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 Administration


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Battle Honours


Normandy 1944
Burma 1945
 

 

 

 

Specifications

Builder: George Lawley & Sons, Neponset, Massachusetts, United States

Displacement:  (LCI(L)
Light, 209.2 t.
Landing, 257.5 t.
Loaded,  385 t. 

Length: 60 ft 4 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: 16 Knots
Cargo Capacity: LCI(L) 9 officers and 200 troops or 75 tons cargo
LCQ - unknown

Armament:  Five single 20mm Oerlikon guns, mounted in tubs, one bow mounted, one each port and starboard forward of wheelhouse, one each port and starboard aft of superstructure.

 Crew complement:
(LCI) 3 officers, 17 ratings
(LCQ) 32 officer, 23 ratings

 

Commanding Officers

Lt. J. W. McLeod RNVR

 

 

 

 

 

Related items

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Reminiscences


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Gallery

 
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H.M.S. LCQ-381

Read aloud  

CQ 381 alongside a jetty with damaged Landing Ship Tank (US) 501 behind. Photo: ® IWM (FL 7016)

Early history

Ordered and delivered as a Landing Craft Infantry (Large) for the US Navy she was built by George Lawley & Sons, Neponset, Massachusetts. She was laid down October 9th 1943, launched on October 29th 1943. She was an ‘LCI 351 class’ vessel, built to a revised design; the superstructure was enlarged and now occupied the full width of the ship, removing the main deck walkway access fore and aft. The original bridge, which formed the front of the superstructure, was replaced by a raised circular structure located roughly amidships on the superstructure. The defensive armament was reconfigured to reflect this new layout, and was increased to five 20mm guns, four were mounted on top of the superstructure in tubs at each corner, and one mounted on the bow..

She was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement on November 1st 1943 and commissioned as LCI(L)-381. She was part of LCI(L) Flotilla 265 along with LCI(L) 382, 383, 384, 385 and 386; they sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to the UK in December 1943.

Operation NEPTUNE

LCI(L) 3891 participated in the Invasion of Normandy, June 6th 1944. She was assigned to “T" Squadron at Portsmouth, part of Assault Force “S” 1 comprising 265th L.C.I. (L) Flotilla (374, 381, 382, 383, 385, 386, 389 (F.O.) & 390), 266th L.C.I. (L) Flotilla (241, 375, 376, 384, 387, 388 &391) and the 39th & 47th L.C.T. Flotillas. Assault Force “S” 1 was tasked with landing elements of the 3rd Infantry Division on Sword beach; the eastern-most of the five invasion areas (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword), located between the towns of Lion sur Mer to the west and Ouistreham to the east. Sword was divided into four sectors, from the west to the east: “OBOE”, “PETER”, “QUEEN” and “ROGER”; these were in turn divided up into three smaller areas (Green, White and Red).

During the assault LCI(L)s landed elements of the 3rd (British) Infantry Division 9th Infantry Brigade, comprising of the 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles, 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and 1st Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers at La Breche, on ‘QUEEN White’ and ‘QUEEN Red’ beaches; ‘QUEEN Green’ beach was to be developed for the landing of stores but some landing craft did touchdown there during the confusion and crowding on ‘QUEEN White’.

Conversion to an Administration Ship

In the the autumn of 1944s LCI(L) 381 was one of six vessels that were selected for conversion to Landing Craft Administration vessels; all were ‘LCI 351 class’ vessels. The designation LCA already existed, so the suffix Q was chosen for the new classification. The conversion work was carried out at Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth and involved the creation of extra office spaces and additional single cabins were installed to accommodate staff officers.

&On completion of her conversion LCQ 381, along with LCH 317, was temporarily assigned to “K" L.C.T. Squadron (10, 72 and 73 L.C.T. Flotillas).

Allocated to the East Indies Fleet

At the end of 1944 LCQ 381 was allocated for service with the East Indies Fleet and sailed for India, probably early in 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 and Ceylon calling at Gibraltar, Oran, Malta, Port Said, Aden, and Bombay; the first Flight, ‘A’ sailed on November 15th 1944. LCQ 381 sailed with Flight ‘G’ as Senior Officer Landing Craft, departing Falmouth on February 24th 1945 in company with LCTs 485, 1111, 1159, 1160, 1161, 1309, 7002, and MFVs 1520, 1521, 1522, 1523, 1539.

On reaching India she was initially based at the Cochin Landing Craft Base, HMS CHINKARA. No information is available about her activities until she was allocated to participate in operation ZIPPER in September 1945. By this time she was based in Madras, Southern India, possibly under H.M.I.S. ADYAR, the local Naval Bas. For this operation she moved to Mandapam to join the assault force convoys assembling there.

