O'Leary, Thomas (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 11289
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 90, Number Of Items 3
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British seaman served aboard ML 446, Coastal Forces in GB coastal waters, 1941-1942 and during St Nazaire Raid, 3/1942; served aboard ML 341, Coastal Forces in Mediterranean, 1942-1944

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Port Talbot, 1916-1935: family; education; employment. Enlistment and training with Royal Navy, 1941: wireless training with Royal Navy; background to call-up; wish to serve small boats. Aspects of operations as wireless operator aboard motor launch ML 446 in GB coastal waters, 1941-1942: character of motor launches; crew; accommodation on board; sea sickness; anti-E boat patrols in Western Approaches, 1941-1942; prior recollection of mining of merchant vessel off Port Talbot, 1940. Recollections of operations as wireless operator aboard ML 446 during St Nazaire Raid, 3/1942: preparations for raid; motor launch formation for raid; entering estuary of River Loire on route to St Nazaire. REEL 2 Continues: start of action; damage to motor launch; sight of air battle between Bristol Beaufighter and German flying boat; casualties on board; sinking of motor launch; return to Falmouth aboard HMS Brocklebank. Recollections of operations as wireless operator in Mediterranean, 1942-1944: duties operating from Gibraltar; threat from Italian limpet mines and human torpedoes; type of patrols carries out; discovery of half eaten body of Royal Navy officer aboard carley float; problems of detecting submarines; ineffectiveness of Axis air raids on Gibraltar. REEL 3 Continues: memories of North African landings, 11/1942; narrow escape from ramming by Allied submarine; relations with civilians in Gibraltar; anti-submarine patrols from Algiers; operating off Italian coast; problems of RAF recognising motor launches in Mediterranean; picking up airborne troops dropped in sea during Sicilian landings, 7/1943.

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