Coastal Forces - Uniform of Lieutenant The Lord Selsdon, DSC, RNVR, 1942
Coastal Forces - Uniform of Lieutenant The Lord Selsdon, DSC, RNVR, 1942
Coastal Forces - Uniform of Lieutenant The Lord Selsdon, DSC, RNVR, 1942
Coastal Forces - Uniform of Lieutenant The Lord Selsdon, DSC, RNVR, 1942
Coastal Forces - Uniform of Lieutenant The Lord Selsdon, DSC, RNVR, 1942
Coastal Forces - Uniform of Lieutenant The Lord Selsdon, DSC, RNVR, 1942
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Coastal Forces - Uniform of Lieutenant The Lord Selsdon, DSC, RNVR, 1942

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Comprising three jackets named and dated 1939 and 1941, two with DSC ribbon, each bearing the tailor’s label of Gieves & Hawkes of 20 Old Bond Street, London, four pairs of trousers, two hoods and a great coat, and officer’s cap, all contained within a named tailor’s tin trunk. Pair of Naval Barr & Stroud, 1939, 7x CF42 prismatic binoculars, bearing the serial number 16831 indicating a production date of 1936-1939, with black crinkle body, lower twist, extendable lens covers.  Top lens body marked ‘Barr & Stroud 7 x CF42’ and with the broad arrow or 'crows foot' ordnance mark.

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The 2nd Baron Selsdon DSC, RNVR (b. Chelsea, 1913- d. at sea off the Azores,1963) served with distinction in the Battle of the Narrow Seas fought between British and German light coastal forces for control of the English Channel and southern North Sea during the Second World War. A promising pre-war racing driver, Lord Selsdon crowned his career on the track by winning the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hour Race with Luigi Chinetti in a Ferrari 166MM.

Selsdon was the son of the politician William Lowson Mitchell-Thomson, 1st Baron Selsdon (1877–1938) and was educated at Winchester College. As the Hon. Peter Mitchell-Thomson, he represented Oxford University in inter-varsity motor races and speed trials. In 1934 he competed in the Alpine Trial, a gruelling endurance test played out over six days and 1,970 miles between Nice and Munich. In 1938 he inherited his father’s titles and enlisted his friend Lord Waleran as co-driver of an experimental works-supported Lagonda V12 for the Le Mans 24 Hour Race, achieving an impressive fourth place, from which it was hoped to launch a bid for outright victory in 1940. In late August 1939 Selsdon travelled to Belgium for the 1939 Liège Grand Prix and set the third-fastest practice time, but the race itself was cancelled due to the general mobilisation of the Belgian forces.

Commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1940, Selsdon volunteered for Coastal Forces in 1941, and by April 1942 was First Lieutenant of the 14th Flotilla leader, HM Motor Gun Boat 316, in which he served until 1944. In MGB 316 he took part in Operation Abercrombie, an Anglo-Canadian reconnaissance raid in the Pas-de-Calais led by Lord Lovat of No.4 Commando, by which, little, except the experience of towing and transferring troops to assault landing craft (LCAs), was achieved. As it transpired, the most serious confrontation with the enemy took place at sea, with the supporting Motor Gun Boats engaging in a firefight with German E-boats. 

Selsdon next took part in Bruneval Raid (Operation Biting) on the night of the 3/4 June 1942, the principal object of which was to seize top secret radar equipment from a site between Boulogne and Le Touquet. The successful airborne element of the raiding force was commanded by John Frost of future Arnhem fame while the seaborne raiding force, provided by No. 6 Commando, was defeated by the strong German defences. During the return voyage at around dawn the naval force was attacked by German fighter aircraft which damaged two Motor Launches and one Motor Gun Boat, killing one Commando and two naval personnel and wounding another; only the arrival of Royal Air Force prevented further damage and losses.

Worse was to follow when Selsdon participated in the Dieppe Raid (Operation Jubilee) in August 1942 where seventy percent of the attacking force was killed, wounded or captured. In common with other Coastal Forces’ craft MGB 316 operated close inshore, and no doubt engaged some of the numerous enemy aircraft that launched continuous attacks throughout the operation. 

During the planning of the Normandy Landings, MGB 316 and other units of the Gosport based 14th Flotilla played a part in a thorough survey of the enemy occupied coast. In Operation KJH on 31 December 1943 they towed landing craft containing Combined Operations Pilotage Parties across the Channel and  continued on a ‘normal’ patrol ‘when the Germans might be less vigilant’ due to the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Operation KJH’s covered what was to become the eastern end of Gold Beach.

Selsdon ended the war on the strength of HMS Black Bat, the coastal forces base at Devonport. He was invested with the Distinguished Service Cross in July 1945.  Before the war he made a cameo appearance in the Will Hay film ‘Ask a Policeman’, in which the main characters end up on the Brooklands circuit after a police chase and get mixed up in a motor race.