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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMS READY (J 223) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

HMS Onyx, sister-ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine propulsion machinery ordered on 15th November 1940 from Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Laid down on 14th April 1942 at the same time as sister ship RATTLER (Later LOYALTY) this ship was launched on 11th January  1943. She was the fifth RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1797 for a 12 gun vessel purchased at Leith and last borne by a destroyer built in 1916 and sold in 1926. Build of this ship was completed on 21st May and she was adopted by the civil community of Ilminster, Somerset after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign held in February 1942.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s 


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a field Blue, two flintlock pistols in saltire proper, cocked.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search



1 9 4 3


May                  Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 18th Minesweeping Flotilla.

                          (Note: This was the second Minesweeping Flotilla comprised of ALGERINE

                                     Class ships to be formed.)

      21st             Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                          On completion took passage to Tobermory for work-up and preparation for

                          operational minesweeping duties.


June                  After Work-up took passage to Port Edgar to carry out minesweeping training.

                          Commenced minesweeping training in Forth area.


July                    Deployed with HM Minesweepers HOUND, HYDRA and LOYALTY in Lyme Bay.

                           (Note: These ships were part of the 18th Flotilla and detached for this duty in English Channel.)


August              Deployed with HM Minesweepers ONYX, HOUND, HYDRA, LOYALTY,

                           COCKATRICE and newly joined HMS RATTLESNAKE for special

                           minesweeping operation in English Channel (Operation STARKEY)

                           (Note: This operation also included 9th Minesweeping Flotilla and was intended to

                                       draw attention of enemy aircraft which would then be vulnerable to attacks

                                        by RAF aircraft who were providing air cover.)


September         On release from STARKEY which proved unsuccessful returned to Harwich to resume

                          mine clearance in North Sea with Flotilla to ensure clear passage for East Coast convoys.

                           (Note: During Channel deployment the Flotilla came under shore fire from coastal

                                       batteries at Cape Gris Nez which damaged HMS HYDRA causing casualties and

                                       damage necessitating dockyard repair.)


October              North Sea deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

                           Nominated for duty in Home Fleet with Flotilla.


November          Passage from Harwich to Scapa Flow.

      12th               Sailed from Scapa Flow for detached service in Iceland with HM Minesweepers

                            HYDRA, HOUND and COCKATRICE.

       15th              Carried out patrol to intercept U-Boats on passage to and from Atlantic.


December            Transferred from Home Fleet to Orkney and Shetland Command for Local Escort

                              of convoys in NW Approaches and anti-submarine patrol duties.

                              Took part in anti-submarine search operations and carried out patrol between Faeroes

                              and Iceland (Operation SF)


1 9 4 4


January                 NW Approaches deployment in continuation.

       7th                  Deployed for Local Escort of Russian Convoy RA55B with HM Minesweeper

                              ORESTES of Flotilla, during final stage of passage from North Russia. HMS HYDRA

                              of Flotilla.

                              (Note: HM Destroyers WHITEHALL, WESTCOTT, HM Sloop CYGNET, HM

                                          Corvette OXLIP and HM Minesweeper SEAGULL were also part of Local

                                          Escort in NW Approaches.)

       8th                  Detached from RA55B with Local Escort on arrival at Loch Ewe.

                              Joined Russian Convoy JW56A with HMS ORESTES, HM Corvettes BORAGE,

                              WALLFLOWER, POPPY, DIANELLA and HM Destroyer INCONSTANT as escort

                              for initial stage of passage from Loch Ewe to North Russia.

      18th                 Arrived in Akureri, Iceland for shelter with JW56Aafter delay on passage due to

                              extreme weather conditions on 15th.

      21st                 Took passage from Akureri with escort for JW56A

      22nd                Detached from JW56A escort with HMS ORESTES and returned to Iceland.

                              For details of all Russian Convoy operations with names of merchant ships and

                              escorts, see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by

                              B Schoefield, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman, CONVOY ! by P Kemp

                              and the Naval Staff History.)

                              Passage to Loch Ewe.


February               Deployed in NW Approaches.

        9th                 Deployed with HM Destroyer WRESTLER, HM Corvettes BORAGE,

                              HONEYSUCKLE, WALLFLOWER ,HM Minesweepers COCKATRICE, LOYALTY

                              and RATTLESNAKE as Western Local Escort for return Convoy RA56 for final part of

                              passage  into Loch Ewe from North Russia.

         11th              Detached from RA56 with escort on arrival at Loch Ewe.



          8th               Joined return Convoy RA57 with HM Minesweepers HYDRA, LOYALTY, ONYX and

                              ORESTES as Local Escort for final part of passage into Loch Ewe from North Russia.

         10th              Detached from RA57 with Local Escort on arrival at Loch Ewe.

                              On release from duties in NW Approaches returned to rejoin ships of Flotilla at



April                     Carried out essential repairs and routine maintenance following deployment away

                              from base, Leave granted to personnel.

