~ 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.

Australia Greece  Belgium Holland Canada UK USA France Norway Poland New Zea'd

Home

Membership

Memorial (Visits etc)

Roll of Honour

Books

Events/Places

About Us

All Pages Index

Donate

Notice Boards

They Also Served

Search

FAQs

Contact Us

Hundreds of thousands of visits each year to 200  web pages & 4000 photos. The Website has been published & hosted by Geoff Slee since 2000.

Support the restoration of LCT 7074 to her former wartime glory and read of the role of landing craft in  40 D-Day Stories.   

  ~ LANDING CRAFT TANK (LCT) 7074 ~

UK Landing Craft survivor of WW2 - an enduring focus for remembrance and education.

Of the men who crewed landing craft in WW2, one son recently described them as a "bunch of crazies" such were the remarkable stories told by his dad - stories that have been validated time and again by the content of this website. He continued "But Im PROUD my DAD was one of them!" No one would disagree with that respectful and loving sentiment.

[Photo. LCT 7074 before restoration started. IWM.]

Background

This website has recorded the personal recollections of landing craft crews for 20 years, including 40 D Day stories and many other major landings in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Southern France and Holland. The crews have seldom received the public recognition they deserve in delivering the Allied Armies, their equipment, munitions and supplies to the landing beaches often under heavy enemy fire, explosive beach obstacles and the vagaries of weather and tide.

We now have the opportunity to support the efforts of the National Museum of the Royal Navy to preserve the memory of these brave men, and their incredible achievements, for future generations by supporting the restoration of Landing Craft Tank 7074 - the only 2nd World War LCT survivor in the UK. When restoration work is completed in 2020, LCT 7074 will be placed alongside the D Day Story on the seafront at Southsea. It will be a jaw dropping experience for all who see her and humbling to learn about its young crew and the vital, hazardous work they undertook. There's a donation link at the bottom of the page.

[Image. Extract from the Admiralty's "Green List" showing the disposition of 7074 just prior to D Day.]

On the 7th June 1944, as 20 year old Sub Lieutenant John Baggott, a trainee solicitor from Swindon, steered his craft towards the Normandy beaches, he unwittingly secured his place in the history of the largest amphibious invasion force ever mounted. It was his great distinction to command LCT 7074, one of 850 such landing craft deployed during Operation Neptune, the amphibious phase of Operation Overlord. 7074 is destined to become a national icon for all WW2 landing craft deployed before, during and after D Day with its inclusion in the register of the National Historic Fleet under certificate number 713.

The Crew

Sub Lt Baggot and his equally youthful 2nd in command, Sub Lt Philip Stephens, in common with the vast majority of officers who commanded the 4,000 landing craft of many types on D Day, were relatively inexperienced officers recruited from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). Many were weekend sailors with limited seafaring experience who lacked the knowledge, skills and experience of their full time Royal Navy counterparts. They, however, were simply not available in the numbers required to take command of these craft. These were extraordinary times requiring extraordinary solutions, which placed a heavy burden of responsibility on the young shoulders of the RNVR recruits.

[Photo montage taken inside LCT 7074 in Oct 2019 by San Ward. Note the fragility of the structure in some places.]

For the purposes of training and offensive amphibious operations against the enemy, all RNVR landing craft officers and RN ratings and their Royal Navy landing craft, were attached to the Combined Operations Command, itself staffed by Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force personnel under the command of naval men Keyes and Mountbatten from July 1940 to October 1943 and Major General Laycock until 1947. Under their stewardship and close liaison with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they provided extensive training in the use of landing craft through dozens of Training Establishments, mainly in central Scotland and the south of England. Visit our Home Page to see how this extraordinary situation arose.

[Photo. Invasion craft officers, 16th May 1944 at the Combined Training Centre 'HMS Dinosaur' where officers and ratings underwent basic training in the use of large landing craft. This photo shows officers studying a model of an LCT. IWM (A 23630).]

This was, arguably, the largest training exercise in history involving many hundreds of thousands from the three services over a four year period from late 1940 to the end of the war. Around 250,000 mainly RNVR, RN and Army personnel, attended the No 1 Combined Training Centre at Inveraray (Scotland) alone, of which HMS Quebec was the Naval component.

The task of 7074's twelve man crew was to deliver their precious cargo of 10 tanks and their crews to Gold Beach, Normandy and then, for as long as necessary, to provide a cross channel ferry service carrying more tanks, lorries, equipment and supplies from the UK to Normandy to ensure the advancing Allied Armies had the means to continue their progress towards Berlin. Any loss of momentum would allow the enemy to regroup and counter attack, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The 235 Mark 3 LCTs were 59 metres long with a beam of 9.1m. They displaced 300 tons and were powered by 2 x 460 hp (343Kw) Paxman diesel or Sterling petrol engines delivering 9 knots (17 kph/10 mph) through two shafts. In design, their blunt bow, flat bottom and chronic lack of power defied conventions in ship design built up over generations. The unsurprising consequences were vessels whose dismal sailing characteristics were a challenge for their crews in maintaining a planned course and speed, particularly in strong winds or tidal currents. Of course, their shallow draft and forward loading/unloading ramp for landings onto unimproved beaches, determined its unconventional design. They carried either 2 single 20mm Oerlikon guns or 2 single 40mm Bofors.

The Mission

This year, the National Museum of the Royal Navy commenced work to restore LCT 7074 to her 1944 configuration and they aim to place her on public display in mid 2020. The only other vessel on public display from the D Day campaign is HMS Belfast, moored in the Thames. As a 10,000 tonne cruiser providing gunfire support from miles offshore, she commemorates only half of the story of naval participation in the operation - the other half being the landing craft that faced the enemy's wrath during the initial landings.

[Photo left. 7074 7th June 1944 on Gold Beach with enemy prisoners for return to the UK. IWM.]

The heavy bombarding ships of the Allied navies provided vital cover for the invading fleet and shelled known enemy targets such as heavy gun emplacements on and around the landing beaches and inland as Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) identified new targets. The task of the many types of Landing Craft was very different in delivering "boots on beaches" and all the tanks, transport, artillery and provisions they needed to initiate and sustain the invasion. It was all the more remarkable an achievement since landing craft design, development and manufacture had little history prior to WW2.

Please help secure the rightful place of WW2 landing craft, their crews and human cargos in the illustrious naval history of our nation.  If not us who have a special interest, then who? If not now, then when?

Donations of any size will be warmly welcomed. The restoration has already benefitted from the National Lottery Heritage Fund but 1,000s remain to be raised to secure matched funding.

You tube video of 7074's recovery from a Liverpool dock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkBADt6x46I

How to Donate

Donate here to the National Museum of the Royal Navy fundraising campaign: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/saveLCT7074 or defer until w/c 3rd December (starting from noon) when your donation will be doubled as part of The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2019! More information about the challenge at https://www.nmrn.org.uk/our-museums/lct-7074/how-donate-lct-7074

Note your diary now! I know one family who are delighted their annual Christmas gift agonies have been resolved this year through donations to the 7074 fund during the Big Give Christmas Challenge week! Let's make it work!

 ~ We Will Remember Them ~

 

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.

To visit the webpage click here.

Facebook

Why not join the thousands who visit our Facebook page (click on icon above) 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.

New to Combined Ops?

Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to the subject.

 

About Us?

Background to the website and memorial project, and a look to the future; plus other small print stuff and website accounts etc. Click here for information.

 

Legasee Film Archive

As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee has recorded interviews with veterans from any conflicts. These  films are now available on line. www.legasee.org.uk

 

Copyright 2000 to 2019 inclusive [www.combinedops.com.] All rights reserved.