A Superb Father and Son group to an Internationally renowned Artist and his Son who commanded a Motor Gun Boat during Operation Jubilee (the Dieppe Raid), later receiving the D.S.C. and commendation from the Americans following his participation in Operation Brassard (The landings on Elba in 1944) and the Surrender of Venotene. He served with and was a personal friend of Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. With a very large and interesting archive of documents, photographs and books, deserving of further in-depth research which undoubtably be productive.
LT COMMANDER JOHN IVESTER LLOYD
D.S.C. Hallmarked and dated 1945, 1939-45 star, Atlantic star, Africa star with North Africa 1942-43 clasp, Italy star, 1939-45 war medal with M.I.D emblem. Together with matching set of miniatures medals, both swing mounted as worn.
John Ivester Lloyd (Sometimes referred to as Jack) joined the navy at the age of fifteen, and did many other jobs whilst learning to write.
In the second World War, he joined the R.N.V.R. and became a Lieutenant-Commander.
1st May 1938, serving with the Royal Navy Supplementary Reserve (attached to London division RNVR)
February 1940 HMS St Christopher (Coastal forces training establishment, Fort William.
8thApril 1941 HMS Pembroke IV Chatham – Motor Launches.
August 1942 Commanding Officer HM MGB 315, Operation Jubilee, the Dieppe raid.
17thNovember 1942 Commanding Officer HM ML 555 and senior officer 31stML Flotilla. Surrender of Venotene. Previously ML 116 – ML 215.
From “A Naval Career by John Malcolm Hurst”:
The SO of the 31 MLF was Lt Cdr. J Ivester (`Farmer’) Lloyd, in civilian life a country sports writer and hunting enthusiast. His first task was to make sure that we arrived in Tobermory for anti-sub work-up training in a fit state to withstand the energy and zeal of the famous Commodore G.O. (“Gas-operated”) Stephenson. We survived (having as an `evolution’, festooned Macbraynes Pier for demolition with depth charges) and departed south a bit more shipshape and competent to fit five deck tanks at Milford Haven in preparation for our departure for Gibraltar.
Extract quoting comments from SO 31 MLF and taken from Flag 4: The battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean. By Dudley Pope, (1954) William Kimber, London. p98.
Almost every month small convoys of Coastal Forces craft were leaving the UK, rounding Ushant and crossing the Bay of Biscay on their way to the Mediterranean. Usually they had trawlers acting as navigators and although they mostly managed to get through without any severe brushes with the enemy, the weather was often far from friendly.
A typical convoy left Milford Haven in March …. included boats of the 31st ML Flotilla …. The convoy made its way westward to get clear of the coast of France which was liberally spattered with German air bases…. Crews went into sea routine and cooked meals arrived regularly…. After the convoy turned south it came on to blow, and the bad weather continued for many bitterly cold, sleepless hours. Then an aircraft diving down on the convoy sent the crews to action stations but it proved to be a Sunderland flying boat…. the next afternoon a Focke-Wulf Condor appeared, circled (out of range) and flew off… the next afternoon it appeared at the same time, did its prescribed orbit and departed. … on the third afternoon…. the Condor came in and dropped four bombs… (but missed).
Otherwise our passage to Gibraltar was uneventful apart from one boat being missing one morning, as a result of having to `extinguish everything’ through a serious petrol leak – she finished the trip cold, bored and hungry at the end of the accompanying trawler’s sweep wire!
After shedding the deck tanks at Gib. and restoring the full complement of “Y” gun and depth charges, we left for Mers el Kebir, the French naval port close to Oran and recently occupied after the landings in Algeria, operation Torch. Our main duty was to conduct 3 day, anti-submarine “fruit patrols” often ahead of convoys (or perhaps to delude the enemy that a convoy might pass that way). Probably all that was expected of us was that our constant asdic sweep might reduce the mobility of U Boats by keeping them submerged. I cannot recall any one having a firm `contact’ but we all got very brown and much enjoyed the antics of the flying fish and the dolphins (especially the latter by night once we had learnt that their phosphorescent wakes coming straight at us (torpedo-like) turned forrard within yards of the ship’s side to play about the bow.)
