In the morning hours of 10 July 1943, Luftwaffe pilots likely paused in disbelief as they flew over the southern beaches of Sicily. More than a hundred yards from the shoreline, endless streams of tanks and vehicles could be seen exiting Allied vessels and driving ashore atop causeways assembled from thousands of U.S. Navy landing pontoons. The sloping shores of Sicily, bane of amphibious landings since the days of Thucydides, had been overcome by roadways of deceptively simple steel boxes. When British General Bernard Montgomery stepped from his landing craft onto one of the causeways, Royal Navy Vice Admiral Louis Mountbatten remarked: “The general is not setting foot on Sicily. He is setting foot on one of these miraculous American pontoons.”1
Through U.S. partnerships with its allies during World War II, innovative uses of this equipment and technology produced a solution to an intractable problem. The story behind the development of the pontoon causeways for the amphibious landings at Sicily—Operation Husky—offers fundamental lessons to maximize the present and future Navy’s efficient growth and power.
Advanced Base Lighterage
In the summer of 1939, Commander John N. Laycock accepted an offer from Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks (BuDocks), to transfer to Washington, D.C., and serve as the bureau’s war plans officer. A 1914 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer with a reputation as a problem solver, Laycock reviewed and revised all existing base plans for any future Pacific conflict. He scrutinized the Navy’s requirement for portable or mobile base equipment of universal utility. While determining what essential items of equipment did not then commercially exist, he focused his attention on specialized air-filled buoyant pontoon gear to transport or lighter supplies from ships to undeveloped shores.2
Throughout the interwar period, the Navy had invested considerable intellectual resources to prepare for a future conflict in the Pacific against the Japanese Empire. Actuation of War Plan Orange would establish a series of advanced fixed and mobile bases on islands in the Pacific to repair and resupply the Pacific Fleet as it moved west, defeating Japanese forces and commencing a blockade of the Japanese Home Islands. Everything required to construct these bases had to be designed for assembly at primitive locations, requiring the acquisition or development of an array of specialized equipment. The Naval War Plans Division reached out to BuDocks to leverage its intellectual resources in planning for construction of the advanced bases.3
BuDocks established a War Plans Section in the early 1930s and assembled files on prospective advanced base equipment. Studying these files, Laycock read through notes and suggestions for constructing sectional steel box pontoons. Recognizing potential in such modularity, in July 1940 he built an experimental model out of evenly spaced, empty cigar boxes fastened to each other at the corners with wooden kite sticks. This simple model demonstrated the feasibility of connecting individual pontoons using continuous angles to create a multidiaphragm sectional box girder. With the concept completed, Laycock met with a contractor to discuss resolution of the remaining problems of fastening and assembling individual pontoons.4
After waiting a week without reply from the contractor, Laycock chose to solve the problems himself during his annual family vacation. In his own words, working “in pretty much of a trance,” he focused his energies on the assembly and linkage problems. He substituted steel for his model’s cardboard and wood. By connecting their continuous steel angles, pontoon boxes could be assembled into a strong chain or string capable of being connected to other such strings to form small barges or dry docks. Then, focusing on the pontoons themselves, Laycock delineated several criteria under which manufacturing and logistical capacity would dictate their final form. Among these were, first, the need for the widest steel plate to not exceed the width of plates then being rolled in large quantities in steel mills, thus easing production. Second, individual pontoons, if filled with gasoline, should weigh approximately five tons, matching the normal capacity of cargo booms on merchant ships.5
By October 1940, through trial and error, Laycock determined the ideal pontoon dimensions: five feet wide by seven feet long by five feet high. For use in sectional drydocks, he incorporated fittings for the pontoons to be flooded and drained as circumstances required. With blueprints for the pontoons and the associated connecting hardware finalized in December, BuDocks contracted with the Pittsburgh–Des Moines Steel Company in February 1941 to fabricate units for testing and evaluation. Two designs were assembled and welded together, the five-by-seven-by-five-foot T6 box design, and the five-by-seven-by-seven T7 variant featuring a curved end section for use as a prow on barges. Both designs proved satisfactory in testing. In mid-1941, BuDocks began stockpiling pontoons at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, for overseas use in the Atlantic theater. In February 1942, following the U.S. entry into World War II, Seabees of the newly established Naval Construction Force first employed them while constructing a fueling base at Bora Bora in the South Pacific.6
The Royal Navy’s Amphibious Needs
