"The RCN's Part In The Invasion of France"
RCN Historical Section, London (1944-45)
The Canadian L.C.I.'s were no better off than the L.S.Ms.
The L.C.I.'s acquired by the R.C.N. for operation "Neptune" were all Mark I's, 24 given by the U.S.N. and 6 loaned by the R.N. to make up the number for three flotillas. They had seen hard service in the Mediterranean landings from Sicily onwards. The crews that had handled them in the Mediterranean had had little or no experience of major landing craft and there had not been time to give all of the engine room personnel the necessary training in Grey Diesel engines nor in the use of variable pitch propellers. In the Mediterranean wear and tear, parts had been hard to get and repair tool kits harder. Some were left behind when the L.C.I.'s left the Mediterranean and when they reached the United Kingdom in the autumn of 1943, the L.C.I.'s were in a shocking condition, Repair yards were already hard pressed with landing craft by the hundreds, and tools and snares were still in short supply, and such vital items as tachometers and temperature gauges were scarcely obtainable.
The R.C.N. Flotillas maintenance parties accomplished wonders. Through the winter and spring, working to an unknown deadline, no efforts were spared to clean up and re-equip the L.C.I.'s, and get their engines running well again. A few sets of tools were wheedled out of the Canadian Army, others from the R.N. The maintenance parties were helped by the Canadian engine room crews who had been well trained for the job. Some of the stokers, nearly a quarter of them in one flotilla, had served in the L.C.I.'s in the Mediterranean for six months or more. A few Commanding Officers had had similar experience and one (Lt.Dana Ramsay, R.C.N.V.R.) still has command of the same L.C.I. (115) he commissioned for the R.N. nearly 18 months ago. The Engineer Staff of the Senior Canadian Naval Officer(London) also helped in every way they could, but the situation was difficult at best and gravely reduced the time many of the L.C.I. 's should have had for training. L.C.I.299, for instance, did not get out of dockyard hands until the 1st June. She therefore missed all the May exercises and might have missed the assault had not the whole crew pitched in whole heartedly and finished the job. Other L.C.I.'s such as 299, had to wait idle for over a month, from the 12th of March to the 13th April, for a drydock in Southampton and eventually went up on the land instead of docking. Other craft, like 250, were passed from yard to yard before the job was properly done. There was no question of discrimination against Canadian L.C.I.'s; it was just as difficult for R.N. craft to get tools, spares and repairs. It was one more index of the scale of the invasion.
All the same, a great deal of good training was carried out. The flotillas commissioned in,February and March, and at once began their training the 260th and 262nd with Force "J" at Southampton, the 264th with Force "G" at Weymouth.
Navy Board Secretary Memorandum dated 21 December 1943
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