                              Nominated for minesweeping support of planned allied landings in Normandy

                              (Operation NEPTUNE)


May                       On resuming Flotilla duties joined Force G of Eastern Task Force.

                              Participation in preparatory exercises with Flotilla and ships of Force G prior to

                              Operation to be confirmed.

                             (Note: These included Exercise FABIUS II and a Defence exercise including all

                                           Forces C, G and J which were to be deployed for NEPTUNE

                              Deployed in Solent with Flotilla to prepare for assault phase minesweeping.

                              Allocated for clearance of Channel No 6 with HM Minesweepers READY (SO),

                              COCKATRICE, HOUND, HYDRA, LOYALTY, RATTLESNAKE and ORESTES of



June                       Deployed in Solent.

       4th                  Operation delayed by 24 hours.

       5th                  Took passage for clearance of Channel 6.

                               (Note: Four Danlayers and two Motor Launches were also attached to the Flotilla

                                            to assist in marking of the swept Channel.

       6th                   On completion of the sweep of Channel 6 deployed off beachhead for minesweeping to

                               ensure safety of anchorage for unloading.

       7th                   Remained in Assault area for minesweeping.

                               (For details of naval activities before and during Operation NEPTUNE see

                               OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards and LANDINGS IN NORMANDY June

                               1944 (HMSO).

                               In addition the Flotilla was deployed to provide a protective ring around the assault

                               area which included night patrols to intercept enemy interference.

     20th                   Under defect repair.

                               On completion of NEPTUNE rejoined Flotilla for Channel minesweeping in

                               Normandy area following completion of NEPTUNE.

                               (Note: Extensive minelaying was being carried out by midget submarine as well by

                                           other surface ships and aircraft. Mines laid included magnetic and acoustic.


July                        Flotilla Channel minesweeping and interception patrol duties in continuation.

                               (Note: During this period HM Minesweeper PYLADES on loan to Flotilla was

                                           sunk by torpedo from a midget submarine.)


August                   Channel deployment in continuation.

     22nd                  During passage in Channel carrying out minesweep continued operation with HM

                               Minesweepers HOUND, HYDRA and RATTLESNAKE when HMS LOYALTY

                               detached after sweep gear parted.

                               (Note: After recovering sweep gear HMS LOYALTY was torpedoed by U480 and

                                           sank with the loss of 19 of her shipís company including her captain.)


September              Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping operations of Le Havre.


October                  On release from Channel duties took passage to Harwich where ships of Flotilla

                               detached for various duties in Channel area were to re-assemble.

                               Prepared for minesweeping support of planned attack at Walcheren. Holland.

                               (Operation CINDERELLA)

                               (Note: HM Minesweeper TANGANYIKA had joined Flotilla after completion

                                            of minesweeping trials and replaced HMS LOYALTY.



       1st                   Deployed with Flotilla to provide clear area required for bombarding ships to

                               naval gunfire support during landings at Walcheren for CINDERELLA.

                               (Note: Bombarding ships were HM Battleship WARSPITE, HM Monitors

                                           EREBUS and ROBERTS.

      10th                        Deployed off Ostend with HM Minesweepers ONYX, ORESTES, HYDRA,

                                     TANGANYIKA, HYDRA and COCKATRICE of Flotilla.

                                     (Note: HMS HYDRA detonated a mine during this operation and sustained

                                                  major damage. Although towed back to Sheerness the ship was

                                                  declared a Total Constructive Loss and never repaired.)


December                     Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping of coast of Belgium and Holland.

                                     (Note: Military convoys and other shipping were carrying out support of

                                                  the allied forces in Europe, using ports which were available..

                                     Extensive minelaying was being carried out by submarines and surface

                                     craft to interfere with this traffic. See Naval Staff History and

                                     HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith.)


1 9 4 5


January                         Minesweeping duties with Flotilla to ensure clear passage for convoys to

to May.                         European ports in continuation. During this period operations were frequently

                                      affected by adverse weather including fog.

                                      (Note: Particular attention was paid to clearance of mines to ensure safe entry into

                                                  Hamburg and Cuxhaven.)


June                               Remained in Channel and southern North Sea for mine clearance.

to August


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS READY remained with the Flotilla after the end of hostilities and deployed for mine clearance off the East Coast of UK before being sent to join Plymouth Command for similar duties in SW Approaches and the Bristol Channel. In March 1947 she was transferred to the 3rd Minesweeping Flotilla based at Port Edgar on the Forth and deployed for equipment trials until being Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status at Chatham in 1948. Whilst in Reserve she was placed on the Sales List and sold in 1951 for service in the Belgian Navy. Refitted by JS White at Cowes she was renamed JAN VAN HAVERBEKE and served with remained on the Active List for 10 years and on 7th March that 1961 sold for breaking-up at Bruges and arrived at the breakerís yard during August that year.



For more about Algerine-class Minesweepers, see



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