After Britain’s retreat from Western Europe in June 1940, its Chiefs of Staff stood up what became known as Combined Operations Headquarters. This air-sea-land organization would create the Commandos and plan, train, and direct offensive operations against enemy-occupied territories. Within the new command was a development center tasked with examining and experimenting with craft and equipment for joint operations. By the summer of 1941, its commandant, Royal Navy Captain Thomas A. Hussey, had received new instructions to investigate problems likely to be encountered with large-scale amphibious operations in Europe, particularly in the landing of vehicles and supplies. The foremost of these problems was bridging the gap from ship to shore.7
In November–December 1941, Hussey led an Admiralty delegation to Washington to share and discuss designs for amphibious assault craft.During a free week prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hussey went to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, where he first learned of BuDocks’ new pontoons. Impressed with the equipment, he reported the technology to Combined Operations leaders on his return to Britain in January 1942. The British saw the utility of the pontoons in certain circumstances, primarily in the construction of jetties for landing small vessels in the absence of port facilities. Beyond acquiring photographs and accounts of them, they conducted no actual experimentation with the U.S. pontoons.8
Following the successful Allied landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) in November, Hussey, now director of experiments and operational requirements, learned of planning for the next operation—the invasion of Sicily.9 His examination of sounding charts of the island revealed gently sloping sea floors for all the planned invasion beaches. These gentle slopes would cause landing ships, tank (LSTs), to ground up to several hundred feet from shore in six-foot-deep water. Waterproofed vehicles could safely wade ashore from no farther than 300 feet out from the beach. Alarmed, Hussey brought the issue before Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, who recommended the captain assemble a team of technical experts to find a solution.
Following discussions in mid-December among the best amphibious technical experts at Combined Operations, the only known option involved the use of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ treadway bridges, employed in the North Africa landings. The structures used steel beam treadways placed overtop collapsible pneumatic floats to function as either floating or fixed bridges. However, the British lacked the ability to manufacture the equipment, and the structures had proven unstable for moving tanks from ship to shore and required more than an hour to assemble in calm seas. Furthermore, the components had to be stowed on the tank decks of LSTs, using valuable space on even more valuable ships.10
Mission to Washington
Hussey chewed on the problem until he came upon a novel solution. On 21 February 1943, he presented Mountbatten with an idea for a floating prefabricated roadway or causeway using U.S. pontoons. These, he explained, could be towed behind the LSTs to the invasion beaches; when the LST grounded, the causeways’ forward momentum would drive them ashore. Once in place, they could be secured to LST ramps so that vehicles could drive off the ship and up to the beach in the dry.
While some of his staff doubted the idea, Mountbatten saw the viability of Hussey’s proposal. He ordered the captain to Washington to press for construction of a prototype and operational trials between the Army’s treadway bridge and a causeway composed of naval landing pontoons. Mountbatten wired Husky’s overall commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, to explain the problem of the beach slopes and the critical importance of Hussey’s mission. The matter required expediency if all the necessary equipment were to arrive in time for the operation’s planned D-day, 10 July.11
Unfortunately, on arrival in Washington on 4 March, Hussey found no effort under way for conducting trials. He met with Royal Navy Admiral Percy Noble and Field Marshal John Dill of the British Joint Staff Mission to emphasize the urgent need for action, which included shipping the equipment on outbound LSTs within three weeks, else Husky would need to be canceled. The senior British officers agreed to bring the matter before the Combined Chiefs of Staff. On 8 March, Hussey met with Rear Admiral Charles Cooke, Assistant Chief of Staff (Plans) to Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations. Cooke angrily refused Hussey’s request for trials on the grounds he had never even heard of such pontoon equipment. He expressed skepticism of its usefulness and doubted whether any of it was needed for the invasion. Hussey recommended Cooke telephone Captain Laycock at BuDocks, who could help explain the pontoon equipment to him.12
During the subsequent call, Laycock assured the admiral that the Navy had plenty of pontoons to spare. He recommended Cooke and Hussey meet with him. Together with Rear Admiral William Purnell, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Materiel, the group watched a film of the pontoon equipment being assembled into three basic structures. Cooke asked Laycock if Hussey’s proposal could work, to which the CEC officer replied it could. The rear admiral then authorized construction of a prototype but refused a trial on grounds he had no LSTs to spare.
