Statement by Lieut. H.G.Loe

Statement by Lt. Loe i/c No. Demolition Party Chasseur No. 5.

There was no particular incident other than those general to the whole convoy until approximately 0830 hrs. on the 19th. At this time LOCUST had disappeared in the direction of Dieppe and we were stationary amongst a collection of landing craft. We received orders to cruise parallel to the shore and lay smoke approximately one mile off shore. This we did in company with one destroyer and under fairly regular fire from the coastal batteries.

During this time I posted my section on the A.A. guns both on the bridge and in the stern. Altogether the marines manned 6 Hotchkiss and 6 Lewis Guns. We were thus able to reply in force to any attention from enemy aircraft. After 20 minutes steaming we came to the end of our run and we were now well outside the area of the other naval craft. A large german two engined bomber came down to approximately 6,000 ft and then tried to hit us with a stick of bombs. Al guns were brought to bear and fire was opened with the result that there is an explosion inside the plane and a large part of the port wing fell off. The plane disappeared inland falling fast.

Immediately afterwards two F.W. 190 planes attempted to dive bomb us. Our fire caused them to pull out early and the bombe fell about 20 yds away.

Soon after this we were asked to pass a message to an A.L.C. to draw alongside LOCUST and take off R.M. Commando. We were given to understand that the Demolition Party was not to land and that we were to move inshore to support the A.L.C's which were about to go in.

Soon afterwards an M.L.C. with Major Houghton in charge passed us about 30 yds away. We decided to follow this craft inshore. This we did until we lost the M.L.C. in the smoke screen and then carried on until we were six hundred yards offshore opposite the west end of the promenade. We changed our course and did the run again. In all we fired 143 shells. The high rate of firing helped by Cpl. Cullerton who took up position in the magasine for ammunition supplies. During all this time enemy shells were falling all round us but by the time we had finished there were numerous fires fires burning on shore.

Nothing further transpired until we were ordered to embark troops from the beach. Sub.Lieut. Syms then took the Chasseur in until she was just grounding in front of the west jetty and troops began to swim out to us. Immediately several M.G. posts opened fire on the men in the water and on the bridge of the Chasseur. A battery on the cliff opened fire and after 12 shots they had us straddled. One shell fell alongside and made a hole below the water line abaft the engine room.

Mne. Bevan, My servant, was stationed on the rear port Hotchkiss and managed to locate one M.G. post on the left of the harbour. He engaged this target for approximately 30 seconds until a shell entered the engine room immediately below him and tore his gun from its mountings. He was injured in the legs and arms but managed to silence the post.

With the next salvo a shell landed on the bridge, tore one side away and damaged the steering, Sub.Lieut. Syms decided to withdraw from the beach and this was accomplished by putting the Demolition Section on a manual steering gear. We were taking water rapidly and none of the pumps would work, but members of the naval engine party who had been below all this time, worked hard and got the pumps going and after another hour or so they repaired the steering gear as well. We then made our way back to England with 50 survivors and an M.L.C. in tow.

sdg. H.G.Loe.
Lieut. R.M.
R.M. Commando