Landing Craft Headquarters Ship

No badge issued

Battle Honours

None.

 

Specifications

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

Displacement:
216 t. (light)
234 t. (landing)
 389 t. (loaded)

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

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.

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: 16 Knots

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

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

Commanding Officers:
Unknown


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H.M.L.C.H. 317

 

No images exist of LCH 317, 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 Laid down on November 21st 1942 and launched on December 12th. Transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement on February 16th 1943 and commissioned as LCI(L)-317; she was delivered in March. LCI(L)-317 was in action during the Invasion of Sicily, July 10th 1943 putting ashore men from the 51st Highland Division, and at Reggio, Italy on 3 September 1943 landing troops of the Northants Regiment.
 

Conversion to a Headquarters Ship

On her acceptance by the Admiralty she was redesinated as a Landing Ship (Headquarters). While in the UK in early 1944 she underwent a period of modification which involved turning 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.

Operation NEPTUNE

On June 1 1944 she was at Southampton as part of the massing assault forces of Operation NEPTUNE, the seaborne invasion of Normandy. LCH 317 was one of four Landing Craft Headquarters ships in assault force G, group G1 operating with LCH-100, 187, and 275, the LSI(L)s EMPIRE ARQUEBUS,, EMPIRE CROSSBOW, EMPIRE SPEARHEAD, and GLENEARN.
LCH 317 and 187 were part of the Ferry Craft Unit for the landings on Gold Beach, between Le Hamel and La Rivière, in the sectors code-named Jig and King. They were tasked with co-ordinating the rapid and almost continuous discharge of coasters, M.T. Ships, and personnel ships over the. LCH 317 was under the charge of Cdr. E. Heywood-Lonsdale R N. Senior Officer Ferry Craft, responsible for Motor Transport & personnel; 187 under Cdr. H. Nicholas R.N.R. Senior Officer Ferry Craft, responsible for Stores); 100 under Cddr. R. Alexander R.N., Deputy Senior Officer Assault Group sector “JIG”; 275 under Cdr. E. N. Haines R.N. Deputy Senior Officer Assault Group sector “KING”.

The landing at Gold was set for 07:25 on the morning of June 6th 1945, By the end of D-Day, 24,970 men had been landed at Gold Beach, along with 2,100 vehicles and 1,000 tons of supplies. During an air raid the night of 7-8th June, Ensign D. R. Gardiner, D-V(G) USINR, and. Jack R. Spittle, EM2c, both attached to the Staff of Commander LST Flotilla 17, were wounded while aboard LCH 317 both men were part of the ferry craft administration staff , and received bullet and shrapnel wounds which necessitated their evacuation to England. On June 9th LCH 317 was further damaged by a German bomb but remained on station for a further two weeks before she withdrew and sailed to Southend, anchoring there on June 25th to await repairs.

 

Allocated to the East Indies Fleet

At the end of 1944 she was allocated for service with the East Indies Fleet and sailed for India In early January 1945. 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 calling at Gibraltar, Oran, Malta, Port Said, Aden, and Bombay; ‘A’ sailed on November 15th 1944. LCH 317 sailed as part of Flight ‘E’ which comprised of 15 Landing Craft from several Flotillas, some were vessels that failed to sail with earlier Flights; 70th Flotilla LCT 1329; 334th Flotilla LCG(L) 18, 424, 426; 72nd Flotilla, LCTs 738, 741, 742, 913, 1147, 1149; 9th Flotlita LCTs 441, 451, 462, 466, 489, 7022, 7023. Lt. Cdr. Miller, R.N. Senior Officer “K” LCT Squadron was in command of Flight "E" and took passage in LCH 317.

Operation DRACULA

In Early May 1945 she was allocated to participate in Operation DRACULA, the amphibious assault on Rangoon. Vessels for the operation were moved from their bases in Ceylon and India to gather off Akyab and Kyaukpyu, Burma. The main assault force sailed in four convoys from Kyaukpyu, the slowest, 'Dog' of 4i knots, on 27th followed by 'Easy' on 28th and `Charlie' and 'Baker' at roughly twenty-four hour intervals thereafter.. LCH 317, in company with LCH 101 & 267 sailed from Kyaukpyu on May 29th in assault convoy Charlie; LCH 317 broke down on May 1st and was taken in tow by one of their escorts, the Indian sloop CAUVERY.
Once assembled the ships of the four convoys formed into two assault groups’ code named W 1 & W 2. Assault Group W 1, commanded by Captain E. Tyndale Cooper, consisted of the Landing Ships (Infantry) PERSIMMON and BARPETA, Landing Craft (Headquarters) LCH 317, 4 Landing Craft (Infantry), 9 Landing Craft (Tank), 3 Landing Craft (Gun), 2 Motor Launches and 4 Harbour Defence Motor Launches. Assault Group W 2, commanded by Captain T. I. S. Bell DSC, consisted of the Landing Ships (Infantry) SILVIO, GLENROY and PRINCE ALBERT, Landing Craft (Headquarters) LCH 101, 10 Landing Craft (Infantry), 8 Landing Craft (Tank), 2 Landing Craft (Gun), and an unstated number of Motor Launches and Harbour Defence Motor Launches.

The assault convoys arrived at the lowering positions 30 miles off the Yangon River during the night 1st/2nd May; Captain Tyndale Cooper, Senior Officer Assault Group W1, with Brigadier L. V. Hutcheson commanding the 71st Indian Infantry Brigade, transferred from HMS NITH to LCH 317. Captain Bell with Brigadier I. Lauder, commanding the 36th Indian Infantry Brigade, transferred from HMS WAVENEY to LCH 101. At 0230 on May 2nd the assualt group were formed up on the LCHs, once the manoeuvre was completed the two groups set off for the beaches. The Landing craft touched down shortly after 7 o'clock, Assault Group WI at Kyauktan Creek on the Eastern bank of the Yangon River, Assault Group W2 at Sadinghmut on the Western bank. There was no opposition; the Japanese had left Rangoon. The first troops landed in Rangoon Town at 1700 on 3rd May. All assault vessels were released for return to India on May 8th.
 

Post War

It is not clear what happened to LCH 317 after Operation DRACULA, she was returned to US naval custody on April 13th 1946, and Struck from the Naval Register on June 5th 1946. The vessel was transferred to the State Department for disposal and sold February 13th 1948
 



Primary information sources


Additional sources
NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive LCH-317 entry
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

 

Last modified: 26 September 2015