Promoted to Chief Motor Mechanic 1 January 1918
Excerpt from; Poverty Bay Herald, 13th July 1918. A MIRACULOUS ESCAPE. SHELL THROUGH THE ENGINE – ROOM. Christchurch Man at Zeebrugge: 'From the brief details received by Mr. and Mrs. F. Meyer, of 127 Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch, it would appear that their son, chief motor mechanic Roland Albert Meyer, had a miraculous escape from sudden death during the Royal Navy’s operations in blocking the German submarine base at Zeebrugge. Beyond a brief letter stating that he was quite well, Chief Motor Mechanic Meyer has not written of his experience. Chief Motor Mechanic Lew Wilson, who has been a chum of Chief Motor Mechanic Meyer from boyhood, has written a brief account to Mr. and Mrs. Meyer, which makes thrilling reading. Both young men, at the outbreak of the war, offered their services, but were rejected on account of their youth. Later, they were called on for coast defense duty, and still later, when recruits were called for the Motor Patrol Service, they offered and were accepted. As will be seen from Chief Motor Mechanic Wilson’s letter, they are still sticking to one another.
Writing from Portsmouth, under date April 27th, Chief Motor Mechanic Wilson says:- “I’ve been trying to get a few lines written for several days, but have been on the move so much, and so busy, I haven’t had a chance to write to anyone – in fact, have just managed to get one home. As you may have guessed, or foresaw before now by Ron’s and my movements, we were in the raid on the Belgian coast a few nights back. I will, of necessity, have to make this note short, but will try, when I’m more settled and clear, to give you a better account of things. The main thing just now is about Ron. Perhaps you have heard before now that Ron’s boat was sunk, but, thank God, Ron is all right, and, although a bit shaken, was none the worse for the shaking he had. I just had a quarter of an hour with him in Dover when he returned, and he was away on his leave. I hope to join him in a day or so, for all boats participating have been giving seven days special leave."
"The main facts are; Ron’s, like the rest, was making the smoke screen for the larger boats and, if necessary to pick up any men of the ships which were sunk in Zeebrugge. They were slowing running, when a shell struck the boat in the engine room. It’s a marvel to me and all who know how both engineers escaped without hurt, except that Ron’s mate had a small wound on the hip. The shell, when exploding, carried away the port engine and many of the fittings, but the other engine carried on. Seemingly the shell burst upwards, for it carried away the deck, killing the C.O., coxswain, and one or two hands. What a shame, for they were such a fine crew, and their boat always looked well. Ron, lost all his gear, but I fixed him up as best I could and he was going to London to see the High Commissioner for help, so I trust that ere now he is well set up again. I heard the following day that his boat had gone down, but did not see him two days after, for we remained in a French port, and I could not hear how things were by any means. Ron, asked me not to say much, but what I have said is just briefly what happened, for I think it best for you to know, and, in knowing, rest assured that Ron is well. He is shaken, but has no sign of shock, and I’m sure he will be soon quite himself again."
“When we returned to port – nine of the craft – we received such a welcome as I shall never forget. The lowest estimates consider 30,000 people were assembled in the docks – soldiers, sailors and civilians – and their cheers, with the howl and screech of the dozen of sirens in the harbor, were awe-inspiring. Such a reception was too much for us – in fact, not fair for the poor boys who are going daily."
Excerpt from Ostend and Zeebrugge Dispatch, Sir Roger Keyes. (Keyes, R. (1919). Lieutenant – Commander Dawbarn Young, R.N.V.R., was in command of M.L.110. He had volunteered to precede the block-ships and light the entrance of the harbor and canal with calcium buoys. Whist approaching the entrance M.L.110 was struck by three shells, which killed and wounded half the crew and wrecked the engines. Lieutenant – Commander Young, hit in three places, was mortally wounded, but stuck to his post and gave orders to abandon ship, until he collapsed. This very gallant officer died before reaching Dover.
His service on ML110 is derived from the Poverty Bay Herald report. The ML is not mentioned by name or number on the service record.
Attestation papers are held at Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton
Palmer recruit - reported as serving in this ML in September 1918 AWMM