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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

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

HMS RECRUIT (J 298) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

HMS Pickle, sister-ship (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine propulsion machinery ordered on 30th  April 1942 from Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Laid down on 24th April 1943 she was launched on 26th October 1943. The seventh major RN ship to carry this name introduced in 1806 for a Gun Brig. It was last used for a destroyer built in 1916 and lost in August 1917 after striking a mine in the North Sea. in July 1918. A Drifter hired during WW1 also carried this name when used as a Boom Defence Vessel between 1915 and 1915. The build of this minesweeper was completed on 14th January 1944.

 

  B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

MARTINIQUE 1809 - CRIMEA 1855 - BELGIAN COAST 1917 - NORMANDY 1944 - ATLANTIC 1945 - BURMA 1945

 

        H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field barry wavy of ten White and Blue.

a drum proper in front of two drumsticks in saltire Gold

 

 

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 4

 

January           Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 7th Minesweeping Flotilla.

      14th           Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

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

                        operational minesweeping duties.

 

February         After Work-up took passage to Port Edgar to carry out minesweeping

                         training prior to joining Flotilla.

                         Passage to Harwich to join HM Minesweepers PLUCKY, PELORUS,

                         and PICKLE with HM  Minesweepers LENNOX, LARNE, FANCY

                         and RIFLEMAN for operational minesweeping duties as 7th Flotilla.

 

March              Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping off Great Yarmouth to ensure

                         safe passage of North Sea coastal convoys.

                         Nominated for service in Force J for minesweeping support during planned

                         allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).

                         Involved in collision with HMS FANCY which had to withdrawn from

                         duty for repair.

April

        8th            Passage to Portsmouth with ships of Flotilla to join Force J in Solent.

      12th            Deployed for minesweeping off Portsmouth.

      20th            Deployed in Thames Estuary with Flotilla.

      29th            Returned to resume service with Force J at Portsmouth for exercises prior to

                         landings.

 

May                  Nominated with Flotilla for clearance of Channel 8 to beach head areas.

                         (Note: An Isles Class Danlayer, A Motor Minesweeper and three Motor

                                      Launches were allocated for duty with the Flotilla for laying of

                                      markers and to provide assistance during NEPTUNE.)

                         Deployed with Flotilla for exercises including nigh sweeping and major

                         exercise FABIUS III in Bracklesham Bay.

                         (Note: During FABIUS III Flotilla came under E-Boat attack.)

                         Returned to Solent ion completion to prepare for NEPTUNE.

                         For details of naval activities prior to and during NEPTUNE see LANDINGS

                         IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE

                         by K Edwards.

 

June

       4th             Operation delayed for 24 hours.

       5th             Sailed from Portsmouth with Flotilla for clearance of Channel 8 ahead of first

                         Assault convoys.

       6th             After arrival off JUNO Beach deployed for local minesweeping and for

                         widening approach Channels.

                         (Note: During Assault Phase continued minesweeping off Normandy and

                                      later during Build-up Phase was part of TROUT Defence Line for

                                      anti submarine patrol. Deployed for convoy escort and returned to

                                      Portsmouth for refuelling and replenishment.)

 

July                  Retained in Forward Area for minesweeping after termination of NEPTUNE.

      to                (Note: During this period enemy minelaying and torpedo attacks were carried

August                          in French coastal waters. See references and HOLD THE NARROW

                                      SEA by P Smith.)

 

September       On release from Channel duties transferred to Harwich for minesweeping in

                         Nore Command and escort of convoys to Scheldt area.

                         (Note: During final months of 1944 extensive enemy attacks were being made

                                      by midget submarines and E-Boats which both also were used for

                                      minelaying operations.

      17th            Deployed with Flotilla for Air Sea Rescue duties during Arnhem airborne

                         landings (Operation MARKET GARDEN)

 

October            Nore Command duties with Flotilla in continuation.

 

November       Transferred to Plymouth Command with Flotilla and took passage to

                         Falmouth for anti-submarine patrol duties.

