~ COMBINED OPERATIONS ~

WW2 land, sea and air forces of the Allied Nations planning, training and operating together as a unified force on amphibious raids and landings against the enemy.

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~ DELIVERY OF NEW LANDING CRAFT ~

The rare photographs below show newly completed Landing Craft Assault (LCAs) being handed over to the Royal Navy by builders Elliotts of Reading, Berkshire, England. It is believed the photographs were taken in September 1944.

About LCAs Photo Gallery Appeal for Information Correspondence Acknowledgments

About LCAs

LCAs were built throughout the period 1940-1944 and displayed craft or pennant numbers in the series 1 to 2030. The craft shown below were numbered LCA 1551 to LCA 1556 inclusive and were, therefore, amongst the last 500 constructed. They were designed to be transported over long distances on Landing Ship Infantry (LSIs). On arrival in the landing beach area the LCAs were lowered from davits into the water, fully laden with men and their equipment. From there the assault craft usually proceeded in formation and under their own power to their designated landing beaches.

The LCAs could carry 35 assault troops and 800 pounds of equipment in addition to their 4 man crew. The Coxswain manned his station starboard (right) side forward, to his left, in position portside forward, was the bow gunner. The troop space within each craft was 6 metres by 3 metres with each craft measuring close to 14 metres in length by 3 metres across the bows. Armament comprised a Bren gun in the portside (left) cockpit position and two .303 Lewis Machine Guns. Some craft are recorded as having mortars fitted aft. The LCAs were powered by two 65hp Ford V-8 engines and could travel at 6 knots when fully loaded.

In an assault operation a boat officer commanded 3 LCAs and was carried aboard one of the craft. That craft relayed signals and orders to the other two craft in the group.

Photo Gallery

1 2 3 4 5 6

1

The 6 landing craft assembled prior to handover ceremony.

2

Repositioned for ease of access in readiness for the handover ceremony.

3

Another view of 2 above.

4

Mike Taylor's father, Cyril Taylor worked for Elliotts from 1925 (age 16) to his retirement in 1974. He was involved in testing the craft on the river prior to handover and he can be seen standing between and behind a naval officer and Mr. Elliott, one of the directors of the firm. The person in the white coat was Reg Hemmings who later became a director. It is believed the other civilians in the photos were also in the employ of Elliotts having played their part in the construction of the craft.

5

After the ceremony the craft were taken down the river by a mixture of naval personnel and Elliott's staff. Family folklore suggests that Cyril Taylor was amongst those delivering the craft to London.

6

The craft just below Reading Bridge heading off towards London.

Elliott's premises stretched down to the River Thames and the handover took place just above Reading Bridge.

Only one LCA was lost within the 1500 number sequence. On August 17th 1945 LCA 1591 was lost overboard from a Landing Ship Tank (LST) off India which raises the possibility that the craft shown here may also have seen service in the Far East. At the time of the handover in September 1944, 3 months after the Normandy landings, the need for LCAs in the west had diminished although both Walcheren (Operation Infatuate) and the Rhine crossing were later.

Appeal for Information

Any former employees of Elliott's Yard, their families, or Royal Navy personnel, who have recollections or photos from this period are invited to contact us. Even the smallest piece of information could be of interest.

Correspondence

My dad, Darrell Collier (Jack), worked in the drawing office at Elliotts of Reading during the war.  He remembered the handover of the landing craft and a trip up the Thames with the Mayor of Reading and his family on board. As my dad was not part of the official handover team, he sat in the engine compartment out of sight. After the war we came to know the Mayor's daughter who also remembered the trip.

Kind regards

Derek Collier


When I left school in 55 I worked in the garage just inside main gates of Elliotts. The workshop (or garage) backed on to Thorneycrofts yard and we had a door that went into same. My boss in the garage was Ron Wise and he told me many stories about the goings on in there. One of them was about a boat they made with a turbine engine for patrol use or whatever. It was too fast for the river so they tested it in the dreadnought reach below Caversham lock. Evidently it was the first turbine powered boat at the time. Bob

Acknowledgments

The photographs on this page are courtesy of Mike Taylor whose father Cyril Taylor worked for Elliotts, the manufacturer, from 1925 (age 16) to his retirement in 1974.

News & Information

 

Memorial Maintenance

We have a small band of volunteers who take turns to visit the memorial each month, particularly during the growing season, to undertake routine maintenance such as weeding keeping the stones and slabs clear of bird dropping, lichen etc. and reporting on any issues. If you live near the National Memorial Arboretum and would like to find out more, please contact us.

Remember a Veteran

You can pay a personal tribute to veterans who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by adding their details and optional photo to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages on this website.

Read the Combined Operations prayer.

Events and Places to Visit

To organisers: Reach the people who will be interested to know about your Combined Operations or war related event by adding it to our  webpage free of charge.

To everyone else: Visit our webpage for information on events and places to visit. If you know of an event or place of interest, that is not listed, please let us know.

To notify an event or place of interest, click here.

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Facebook

Why not join the thousands who visit our Facebook page about the Combined Operations Command in appreciation of our WW2 veterans.

See the 'slide shows' of the dedication ceremony and the construction of the memorial plus the 'On this day in 194?' feature where major Combined Ops events are highlighted on their anniversary dates with links to additional information.

You are welcome to add information, photos and comment or reply to messages posted by others.

Find Books of Interest 

Search for Books direct from our Books page. Don't have the name of a book in mind? Just type in a keyword to get a list of possibilities... and if you want to purchase you can do so on line through the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). 5% commission goes into the memorial fund.

WW2 Combined Operations Handbook

This handbook was prepared for Combined Operations in the Far East. It illustrates the depth and complexity of the planning process necessary to ensure that the 3 services worked together as a unified force.

Restoration of Geoffrey Appleyard's  Memorial 

Click on the image if you'd like to contribute to the improvement of the memorial to Geoffrey Appleyard, DSO, MC and Bar, through the purchase of a limited edition print of a book about him. Geoffrey achieved so much in service with No 7 Commando, No 62 Commando, the Small Scale Raiding Force and the Second SAS Regiment. He was posted Missing in Action in July 1943, aged 26.

www.bramleywarmemorial.com/major-geoffrey-appleyard-book-now-available-for-purchase/

The Gazelle Helicopter Squadron Display Team

The Gazelle Squadron is a unique team of ex-British Military Gazelle helicopters in their original military colours and with their original military registrations. The core team includes four Gazelles, one from each service; The Royal Navy, The Royal Marines, The Army Air Corps and The Royal Air Force. A fifth Gazelle in Royal Marines colours will provide intimate support for the team. Their crest includes the Combined Operations badge. The last, and possibly, only time the badge was seen on an aircraft was in the early mid 40s. A photo of the Hurricane concerned is included in the 516 Squadron webpage.

Legasee Film Archive

As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for veterans from any conflict who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity. Films are now available on line. www.legasee.org.uk

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