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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

M-CLASS  COASTAL  MONITORS - M.29. M.31 and M.33 extant in World War 2

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HM M.27 in North Russia in 1919 (collection of Yeoman of Signals George Smith, click to enlarge) return to Contents List    
 

M-CLASS  COASTAL  MONITORS

 

 

 

A series of fourteen ships was ordered in 1915 for use in supporting operations ashore and were smaller versions of the larger Monitors. These ships displaced only 540 tons compared with the larger EREBUS Class of 7,000 tons ordered a few weeks later in 1915. Their armament was smaller compared with the 15 guns fitted in the EREBUS Class and those built during WW2. As their draught was less they could operate in shallow waters near the coast which proved especially suitable for their deployments during and after WW1. Some of this Class were converted for use a Coastal Minelayers after 1921.

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Particulars

Displacement Tonnage

540 (M15 to M28), 535 (M29 to M33)

Dimensions

170 Feet Length x 31 feet Beam x 6 feet Draught.

Machinery

Reciprocating Engines 400HP

Speed

10 Knots

Armament

1 x 9.2 and 1 x 3 (M15 to M22 and M28)

 

1 x 7.5 and 2 x 3 (M23 to M25)

 

1 x 7.5, 1 x 3 and 1 12 pdr. (M26)

 

1 x 4.7, 2 x 3 (M27)

 

2 x 6 and 1 x 6 pdr (M29 to M33)

Complement

52.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Builders

Grey

M15 to M18

Raylton Dixon

M19 to M28.

Harland & Wolff, Belfast

M29 to M31

Workman Clark Ltd., Belfast

M32 and M33 (Sub-contracted to Harland and Wolff.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disposal

M15

Sunk by UC38 off Gaza, 11th November 1917

M16 to M20

Sold for mercantile use in January 1920

  M21 Mined and sank off Dover 20th October 1918

M22

Served as a Coastal Minelayer after 1925 as HMS MEDEA. Lost on passage to shipbreaker near Padstow on 22nd January 1939.

M23

Renamed CLAVERHOUSE in 1922 and sold for breaking-up in 1959.

M24

Sold for mercantile use in 1920 and later sunk in as a Blockship in West Indies in 1936.

M25

Blown-up on 16th September 1919 in Dvina River to avoid capture

M26

Sold for mercantile use in January 1920

M27

As M25

M28

Sunk by German Cruiser GOEBEN off Imbros on 20th January 1918.

M29 *

Sold for breaking-up on 9th September 1946 after service as a Coastal Minelayer renamed MEDUSA in 1925 and as a Depot Ship renamed TALBOT between 1940 and 1943 and then MEDWAY II in 1944.

M30

Sunk by shore batteries in Gulf of Smyrna on 13th May 1916.

M31 *

Sold for breaking-up in 1947 after service as a Coastal Minelayer, renamed. MELPOMENE in 1925 and then MENELAUS when used training ship at Devonport during WW2.

M32

Sold for mercantile use in January 1920.

M33 *

Placed on Disposal List in 1939 after conversion for use as a Coastal Minelayer and renamed MINERVA in 1925. Hulked in 1940 and retained in use as a workshop identified as C23. She is still in existence.

 

 

 

 

* - extant in World War 2

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

M.29*

 

 

 

H . M . M O N I T O R M.2 9

     

B a t t l e H o n o u r s

DARDANELLES

 

 

 

M-Class Coastal Monitor ordered on 15th March 1915 from Harland and Wolff at Belfast and laid down on 23rd March 1915 as Yard No. 485. The ship was launched on 22nd May 1915 and build was completed on 20th June 1915. She was deployed in the Mediterranean on completion of trials and remained there for support of military shore operations until the armistice in 1918 when she returned to UK and remained in commission. Following operational service in the White Sea in support of military operations by White Russian troops she paid off and was later selected for use as a Coastal Minelayer. On completion of the conversion she was placed in Reserve in Malta and renamed MEDUSA on 1st December 1925.

 

 

 

     

H . M . C O A S T A L M IN E L A Y E R M E D U S A  ( F 0 6 )

     

B a t t l e H o n o u r s

BUENOS AIRES 1807

 

 

 

H e r a l d i c D a t a

Badge: On a Field Black, Medusas head proper with snakes Gold.

(Note: The youngest of the Gorgons . A beautiful maiden transformed by Athena into a monster so hideous that all who looked upon her were turned to Stone. Later she was killed by Perseus.

 

 

 

M o t t o

Be warned

 

 

 

This name was first used in 1785 for a 4th Rate built at Plymouth, and lastly borne by a WW1 destroyer (Ex-Greek LEVSOS) purchased by the Admiralty in August 1914 during build. This MEDUSA was sunk in tow after colliding with HM Destroyer LAVEROCK during an operation off Schleswig on 25th March 1916. This coastal Minelayer was the 8th ship to carry the name and brought forward from Reserve for use as a Depot Ship for the 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta in 1941. She was then renamed TALBOT and given Pennant No F 06 as her visual signalling identity when the system was revised in May 1940.

 

 

 

     

H . M . D E P O T S H I P T A L B O T  ( F 0 6)

 

 

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

ARMADA 1588   NAVARINO 1827   SYRIA 1840   DARDANELLES 1915-16 *

(* Award to M29 to be confirmed)

     

Seventh ship to bear this name, first used in 1585 for a ship which later took part in the action against the Spanish Armada. It had last been used for a Cruiser built in 1895 and sold in 1920. Deployed in the Mediterranean this ship supported the 10th Submarine Flotilla in Malta and was damaged in an air raid in March 1942. After repair she was transferred to Beirut for support of the 1st Submarine Flotilla and to provide accommodation. She was again renamed. as MEDWAY II in 1944.whilst deployed at Beirut and retained her visual signalling identity..