Undaunted, Hussey secured LSTs the following day after meeting with Rear Admiral Alan Kirk, Commander, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet. Kirk had served in London as the U.S. naval attaché from 1939 to 1941 and had previously worked with Hussey. This past connection aided the British captain as he explained the trial problem in detail to friendly, receptive ears. Kirk agreed to lend two LSTs for the trials and placed Lieutenant Commander William F. Royall, his officer in charge of research and development, under orders to command the ships and work with Hussey to carry out the trials.13
With the matter seemingly resolved, Hussey learned that same day, 9 March, of yet more problems. The Navy evidently resented the Army using the pontoons, i.e., Navy equipment, and informed the latter that its treadway bridges were not required for the trials. Hussey managed to defuse the situation after informing British Major General Richard McCreery, who met with Lieutenant General Brehon B. Somervell, commanding the U.S. Army Service Forces, of the criticality of the trials.14
Admiral Noble wrote to Admiral King as well, contending that since there appeared to be an insufficient quantity of naval landing pontoon equipment then available in the United States, “it seems likely that the solution may well be a combination” of the Navy pontoons with Army treadway bridges. “From every point of view, it seems that the two systems should be tried out at the same place,” explained Noble, adding, “I should be most grateful if you would use your good offices to allow the Army equipment to be tried at the same time and place as the pontoon equipment.”15 The Navy’s opposition ceased.
Bridging the Gap Trials
As Hussey navigated bureaucracy, Laycock and BuDocks worked to turn his plan into reality. Hussey explained to Laycock his idea for a massive 350-foot-long pontoon barge to bridge the ship-to-shore gap. Time and the existing pontoon material, however, made this barge impractical, as the present maximum length of a pontoon string was 105 feet. Recognizing the difficulties of stringing together four 105-foot barges in rough seas, Laycock considered this ill-advised and an impossible seamanship problem. Instead, he offered a compromise. Laycock designed a 2-pontoon-wide, 30-pontoon-long, 175-foot-long causeway. Two of these structures, overlapped in a manner akin to a slide rule, could safely extend 325 feet.
When Hussey arrived at BuDock’s Advance Base Proving Ground at Davisville, Rhode Island, on 12 March, work was under way on assembling the causeways. Laycock could not attend the trials personally but telephoned construction instructions to the proving ground director, Commander Harold M. Sylvester, CEC, placing him at Hussey’s disposal to work out all details.16
On 18 March, Hussey’s trial commenced in the waters of Narragansett Bay. LST-348 approached the shore carrying two M7 105-mm self-propelled howitzers and towing alongside two 175-foot pontoon causeway sections connected end to end. On board were a causeway crew of 20 Seabees, a warrant officer, and a CEC officer. Just prior to the LST grounding after dropping her anchor, the causeway was slipped and forward momentum drove it up on the beach. Within eight minutes, the Seabees had maneuvered the overlapped causeway sections into alignment with the LST bow ramp, flooded the individual pontoons, and anchored the causeway on the seafloor. The first M7 idled on the beach 16½ minutes after the LST grounded.
