Builder: George Lawley & Sons, Neponset, Massachusetts, United States
Light, 209.2 t.
Landing, 257.5 t.
Loaded, 385 t.
Length: 60 ft 4 in
Beam: 23 ft 3 in
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
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: LCI(L) 9 officers and 200 troops or 75 tons cargo
LCQ - unknown
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.
(LCI) 3 officers, 17 ratings
(LCQ) 32 officer, 23 ratings
Mo image for LCQ 391 - this is her sister ship LCQ 381 alongside a jetty with damaged Landing Ship Tank (US) 501 behind. Photo: ® IWM (FL 7016)
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 sailed from Norfolk, Virginia for Bermuda in late January 1944 with LCI(L)s 374, 387, 388, 389, 390 &391 as the last flight of 6 craft for delivery to the UK, leaving Bermuda on February 2nd. Three of them, 374, 389 & 390 were to join the 265th LCI(L) Flotilla on their arrival, the other three joining the 266th LCI(L) Flotilla.
LCI(L) 3891 participated in the Invasion of Normandy, June 6th 1944. She was assigned to “T" Squadron at Portsmouth, part of Assault Force “S” 1 comprising 265th L.C.I. (L) Flotilla (374, 381, 382, 383, 385, 386, 389 (F.O.) & 390), 266th L.C.I. (L) Flotilla (241, 375, 376, 384, 387, 388 &391) and the 39th & 47th L.C.T. Flotillas. Assault Force “S” 1 was tasked with landing elements of the 3rd Infantry Division on Sword beach; the eastern-most of the five invasion areas (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword), located between the towns of Lion sur Mer to the west and Ouistreham to the east. Sword was divided into four sectors, from the west to the east: “OBOE”, “PETER”, “QUEEN” and “ROGER”; these were in turn divided up into three smaller areas (Green, White and Red).
During the assault LCI(L)s landed elements of the 3rd (British) Infantry Division 9th Infantry Brigade, comprising of the 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles, 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and 1st Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers at La Breche, on ‘QUEEN White’ and ‘QUEEN Red’ beaches; ‘QUEEN Green’ beach was to be developed for the landing of stores but some landing craft did touchdown there during the confusion and crowding on ‘QUEEN White’.
In the autumn of 1944 LCI(L) 391 was one of six vessels that were selected for conversion 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 work was carried out at Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth and involved the creation of extra office spaces and additional single cabins were installed to accommodate staff officers.
On completion of her conversion LCQ 391 was temporarily assigned to “D" L.C.T. Squadron (9, 70, 71 L.C.T. Flotillas).
On completion of her conversion LCQ 391 was one of a large number of landing craft that were reallocated for service with the East Indies Fleet. 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’ in late December. She was in convoy with LCQ 389 and LCT 114, 1102, 1105, 1139, 1140, 1153, and 1158; LCG(L) 5, 6, 7, 13, and 449, LCT(R) 398, and 484.
On reaching India she was initially based at the Cochin Landing Craft Base, HMS CHINKARA. No information is available about her activities until she was allocated to participate in operation DRACULA in May 1945.
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 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 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.
In its original form ZIPPER was an operation to mount an amphibious landing in the Port Swettenham and/or Port Dickson area of the Malayan coast planned for October 1945. After the Japanese surrender in August all operations were on hold as plans to accept the surrender of Japanese forces in Malaya and Singapore were put into action; however political constraints meant that no landing could take place until after the signing of surrender in Tokyo on September 2nd, 1945.
The delay 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 the cruiser ROYALIST (flag of Commodore Oliver) and the escort carriers AMEER, EMPEROR, HUNTER, KHEDIVE, PURSUER and STALKER with fifteen destroyers.
Operation JURIST: At 1200 on August 28th HM Ships NELSON, CEYLON, ATTACKER, HUNTER, TARTAR, PETARD, VOLAGE, PRINCESS BEATRIX and QUEEN EMMA arrived off Penang Island. On September 1st the C-in-C East Indies Fleet, Admiral Sir Arthur Power transferred from CLEOPATRA to NELSON at George Town, and the official surrender of Japanese forces on Penang Island was signed on the 2nd. At 0800 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.
Operation ZIPPER: At 0500 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. LCQ 389 sailed from Bombay with assault convoy JMA2A on August 29th and arrived of Port Swettenham Beachhead on September 9th. 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 Operation 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 actually 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 established, 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.
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
Last modified: 16 June 2020
HM Ships COLOSSUS, GLORY, VENERABLE and VENGEANCE. GLORY did not arrive in Sydney until August 16th.
At the end of June 1945, the Admiralty implemented a new system of classification for carrier air wings, adopting the American practice one carrier would embark a single Carrier Air Group (CAG) which would encompass all the ships squadrons.
Sturtivant, R & Balance, T. (1994) 'Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm’ list 899 squadron as conducting DLT on the Escort Carrier ARBITER on August 15th. It is possible that the usual three-day evolution was cancelled due to the announcement of the Japanese surrender on this date and was postponed for a month.
Gordon served with the radio section of Mobile Repair UNit No.1 (MR 1) at Nowra, he was a member of the local RN dance band, and possibly the last member of MONAB I to leave Nowra after it paid off. .
In March 1946 I joined 812 squadron, aboard HMS Vengeance, spending some time ditching American aircraft north of Australia. Eventually we sailed for Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) landing at Trincomalee and setting up a radio section at Katakarunda. In the belief that we were exhausted we were sent to a rest camp at Kandy for a few weeks. We moved down to Colombo to pick up Vengeance and returned to Portsmouth via the Suez Canal . I was discharged in November 1946.