports in his personal log and diary. I have not transcribed the entire record but written a précis of the events. Rod researched his actions and when the reports became "public" spent many hours at the records office supplementing his accounts with additional information. The report below is typed as it was sent.

 

FROM C IN C NORE  081320B

TO ADMIRALITY

INFO A C DOVER, FOIC YARMOUTH, FOIC HARWICH, ANCXF, FO BELGIUM FOIC HUMBER, NOIC OSTEND,  NOIC ANTWERP, C. F M U 1, D. 16, D. 21., CCF, SO CORVETTES MIDGE, MANTIS, BEEHIVE, 16 GROUP, CONFIDENTIAL BT

 

E BOAT ACTIVITY NIGHT  7TH / 8TH APRIL.

 

1. TWO GROUPS OF 5 AND 4 E BOATS LEFT HOOK ABOUT 2200 COURSE SW.

16 GROUP WELLINGTONS SHADOWED  BOTH GROUPS THEIR REPORTS BEING OF CONSIDERABLE ASSISTANCE TO SURFACE FORCES.

 

2. THE FIVE E BOAT GROUP WAS DETECTED BY RUTHERFORD TO 0034 NORTH OF NF4 BOUY. AN EXCELLENT INTERCEPTION WAS MADE WITH MTB'S 482 (LIEUT. J.D. DIXON, DSC, RNVR) AND 454 (LIEUT. P.G.A. IRVINE, RNVR) RUTHERFORD'S GUNFIRE  DROVE ENEMY TOWARDS MTB'S WHO IN SPACE OF ABOUT 5 MINUTES AND BAD WEATHER CONDITIONS (WIND NNE 4-5. SEA 41) AND AT A RANGE NEVER LESS THAN 700 YARDS SANK TWO E BOATS BY GUNFIRE. 40 PRISONERS TAKEN. NO CASUALTIES OR DAMAGE TO OUR FORCES.

 

There are two other paragraphs relating to other action in other areas not reported here. The signal is finished with  ……

 

"LKIS   BBB

 

CNO  RD 08   1505APL/45   RAY K

 

DIST: CAPTAIN. SO(O)., rnV.35."

 

A photocopy of another signal from "Beehive to C in C Nore" repeats the same information and adds "3 officers and 37 ratings were picked up and transferred to HMS Rutherford." Paragraph 6. of the signal list the ammunition used in the action.

 

"6. AMMUNITION EXPENDED

6 PDR 7CWT                    55 ROUNDS

OERLIKON                      960 ROUNDS

VICKERS                      1700 ROUNDS

ROCKETS ILLUMINATING rn-  10"

 

Both Dudley Dixon and Rod received awards for their part inrnthat night's action. The Gazette report is pictured on this page. The two E Boats sunk were S 202 (Kptlt Wiencke) and S 703 (Oblt zS Steinhauer).

 

After the firing had stopped and the other E Boats had made a quick exit the search for survivors started. Rod was asked to take charge of "upperdeckoperations" A rubber raft full of survivors was soon found with the aid of star shells to illuminate the sea. More dinghies were found. Rod's notes on page 204 of his log inform us:-  "I was hauling a hefty bod over the side when the binoculars which he had round his neck became jammed under the capping - a quick jerk and I placed the binoculars under the starboard torpedo tube dragging him to safety on the upper deck."{I have still got the binoculars ed}. Despite taking part in the humane process of rescuing the enemy emotions must have been in the extreme as can be determined by the comments Rod recorded in the next quote. "I can still clearly see the two dinghies coming alongside the starboard side, feelings were running high and I grabbed the twin .303 Browning machine guns mounted on the starboard side and cocked them and trained them on the survivors in case of some possible attack - there were plenty of them, and I thought make one move you bastards and I'll shoot the lot of you. I know at the time I hoped they would so I could kill them. In retrospect what a terrible thought."

 

After they had to abandon looking for any more survivors because of dawn breaking and the risk of being seen by enemy forces Rod went below to sort out the prisoners. There 21 German ratings alone and a number of officers, they greatly outnumbered the crew of MTB 482. They were watched over by one of 482's crew and a machine gun.

 

"We also had two very badly wounded Jerries on board that had to be left on the upper deck. One almost had his leg severed at the thigh. I gave him morphine and did what I could, but it was pretty hopeless - I gave him up for dead. I found out eventually that he survived."

 

"0335 Came alongside frigate. Weather conditions had further deteriorated and the swell was quite heavy causing considerable rise and fall of 482 alongside the frigate. The two badly wounded were strapped securely in Neil Robertson stretchers and hoisted aboard HMS Rutherford by a davit, others followed suit up a ladder. 0346 left frigate. 0620 N 35 W G 24 53 bouy - Sunk (this is the Sunk Light Vessel!)  Upper deck squared off - we had lost some ropes - we ditched the cartridge cases overboard and the blood was washed down. 0720 entered harbour."

 

"Appropriate celebrations" are alluded to in Rod's log, this appears to have been both at lunchtime and during the evening of the 8th. When enemy boats were sunk and prisoners taken "trophies" were collected by the victors. Rod's next action took place on the night of the 9th / 10thof April. MTB's 482, 454 and 447 left harbour at 1932, as was customary the crew fell in on the focscle. Rod comments in his log, "On falling the crew in on the focscle as we left harbour to returnthe salute of the Captain I noticed that all of them were wearing very smart and efficient life jackets of German origin and when action stations was piped they all put on German tin hats. Needless to say I was wearing a complete grey German leather sea suit and posh life jacket with self inflation cord, light and whistle. I stopped short at a Jerry tin hat!" 

 

Only "Official" photos were available, these of course were censored. Rod's log for the 29th April shows an "alternative option".

 

"Sun 29 April. GALE - printing all day. As I was using my old Brownie Box camera and a borrowed Naval camera and of course the prints were censorable I decided to do my own D & P (developing and printing). The only place available was in the wardroom of 482 as ----- and I started out with free paper and chemicals we had to watch carefully for the lovely woodwork - not to damage it with acid etc." This is why Rod has many photos of the war!

 

Although nothing to do with the above, the following entry only a month later is noted for obvious reasons. This entry is for the night of 3rd / 4th May

"Friday 4 May FB 3   482,   478,   447,   450, Slipped 2100  -  2152  51B Bouy - usual flog around - nothing doing - wind SW 4-5 - 0745 enter harbour. "This was the last war operation undertaken by the 35th MTB Flotilla although we did not know at the time.

Sailing time had been delayed (3rd) due to an important announcement shortly to be made. All officers due to sail were gathered in the front room dressed in sea going rig anxiously waiting. It was announced over the radio that ALL GERMAN FORCES FIGHTING IN NW GERMANY, DENMARK,HOLLAND ETC HAD SURRENDERED ALL NAVAL UNITS WOULD CEASE HOSTILITIES. The war was over!! Loud cheers and congratulations all round (we still went to sea).

 

The above was found in Rod's log. It is perhaps a fitting "anthem" for the Coastal Forces.

 

The ships of the Coastal Forces sunk more that 800 enemy ships, shot down 32 aircraft, fired 1169 torpedoes and out of the total of 81 midget submarines sunk the Coastal Forces sunk 32.