H.M. Motor Torpedo Boat 718

                                 “Something Special”

Home The Boat The Crew Operations Decorations MTB 718 diary 15th MGB Flotilla Clandestine Naval Operations - Norway Memorials Obituaries ML 145 Videos Bibliography Search site Contact

    H.M.M.T.B. 718 “Something Special”

  718 was a ‘D’-Class Fairmile built by Alex. Robertson & Sons (Yachtbuilders) at their Sandbank yard on the Holy Loch.

   She was in commission from 24th February 1944 to 8th August 1945 and commanded throughout by Lieut. R.F. Seddon D.S.C., R.N.V.R. with

   Lieut. M.I.G. Hamilton D.S.C., R.N.V.R. as First Lieut.. Fourteen ratings also served in MTB 718 for the full 18 months commission and, as

   wireless telegraphist, I was one of these.

   She operated as a unit of the 15th MGB Flotilla which, under the direction of Captain F.A. Slocum C.M.G., O.B.E., R.N., Deputy Director Operations

   Division (Irregular), specialised in ferrying secret agents, escaping Allied service personnel, stores and intelligence material to and from German-occupied

   Brittany and Norway.

  Charles W. Milner. December 1997





All rights reserved

In October 1942, when the first Norwegian M.T.B.s arrived in Shetland, my friend Wibby Leask was a twelve year old schoolboy. From that time until June 1945, he kept a secret diary of the comings and goings of the Norwegian and British torpedo boats. The first of his three references to 718 reads:-

"27th May 1944. Saturday morning.  There is a new boat in; MTB 718. She has no torpedo tubes and is British.  She was here only two days. Something special I think."

“It's immensely enjoyable, and a magnificent record of the boat and her valiant crew. I anticipate it will be a great classic and become the standard reference book for Fairmile operations.” [D]

“I had no idea that the finished article would be quite so good. It looks attractive and tells a very special story with really good photos.” [retired R. N. Commander]

                       By Tone on 18 Oct. 2015 Very well researched and a good read too!

  By MB on 3 Feb.   Excellent book, well worth a read!

In the morning they learned that the gunboat had been in action with some German patrol craft and that their own vessel had lost one crew member killed. After being joined by an escort of RAF fighters, the gunboats reached Dartmouth without further incident, where thankfully Suzanne and her fellow passengers stepped on to English soil. Their feelings were ecstatic. To the crews of the ships which had brought them over, however, the voyage was just another ‘Joey run’ successfully accomplished.

The flotilla to which these vessels belonged did not form part of our regular Coastal Forces, the Navy's mosquito fleet which in the North Sea and English Channel fought the German E-boats which sought to savage our coastal convoys. It was one of a number of clandestine naval units operated and administered by a specially created Admiralty department.

At the head of this department, distinguished by the initials DDOD(I) (Deputy Director Operations Division, Irregular) was Captain Frank Slocum RN, a small dapper man with a deceptively mild manner.

The history of MTB 718 is now available in a lavishly illustrated hardback book - to order click to e mail

[email protected]


The surf-boat successfully landed the three agents Jean Tréhiou, Jean Hamon and Raoul Parent, and set off back to the MTB. Guy Hamilton takes up the story:

The oarsmen were rowing beautifully on the way back: powerful steady strokes, the empty boat gliding silently over the swell. The walkie-talkie was as dead as cheese and not as useful. “Oars.” We stopped. Strange – either we weren’t there or the boat wasn’t. Time, course and bearings put us at the estimated point of departure. I looked carefully though my binoculars, but could see nothing of the faint blurred shadow I was praying for.

Leading Seaman Dellow and Able Seaman Rockwood sat listlessly over their oars, breathing heavily. Suddenly the silence was broken by the soft hum of engine noises well inshore – we all instantly recognised it as the MTB. What the hell was she doing inshore? Damn and blast this ruddy defective walkie-talkie.

When we heard the MTB’s engines inshore of us we just sat where we were; anyone who has tried to chase an MTB in a rowing boat will appreciate this point. Besides, Dellow and Rockwood were tiring. The engine noises seemed to be drawing out to seawards now, and I flashed in the rough direction without success. The engines gradually faded away – they had missed us. Dellow knew it – Rocky knew it – I knew  it: we’d had it.

You can now download free electronic versions of the book. Click on the links below.