M.V. Freelance Ex . M.G.B. 45 The Polish Navy S3
Built -- 1940 . by The British Power Boat Co.Hythe , Southampton.
Designer -- Hubert Scott - Paine built as a Motor Anti Submarine Boat.
Naval Architect -- George Selman.
Length Overall -- 63 Ft. Draft -- 4 Ft. 6 ins.
Beam -- 16 Ft. 4 ins. Displacement -- 24 tons.
Originally laid down for the Royal Norwegian Navy , was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in May 1940 and reclassified as a motor gun boat and was finally completed in July 1940 . She was then transferred to the Polish Navy and manned by a Polish Crew. On 28 th. July 1940 she was " Paid Off " by the Royal Navy. and commissioned by the Polish Navy on the same day operating in conjunction with the Third M.G.B. Flotilla comprising of M.G.B.s. 40 to 46 manned by British and Dutch Crews.
M.G.B.s. 44 & 45 became the Polish S2 & S3 , Freelance being M.G.B. 45 /S3 . She remained with the Polish Navy until 20 th. May 1943 when she once again returned to the Royal Navy, and was Brought to Produce.
The Polish Boats took the prefix "S " for Scigacze meaning fast hunter.
The " S3 " also had the name " Wyzel " meaning Pointer.( canine )
She was commanded by Andrzej Jaraczewski who was living in S.W. London until he returned to his native Poland where he later died.
Her battle record under Commander Jaraczewski was as follows :-
16 th. -- 17 th. January 1942 Together with M.G.B. 43 they surprised and attacked two large armed enemy barges off Bologne inflicting heavy damage with depth charges and gun-fire claiming one kill.
14 th. -- 15 th, June 1942 Out of Dover in company with M.G.B. s. 6 , 13 , 41 , 46 , and M.T.B. s. 01 , 203 , 229 , attacked two enemy motor vessels which were both destroyed , M.T.B. 201` was lost and M.G.B. 46 sustained severe damage, the remaining force harassed the remaining enemy convoy inflicting further damage.
6 th. -- 7 th. August 1942 with M.G.B. 41 and in company with ten M.T.B. s. whilst raiding enemy coastlines between Calais and Gravelines , sited a large enemy catapult ship the " Schawenlane" escorted by some fifteen other vessels , an attack was pressed home and M.T.B 42. was lost ( two killed and fourteen wounded ).
8 th. -- 9 th. August 1942. M.G.B. s. 41 & 45 , and M.T.B. s. 235 , & 240 , encountered two 1500 ton. enemy vessels off Calais escorted by "R" Boats and armed trawlers , pressing home their attack they failed to claim a kill.
Hubert Scott-Paine's British Power Boat was the fore-runner of the American P.T. Boats which had great success in the Pacific Theatre of war.
The Freelance " subsequently had the honour to take part in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 's Silver Jubilee River Pageant in 1977 on the River Thames for which she received a commemorative plaque. Commander Jaraczewski was also on board for this memorable occasion.
Extracts from the Polish War Diary.
Patrols and operations in English Channel 97.
Enemy engagements 5.
Exercises at sea 41.
Trial runs 30.
Changes of port 83.
Total days at sea 251.
Total hours at sea 940.
Total sea miles 11,285.
The Polish MGB S2/C.O. Sub.lieut.E.WCISLICKI/ and S3 /C.O. Sub.lieut.M.BOCHENSKI/took part as escorts of the battleship REVENGE who attacked with her artillery the French base Cherbourg held by the Germans, on September 23rd of 1941.
Another time on August 1942,Poles took part in attack on the German convoy near Calais escorted by 2 patrol ships, 6 minesweepers, 9 E-boats and 4 A/A ships. The main attack was executed by British MTBs and Polish MGB-S2/ C.O. Sub.lieut.E.WCISLICKI/ and S3 /C.O. Sub.lieut.A.JARACZEWSKI/ covered this attack by artillery fire against German escort.In effect two German ships were torpedoed and Poles sank one E-boat and damaged another. Unfortunately MGB-S2 was damaged too, but managed to return to base.
Same day in the English Channel the Polish MGBs : S2 /C.O. Sub.lieut.E.WCISLICKI/ and S3/C.O. Sub.lieut.M.BOCHENSKI/ took part in unfortunate operation of intercepting the German battleships GNEISENAU, SCHARNHORST and the heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN. The British battleships were far away in Scapa Flow, visibility was bad and the British Air Force was late to inform Admiralty in time. In the last moment Admiralty sent only few torpedo aircrafts and MTBs. One group of three British MTB was covered by the Polish MGBs . Torpedo attacks were carried out in spite of heavy gun fire, but without success. The Germans passed with high speed about 28 knots with air cover of 400 fighter planes. Only the British mines near Belgian and Dutch coasts partly damaged both battleships but they reached to Wilhelmhafen.