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  #1  
Old 24-03-05, 10:51
John Tapsell John Tapsell is offline
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Default Porpoises

I'm currently researching the use of Porpoise ammunition sledges on D-Day. I have a range of information about Porpoises - their purpose (or should that be 'porpoise'?) and their design - but it's technical stuff, not practical stuff.

On D-Day, Porpoises were used by armoured regiments (Shermans), RMASG (Centaurs), SP Artillery regts (M7 Priests and maybe M10s), 1 ABRE (Churchill AVREs).

What I'm looking for are first-hand accounts of their use and/or 'in service' (not training) photos of them. I know I've seen a contemporary photo of a porpoise being towed behind a Priest somewhere, but can't remember where. If anyone out there has come across references to Porpoises when they've been studying regimental records or diaries, I'd be interested in hearing from you.

Many thanks,
John
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  #2  
Old 26-03-05, 16:05
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Default Sherbrooke Fusiliers

Here is some information about the Sherbrooke Fusiliers from John Gilbert’s book “Bloody Buron! Canada’s D-Day + 1”

Craft Serials Giving Details of Loads

LCT - Serial 1715
Major E.W.L. Arnold, Capt. B.M. Veilleux 2 Sherman V(C), 4 Sherman III, 1 Humber Scout Car, 2 Cars 5-cwt, 4 porpoises, 35 personnel

LCT - Serial 1716
Major J.C. Cave, Lt LA. MacArthur, Lt LA. Maclean 1 Sherman V(C), 2 Sherman III, 2 Humber Scout Cars, 4 porpoises, 17 personnel

LCT - Serial 1717
Capt. K.Y. Dick 2 Sherman V(C), 4 Sherman III, 2 cars 5-cwt, 1 Humber Scout Car, three 3 ton lorries, 4 porpoises, 46 personnel

LCT - Serial 1718
Lt. A.R. Truax 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry GS, 4 porpoises, 41 personnel

LCT - Serial 1719
Major G.S. Mahon 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 5 porpoises, 42 personnel

LCT - Serial 1720
Lt. K.L. Steeves 2 Sherman V(C), 4 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 4 porpoises, 1 motorcycle, 40 personnel

LCT - Serial 1721
Capt. S.V. Radley Walters, Capt. M.H.Bateman 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 5 porpoises, 1 motorcycle, 42 personnel

LCT - Serial 1722
Major V.O. Walsh 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 5 porpoises, 1 motorcycle, 41 personnel

LCT - Serial 1723
Capt. N.H. Welsh, Lt-Col M.B.K. Gordon, Capt. G.W. Cote, Lt. H.D. Spielman, Lt. T.C. Stevens, Lt. C.F. Thompson 1 Sherman V(C), 6 Sherman III, 2 Humber Scout Cars, 1-15 cwt, 1 car 5-cwt, 5 porpoises, 41 personnel

LST - Serial 1740
Capt. J.H. Gilbert 3 Sherman III, 4-3ton lorries GS, one 3 ton lorry stores, 4 motorcycles, 31 personnel

LST - Serial 1741
Lt. D.H. Bradley 3 Sherman III, five 3 ton lorries GS, 32 personnel

LST - Serial 1743
one 3 ton stores, 1 motorcycle loaded, 5 men

LST - Serial 1744
one 15-cwt GS, one 15-cwt water, one 15-cwt battery charger, 8 men

From the Sherbrooke War Diary, (also from John Gilbert’s book).

2nd June 44: Troops remained in marshalling area all day.

3rd June 44: In the order of craft serials—move off from Camp 17 at 0200 hrs proceed to G -3 Hard at Gosport. Loading commenced at 0600, porpoises were chained under tanks. On completion of loading LCTs (Landing Craft Tanks) moved out into the Solent and anchored off Calshot at 1300 hrs. Compo rations were loaded and blankets. The men slept and read for most of the day after chaining their vehicles and camouflaging them.

