NAME DICK Benson Gordon
RANK Able Seaman Royal Canadian Naval Reserve
SHIP His Majesty’s Motor Torpedo Boat 485
29th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla
Coastal Forces Mobile Unit #1
Ostende in Belgium
AGE 25 February 14, 1945 V / 17800
CEMETERY Adegem Canadian War Cemetery
Maldegem - Oost-Vlaanderen
I D 4
PARENTS Robinson and Lucy Dick - Hensall.
• Benson was born on April 22, 1919. After he obtained his education he was working as a baker.
• Benson enlisted into the Royal Canadian Navy on September 11, 1941, did his training and performed
active naval service on the east coast. Later in 1942, he volunteered to be part of a six - man crew, whose
task it was, to make captured mines safe. They did this by towing them ashore and then defusing them.
• In August of 1944 he was sent overseas.
• He was assigned to the 29th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla on September 9, 1944.
• He served with the 29th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla, “the fighting fleas” which was formed in March 1944
based at HMS Ramsgate. From July 1944 – August 1944 they worked from Arromanches and in October
1944 they were based at HMS Beehive, Felixstowe on the North Sea.
• They were then transferred to Coastal forces Mobile Unit #1 based at Ostende in Belgium.
• On the morning of February 14, the day began under a bright sun, but by noon the wind had picked up and a
force four wind was blowing.
• During the afternoon, the boats were berthed in a very narrow passage known as the Crique. There was a
patrol scheduled for that evening, so many of the men were below decks sleeping or onshore. Suddenly, a
sheet of fire was seen to be moving along the water toward the jetties. Fueling had been completed earlier in
the day, but somehow the fuel on the surface ignited. Before any alarms could be sounded, the flames had
closed in around the wooden torpedo boats. In a few short minutes, those boats had become infernos and
those below decks had no hope of escaping. Some men dove into the water and swam under the surface to
safety. Many others never made it up on deck and still others were killed from the flying debris. Explosions
were now beginning to tear the boats apart and for 2 hours the fuel tanks exploded as did the ammunition.
The cries of the men below decks could be heard over the noise and confusion.
• MTB 485, which was Able Seaman Dick’s boat,was able to be saved because a stoker had started the boat,
gunned the engines and moved ahead along with other boats that were tied up to 485. The stern was now
ablaze and the crew began throwing the ammunition overboard while others fought the fire in the stern.
• Just a short 3 minutes after the fires had begun there were explosions. To those there it seemed as if the
whole world had exploded. Windows were broken a mile from the fires, and the explosions were even heard
across the English Channel in England.
• MTB 465 had exploded first, followed by 462 and after that fire was raining down everywhere. Depth
charges, small ammunition and shells along with torpedoes had begun to explode.
• By evening the 29th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla had ceased to exist.
• Able Seaman Dick was only 1of 3 bodies to be recovered from the carnage.