     

 

 

 

H . M . D E P O T S H I P M E D W A Y II  (F 0 6 )

     

B a t t l e H o n o u r s

AIX 1758 - QUEBEC 1759 - GRENADA 1779 - MARTINIQUE 1780 - USHANT 1781 - DARDANELLES * (*Award to M29 to be confirmed.)

 

 

 

H e r a l d i c  D a t a

Badge: On a Field Silver, A lion Black upon a Field Red

 

 

 

M o t t o

In Medio Tutissimus: Midway (Medway) you will be safest."

 

 

 

She was the 11th ship to bear this name, introduced for a 4th Rate built at Sheerness in 1693 and last used for a Submarine Depot Ship built at Barrow in 1928 and sunk by U373 off Alexandria on 30th June 1942. This name was selected to continue its use for support of submarines in the Mediterranean and given to this ex-Coastal Minelayer on 1st June after completion of repair. Deployed initially at Beirut and later in Malta she was replaced by HM Minesweeper BAGSHOT in April 1945 and reverted to her previous identity of MEDUSA. On return to UK she paid off after VJ Day and was placed on the Disposal List. On 9th April 1946 she was sold to BISCO for demolition.

 

 

 

 


 

 

M.31*

 

 

 

     

H . M . M O N I T O R M.3 1

     

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

BELGIAN COAST 1915-18* - ZEEBRUGGE 1918*

 (* Awarded after WW1 as MELPOMENE)

 

 

 

M-Class Coastal Monitor ordered on 15th March 1915 from Harland and Wolff at Belfast and laid down in March 1915 as Yard No. 487. The ship was launched on 24th June 1915 and build was completed on 9th July 1915. On completion of trials she was deployed in the Mediterranean but had returned to UK by 1918 when she took part in the attack on ZEEBRUGGE. Deployment in support of White Russian military operations in North Russia during 1919 is to be confirmed. On release from operations in North Russia the ship was paid off and later selected for conversion to enable her use as a Coastal Minelayer after which on 1st December 1925 she was renamed MELPOMENE after the completion of conversion.

(Note: Deployment in the Mediterranean is to be confirmed. No Battle Honour for DARDANELLES is recorded in the official records available.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

H . M . C O A S T A L M I N E L A Y E R M E L P O M E NE  ( F 0 4 )

 

 

 

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

See M 31.

     

Seventh ship to carry the name which had been introduced in 1794 for 5th Rate captured at Calvi and last used by a destroyer (Ex-Greek SAMOS), purchased from Greece during build in August 1914 and sold in 1921. This monitor was deployed at Plymouth and used by the Torpedo School for training of personnel in minelaying equipment and procedures. By 1939 she had been nominated for disposal but this was not implemented because of the imminence of war with Germany. However her lack of AA armament did not allow use in minelay operations and there is no record of such deployment in 1939 or 1940. She may have been deployed for ant-invasion patrol duties in 1940. Pennant Number F04 was allocated in May 1940 when identities for Auxiliary Vessels were redesignated. She remained at Devonport for training duties throughout WW2 and was renamed MENELAUS in 1941. A 21 torpedo tube was fitted on the Focsle to be used for training of personnel. Paid-off after VJ Day she was placed on the Disposal List and sold to Cashmores in 1947 for demolition at Llanelli where she arrived in tow during January 1948

 

 

 


     
     

M.33*

 

 

 

     

H . M . M O N I T O R M I N E R V A M . 3 3  ( F 0 0 )

     

B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

QUIBERON 1759 - ST VINCENT 1797 - EGYPT 1801 - SUEZ CANAL 1915 - DARDANELLES 1915 - ATLANTIC 1940 *

(* This is possibly an error and may refer a Free French submarine)

 

 

H e r a l d i c D a t a

Badge: On a Field per fesse wavy Blue and White, an owl White.

(Note: The owl is one of the symbols of the Roman goddess of wisdom, identified with the Greek Athena.)

 

 

 

M-Class Coastal Monitor ordered on 15th March 1915 from Harland and Wolff at Belfast and build sub-contracted to Messrs Workman Clark Ltd of Belfast. She was laid down later that month as Yard No 489WS. Launched on 22nd May 1915 with sister M32. The 10th RN ship to carry the name, introduced in 1759 for a 5th Rate, it was last borne by a cruiser built in 1895, sold in 1920. Build was completed on 26th June 1915. This ship was deployed in the Mediterranean on completion of trials and remained there for support of military shore operations during which she gained two Battle Honours. After the armistice in November 1918 she returned to UK and remained in commission. Following operational service in the White Sea in support of military operations by White Russian troops she paid off and was later selected for use as a Coastal Minelayer. On completion she was placed in Reserve in Portsmouth and was renamed MINERVA on 1st December 1925 after completion. No record of operational or training use can be traced and a record shows the ships as being considered for disposal in 1939. This was not implemented and she was retained in use for training of personnel in minelaying procedures and allocated the Pennant No F00 in May 1940. Later she was discarded for RN use and deployed by Portsmouth Dockyard as a harbour tanker. Hulked in 1944 and identified as C23 this vessel was used as workshop facility for Boom Defence Vessels at Portsmouth and no longer treated as warship. She is still in existence and being preserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

P o s t W a r N o t e

 

This name was reintroduced for the Reserve Fleet Sub-division at Sheerness between 1946 and 1953. In 1964 is was given to a LEANDER Class Frigate launched at Barrow by Vickers-Armstrong.

 

 

 

 

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