6th June: The regiment landed at 1215 hrs on Nan White Sector, just west of Bernieres sur Mer and moved through town. There was much congestion on the beach and in the town and a long wait resulted while this was cleared. During the short halt on the road the marching infantry of the NNS Highlanders loaded on the tanks and porpoises [ammunition carriers] and rode the remaining distance to the assembly area Elder, arriving at 1800 hrs. All tanks and vehicles on LCTs arrived, those on LSTs did not beach. There were no casualties to personnel up to this point.
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  #3  
Old 26-03-05, 22:17
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Here is a photo of a Centaur towing a porpoise.
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  #4  
Old 14-09-11, 21:29
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Default We've found a porpoise!

Sorry to resurrect a six year old thread, but we've found a porpoise a mile away from Gold Beach.

It's been recovered and is now under restoration.

When completed it will be displayed behind the museum's Sexton.

We need help - an earlier post talked about "a range of information" - we have none and need lots!

Plans, photos, accounts of their use, manufacturers info - all would help.

We've also found some covers in a different field, but when measured they're a different size to the porpoise. Does this imply that there are at least two varieties?
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  #5  
Old 15-09-11, 00:00
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George Moore George Moore is offline
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Default Porpoise

I'm not sure if this is any help, and may have appeared before.

The book "The Funnies" by G W Futter has a section on the porpoise, some photo's and a drawing.

It states there were two sizes.

The book is way out of print, my copy is 1974 (?).

George.
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  #6  
Old 20-09-11, 11:06
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Thanks for that George, it's a start.

Looks as though we may have to fabricate smaller covers from the ones that we found - shouldn't be too difficult as at least we have a pattern to work to now.
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  #7  
Old 20-09-11, 13:28
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Geoff,

Excellent to hear a genuine Porpoise was found! I am looking forward to seeing it behind the Sexton at Ver-sur-Mer.
The publication that George scanned is also the only printed info I can remember of the Porpoise that has any specific info...furthermore there are some beach pictures that show discarded Porpoises (run over?) and there is a Pathe movie that shows an ammo depot started with Porpoises.

Alex
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  #8  
Old 20-09-11, 16:40
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Hi Alex.

Thanks for that - early days yet, but the restoration will DEFINITELY be done for the 2014 commemorations.

We'll have a beer together in the bar opposite and a photo taken by the Porpoise.......

Do you have any references for that information please?

Here are a couple of pictures of the recovery.

Wrong order, but I think the sense is obvious!

BR

Geoff
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DSC01613.jpg   DSC01622.jpg   VSM Porpoise 28  août 2011.jpg  
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  #9  
Old 22-09-11, 21:44
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Quote:
but the restoration will DEFINITELY be done for the 2014 commemorations.

We'll have a beer together in the bar opposite and a photo taken by the Porpoise.......
Sounds like an excellent idea!

Attached you will find some scans...all shots from the IWM archive. I am trying to find the film footage showing the porpoises stacked in a Normandy field in use as an ammo depot, but haven't found it yet.

First picture shows Shermans of 13/18th Hussars backing into the LCT with the porpoises being pulled backward with a chain. After the LCT landed, a special tow bar/frame was used to take the Porpoise onto the beach as can be seen in th picture with the Centaur. The first and second picture show the bar stowed on front of the Sherman hulls. The last picture shows at least two abandoned porpoises on the beach (St Aubin-sur-Mer???)


Alex
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001.jpg   002.jpg   003.jpg   001 (2).jpg  
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  #10  
Old 22-09-11, 21:47
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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I was sure there was pic somewhere of a Sexton and Porpoise in the same shot. Couldn't find it in any of my books, but here it is on the IWM website:

Click image for larger version

Name:	IWM 44931.jpg
Views:	4
Size:	61.5 KB
ID:	125024
http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib...e.jpg?action=d

source: http://www.iwmcollections.org.uk
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Last edited by Alex van de Wetering; 17-12-11 at 22:52. Reason: Fixed the link
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  #11  
Old 23-09-11, 10:29
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Thanks for those Alex.

I've passed them on to our curator.

BR

Geoff
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  #12  
Old 17-12-11, 14:44
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Hi Alex.

Season's greetings to you.

The restoration is progressing well, and we've started putting together the pedagogic panel to explain the exhibit.

Our curator would like to use the left-hand most photograph that you sent.

Do you have it's original location please? Is it IWM? NAC? A reference number would be really helpful.

