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Author Topic: Loss of HM Drifter "Comfort" - May 1940 - mistakenly sunk by HMS Lydd  (Read 141 times)
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Craggs
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« on: September 12, 2018, 17:52:29 PM »

HM Drifter "Comfort" was originally built as a trawler and requisitioned by the Royal Navy for wartime service with the Royal Naval Patrol Service. She was fitted out as a 'dan layer'  (sometimes written as 'danlayer'). A dan is a marker buoy which consists of a long pole moored to the seabed and fitted to float vertically, usually with a coded flag at the top.

Dan laying was an important part of minesweeping, and boats were fitted specifically for this purpose. The task of a danlayer was to follow the minesweepers as they worked an area, and lay the dans which defined the area swept and made it obvious where the clear channels were. This would also help the minesweepers cover areas accurately without gaps and unnecessary overlaps. A danlayer worked with a minesweeper flotilla when large areas of sea were to be clear-swept.

The story of the sad fate of HM Drifter "Comfort" now turns to the evacuation of the Allied troops from Dunkirk - "Operation Dynamo".  

All of the vessels involved in "Operation Dynamo" were assigned dedicated channels across the English Channel - both ways - out to Dunkirk and then back again to the South Coast Ports.

HM Drifter "Comfort" was assigned to one of the most northerly channels - "Channel Y" along with a number of RN destroyers, minesweepers and other RNPS drifters.  In the early hours of Wednesday the 29th May 1940 a small number of these vessels were making their way back to Dover having rescued troops from the beaches.  They were attacked by German U-Boats (underwater) and German E-Boats (surface) .  In the chaos that followed HM Drifter "Comfort" was mistakenly identified as a German E-Boat and rammed - then raked with machine gun fire.

Attached is an extract from the London Gazette published in 1947, after WWII, describing the incident.

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Craggs
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2018, 18:00:29 PM »

These are the casualties from HM Drifter "Comfort".

My thanks are, as always, extended to the Naval History Net.  I have just added their burial or commemoration locations.

Wednesday, 29 May 1940
Comfort,
ship loss

DART, Richard H, Ordinary Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 180078 : buried DOVER (ST. JAMES'S) CEMETERY : Row B. Joint grave 7.

WATT, Alexander J, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 183122 : buried DOVER (ST. JAMES'S) CEMETERY : Row C. Joint grave 13.

MAIR, John D, Ty/Skipper, RNR : commemorated on the LOWESTOFT NAVAL MEMORIAL : Panel 1, Column 3.

WATT, Charles, Seaman Cook, RNPS, LT/JX 183230 : commemorated on the LOWESTOFT NAVAL MEMORIAL : Panel 4, Column 2.

WEBB, Harry E, 2nd Hand, RNPS, LT/JX 180112 : commemorated on the LOWESTOFT NAVAL MEMORIAL : Panel 1, Column 3.

WOOD, Alexander, Seaman, RNPS, LT/JX 183156 : commemorated on the LOWESTOFT NAVAL MEMORIAL : Panel 3, Column 1.
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