For the next trial, LST-349 approached the shore and grounded. Four officers and 36 soldiers from the Army Corps of Engineers began to unload a treadway bridge and assemble the span until it stretched 360 feet from LST to shore. After 45 minutes, the two M7s from the first test were able to drive over the bridge and into the LST. The demonstration convinced senior planners that amphibious landings could work with either system, but the naval landing pontoons proved the superior design for the task at hand. The following day the Navy Department agreed to supply pontoon equipment for the Sicily invasion.17
Within weeks of the trials, the pontoons arrived in North Africa together with two specialized Seabee units, the 1005th and 1006th Construction Battalion Detachments (CBDs). CBD 1005 commenced assembling pontoons and pontoon causeways, with three shifts working 24 hours a day. CBD 1006 engaged in training and experimenting with the causeways to perfect launching and beaching procedures. Observing the training, Rear Admiral Richard L. Conolly, Commander, Landing Craft and Bases, Northwest African Waters, suggested carrying the causeways on the sides of LSTs out of the water rather than towing them. Navy engineers subsequently worked out a means to side-carry and launch the causeways prior to landing, eliminating 1.5 knots in speed lost to towing and saving considerable time landing invasion forces.18
In the early morning hours of 10 July 1943, the amphibious invasion of Sicily commenced. Ten LSTs side-carried causeway sections while six more of the sections were towed to the U.S. Seventh Army’s Gulf of Gela assault beaches. All arrived without incident, each manned by platoons of two officers and 34 enlisted men drawn from the 54th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) and CBDs 1005 and 1006. Despite five-foot seas, which compounded problems aligning the causeways with the LSTs, and Luftwaffe attacks, the pontoon causeways worked brilliantly. Over 23 days, more than 10,000 supply-laden vehicles were driven ashore along the spans.19 Later that month, Conolly wrote to Moreell, declaring, “It is my opinion that the HUSKY Operation could not have been accomplished so successfully without the pontoon causeway.”20
The success of the causeways in the Sicilian invasion ensured the use of the pontoon technology in almost every successive amphibious operation in the European and Pacific theaters. Within weeks of the landings at Sicily, Laycock and Hussey began refining the causeway design to produce massive lighterage barges for the invasion of Normandy. In the Pacific, demand for pontoons grew so great that BuDocks established pontoon detachments specifically to assemble knocked-down pontoons at a rate of 1,800 per month.21
Past Lessons in Partnership and Empowerment
The naval landing pontoon teaches the critical importance of building—and maintaining—alliances and partnerships. The pontoon causeway may have remained unrealized without partnering between navies to overcome a mutual problem. At a key juncture in the causeway development, a prewar interpersonal relationship between Kirk and Hussey provided the LSTs critical for the trials. As a fitting acknowledgment of the value of partnership, Laycock went on record to declare Hussey a “co-parent” of the pontoon causeway, “responsible for the birth of a new and potent element of amphibious warfare.”22
Alliances between navies reinforce the necessity for studying and understanding respective technologies and capabilities. Even after a year of war, Laycock’s invention remained foreign to some members of his own Navy’s leadership. The Royal Navy only knew of BuDocks’ pontoon technology thanks to Hussey’s visit to Narragansett Bay on the eve of Pearl Harbor. Fortuitously, a small group of officers merged British ideas with U.S. technology to produce a tactical triumph at Sicily and a strategic asset in the global war against the Axis.
Laycock’s and Hussey’s actions demonstrate the value of empowering individuals and trusting their abilities in both navies. As BuDocks’ chief, Rear Admiral Moreell knew of Laycock’s creative talents and lingering health issues in the form of severe headaches, partial deafness, and facial pain. He brought him to Washington, ostensibly to a War Plans position “less strenuous and with less responsibility” than his post as a public works officer at a navy yard.23 In addressing the technical and creative challenges for War Plan Orange’s advanced bases, Moreell encouraged Laycock’s initiative and perseverance to blossom.24
When Mountbatten helmed Combined Operations, Hussey found himself serving with a friend he had known since 1917. As former destroyer commanders, both men shared mutual experience and respect. When Hussey provided Mountbatten with a problem as well as detailed solutions, the admiral trusted his subordinate’s judgment and empowered him to execute his ideas, confident the captain could navigate the turbulent waters populated with senior Allied admirals and generals.25
Outside of the Seabee community, military historians and analysts largely do not celebrate, or are not even aware of, this deceptively humble and unglamorous steel box. But its war record demonstrates what a reliable system designed with manufacturing and logistical capacity in mind can accomplish. Innovation of the pontoon causeway came from a small coalition of U.S. and British naval professionals able to identify a problem and a workable solution. Such creativity magnified the pontoon’s value, thanks to its rugged simplicity and flexibility.
1. William Bradford Huie, “Slickest Trick of the War,” Legislative and Information Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks (hereafter BuDocks), Navy Dept, 29 April 1944, U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Archives, Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, CA (hereafter SMA).