Thanks in advance and BR

Geoff
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Old 17-12-11, 22:49
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Geoff,

Good to hear the restoration is progressing. It will certainly be a unique exhibit and another reason to plan another trip to Normandy !

The picture you mention is from the IWM collection, from a series of pictures taken in Gosport by Sgt. Mapham. I don't know the exact number, but it must be close to H 38998, as it shows the same LCT beging loaded with 13/18 Hussars vehicles.

I was meaning to come back on the subject of the Pathe movie. It might not have been Pathe after all, as I can't find it on their website. In fact I have looked at all VHS, DVD and online sources I can think of, but can't find the "scene" I am looking for. If I remember correctly you see an ammo dump with a bunch of porpoise sleds, stacked one onto another and a Jeep is passing by. Maybe it rings any bells with someone else?

Here is "H 38998"
Click image for larger version

Name:	IWM 44757.jpg
Views:	3
Size:	84.9 KB
ID:	125023
http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib...e.jpg?action=d

source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/
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Last edited by Hanno Spoelstra; 06-10-21 at 13:09. Reason: attached photo
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  #14  
Old 18-12-11, 10:53
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Morning Alex.

H38998 might indeed be better - a closer (if partial) view of the Porpoise.

I've just been sent a few photos of the work in progress - I'll be uploading the later to http://goldbeachmusee.org.uk/FRPorpoise-1.htm

Thanks again.

Later on Sunday 18th December - I've looked at every image taken by Sgt Mapham, and I can't find that one!

BR

Geoff
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Last edited by GeoffLeese; 18-12-11 at 13:36.
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  #15  
Old 08-01-12, 17:20
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Hi everyone.

I've now found the images in question and have ordered copies from the IWM.

There's been lots of work on our Porpoise since we last spoke - see details at the link in the post above.
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  #16  
Old 09-04-12, 11:31
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Geoff,

Excellent work on the project; I have just checked the website, excellent.

Alex
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  #17  
Old 09-04-12, 11:43
GeoffLeese GeoffLeese is offline
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Hi Alex.

Thanks for that. There seems some holdup with the finishing and painting, but she'll DEFINITELY be in place for 6th June.

Which is what we wanted.
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  #18  
Old 02-02-15, 15:45
maple_leaf_eh maple_leaf_eh is offline
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Default Thanks for this detail - John

John, any objections if I repost this to a Wikipedia page?

TW

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McGillivray View Post
Here is some information about the Sherbrooke Fusiliers from John Gilbert’s book “Bloody Buron! Canada’s D-Day + 1”

Craft Serials Giving Details of Loads

LCT - Serial 1715
Major E.W.L. Arnold, Capt. B.M. Veilleux 2 Sherman V(C), 4 Sherman III, 1 Humber Scout Car, 2 Cars 5-cwt, 4 porpoises, 35 personnel

LCT - Serial 1716
Major J.C. Cave, Lt LA. MacArthur, Lt LA. Maclean 1 Sherman V(C), 2 Sherman III, 2 Humber Scout Cars, 4 porpoises, 17 personnel

LCT - Serial 1717
Capt. K.Y. Dick 2 Sherman V(C), 4 Sherman III, 2 cars 5-cwt, 1 Humber Scout Car, three 3 ton lorries, 4 porpoises, 46 personnel

LCT - Serial 1718
Lt. A.R. Truax 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry GS, 4 porpoises, 41 personnel

LCT - Serial 1719
Major G.S. Mahon 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 5 porpoises, 42 personnel

LCT - Serial 1720
Lt. K.L. Steeves 2 Sherman V(C), 4 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 4 porpoises, 1 motorcycle, 40 personnel

LCT - Serial 1721
Capt. S.V. Radley Walters, Capt. M.H.Bateman 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 5 porpoises, 1 motorcycle, 42 personnel

LCT - Serial 1722
Major V.O. Walsh 1 Sherman V(C), 5 Sherman III, 2 Stuarts, one 3 ton lorry, 5 porpoises, 1 motorcycle, 41 personnel

