The History of Leith

January 4, 2011


Another of the big tugs, H.M.S. ” Growler,” was, with her sister
” Samsonia,” well to the fore in the landings in Normandy. They towed
over large hulks and moored them into position off-shore to provide
jetties behind which our ships could discharge their cargoes on the
beaches. Both tugs lay off-shore doing all kinds of helpful jobs for the
invasion armada for some days. At one period ” Growler’s ” guns
were in action the whole night, but there were no casualties and no
damage. Returning for their next trip, ” Growler ” and ” Bustler ”
brought back some of the first of the wounded.
One incident shows the character of the men who man these ships.
” Growler ” was assisting a trawler which had been badly damaged by
submerged ice in an eighty mile-an-hour gale. The donkeyman sent to
man the pumps of the trawler was washed overboard into the raging,
ice-cold sea, and by a miracle was washed back on board. He went
quickly on pumping, told no one, even after he had been returned to
the ” Growler,” and no one would have known had not the Commander
of the trawler reported the incident.

In the first twelve months of her service ” Growler ” steamed
25,000 miles, chiefly in Atlantic convoys, and never lost a ship through
enemy action.
On one occasion ” Growler” rescued an 8ooo-ton American freighter carrying valuable army stores and armaments. The ship, abandoned, sinking by the head and shipping water over the fore deck, was brought safely to Scotland by the ” Growler.” She was repaired and by an interesting coincidence sailed twice afterwards in convoy with the ” Growler.”
Commanding Officer of the ” Growler” was then Lieut.-Commander W. M. Dobbie, R.N.R., of Glasgow.

source-Leith built Ships on War Service

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