Leslie J. Sprigg (1920 - 2016)       ex: Leading Telegraphist.   Royal Navy.

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My time on Motor Torpedo Boat 753

MTB753               (13/06/1944 - 13/06/1945)


Leslie J. Sprigg ex: Leading Telegraphist. RN.


A brand new boat and crew.  Built by Boat Construction Company Falmouth in June 1944.  We were boarded out until she was ready.  The latest “D” class MTB were considered pound for pound the most heavily armed vessels in the Royal Navy.  115’ long with 21’ beam and crew of about 33 she carried 2 x 6 pounders, 2 twin .5 and 2 twin .303 MGs , twin oerlikon, 4 x 18” torpedoes, depth charges, rocket flares and smoke apparatus.


We did some sea trials along the coast but the shore batteries used us for target practice.  Completed trials along the west coast.  Did a dummy torpedo attack on a Holyhead to Belfast ferry – severe reprimand!  Became based at Great Yarmouth, spent some time at Ostend on various patrols, also rescued many of the crew of SS SAMSIP which had hit a mine and sunk.  The Sea was coated with thick oil and so were the poor souls we took aboard.  Once below they just clung to anything, terrified, just wouldn’t let go.  They became very ill and many did not survive, we did our best.  We struck part of the submerged SAMSIP which worried us, but it proved not serious.  The owners in Liverpool sent £25 towards mess funds!  Later we were sent to Arromanches and patrolled the beaches, protecting the supply lines against U Boat or E Boat still in the area.  Following the liberation of Bayeux a group of us were taken by lorry to a point just outside the city where we were joined by a similar number each from the army and air force.  Thus grouped we marched into Bayeux to “show the flag”, quite a memorable occasion. 


(Original picture courtesy of Victor H. Young, New Zealand. EMAIL)

SS Samsip : A liberty ship of 7219 tons built in Baltimore, USA and completed November 1943. It was operated by the NZ Shipping Co. under the lease-lend agreement. Mined off the Scheldt Estuary on 7th December 1944. Seven of the crew of forty-one were lost. MTB 753 was on patrol in the area and immediately went in to assist.

The ship was severely damaged and sinking, the surviving crew were struggling in the very thick oil surrounding the vessel. We slowly entered the area and took aboard all the survivors and took them to Ostend for treatment. Samsip was later completely sunk by gunfire as it became a danger to shipping.

On our return to Great Yarmouth we did a little mine sweeping and sundry work.  We dressed “overall” with the rest of the flotilla to celebrate VE Day in May 1945 and then took the boat to Porchester Creek to be “paid off”.   

It's funny that, I started out laying mines along the French coast and finished sweeping mines along the English coast. 

This picture was taken by me from the top of the water tower at Great Yarmouth.

it shows the 63rd Motor Torpedo Boat flotilla dressed to celebrate VE Day.

MTB 753 is the boat tied up alongside the jetty, with some of my shipmates on the fo'c'sle.

Sign the ML108 Ships Log


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This page was last updated Tuesday February 09, 2016