                         (Note: SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boats were being deployed in SW Approaches

                                      at convoy focal areas and level of escort and patrol was increase to

                                      meet this threat.)

 

December         Nominated for foreign service with and taken in hand for refit

 

1 9 4 5

 

January            Under refit and on completion prepared for passage to Colombo to join the

                         East Indies Fleet for minesweeping duties during planned landings.

 

February          Passage to rejoin ships of Flotilla in Channel.

        17th          Deployed with HM Minesweepers PINCHER, RIFLEMAN and PLUCKY

                         as escort for convoy of Landing Ships (Tank) during passage from Falmouth

                         to Gibraltar.

        23rd          After detection of submarine by HMS PINCHER, both ships engaged the surfaced U-Boat

                         with main armament. Submarine identified as U300 scuttled and was abandoned by crew.

                         Four officers and 37 ratings were rescued.

                         (Note: U300 had been damaged in earlier attack on Convoy USG2. For

                                     details see U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp and HITLERíS

                                     U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)

                         Later landed rescued German survivors at Gibraltar.

 

March               Passage to Red Sea.

 

April                 Passage in Indian Ocean.

        14th          At Colombo with HM Minesweepers PLUCKY, PINCHER, CHAMELEON,

                         VESTAL, PICKLE (SO) and RIFLEMAN.

                         Took passage with Flotilla to Trincomalee to commence Fleet duties.

        24th             Deployed with Flotilla and Indian 37th Minesweeping Flotilla as Force 63

                            for minesweeping prior to planned landings in Rangoon.

                            (Operation BROOM, the minesweeping part of Operation DRACULA. to

                            capture Rangoon)

 

May

          1st             Carried out minesweeping off Rangoon during landing operations.

                            On release from DRACULA took passage to Trincomalee with Flotilla.

 

June                    Nominated for refit and took passage to South Africa with HMS PICKLE

                            and HMS CHAMELEON

 

July                     On completion of refit took passage to Colombo to resume Flotilla duties.

                           Nominated for minesweeping operations with Flotilla in support of planned

                            invasion of Malayan peninsular (Operation ZIPPER).

                            (Note: The execution of this operation was delayed at US insistence and

                                        administration problems in UK in respect of the return of service

                                        personnel from South East Asia Command.)

                            Took part in preparatory exercise with ships of 6th Minesweeping Flotilla

                            and 17th Minesweeping Flotilla (RIN).

                            (Note: In a special mine clearance operation off Phuket Island before return

                                         to operational duties, sister ships HMS SQUIRREL and HMS

                                         VESTAL of 7th Flotilla were lost after detonating mines.)

 

August                 Preparation for ZIPPER in continuation off Ceylon.

        15th              Sailed from Colombo with HM Minesweepers PLUCKY, RIFLEMAN

                             and PINCHER to join Force 155 comprised also of 6th Minesweeping

                             Flotilla and RIN minesweepers.

         30th             Carried out minesweeping operations to clear approaches to Penang prior

                              To entry of HMS NELSON, HM Cruisers CLEOPATRA and SUSSEX,

 

September

             4th            Deployed in Malacca Straits for mine clearance of entry into Singapore by

                              Eastern Fleet ships prior to formal surrender of Japanese forces in Malaya.

 

P o s t   W a r   N o t e s

 

HMS RECRUIT remained in the Far East with the Flotilla for minesweeping operations to ensure safe passage of shipping into ports in the area. After deployments off Penang, in the Banka Straits, off Malaya, Burma and North Borneo she returned to UK with the six original sister ships of the Flotilla in August 1946. Paid off in September she recommissioned in 1947 and during subsequent service was deployed in the Mediterranean for a year before return to UK to Pay-off. Taken out of Reserve in 1953 she again joined the 2nd Flotilla in Malta until nominated for reduction to Reserve Status. Laid-up at Barrow this ship was placed on the Disposal List in 1965 and sold to BISCO for breaking-up at Barrow by TW Ward. Demolition at Barrow began in September 1965.

 


 

For more about Algerine-class Minesweepers, see http://www.minesweepers.org.uk/index.htm

 

 

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