The British Pacific and East Indies Fleets

The forgotten fleets that fought the Japanese in the Pacific and Indian Oceans


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Landing Craft Headquarters Ship


No badge issued for this vessel

 

 

Battle Honours


Burma 1945
 

 

 

 

Specifications

Builder: New Jersey Shipbuilding Corp., Barber, New Jersey, United States

Displacement:
Light, 216 t.
Landing, 234 t.
Loaded,  389 t. 

Length: 156 ft 5.5 in

Beam: 23 ft 3 in

Draught:
Light, 3' ft 1½ in mean

Landing, 2 ft' 8 in forward, 4 ft 10 in aft
Loaded, 5 ft 4 in forward, 5 ft 11 in aft
Propulsion: Two General Motors Quad units (4 General Motors 6051 series 71 Diesel engines per unit), driving twin variable pitch propellers, 2,320shp, 1 Quad unit per shaft.

Speed: 40 Knots
Cargo Capacity: 9 officers and 200 troops or 75 tons cargo - reduced by 50 troops after conversion.

Armament:  Four single 20mm Oerlikon guns, mounted in tubs, one bow mounted, one mounted centrally on top of the superstructure aft of wheelhouse, one each port and starboard aft of superstructure.

 Crew complement:
(LCI) 3 officers, 17 ratings
(LCH) 3 officers, 23 ratings

 

Commanding Officers

Lt. Basil Charles Matthiae RNVR 2.09.1944 - 10.01.1946

 

 

 

 

 

Related items

None

 

 

 

 

Reminiscences


None
 

 

 

 

Gallery

 
None
 

 

 

 

H.M.S. LCH-261

Read aloud  

No images exist of LCH 261, this is her Sister ship LCH 101. Photo cutesy of Mr. Tony Bull

Early history

Ordered and delivered as a Landing Craft Infantry (Large) for the US Navy she was built by the New Jersey Shipbuilding Corp., Barber, New Jersey. She was ordered on August 29th 1942, her keel was laid down on October 13th 1942 and she was launched on March 19th 1943. She was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement on March 27th 1943 and commissioned as LCI(L) 261 at Staten Island, New York.

After completing her short work-up she sailed to US Naval Base Norfolk, Virginia for repairs and alterations. Over the next two months she underwent the installation of plastic armour, sounding equipment, sponsons and flareplates, repairs to her hull, electrical system and main engines; she also received a replacement winch and pinace. Before leaving Norfolk she was degaussed and calibrated at the Sewalls Point Magnetic Range, and visited the US Naval Ammunition Depot, St. Juliens Creek, Virginia, to embark small arms and gun ammunition.

LCI(L) 261 sailed from Norfolk for Gibraltar, via Bermuda, on May 12th. with 19 other (LCI(L), No.s 136, 257, 259, 261, 278, 280, 281, 282, 284, 286, 289, 292, 294, 303. 308, 311, 313, 316, & 319. The crossing took approximately 30 days.

Operations in the Mediterranean

During the next few months LCI(L) 261 appears to have been operating in the Med....12th LCI(L) flotilla ?

Reallocated to the East Indies Fleet

On release from Mediterranean operations the 12th LCI(L) flotilla was reallocated to the Eastern Fleet and sailed for Bombay, India, calling at Port Said and Aden. They reached Aden on Friday, November 19th after a stormy crossing of the Red Sea. After refuelling the flotilla continued on to Bombay, arriving there on December 3rd 1943. The flotilla was to remain at Bombay in the training role, operating with the RN Landing Craft Signals and Navigation Training Establishment HMS BRAGANZA III.

Conversion to a Headquarters Ship

Early in 1944 LCI(L) 261 was converted into an LCH, Landing Craft Headquarters at Bombay. She underwent a period of modification which involved turning part of the troop decks into operations rooms and wireless offices, the installation of additional British command and control and communications equipment; 6 x Army No. 22 Radio sets; 6 X CDG, B28 receivers; 1 X CDF, B29 receiver. Echo Sounding type 763; 8 type visual signals (lanterns and torches); Type 970 Radar for navigation and control of assault craft; Outfit QH (Gee Hyperbolic Radio Navaid) 1 x TCS Transmitter. A tripod foremast was added to mount the additional aerials. In addition, single cabins were installed to accommodate assault force staff officers when embarked. When completed her troop carrying capacity was reduced by 50.

Sometime in June 1944 the flotilla personnel moved into the Royal Marines Camp at Chembur on the outskirts of Bombay where they were to remain until November 1944 when the Eastern Fleet was restructured and renamed the East Indies Fleet; under this new organisation the flotilla relocated to Chittagong which was to become their main base of operations for the fleets Amphibious Assault Force, Force ‘W’. After the D-Day landings plans were made to relocate large numbers of Major Landing Craft from the UK to the Eastern theatre under the code name ‘APPIAN’. Convoys of craft, referred to as ‘Flights’, sailed for India and Ceylon calling at Gibraltar, Oran, Malta, Port Said, Aden, and Bombay; the first Flight, ‘A’, sailed on November 15th 1944. .

At this time the flotilla is believed to have been renumbered to 250 and consisted of LCI(L)s 114, 120, 173, 265, , 279, 285, 286, 304, 312, with three vessels converted into LCHs, numbers 261, 267 and 287.

Post War history

LCH 267 was returned to US custody on March 13th 1946 and struck from the Naval Register 25th April 1946. She was sold to the Indian Navy along with LCI(L) 173, 231, 244, 261, 265, 279, and 312 on this date.

Last modified: 16 June 2020

 


Primary information sources

Additional sources:

A Bit of a Different View -Life aboard Royal Navy LCI - by Fred Heffer, in "The Elsie Item" Issue Number 37. May, 2001.
NavSource Amphibious Photo Archive LCH-267 entry
www.uboat.net index of British and American LCI(L)
navypedia.org RN AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS AND CRAFT
D-Day : The assault Allied Landing Craft and Ships  LCH specifications
Combined Operations Staff Notebook (1945)  Accessed July 2015
War Diaries: Found on www.fold3.com
US Naval Ammunition Depot, St. Juliens Creek, Virginia,
U.S. Naval operating Base, Norfolk.
U.S. Naval operating Base, Bermuda.
U.S. Navy Yard, New York.
Admiralty War Diaries - various dates

 

 



 

 

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The reminiscences of

Gordon served with the radio section of Mobile Repair UNit No.1 (MR 1) at Nowra, he was a member of the local RN dance band, and possibly the last member of MONAB I to leave Nowra after it paid off. .

Drafted to

Coming home

In March 1946 I joined 812 squadron, aboard HMS Vengeance, spending some time ditching American aircraft north of Australia. Eventually we sailed for Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) landing at Trincomalee and setting up a radio section at Katakarunda. In the belief that we were exhausted we were sent to a rest camp at Kandy for a few weeks. We moved down to Colombo to pick up Vengeance and returned to Portsmouth via the Suez Canal . I was discharged in November 1946.

Gordon Theaker