There were some lighter moments. The following is a quote from Farmer Lloyd on a visit to the port of Mostaghenum made by MLs 555 and 557, extracted from Flag 4: The battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean. By Dudley Pope, (1954) William Kimber, London. p102.
” …where we helped the Americans, who were in charge of the port, out of a difficulty. They had salvaged cargo from a torpedoed British ship, and part of this was a mountain of unmarked cases. The officer in charge complained that this was `the durndest stuff’ and that his sentries `got real crazy guarding it’. He wished that someone `would take the goddam stuff away’. After one glance at those cases we agreed to take it all off, …. for each case contained two two-gallon jars of army rum (which made us very popular and went under the code name of U235, from the powerful isotope of uranium).”.
They bartered well for bread and potatoes and provided us with a party or two.
We shared Mers el Kebir with Force H (HMS Nelson, Rodney and ? Renown) who were little loved by the locals, as they had been responsible for sinking much of Darlan’s Vichy French navy by firing their heavy guns (howitzer-like, with reduced propellant charges) over the mountain to the west of the harbour. To make sure that we did not get too much sleep even when in harbour, we had to spend many nights exploding innumerable 1.5lb blocks of TNT to give any prowling limpeteers a tummy ache. For much of this time, 557’s RT call sign was `Masterman’ while HMS Nelson had to suffer being `Little Queen’, but was not always amused by the tones of voice that we used. If they really got worried about midget subs, then we were told to drop a 300lb depth charge close by, only to be accused next day of having moved the ashtrays on the Ward-room Table!
Malta and Sicily
We matched the army advance eastward through Algeria and into Tunisia, with sundry diversions, eventually reaching Malta in the latter days of the siege. The remaining air raids were among the brightest ack-ack `fireworks displays’ that I have seen. We took the opportunity of a bit of much needed overhaul. However our main purpose was then to help assemble, protect and lead landing craft onto the beaches of the “Bark South” Sector of the Sicily landings at Cape Passaro. To contact the landing craft, once radio silence was broken, we had about fifteen army signallers and their sets crowded around the bridge, wheelhouse and funnel. Once their units were ashore, they left us for the beach. The bombardment was awesome, with the capital ships firing over us at targets well inshore, while we were close alongside the fearsome launches of ripples of rockets from the LCR (Landing Craft Rocket). Daylight brought us the interesting task of acting as `Trot Boat’ to the Admiral and senior soldiers, but by night, we joined the offshore defensive screen inshore of the destroyers (one night was trying because the recognition signals we had were three hours out of phase).
Progress was fast up the east coast of Sicily and (on D+4) we were about the first craft into Augusta and Syracuse. Some time later we escorted strings of unruly and unseaworthy military `ducks’ (DKWS), swimming across the Straits of Messina to reinforce the landings there on the Toe of Italy. Back in continental Europe at last!. There was some consternation when four fleet destroyers bore down on them at speed from the north, enquiring of us “What ship?”. Fortunately they slowed down through the gap we made in the chain, sank none with their wash and departed with the signal “To ML 557 from D4, (Captain of 4th Destroyer Flotilla)… Quack, Quack.”
The Italian Campaign
The 31st MLF had a special duty associated with the Salerno landing. This is again described in a lengthy quotation from Farmer Lloyd(in Flag 4: The battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean. By Dudley Pope, (1954) William Kimber, London. p132.
As the campaign in Sicily neared completion the 31st MLF was withdrawn to Malta and then Bizerte where we came under US Navy orders (delivered by Lt. Douglas Fairbanks Jnr.)
“We start with Ventotene…due west of Naples. As you probably know there is to be a big landing in the Gulf of Salerno. Four hours before that comes off we are to stage this little operation of our own. The object is to land a force of (US) Rangers, sixty strong who are to establish a fighter control station on the island. Another thing may interest you – Mussolini is thought to be hiding there!”