LCT - Serial 1723
Capt. N.H. Welsh, Lt-Col M.B.K. Gordon, Capt. G.W. Cote, Lt. H.D. Spielman, Lt. T.C. Stevens, Lt. C.F. Thompson 1 Sherman V(C), 6 Sherman III, 2 Humber Scout Cars, 1-15 cwt, 1 car 5-cwt, 5 porpoises, 41 personnel

LST - Serial 1740
Capt. J.H. Gilbert 3 Sherman III, 4-3ton lorries GS, one 3 ton lorry stores, 4 motorcycles, 31 personnel

LST - Serial 1741
Lt. D.H. Bradley 3 Sherman III, five 3 ton lorries GS, 32 personnel

LST - Serial 1743
one 3 ton stores, 1 motorcycle loaded, 5 men

LST - Serial 1744
one 15-cwt GS, one 15-cwt water, one 15-cwt battery charger, 8 men

...
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  #19  
Old 02-02-15, 22:17
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I have no objection but I got the info is from John Gilbert's book. Note that his father Tpr. L.J. Gilbert was the gunner in Sgt T.C. Reid's tank, No 2 troop of C Squadron of SFR.
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Old 06-10-21, 12:53
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Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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"Small Cog in a Big Wheel: Porpoise Ammunition Sledges"

http://smallcoginabigwheel.blogspot....n-sledges.html

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Name:	nominal porpoise loads.jpg
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ID:	125021
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Old 06-10-21, 13:00
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Default 86 Field Regt RA (Hertfordshire Yeomanry)

Could this be one of 86 Field Regt RA (Hertfordshire Yeomanry), "the only regiment to land Sexton SP Guns on D-Day (Juno Beach)"?

As per the link above: 86 Field Regt RA found that their Porpoises caused less trouble than expected. The C Troop diary records: "The Porpoises - those misbegotten children of the "War House" proved to be quite amenable to a wet landing and all were landed without any trouble. Perhaps this was as a result of the language used on them previously....".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex van de Wetering View Post
I was sure there was pic somewhere of a Sexton and Porpoise in the same shot. Couldn't find it in any of my books, but here it is on the IWM website:

Click image for larger version

Name:	IWM 44931.jpg
Views:	7
Size:	61.5 KB
ID:	125022
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Old 06-10-21, 17:10
Ed Storey Ed Storey is offline
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Default Lci(l) 295

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanno Spoelstra View Post
Could this be one of 86 Field Regt RA (Hertfordshire Yeomanry), "the only regiment to land Sexton SP Guns on D-Day (Juno Beach)"?

As per the link above: 86 Field Regt RA found that their Porpoises caused less trouble than expected. The C Troop diary records: "The Porpoises - those misbegotten children of the "War House" proved to be quite amenable to a wet landing and all were landed without any trouble. Perhaps this was as a result of the language used on them previously....".
LCI(L) 295 in the background may be a clue as to where this photograph was taken. LCI(L) 295 was assigned to the RCN's 264th LCI(L) flotilla which sailed out of Weymouth with Force "G" for Gold Beach. For Op NEPTUNE, 295 was commanded by Lt (N) Peter G.R. Campbell (RCNVR).
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  #23  
Old 08-10-21, 17:16
Alex van de Wetering Alex van de Wetering is offline
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Two more Porpoises have surfaced in Ver-sur-Mer and are now for sale at Military Classic Vehicles in Normandy.
Geoff; could these be from the same location where yours came from?

In time to be restored for D-day 2024 and to be dragged behind a Sherman, Sexton or Centaur on the beach?! What a sight it would be

more info: https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryCla.../?__tn__=-UC*F
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  #24  
Old 15-04-24, 22:10
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Via Anthony Sewards:

“Juno Beach, photo noted as M7 Priest Royal Canadian Artillery arriving on shore D Day”

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Name:	IMG_4468.jpeg
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ID:	137447
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Old 15-04-24, 22:15
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Some photos of the restored example at Ver sur Mer (nmp, found on FB).

I like the plaques with drawings explaining how they were used.

Click image for larger version

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ID:	137448 Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_4475.jpg
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Size:	576.7 KB
ID:	137449

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Size:	501.7 KB
ID:	137450 Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_4472.jpg
Views:	2
Size:	495.4 KB
ID:	137451 Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_4471.jpg
Views:	3
Size:	491.6 KB
ID:	137452
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