I received this photo from machbuster of the patch he made for me, it's on its way to Australia.
MTB RON 34
Commissioned: 31,December 1943
Decommissioned: 9,March 1945
PT Boats: Elco 80'
PT 498, 499, 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508 & 509
Assigned To: English Channel
Prior to the Normandy invasion, the PTs of Squadron 34 escorted minesweepers in advance of the invasion fleet, clearing a broad sea lane to the beaches and the fire support areas offshore. On D-Day the PTs of Squadron 34 were stationed on the “Mason Line,” near the islands of Saint-Marcouf as an inner defence against infiltration by E-boats. The PTs rotated on and off this line for the remainder of the month of June.
A new operational base was then located at Cherbourg harbour and a new mission given to Squadron 34 “To intercept and attack enemy ship movements in the Channel Islands.
PT-507 crew photo during shakedown in Florida.
PT-504 during an inspection by King George V I [2nd from right].
PT509 (left) standing by after USS Tide hit a sea mine on the 7th of June, just off Utah Beach, Normandy.
On the 8th of August PT Boat Squadron, 34 was given a mission to disrupt the German minesweepers running between Guernsey and Jersey. . Two PT boats PT508 & PT509 were on station 8 miles southwest of Jersey "Barracuda". Three PT boats PT 500, 503 and 507 took a north station "Tunny". the destroyer ecsort USS Maloy picks up 5 M-class Minesweepers and two freighters. In thick fog, the north patrol "Tunny" moved in and attacked the convoy with torpedoes. Under fire, the three US boats return to the USS Maloy.
PT508 & PT509 were vectored in to attack the German convoy with torpedoes. At 06:08 they launched their torpedoes, both boats received fire from the convoy. The radio transmissions from PT509 and observations from PT508 confirm that PT509 ran into the centre of the convoy and was immediately fired upon by the Minesweepers. PT508 peeled off to starboard and directed PT509 to follow him out. The last radio transmission from PT509 was “we are in the middle of them”. At this point, PT509 disappeared from the radar screen of the USS Maloy.
PT507 & PT503 closed in on the Minesweepers just outside of St Helier, the fog was still too thick for an accurate torpedo attack. PT503 fires her last torpedo at 150 yards and both PT's open fire on the ships. The ships returned fire hitting the PT's with heavy shelling causing heavy casualties. Using smoke cover the PT's return to USS Maloy.
The full story of the 509 "Sassy Sue" will never be known, this is the account of the sole survivor, John L. Page, Radarman, 3rd class.
We fired a torpedo at a range of 700 yards then closed in to make a 200 yard firing run. There was much return and accurate fire from the enemy, with shells killing LTJG Paylis, who was at the wheel, and setting fire to the chart house, and wounding Page. When Paylis fell to the deck, the out of control boat rammed the enemy ship. With a split open bow and engines screaming at full revs, PT 509 attached to the side of the German ship which was ferrying German troops and was was still underway, with its hull in flames and bow forced up the Germans deck level. The German crew members were desperately trying to push the PT boat off with boat hooks and iron bars. Page remembers seeing LTJG Mathes going below to destroy confidential items and noted the cannon gunner dead.
After the initial impact Page had been stunned, when he regained consciousness he detonated the radar set, and crawled first into the cockpit then forward to the shattered bow in a hail of bullets and driven forward by the flames engulfing the doomed PT boat. Page, was wounded by thirty seven shrapnel wounds and a broken right arm and leg, one heavy slug had ripped a hole through his back and lodged in his right lung.
There was no escape for the remaining greatly outnumbered PT crewmen - the German troops fired small arms and lobbed grenades down onto the PT509.
German sailors threw Page a line and he was hauled up to the trawler, PT-509s engines stopped and the Germans managed to push it away and almost immediately it exploded with a mighty roar. "I couldn’t see it," Page said, "but I felt the heat of the blast."
Monument on Jersey
Fourteen of PT 509′s fifteen man crew were killed, along with two crewmen from the PT 503. Of the sixteen USN personnel killed in the battle, nine bodies were never recovered – the sea just off this point taking them to final peace.
PT-509 stamp from Jersey