Other forces were to act as decoys to suggest that a landing was to be made north of Naples. Information about Ventotene was meagre and (in the dark) the harbour proved to be minute, the Rangers were landed and accomplished their first task. However, it is probably a blessing that the Germans had removed Benito Mussolini some time earlier, so the local Italian garrison were more willing to surrender than resist. Our opportunity to be famous passed but our tasks were far from complete.
We were soon intended to be based in Naples but, (as air raids were still occurring there) the NOIC (naval officer in charge) told us he did not want our petrol tanker in his harbour – wise man. We went in search of a suitable little harbour and found Porto d’Ischia, on the lovely (then) unspoilt island twin to Capri, but at the extremity of the northern arm of the Gulf of Naples. We were delighted to leave Naples, then in the throes of a typhus epidemic and a mist of DDT applied to everybody and everything. Ischia was heaven in comparison; the harbour fitted Coastal Forces perfectly. It was a circular volcano crater with an entrance to seaward but easily defended and well protected from weather. We were soon beginning to build CF Base Ischia and arrange repair slips. Our own rest and recreation facilities were soon available, with very memorable and very Neapolitan touches being given to music, food and drink.
We had to make several trips back to Messina to assist the build-up in Italy. Almost all were uneventful and navigation was easy even at night, as then active eruptions were causing fiery lava streaks down the cones of Vesuvius and Stromboli. These often provided running fixes over about 200 miles. Whether there was any connection with volcanic ash I know not, but I have never seen such vivid electrostatic displays of St Elmo’s Fire and the electrostatic charges making the hair stand on end, as on those placid night sailings. One night when we were not in company, the hair stood on end for a different reason. All of a sudden we were exposed to a brilliant light charging at us and rising. At first collision seemed inevitable. Only just in time did we realize that it was an airborne searchlight, mounted in one of Coastal Command’s `Leigh Light Wellingtons’, which clearly suspected that we were a U Boat in need of bombs or depth charges. Fortunately the two-star Very Cartridge recognition signal got away just in time.
Advance on the land was slowed by the enemy’s determined defence of Monte Cassino, so we were often called on to make smoke inshore of HMS Penelope if enemy fire got anywhere near her, as she bombarded shore targets. About this time we led the landing craft into the Anzio beachhead and later every other night escorted the two LST (Landing Ship Tank) which daily braved the artillery to land loaded lorries to dash up the beach. Until they emptied, we could lie-off out of artillery range until the night time return to Ischia. The water was shallow enough for us to set off one or two acoustic mines when we put the engines astern but we did not even get splashed!
The following are quotes from Farmer Lloyd extracted from Flag 4: The battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean. By Dudley Pope, (1954) William Kimber, London. p. 238 et seq.
The eight boats of the 31st MLF were fitted with captured German minesweeping gear designed for `small fast craft’…. it allowed the MLs to sweep at surprising speeds; they could do 11 knots with a single sweep and 9 knots with double sweeps. … however the craft could not stop without recovering the kites. There was no hydraulic system to get the sweeping gear aboard again, it all had to be hauled in on a hand-winch and lifted aboard with a hand-derrick.
The first division of the 31st, Lloyd, Coleridge, Waugh, Wilmot and Blair – were to sweep ahead of the American assault force to land on the coast near St Tropez. “Standing on the bridge of 556(?) looking over a placid oily sea, I could not get the secret chart out of my mind, with its peculiar markings showing heavy and light gun batteries dotted along the shore …. but in any case we had to go right in and try to come out again. …. I gave the order to draw ahead of the convoy, knowing that the other boats would follow, and when we had put enough distance between the convoy and ourselves we started to stream our sweeps.
“This rather complicated operation had, by this time, become almost automatic with the crew and we worked each phase of it according to a time table, flashing a blue light astern to mark the completion of each. …. At last all were ready and we moved toward the French coast, which was already showing the first glow of dawn. Less light would have made it more difficult for the shore gunners; more light would help us to see any floating or surface-laid mines. Sweeping conditions were perfect, with no wind, a flat sea and very little current to worry about.”
