Landing Craft Headquarters Ship

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Burma 1944 -45

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:
Not known.


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H.M.L.C.H. 267

 

No images exist of LCH 267, 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 November 7th 1942 and launched on January 16th 1943. She was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement on February 14th 1943 and commissioned as HM LCI(L) 267 at Staten Island, New York.

While working up at New York she was involved in a minor collision with the Staten Island ferry during exercises on the river. After completing her short work-up she sailed to US Naval Base Norfolk, Virginia for repairs and alterations. Over the next two months she underwent the installation of plastic armour, sounding equipment, sponsons and flareplates, repairs to her hull, electrical system and main engines; she also received a replacement winch and pinace. Before leaving Norfolk she was degaussed and calibrated at the Sewalls Point Magnetic Range, and visited the US Naval Ammunition Depot, St. Juliens Creek, Virginia, to embark small arms and gun ammunition.

LCI(L) 267 was one 12 craft that had completed their modifications and training at Norfolk Navy Yard by late May 1943, and which formed the 12th LCI(L) flotilla. These sailed in convoy with 6 other craft, flight #10, for the first leg of their Atlantic crossing to North Africa on May 31st. The others craft were LCI(L)s 115, 173, 255, 276, 287, 288, 291, 295, 301, 302, 304, 306, 307, 309, 310, 311, 312. After a brief stop at Bermuda the group sailed again on May 31st; two days later LCI(L) 267 was in trouble, one of her ‘Quad’ diesel engines caught fire and she was forced to return to Bermuda for repairs while the rest of the group went on. She was to spend several weeks in Bermuda awaiting a new engine delivered from the U.S.

Once serviceable she sailed for passage with the large east-bound convoy, UGS 11 joining on the morning of June 30th: this comprised of 92 merchant ships and 30 escorts crossing form Hanmpton Roads to Port Said. On July 17th she suffered her second collusion; at t06:25 she came alongside the starboard side of the minesweeper USS TIDE for the transfer of fresh provisions, 75 lbs. potatoes and 25 lbs. onions. Five minutes later, the transfer complete, she dropped back aft but swung to Port before the two ships were clear of each other; the Port landing ram outrigger struck the TIDE aft Starboard quarter, springing several side plates above the waterline and puncturing the side at main deck level in two places. LCI(L) 267 suffered a minor hole in the bow which took on water until it was patched up.

The convoy passed through the straits of Gibraltar on July 18th and LCI(L) 267 proceeded to Algiers for repairs; she arrived there on July 21st.
 

Operations in the Mediterranean

During the next few months LCI(L) 267 appears to have been operating independently of her flotilla, ferrying equipment and stores to ports on route to Sicily. On September 3rd 1943 she participated in Operation ‘BAYTOWN’ landing troops at Reggio on the ‘toe’ of the Italian coast. After the landings she was again employed ferrying troops and stores up and down the coast before being sent to Taranto under the heel of Italy. From Taranto she made a run into the Aegean delivering troops and stores to the town of Barletta. On leaving Barletta she proceeded to Malta where her flotilla was to regroup.

Allocated to the Eastern Fleet

On release from Mediterranean operations the 12th LCI(L) flotilla was reallocated to the Eastern Fleet and sailed for Bombay, India, calling at Port Said and Aden. They reached Aden on Friday, November 19th after a stormy crossing of the Red Sea. After refuelling the flotilla continued on to Bombay, arriving there on December 3rd 1943. The flotilla was to remain at Bombay in the training role, operating with the RN Landing Craft Signals and Navigation Training Establishment HMS BRAGANZA III.

Early in 1944 LCI(L) 267 was converted into an LCH, Landing Craft Headquarters at Bombay. The conversion involved turning the troop decks into operations rooms and wireless offices and the installation of 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. A tripod foremast was added to mount the additional aerials. Addition single cabins were installed to accommodate assault force staff officers when embarked.

Sometime in June 1944 the flotilla personnel moved into the Royal Marines Camp at Chembur on the outskirts of Bombay where they were to remain until November 1944 when the Eastern Fleet was restructured and renamed the East Indies Fleet; under this new organisation the flotilla relocated to Chittagong which was to become their main base of operations for the fleets Amphibious Assault Force, Force ‘W’. 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. .

At this time the flotilla is believed to have been renumbered to 250 and consist ed of LCI(L)s 114, 120, 173, 265, , 279, 285, 286, 304, 312, with three vessels converted into LCHs, numbers 261, 267 and 287.


Operation DRACULA

In early March 1945 LCH 267 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 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 April 27th followed by 'Easy' on 28th and `Charlie' and 'Baker' at roughly twenty-four hour intervals thereafter. LCH 267, in company with LCH 101 & 317 sailed from Kyaukpyu on April 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 role of LCH 267 is unclear.

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.


Post War

LCH 267 was returned to US custody on March 13th 1946 and struck from the Naval Register 25th April 1946. She was sold  to the Indian Navy along with LCI(L) 173, 231, 244, 261, 265, 279, and 312 on this date.
 



Primary information sources


Additional sources


A Bit of a Different View -Life aboard Royal Navy LCI  - by Fred Heffer, in "The Elsie Item" Issue Number 37. May, 2001.
NavSource Amphibious Photo Archive LCH-267 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: 21 May 2017