2. BuDocks, Biographical File, “Captain John Noble Laycock, (CEC), USN, Retired,” 29 January 1947; Charles Matthews, “John Laycock, CEC, USN: Patron of the Pontoon,” Navy Civil Engineer (August 1968): 9; John N. Laycock to Helen R. Fairbanks, 24 October 1960; Charles Matthews, untitled draft for article about John Laycock, 26 April 1967, 2-6, SMA.
3. Edward S. Miller, War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897–1945 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1991), 3–5, 27–37, 180–2, 210; John T. Kuehn, Agents of Innovation: The General Board and the Design of the Fleet That Defeated the Japanese Navy (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008), 125–43.
4. “Notes on the Development of Pontoon Gear (Based on Interview with Capt. Laycock—May 24, 1944”; “Interview with Captain Laycock—May 11, 12, 13, 1944,” SMA; Navy Dept, Building the Navy’s Bases in World War II: History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps, 1940–1946, vol. 1 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1947), 157.
5. “Notes on the Development of Pontoon Gear”; Navy Dept., Building Bases, vol. 1, 157–58.
6. “Notes on the Development of Pontoon Gear”; “The Navy Landing Pontoon,” 20 February 1958, SMA; BuDocks, N.L. Equipment—Assembly Manual for Pontoon Gear, Revised (Washington, DC: Navy Dept., August 1942), i; Navy Dept., Building Bases, vol. 1, 158; Navy Dept., Building the Navy’s Bases in World War II: History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps, 1940–1946, vol. 2 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1947), 61–74; Lewis B. Combs, “Innovation of Amphibious Warfare,” The Military Engineer 36, no. 220 (February 1944): 46.
7. History of the Combined Operations Organisation, 1940–1945 (London: Amphibious Warfare Headquarters, 1956), 31, 151–56, 204–5; Roger Keyes, memorandum No. D.2, subject: Director of Combined Operations, Organisation of Departments and Bases, 6 September 1940; Roger Keyes to Second Sea Lord, 21 November 1940; Thomas A. Hussey to Adviser on Combined Operations, War Cabinet Annexe, memorandum, subject: Appointment of Army Officers to C.O.D.C., 4 November 1941, DEFE 2/813, DCO B-3-6, National Archives, Kew, London, United Kingdom (hereafter NA-Kew).
8. Combined Operations, 156; Loben E. H. Maund, Assault from the Sea (London: Methuen and Co. Ltd., 1949), 82–83; Guy Hartcup, The Challenge of War: Britain’s Scientific and Engineering Contributions to World War II (New York: Taplinger, 1970), 214, 220; Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors (RCAI), Claim of CAPT T. A. Hussey, First Day, 12 March 1951, 6–7, T 166/10, No. T.102-2 (hereafter Claim of CAPT Hussey); Chief of Combined Operations to Engineer in Chief, War Office, subject: United States Naval Pontoon Landing Equipment, 24 July 1942, DEFE 2/794, DCO B8-2, NA-Kew.
9. Hussey’s title changed in May 1943 to Director of Experiments and Operational Requirements. Combined Operations, 160.
10. Claim of CAPT Hussey, 11–12; Minutes of Meeting Held at C.O.H.Q. on 12 December 1942 to Discuss Equipment for Bridging the Water Gap Between the Ramps of L.S.T. Mks. I and II and the Shore, on Flat Beaches, 15 December 1942; Statement by VADM Earl Mountbatten, K.G., etc., T166/126/5; cable, commanding officer, HMS Bachaquero to Secretary of the Admiralty, December 23, 1942, WO 203-2992, NA-Kew; War Department, Technical Manual 5-272: Steel Treadway Bridge Equipage (Washington, DC: GPO, 10 July 1942), 1.
11. Claim of CAPT Hussey, 13–14; Louis Mountbatten to Thomas A. Hussey, naval cypher T.O.O. 1808/24/2, 24 February 1943; Louis Mountbatten to Dwight D. Eisenhower, memorandum S.R. 1057/43, 26 February 1943 and attachment, “Memorandum on the Possible Methods of Disembarking A.F.V. and M.T. from L.S.T. on Flat Beaches,” 23 February 1943, DEFE 2/1007, SR-1057-43, NA-Kew.
12. Claim of CAPT Hussey, 14–15; Extract from War Diary, 6 April 1943, Bridging the Gap, DEFE 2/1507, CO 287M/47, NA-Kew.
