Tony Chapman was born in Southampton in 1924. Aged 16 he watched with horror as the historic High Street of Southampton burnt to the ground in a firestorm caused by a heavy German bombing raid on the night of 30 November 1940. He vowed to join up and fight back. Tony joined the Navy. Within hours of being posted to his first Motor Gun Boat, Telegraphist Tony Chapman was involved in an epic Coastal Forces engagement when his flotilla took on a force of thirty E-boats. Although their unit of two MGBs sank three E-Boats, it was at a high cost. Half of Tony's shipmates were killed or injured. This was the start of an eventful and dramatic wartime service with these little warships. Tony's flotilla operated in the Mediterranean and Aegean where the Motor Gun Boats played a key role in this important but often neglected theatre. Daily life on these small ships is vividly described. The flotilla had a busy time showing the flag in the Levant and on combined operations in the Aegean with the Greek Sacred Regiment of Commandos. The culmination of their efforts was when Tony's boat, ML838, took the surrender of the Island of Kos in 1945.
Written from the perspective of one of the "other ranks", War of the Motor Gun Boats fills an important gap in the literature of the Second World War. 21 B&W Images