To start this story we need to look at an interesting escape of five German Prisoners of War who were being held at Granville and working in the Harbour. In the evening of the 20th of December the Germans escape, capture a LCVP and make a break for the channel islands. Below is the timeline of what went on. This is important as it is these troops who provide the intelligence needed for the Germans to plan and undertake raids against the allied forces in France.
20th December 1944
22:36 Two LCVP’s were tied up along Quai Ouest of the inner Basin at Granville
21st December 1944
01:30 LCVP Hull Number C-33432 was seen passing through the lock by Army duty officer. No alert is given.
02:12 Radar observed an unknown target moving out, upon inquiry Port Director advised that no departures are scheduled. JOC Cherbourg Alerted “Unknown target at 258° - 10,000 yards” Visibility was to poor to identify craft near the harbour.
02:30 Austrian POW revealed the plan of some prisoners to escape, Army called Port Director to ask if any LCVP’s are missing. Upon checking one LCVP is reported missing
02:40 Target passes out of range of radar. Dispatched sent to USS PC 1233 and HMS Prospect who are patrolling the area, directing them to intercept the craft. LCVP was in good running order, with 60 gallons of Fuel on board.
There were 5 POW that escaped and by now they had made it to a German Observation post at Les Minquiers (very small islands south east of Jersey) and then treated as heroes are sent on to the HQ.
Plane search in daylight hours is prohibited due to poor weather conditions.It is believed the prisoners made good their escape to the nearby Channel Islands
The escaped prisoners-of-war were sent back to Germany at the beginning of 1945, but their plane was picked up by a night-fighter and shot down near Bastogne.
Below is an example of a LCVP, the one captured by the Germans would have been very similar to this one.
We have not got a photo of HMS Prospect, if you do please contact us, but it was very similar to the isle class below.