Landing Craft Administration Ship

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Battle Honours

Normandy 1944
Burma 1945

 

Specifications

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

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:
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.

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

Crew complement:
(LCI) 3 officers, 17 ratings
(LCQ) 2 officer, 23 ratings

Cargo Capacity:
(LCI) 9 officers and 200 troops, or 75 tons cargo 
(LCQ)  None?

Commanding Officers:
Mot known


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H.M.L.C.Q. 391

 

LCQ 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 November 25th 1943, launched December 2nd 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 December 7th 1943 and commissioned as H.M.S. LCI(L)-391. She was part of LCI(L) Flotilla 265 along with  LCI(L)s 387, 388, 389, 390; they sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to the UK in January 1944.

Operation NEPTUNE

LCI(L) 381 participated in the Invasion of Normandy, 6 June 1944 as a unit of 265 LSI(L) Flotilla in company with LCI(L)s 374, 375, 382, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 389, 390, and 391, landing elements of the Royal Ulster Rifles, in ‘Queen’ sectors of Sword beach.

 

Conversion to an Administration Ship

On release from operation NEPTUNE LCI(L) 391 was one of twenty vessels that were converted 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 involved the creation of extra office spaces and additional single cabins installed to accommodate staff officers.


Allocated to the East Indies Fleet

At the end of 1944 LCQ 391 was allocated for service with the East Indies Fleet and sailed from Falmouth for India In mid-December 1944. 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 391 sailed with Flight ‘C’.

Operation DRACULA

In early May 1945 LCQ 391 was allocated to participate in Operation DRACULA, the amphibious assault on Rangoon. Vessels for the operation were moved from their bases in India and Ceylon to gather off Akyab and Kyaukpyu, Burma. The main assault force sailed in four convoys from Kyaukpyu, the slowest, 'Dog' of 4 knots, on 27th followed by 'Easy' on 28th with `Charlie' and 'Baker' at roughly twenty-four hour intervals thereafter. LCQ 391 sailed from Kyaukpyu on May 28th in assault convoy Easy; LCH 101, in company with LCH 267 & 317 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 WI, 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. It is not clear where LCQ 391 went after this operation.

 

Operation ZIPPER

After the Japanese surrender plans to accept the surrender of Singapore were put into action, originally this was part of Operation ZIPPER but political constraints meant that no landing could take place until after the signing of surrender in Tokyo on September 2nd, 1945. The delays 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 ROYALIST (Commodore Oliver) and the escort carriers HUNTER, STALKER, ARCHER, KHEDIVE, EMPEROR and PURSUER, and fifteen destroyers,.

At 1200 hours on August 28th HM SHips NELSON, CEYLON, ATTACKER, HUNTER, TARTAR, PETARD, VOLAGE, PRINCESS BEATRIX and QUEEN EMMA arrived off Penang Island for Operation JURIST.

On September 1st the C-in-C East Indies Fleet, Admiral Sir Arthur Power transferred from CLEOPATRA to NELSON at George Town, the official surrender of Japanese forces on Penang Island was signed on the 2nd. At 08:00 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,
At 0500 hours 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. 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 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 actual 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 establish, 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. It is unclear where LCQ 391 went after her release from ZIPPER operations.


Post War

LCQ 391 was returned to U.S. custody on May 4th 1946 and struck from the U.S. Naval Register later that year. She was sold by the State Department, on February 13th 1948, fate unknown
 



Primary information sources


Additional sources
NavSource: Amphibious Photo Archive LCI(L)-391 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  LCI(L)  '351 class' specifications
Combined Operations Staff Notebook (1945)  Accessed July 2015

 

Last modified: 02 August 2016