Upright hand portable flamethrower, complete with nozzle
On the night of 22/23 April 1918, an attack was made by British forces on the German submarine bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend in order to block the entrance to the Bruges Canal and bar all passage to the Flanders flotilla of submarines.
The general plan was simple. Supported by the fire of monitors, a cruiser was to assault the Mole at Zeebrugge on its outer side and divert the German fire from the block-ships, which were to dash in and be scuttled in the entrance to the Canal. A short viaduct joining the Mole to the shore was to be blown up, and Ostend was to be blocked simultaneously.
HMS Vindictive was selected for use as the assault ship in the attack on Zeebrugge, and was to land the first wave of seamen storming parties and Royal Marines on the Mole. She was considerably modified for the task, being fitted with an 11in howitzer, two 7.5in howitzers, two large flame throwers, two pom-poms and six Lewis guns in the foretop, splinter mats, as well as retaining much of her original armament. A false flush deck was built from the forecastle to the quarter deck on the port side and three wide ramps were fitted, leading from the upper deck, to facilitate landing and rapid movement. In addition, fourteen narrow prows were fitted, hanging on the false deck, to bridge the gap between the ship and the Mole.
The attacking force consisted of Vindictive, two ferry boats, the Iris and the Daffodil, three old cruisers, the Thetis, Intrepid and Iphigenia (to act as block-ships), the Submarine C3 which was used to destroy the Mole, and a supporting force of 13 destroyers, 18 coastal motor boats and 33 motor launches.
During the actual attack, only two of the block-ships, Intrepid and Iphigenia, managed to partially blocked the canal, after which, the crews were rescued.
However, the simultaneous raid on Ostend had failed, and Vindictive was subsequently sunk when she was used as a block-ship during the second abortive attempt to block the Ostend canal on 9 May 1918.
Morriss Patent No 13831-15
J Morriss & Sons Ltd, Fire Engineers, Manchester