” We went right in until our gear was nearly sweeping the sea bed and then I started to turn. Until then no shot had been fired by either side. We were half way in our turn when there were flashes ashore and bursts over our heads. … To seaward was a line of flashes where the big guns were opening up with all their heavy stuff. Closer inshore were occasional skyward waves of fire as the LCRs (now within range) sent up their rockets to descend on the defences and blow them to dust.”
“A shoal of small fast craft low in the water darted past us … the assault landing craft
going into the beach along the channel we had swept …. At last Farmer’s boys have done something worthwhile I shouted ….”
Allied shipping losses were negligible. Coastal Force losses included ML 563 mined while rescuing survivors from a ship already mined. ML 562 damaged by an 88mm shell, ML 559 damaged by two mines being detonated close ahead, and three PT boats all mine victims.
There is a very detail account, particularly of the taking of Ventotene in a magazine article written by Lloyd (a copy of this is included with the medals)
He was MID 7thNovember 1944 For Operation Brassard (The Landings at Elba 1944), received a US Commendation 1944, and the DSC 14thJune 1945,
Commendation from Rear Admiral B.J. Rogers US Navy:
“It is with great pleasure that I extend to you my sincere commendation for your contribution to the success of this force in its amphibious assault landing on the Southern coast of France. As senior officer of HM 31stML Flotilla, you directed your vessels with great skill in the face of enemy fire, completing your assigned tsk ahead of the scheduled time, thus permitting the fire support vessels to move onto positions for the support of assault landings. Later in the day you proceeded into the gulf of St Tropez while enemy snipers were still active, completed the search for mines, returned and lead the minesweeping formation into the gulf. Your courage, cooperation, and exemplary leadership were reflected in the excellent performance of your flotilla and contributed to the success of the operation.”
A Personal friend of and served with Douglas Fairbanks Jr & US Rangers.
A Letter from Douglas Fairbanks Jr in February 1946, addressing him as “Farmer” Lloyd talks about Df wishing to live in the UK and commute to and from the US, and also refers to wanting to have involved Lloyd in the last invasion:-
“We tried very hard to get you and your flotilla for the last invasion as we didn’t think that we could carry out a special operation with the same despatch and efficiency without your presence. However CinC Med had other idears for you and we failed. You would have had a good time, however,as we ran into considerable more action than we planned on. I found myself in command of the old gunboats Aphis and Scarab and an assortment of MTB’s. After a couple of Ventotene-like raids which frightened me to death, we ran into a full scale naval battle where I spent the first two hours hiding in the thickest smoke screen we could make. Nasty little steel things whistling and popping all around us. Finally we got lost in the smoke and came out of it not knowing where we were at first. As luck would have it, we found that we had cut the Jerrys off from the retreat to their base and although our gunsights had been shot away we made a lucky direct hit on their leading ship. My first Lieutenant was making a decoy out of himself while I cowered beneath anything and everything I could find. The result was our unit won a spectacular engagement and I was decorated –‘tain’t fair; You would have loved it, however. We had a very fine ML flotilla with us under a chap called Gay, but of course it couldn’t touch with the famous Lloyd flotilla.
If and when I see John Steinbeck I will certainly give him your best, Meantime lets continue to keep in touch from time to time.
Good Luck , and believe me to be
As ever yours.
5thNovember 1944 HMS Gregale (Coastal Forces base Malta)
In May 1960 he was appointed to take part in the NATO exercise Pallex on the Staff of C in C at Fort Southwick. Letter from Lieut Commander C. Loveless RN dated 19thMay 1960.
John Ivester Lloyd (son of Thomas Ivester Lloydand Florence Mary Bunting) was born 25 Jan 1905 in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England, and died 25 Nov 1992 in The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.
He was married twice, first to Audrey.Then to Miriam Daisy Odellon Abt. 1927 in Shropshire, England.
He was the only son of the sporting artist Thomas Ivester Lloyd.
