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Surface Vessels => Auxiliaries => Topic started by: dbeard105 on 27 July 2016 09:25:21 am

Title: HMS Bandit
Post by: dbeard105 on 27 July 2016 09:25:21 am
Hi everyone

I'm a new member of this forum and this is my first post.

My father served on HMS Bandit from 4 Sep 1939 to 20 Dec 1946. He was the ERA and from 1945 was Engineer Officer-in-Charge. During his life he made limited mention of his war service, and I am currently attempting to research the Bandit and its role during WW2, primarily using on-line sources. Bandit was a 3000ihp Brigand class tug and was fitted for fire fighting, salvage, rescue and target towing.

I've had a degree of success in identifying Bandit's role in a number of rescue attempts and target towing in the 1939 to 1942 period. 1943 is pretty much a blank slate and I'm having difficulty in establishing any details of her role in Operation Neptune and the towing of Mulberry harbour units in 1944.

Bandit was allocated to SNO Selsey for towing Phoenix and Whale units. Her commander at the time, Temporary Lieutenant Emlyn Samuel Phillips, R.N.R was mentioned in despatches in 1945 "for outstanding service towing Mulberry harbour sections to France and in rescue work during the invasion". So there is strong evidence that Bandit was involved but beyond these two facts I've been unable to establish any detail.

Can anyone help me fill in any gaps?

I've also been trying to contact Ian Dear, the author of a recent and very readable book titled "The Tattie Lads" which tells the story of the Rescue Tug Service in the 1917-1945 period, and also several people previously associated with now disbanded Deep Sea Rescue Tugs Association who apparently had an archive of very relevant material.

So far without success - so if anybody can help me make contact with any of these people it would also be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards
Title: Re: HMS Bandit
Post by: spooks1959 on 10 August 2016 02:03:06 pm

When you refer to on-line resources are you talking about free to access sites/databases? I have access to which has a fair number of Admiralty War Diaries on-line and Navy Lists.

I can offer a complete list of ship's officers 1938 - 1946 and possibly some War diary mentions that are not freely available.

I too have found the topic of RN tugs to be a poorly recorded one - especially with regard to Operation Neptune and the Mulberry harbours. BANDIT does appear in the Naval Operation Orders for NEPTUNE - on 6 pages -but there is no detail, she appears in the list of tugs employed, which states her capabilities and in lists of signalling codes but nothing else.

If you haven't had access to Fold3 and would like to see the materials cleaned let me know and I'll add them in ZIP file.

Title: Re: HMS Bandit
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 14 August 2016 10:18:42 am
Some information on Bandit may be found:

This site also contains logs etc of tugs involved in Neptune/Mulberry, but nothing from Bandit
Title: Re: HMS Bandit
Post by: dbeard105 on 26 August 2016 12:59:02 pm
Hi both,

Excuse the response to both your posts, but I couldn't find a way to respond individually.

Firstly, PhiloNauticus, thanks for the links, which I had accessed. Pete Bullimore from has been particularly helpful and we have been exchanging info. Thanks to Ian Dear, author of 'The Tattie Lads', whom I'm now in contact with, I now also have documentation of two Mulberry tows made by the Bandit. So no question she was actively involved, but I'm still hoping that I'll find out more.

Tony - thanks so much for this, and the pointer to fold3 which I haven't accessed to date

I'd be delighted to see what material you have thanks.

For your information, with help from a lot of people, the Bandit research is progressing well, but slowly. For the last week I've been looking at Bandit's role in the rescue of SS Eros which was torpedoed by U-48 off Donegal in June 1940. Fascinating story, which I'd be very happy to share with anyone who is interested.

I'm also planning on extending my research to include Bandit's sister ships in the Brigand class - Brigand, Freebooter, Buccaneer and Marauder, so if anyone can help with those I'd be pleased to hear from you

Kind regards and thanks again

Title: Re: HMS Bandit
Post by: spooks1959 on 27 August 2016 12:27:40 pm
Hi David,

I have put everything I can find on BANDIT into a folder on Google Drive - fingers crossed  the link allows you to see and save the materials, which are all jpg images of snippets from War Diaries and the Navy List. There is not much out there... (

I can only find 'mentions' of BANDIT in the orders for the Mulberry towing, but these confirm she was there, BUCCANEER too operating from the Solent. It is very probable that she was attached to the Tug Depot Ship HMS AORANGI  during this time. See my history of AORANGI

Title: Re: HMS Bandit
Post by: dbeard105 on 28 August 2016 06:16:54 am
Hi Tony,

Thanks for all the information and the link to your history of AORANGI. Yes, I'm also sure that Bandit was attached to AORANGI.

The Google Drive worked well thanks, I've copied the data across to my own Google Drive account as well as downloading it. I'm pleased to say that there are incidents that I wasn't aware of, and some of the information has added to what I already know. So I'll now be undertaking some more work to see what I can find out about for instance, the collision of Port Hunter and Queen Maud and Bandit's role in the rescue.

The Navy List material I did have already thanks to Hans Houterman from who has also been very helpful.

The latter raises another issue that I've been pursuing without much success to date. Bandit had a nominal crew of 43 people, and it would be interesting to know what they all did. My father was an ERA, and I believe that there was also a Chief ERA. Were there other ERAs? What other engine room staff were working? One of the Navy List extracts shows two officers, the Captain and presumably the 2nd in charge. Was that the normal full complement of commissioned officers? And how about ratings and their roles? If anyone in the Forum has some understanding of how small naval vessels were manned, how the crew were organised etc etc I'd love to hear from them.

Thanks again for all the help

Kind regards