Operation ZIPPER and the reoccupation of Malaya

In its original form ZIPPER was an operation to mount an amphibious landing in the Port Swettenham and/or Port Dickson area of the Malayan coast planned for October 1945. After the Japanese surrender in August all operations were on hold as plans to accept the surrender of Japanese forces in Malaya and Singapore were put into action; however political constraints meant that no landing could take place until after the signing of surrender in Tokyo on September 2nd, 1945.

The delay meant that all plans were now to change; thus, the reoccupation of Malaya would take place in three phases. Phase one would be the recapture of Penang Island (Operation JURIST). Phase two would be the recapture of Singapore by the 5th Indian Division (Operation TIDERACE). Phase three would be the sea borne assault of North West Malaya in the Port Dickson, Port Swettenham area with landings near Morib with the 25th Indian Division and the 37th brigade of the 23rd Indian Division; this was a modified ZIPPER, carried out as planned and rehearsed, but the covering air and sea bombardment had been cancelled.

The forces participating in these three operations were escorted by the Battleships NELSON, flying the flag of Admiral Walker, and RICHELIEU; the cruisers NIGERIA, CLEOPATRA, and CEYLON, with air cover from the 21st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, comprising of the cruiser ROYALIST (flag of Commodore Oliver) and the escort carriers AMEER, EMPEROR, HUNTER, KHEDIVE, PURSUER and STALKER with fifteen destroyers.

Operation JURIST: At 1200 on August 28th HM Ships NELSON, CEYLON, ATTACKER, HUNTER, TARTAR, PETARD, VOLAGE, PRINCESS BEATRIX and QUEEN EMMA arrived off Penang Island. On September 1st the C-in-C East Indies Fleet, Admiral Sir Arthur Power transferred from CLEOPATRA to NELSON at George Town, and the official surrender of Japanese forces on Penang Island was signed on the 2nd. At 0800 the following day 400 Royal Marines under the command of Lt. Colonel G B Grant were landed from the LSIs PRINCESS BEATRIX and QUEEN EMMA. This was Force Roma, formed in July from the Marine Detachments aboard NELSON, CEYLON, NIGERIA and PHOEBE.

Operation ZIPPER: At 0500 on the 8th NELSON in company with the light cruisers CEYLON and NIGERIA, escorted by destroyers NUBIAN, PALADIN and RELENTLESS sailed from George Town to cover the ZIPPER assault convoys on route to their assembly point off Port Swettenham: they were to be joined by the escort carriers EMPEROR, HUNTER, KHEDIVE, and STALKER to provide air cover for the landings.

LCQs 381, 391 and 491 sailed from Mandapam with convoy JMD1B on August 29th for Operation ZIPPER. LCQ 389 sailed from Bombay with assault convoy JMA2A on August 29th and arrived of Port Swettenham Beachhead on September 9th. LCH 101, 168 & 248 in company with LCI(L)s 115, 121, 127, 136, 183, 217, 256, 266, 277, 305, 311, sailed from Mandapam, India on August 31st in assault convoy JMD1C. Other convoys had sailed from Cochin, Madras, Vizagapatam, Calcutta, Chittagong and Rangoon. The ZIPPER assault convoys converged on the Malayan coast off Port Swettenham. Once assembled at first light on September 9th the ships of the assault convoys formed into two assault groups’ code-named W 1 & W 2. As for Operation DRACULA Senior Officer' Assault Group W1 was aboard HMS NITH and that of W2 aboard HMS WAVENEY. On reaching the lowering point off Morib the Assault Group Senior Officers transferred to the LCHs, It is not clear which Landing Craft Headquarters were used by which assault group. The landings were not a success, numerous factors and mistakes made by the need to revise the plans several times resulted in stranded vehicles and ships; the beach survey was wrong, the sand was not suitable for heavy machinery which bogged down and blocked the beaches. The assault was actually an hour late in its execution, Force W was operating on Ceylon time, not Burma time so the expected high tide had in fact ebbed. On September 12th a new beach was opened farther south, at Cape Rachado, where the 23rd Division landed without any of the difficulties met at Morib. By the time the beaches were closed, Morib on 25th and Cape Rachado on 28th September, 63,838 troops, 7,337 vehicles and 25,671 tons of stores had been landed over them.

HMS NELSON and much of the covering forces sailed for Singapore later on the 9th once the beach head had been established, arriving there at 0830 hours on the 10th.

Operation TIDERACE forces had arrived in Singapore on September 4th 1945, meeting no opposition. By 1800, the Japanese had surrendered their forces on the island to Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Christison aboard HMS SUSSEX. The formal surrender was finalised on September 12th at Singapore City Hall. Over 90 vessels were present in Keppel Harbour and Singapore Roads at the time of the surrender.

Post War history

LCQ 381 was returned to U.S. custody on March 14th 1946, probably at Manila, and struck from the U.S. Naval Register. She was sold on February 13th 1948, fate unknown.

Last modified: 16 June 2020

 


Primary information sources

Additional sources:
NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive LCH-101 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

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