Lloyd was a regular contributor to several leading country periodicals, and has written over twenty books an author of both fiction and non-fiction books. He seems to have been particularly interested in hunting and most of his books have a hunting theme (either the horse or hound side of things). Probably not surprising considering his father was a noted sporting artist and Master of a beagle pack. Animals were at the centre of his children’s stories. He also wrote some riding manual type books for children.
Mr. Lloyd was lucky in having three great artists illustrating his books, including his father T. Ivester Lloyd, Stanley Lloyd and Peter Biegel.
Books by Lloyd include:
The people of the valley – illustrated by thomas ivester lloyd & stanley lloyd
Johnny rides out – illustrated by stanley lloyd
Well ridden! – illustrated by stanley lloyd
Riders of the heath – illustrated by peter biegel
Adventure of two young riders – illustrated by t. ivester lloyd
Come on young riders – illustrated by peter biegel
Served on Linslade Urban District Council, councillor, 1947-52, vice-chairman, 1951-52.
The Imperial War Museum contains various documents relating to him:
4 documents relating to his command of the 31stML Flotilla in the Med, 1943 to 1945.
Operational orders by 2ndBatt 509 Parachute Infantry US army, for the sizure of Ventontene Island September 1943.
Letter of Commendation for his services in the landings in Italy from Admiral H.K.Hewitt, Commander of US forces 1943.
Letter of commendation for his services in the landings in South France from Rear Admiral B.J. Rogers, commander of task force 85, Sept 1944.
Letter from the Admiralty concerning the award of his DSC June 1945.
Included with the medals is a large number of original documents, including (but not limited to) Identity cards, Wage accounts, Telegram orders, appointment as Lieutenant RNVR, Various Group photographs, Letter from Commodore G.O. Stephenson regarding his participation in the Italian Landings, Letter of commendation from Rear Admiral B.J. Rodgers US Navy regarding his landings on the French coast September 1944, M.I.D certificate, Buckingham Palace enclosure for the award to his DSC, letter of thanks from the Admiralty dated 12thApril 1946, magazine article on returning from the war, Letter from U.S.S. Knight regarding changes in orders for Operation Avalance, 8thSeptember 1943 (Marked Secret), two Letters from Douglas Fairbanks dated 8thDecember 1944 and 6thFebruary 1946 Both letters addressed to “Farmer” Lloyd., Letter regarding his appointment to a NATO operation in 1960, photo albums etc.
Full size and miniature medals swing mounted as worn and generally in VF condition.
2/LIEUT THOMAS IVESTER LLOYD
1914-15 star, RTS-1608 Pte T.I.Lloyd, A.S.C. (correction to initial I), British war and Victory medals, RTS-1608Sjt T.I. Lloyd, A.S.C. All loose, but with safety pins to top of ribbons as often worn at the time.
Born in Liverpool 1873 marrying Florence Mary Bunting in 1900, there son John Ivester Lloyd being born in 1905.
Thomas enlisted on the 3rdDecember 1914 aged 41 in the Army Service Corps, later serving in the Royal Artillery, seeing service with the Remount Service, alter Commisioned into the RA.
Landing in France 12thDecember 1914.
A Cpl 11thMarch 1915, Cpl 26thFebruary 1916, Dischared 2ndJune 1917, and appointed Lieut in the Royal Artillery. 3rdJune 1917.
The War Office British Empire Exhibition in Wembley contained thirty dioramas of British battles painted by him.
He was an Internationally renowned Artist (Famous for his Hounds) and a model maker (The War Office British Empire Exhibition in Wembley featured 30 Dioramas of Battles in British History painted by him). He also illustrated many of his sons books.
Thomas Ivester Lloyd died in 1942.
Included with the medals there is his Queen Mary Tin, Commission Certificate in envelope, service bible, Boy Scouts scrap book, and a very interesting set of “Magazines” produced by him titled the Buffalo, all dated during WW1 and containing various military stories, illustrations etc, bound into a single volume.
Medals loose, but fitted with old safety pins for wear, there is an old photograph of a young man wearing a WW1 trio with the group, which we assume is his son. Generally VF condition.