On 14 February 1945 the 29th Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla was destroyed by fire when 100 Octane fuel leaked into the protected basin at Ostende, Belgium where many RCN and RN torpedo boats were preparing for patrols that night. The flash fire ignited many of the wooden hull boats, detonating depth charges and torpedoes on their decks. The fire raged for two hours and by evening twelve boats had been destroyed and twenty-six RCN and thirty-five RN sailors had been killed.
The 29th MTB Flotilla was under the command of Lcdr. Tony Law and consisted of nine “G” Type MTB’s, built by the British Power Boat Company. The Flotilla’s losses included MTB’s 459, 461, 462, 465 & 466 destroyed in the fire. Three boats were saved, MTB’s 464, 485 and 491. A fourth MTB 486, LCdr Tony Law’s boat, had departed the harbour that morning for repairs to her radar at Felixstove.
With the loss over over half of the Flotilla’s boats and so many of the sailors, the 29th Flotilla was disbanded on 8 March 1945.
Photo courtesy of the Naval Museum of Alberta.