The First Floatia of Minesweepers on D-Day 6th June 1944.

Discussion in 'Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)' started by gcevans1966, Jun 6, 2014.

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  1. My name is Graham Coombe Evans,my grandfather Skipper Llt. Cecil Coombe (1909-1954)served on M.M.S.251 and was in the first floatia of minesweepers on D-Day 6th June 1944.My mum says he served out of the Isle of Sheppey,Kent.He also served on H.M.S. Rifnes which was sunk by German aircraft on 20th May 1940 off Ostend,Belgium.Would anybody have any information or anybody who served with Skipper Llt. Coombe,i would be very grateful,for any contact.Yours faithfully Graham Evans(grandson).
     
  2. Hello Graham,

    Your grandfather, Cecil Gordon Chudley COOMBE, was trained as a minesweeping specialist. I can find no record of his service in His Majesty's Trawler (HMT) RIFSNES but that's not unusual for an RNR in the early stages of the war. In fact, he doesn't appear in the Navy List until the April 1940 issue which is consistent with his seniority of 9 Jan 1940 as a Skipper RNR having had minesweeping training. Perhaps this was undertaken on board HMT RIFSNES?

    The information about the trawlers below comes from Royal Navy Trawlers Part Two: Requisitioned Trawlers by Gerald Toghill.

    HMT RIFSNES
    In Naval Service 1939/40
    Displacement: 431 TG. 163 TN.
    Engines: 99HP = 11K
    Armament: 1 x 12pdr
    Port Registration: H. 451
    1932: Launched. Built at Beverely by Cook, Welton and Gemmell. Owned by Oddsson & Co. of Hull. 1939: Requisitioned in August and converted to a minesweeper. Based at Yarmouth. 1940: LOST. Sunk by enemy a/c off Ostend on 20th May with the loss of three lives.

    I have outlined your grandfather's wartime RNR career below from contemporary Navy Lists but you might like to obtain a copy of his Service Record as well. Advice on this is available here:
    On 16 April 1940, C. G. C. COOMBE was appointed First Lieutenant (2 I/C) of HMT EARL ESSEX (based at Sheerness) as a Temporary Skipper with a seniority of 9 Jan 1940. This would mean he just escaped being on board HMT RIFSNES when she was sunk.

    HMT EARL ESSEX

    In Naval Service 1914/19 and 1939/46
    Displacement: 225 TG. 112 TN.
    Engines: 68HP = 9.5K
    Armament: 1 x 12pdr
    Admty No: 292
    Port Reg: GY 48
    Pendant No: WWII: FY. 852
    1914: Launched. Built at Beverley bv Cook, Welton and Gemmell. Owned by Earl SFC of Grimsby. Requisitioned in August and converted to a minesweeper. 1919: Returned to owners. 1937: Acquired by Robinson & Sons of Grimsby. 1939: Requisitioned in November and converted to a minesweeper. 1946: Returned to owners. Mercantile loss. Trawled up a mine in the North Sea on 24th April. The mine exploded sinking the vessel. One survivor, ten lost.

    On 2 Feb 1942, C. G. C. COOMBE took Command of HMT SATURN (Minesweeping Group 120 based at Sheerness) as a Temporary Skipper RNR with a seniority of 9 Jan 1940.

    HMT SATURN

    In Naval Service 1916/19 and 1939/45
    Displacement: 230 TG. 107 TN.
    Engines: 76HP
    Armament: 1 x 6pdrAA
    Admty No: 2971
    Port Reg: GY. 976
    Pendant No: WWII: FY. 823 (M/S)
    1916: Launched. Built at Goole by Goole SB. Owned by Trawlers (White Sea & Grimsby), Grimsby. Requisitioned in September and converted to a minesweeper. 1919: Returned to owners. 1939: Requisitioned in November and converted to an APV (Auxiliary Patrol Vessel). 1940: Converted to a minesweeper in June. 1944: Converted to an Esso (Fuel Carrier) in March. 1945: Returned to owners in December.

    On 23 Jan 1944, C. G. C. COOMBE took Command of MMS 251 (short-boat Motor Mine Sweeper otherwise known as a 'Mickey Mouse') as an Acting Temporary Skipper RNR with a seniority of 9 Jan 1940 and then as an Acting Lt Skipper RNR with a seniority of 9 Jan 1940. He remained in Command until at least July 1945. Apart from what you already know about MMS 251 from bollotom's uboat.net link, she was assigned to the 143rd MSF (Mine Sweeper Flotilla) based at Swansea from August 1943. She was certainly engaged in the Normandy landings and was probably involved with the other units of her Flotilla in the later clearance of the Scheldt Estuary and approaches to Antwerp.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  3. Think he's seen the info is so sparse and given up, NG. Oh, well. :)
     
  4. Bump. You never know.
     
  5. Thank you for supplying this information,it has been most helpful,especially with his service on D-Day.
    Yours sincerely ,Graham Evans
     
  6. Thank you so much for supplyng this information on my grandfather's war service.
    Yours sincerely,
    Graham Evans
     

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