13. David Kohnen, “Persistent—Alan Goodrich Kirk (1888–1963),” in Nineteen-Gun Salute: Case Studies of Operational, Strategic, and Diplomatic Naval Leadership during the 20th and Early 21st Centuries, ed. John B. Hattendorf and Bruce A. Elleman (Newport, RI: Naval War College Press, 2010), 77–78, 83–84; Claim of CAPT Hussey, 14–16; statement by William F. Royall regarding the development of N.L. pontoons as causeways to bridge the water gap between grounded L.S.T. and the beach, 17 November 1948, SMA.
14. John Knox to Louis Mountbatten, memorandum, subject: Unloading L.S.T. on Shallow Beaches, 9 March 1943, DEFE 2/1007, SR-1057-43, NA-Kew.
15. Percy Noble to Ernest J. King, 105/43, 8 March 1943, DEFE 2/1007, SR-1057-43, NA-Kew.
16. “The Navy Landing Pontoon,” 20 February 1958; John N. Laycock, “To Whom It May Concern: Pontoon Causeways in Sicilian Invasion,” undated (1949); John N. Laycock, “To Whom It May Concern: Long Pontoon Causeways and Rhino Ferries,” 20 September 1949, SMA; Bernard Fergusson, The Watery Maze: The Story of Combined Operations (New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1961), 232; Claim of CAPT Hussey, 15–16.
17. John N. Laycock, “Pontoon Causeways in Sicilian Invasion”; William B. Huie, Can Do! The Story of the Seabees (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 109–12; Matthews, “Patron of the Pontoon,” 11; John C. Niedermair, Reminiscences of John C. Niedermair, oral history by John T. Mason Jr. (Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute, 1978), 235–36; Claim of CAPT Hussey, 16; John Knox to Louis Mountbatten, 24 March 1943; document, “L.S.T. Demonstration at Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, 18 March 1943—Bridging the Gap,” DEFE 2/1130, CR-36-46; Godfrey E. Wildman-Lushington to Secretary to the First Sea Lord with attachment, 16 April 1943, DEFE 2/1129, CR-36-46; Extract from War Diary, 6 April 1943, Bridging the Gap, NA-Kew.
18. Navy Dept., Building Bases, vol. 2, 80; memorandum from A. C. Church to Ben Moreell, memorandum, subject: Report to the Bureau from March 23, 1943 to June 1, 1943, 7 June 1943; T. J. Davey to John J. Manning, memorandum, subject: Captain T. A. Hussey, CBE, R.N. (Ret.), 18 April 1949; CBD 1005 Historical Information packet; CBD 1006 Historical Information packet, SMA; Huie, Can Do!, 112–13.
19. Navy Dept., Building Bases, vol. 2, 85–87; Huie, Can Do!, 112–13; Henry K. Hewitt, Action Report—Western Naval Task Force: The Sicilian Campaign, Operation “Husky” July–August, 1943, 51, 101; Samuel Eliot Morison, Sicily—Salerno—Anzio, January 1943—June 1944 (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1954), 105–11.
20. R. L. Conolly to Ben Moreell, memorandum, subject: Performance of Pontoon Causeways, 27 July 1943, DEFE 2/1130, CR-36–46, NA-Kew.
21. Navy Dept., Building Bases, vol. 1, 131, 154–55.
22. John N. Laycock, “To Whom It May Concern: Pontoon Causeways in Sicilian Invasion,” undated (1949), SMA.
23. Charles Matthews, “John Laycock, CEC, USN: Patron of the Pontoon,” Navy Civil Engineer (August 1968): 9; Charles Matthews, untitled draft for article about John Laycock, 26 April 1967, 2-6, SMA.
24. Ben Moreell to Randall Jacobs, memorandum, subject: Distinguished Service Medal— Recommendation for the award of, to Laycock, John Noble, Captain, (CEC) U.S.N., 17 January 1943, SMA.
25. Adrian Smith, Mountbatten: Apprentice War Lord (London: I.B. Tauris, 2010), 187–88; John Knox to Louis Mountbatten, “Unloading L.S.T. on Shallow Beaches,” 9 March 1943, DEFE 2/1007, SR-1057-43, NA-Kew.