W.K. Lawrence

This is what I found on the Internet about W.K. Lawrence.

But the biggest success for the chariots came three weeks after the fall of Rome in June 1944.

A single chariot forced its way through dense anti-submarine nets into La Spezia harbour and sank the last Italian heavy cruiser Bolzano, which the Germans had seized at the time of the Italian surrender and withdrawn to the north. Operation ‘QWZ’, as it was known, was a joint operation with the Italian Navy. Two chariots – Sub.Lt. M.R. Causer (the veteran of the Trondheim attempt on Tirpitz and the walk to Sweden), with AB Harry Smith, and PO Cook Conrad ‘Len’ Berey with Stoker Ken Lawrence, were carried in Italian Motor Torpedo Boat MS74. Causer and Smith made a textbook attack securing the warhead underneath Bolzano. Berey had failed to find the entrance to the harbour and, as dawn was breaking, decided to scuttle his Chariot. Both Chariot teams failed to make the rendezvous with their MTB transports and, by coincidence, succeeded in joining the same group of Italian partisans ashore. Berey managed to cross the River Arno in August 1944 to rejoin British forces, but Lawrence, Causer and Smith were all captured while trying to make the same crossing. In addition, Charioteers were among the first ashore on the Normandy beaches, clearing mines and obstructions. They, with their Italian allies, had also been surveying beaches in Greece and the South of France for a possible invasion of Europe from the Mediterranean.

Now we know who’s the sailor behind that drawing.

Jim L'Esperance 006

More information here.



Operation “Title” Against the Tirpitz October 1942
Operators: Brewster, Brown, Craig, Evans, Causer and Tebb

Operation “Principal” The attack on Palermo Harbour January 1943
Operators: Dove, Freel, Ferrier, Greenland, Stevens, Worthy, Cook, Milne, Simpson, Carter

The Submarine P311 went missing off the North Sardinian coast presumed torpedoed. January 1943
10 charioteers died. Anderson, Bonnell, Goss, Kerr, Mapplebeck, Pridham, Rickwood, Stretton-Smith, Sargeant, Trevethian

Operation “Welcome” The attack on Tripoli harbour January 1943
Operators: Larkin, Berey, Stevens, Buxton

May 1943 Sicily beach survey prior to allied landings
The object to measure beach gradients and mark enemy positions and beach defences
Operators: T.Evans, W.S.Smith, W.Jakeman, A.C.Kirby V.J.Mills, J.Brewster, J.Brown, Hargreaves.

Sept 1943. Lunna Voe operations using Norwegian agents to spy on occupying Germans. Motor Torpedo Boats used to drop “Chariots”
Operators: G.J.W.Larkin, N.Job, with13 others

Operation “QWZ”
In June 1944 a combined Italian and British force attacked La Spezia harbour
Operators Berey, Causer, Lawrence, H.Smith.

Far East October 1944 the attack on Phuket harbour Thailand
Operators: Elderidge, Brown, Smith, Woolcott

Normandy beaches
Charioteers were used to survey the Normandy beaches prior to the landings


More on Wikipedia.

In June 1944 came an opportunity to take action, in Operation QWZ, a joint mission against targets in La Spezia harbour. The attack was against the Italian cruisers Bolzano and Gorizia, which had been taken by the Germans after the Italian surrender. This was to thwart a German plan to sink them where they would block the harbour entrance. The mission also aimed to attack German U-boats in the harbour. British Charioteers would attack the cruisers whilst Mariassalto’s Gamma Frogmen would attack U-boats penned in the harbour. On 2 June 1944 the Italian destroyer Grecale sailed from Bastia in Corsica to La Spezia carrying three speedboats, and Italian frogmen including Luigi Durand De La Penne, and two British chariots. One chariot broke down and was abandoned, though the other successfully sank Bolzano. However the Gamma men were unsuccessful in their attack on the U-boat pens. All the participants escaped to link with partisan groups on land.[15]

Pictures here


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