65th Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat & 56th Motor Gun Boat Flotillas, and Commander Thomas G. Fuller

The following article was submitted by Heather Dickson (Maitland) and was originally posted in Canadian Coastal Forces Trust. “I found this article about my dad, Doug Maitland and his lifelong friends, Tom and Corny, during WWII.”

The 65th (Canadian) MTB Flotilla and 56th MGB Flotilla were made up of Fairmile Type “D” boats, known as “Dog” boats. They were hard-chine pre-fabricated double mahogany vessels. These boats were driven by Four Packard 12 cylinder 1250 horsepower supercharged patrol engines with two under-slung rudders, and carried 5000 gallons of petrol providing a range at maximum continuous speed of 506 nautical miles. Two Ford V-8 auxiliary engines provided electric power.


  • Displacement MTB: 105 tons standard
  • Displacement MGB: 90 tons standard
  • Dimensions: 115″ x 21’3″ x 4’6″
  • Machinery: 4-shaft Packard pet. engines, 4800 bhp
  • Speed: 29 kts
  • Petrol: 5,000 gal
  • Armament: 4 x 18″ TT (MTB only); 2 x 6pdr/7cwt Mk. II; 2 x 20mm; 4 x .50 Vickers MG; 4 x .303 MG
  • Complement: 30


The Canadian 65th Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla was commanded by Lieutenant Commander J.R.H. Kirkpatrick, D.S.C., RCNVR of Kitchener, Ontario. The 65th Flotilla was involved for more than a year, including D-Day, in almost constant action with German S-boats, R-boats and armed trawlers up and down the English Channel.

The 65th Flotilla was made up of MTBs 726, 727, 735, 736, 743 – 748 & 797.

Photo at left: Cdr. Thomas Fuller.

imageThe 56th Motor Gun Boat Flotilla, which was served in the Mediterranean Sea was comprised also of Fairmile D boats, but the MGB variant. Although the 56th was a Royal Navy flotilla, all the boat captains were Canadian with the Senior Officer being Lieutenant Commander Douglas Maitland, one of the famous “Three Musketeers” (the others being LtCdr Cornelius “Corny” Burke and Lt Tom Ladner). Thus the 56th Flotilla had a distinctive Canadian character.  The photo above shows Cdr. Thomas Fuller and the “Three Musketeers”: Lt. Tom Ladner, LtCdr Douglas Maitland and LtCdr Cornelius Burke, at Buckingham Palace. (From Champagne Navy).


Commander Thomas G. Fuller, at left, was another famous Canadian Dog boat commander, who not only had many incredible adventures serving in the English Channel, but is well known in naval circles for his audacious and aggressive spirit when fighting Axis forces during World War II. He was later the Senior Officer of the 61st MGB Flotilla (also Dog boats) in the Mediterranean. Cdr Fuller exemplified the no-nonsense, “go at them” character of many Canadian Coastal Forces officers.

After the war he was a successful businessman, continuing a family tradition of success and excellence in the construction trade.

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2 Responses to 65th Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat & 56th Motor Gun Boat Flotillas, and Commander Thomas G. Fuller

  1. John Dill says:

    Nice article – just found it today (May, 2017) after reading “The Fairmile ‘D’ Motor Torpedo Boat” by John Lambert, one of the Anatomy of the Ship series. My uncle, Corny Burke, was skipper of MGB 658.

  2. Lori Hansen says:

    Great article, my father Francis Lariviere was aboard MTB 748, in the 65th Flotilla.

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