A quiet interlude during war. Wooden motor minesweeper FY PT 1044 is towed to the fitting out berth after launch from Wivenhoe Shipyard Ltd., in 1943. The river Colne brims at mid-day high water and the ship floats high without her engines, equipment, fuel, water and stores. A motor launch tows her in towards hands waiting to moor her at the Railway Quay (right).
The light gray, dazzle painted vessel with Oerlikon guns pointing skywards under canvas covers is L.C.I.L. 166, newly returned from the beaches of Normandy to refit at the Rowhedge Ironworks Company shipyard, part of which is seen across the river in the background, where the village of Rowhedge lies on its low hillside with the shipyard strung along its waterside. Another LCIL lies there against Cat Island quay and, upstream, a new 90ft Admiralty drifter fits out against the Brewery Quay.
Landing Craft Infantry (Light) were remarkable little ships; built in America, usually by firms unconnected with shipbuilding and often by temporary yards established for the purpose. These 160ft steel craft had two screws driven by four diesel engines coupled to each. Manned by Royal Navy crews, their task was to get to the invasion beaches and put down the two bow ramps to get their cargo of infantry soldiers ashore as quickly as possible, usually under fire. Often they faced adverse weather conditions and large beach obstacles, which were sometimes rammed at speed in attempts to dislodge them. Both these landing craft had been damaged by this means and needed extensive repair. [JL]
FY PT 1044, LCIL 166. LCI(L) - Landing Craft Infantry (Large)
MMS 1044 launched 30 Dec 1943 Yard No. 35 for Royal Netherlands Navy as DUIVERLAND [DUIVELAND ?] [Ships built on the River Colne 2009]
But some Dutch sources have the DUIVELAND as formerly MMS 1074.
Plate.55 in SWW.
Date: 30 December 1943