Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine propulsion machinery ordered on 15th November
1940 from Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Laid down on 22nd
September 1042 at the same time as sister ships RINALDO, and ROSARIO. The ship
was launched on 30th April 1943 as the fourth RN ship to carry this name,
introduced in 1794 for a Floating Battery built at Deptford which was sold in
1810. A Torpedo Gunboat built by HM Dockyard, Devonport in 1889 and converted
for use as a minesweeper in 1909 was the last ship to bear this name and was
sold in 1920. This minesweeper was completed on 20th August 1943.and had been
adopted by the civil community of Stalybridge, Cheshire after a successful
WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign held in March 1942.
B a t t l e H
o n o u r s
SOUTH FRANCE 1944
H e r a l d i c
D a t a
Badge: On a field Blue the reverse of a spade guinea
D e t a i l s o f W a r S e r v i c e
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Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 4 3
August Contractors trials and
commissioned for service in 19th Minesweeping Flotilla
20th Build completion and commenced
On completion took
passage to Tobermory to work-up for operational service.
September Deployed in Firth of Forth based at Port
Edgar for minesweeping training.
October Passage to Kyle of Lochalsh to
join ships of Flotilla for minesweeping and Flotilla
operations with HM
Minesweepers RINALDO, BRAVE, WATERWITCH and ROSARIO
forming the 19th
November Nominated for foreign service with
ships of Flotilla and took passage from Clyde to
Part of escort with ships of Flotilla, for
Convoy KX12 during passage from Milford Haven
comprised two mercantiles and eight smaller minesweepers and a coal
burning trawler which
limited speed of convoy to 6 knots and produced sufficient
be a constant source of danger !)
December Detached from Flotilla and nominated
for convoy escort duties in Western Mediterranean..
. (Note: HMS RINALDO,
HMS BRAVE and HMS WATERWITCH sailed for Malta.)
Passage to Algiers
On arrival taken in
hand for machinery repair.
1 9 4 4
January On completion of repair work took
passage to Malta to rejoin Flotilla.
17th Involved in collision with trawler
during arrival in Malta and sustained damage.
prevented the ship taking part in minesweeping support of the landings
(Operation SHINGLE) with other ships of the Flotilla.)
February On completion of repair deployed
for minesweeping off Malta.
(Note: Other ships
in Flotilla deployed at Anzio returned to Malta.)
March Malta deployment in
April Nominated for minesweeping
duties off west coast of Italy with 12th Minesweeping
(Note: Ships of
19th Flotilla were detached during March and relieved periodically.)
Minesweepers ARIES, ANTARES and ARCTURUS, of this Class, built in
had joined Flotilla in Malta and
transferred for this purpose.)
Deployed for minesweeping off Malta
5th Passage to Naples for detached
service with 12th Minesweeping Flotilla.
Relieved HMS BRAVE
and HMS WATERWITCH in detached minesweeping
duty off west coast
May Detached service at Naples
with HMS ROSARIO in continuation.
(Note: HMS ROSARIO
had joined on 26th April.)
rejoin Flotilla and took passage to Maddalena.
June Deployed for minesweeping
operations with Flotilla in Strait of Bonifacio.
(Note: When German
forces left Sardinia they had laid mines indiscriminately and
these waters were to be cleared before
planned landing operations
South France were commenced.)
Lost anchor and
cable in Aranci Bay.
16th Deployed with Flotilla to carry
out minesweep in advance of ships on passage to carry
out landings on
island of Elba (Operation BRASSARD). 40 mines were swept.
clearance enabled bombardment of shore positions to be carried out by
River Gunboats APHIS, COCKCHAFER and SCARAB.)
On release from
BRASSARD took passage with Flotilla to resume minesweeping
operations off west
coast of Italy.
July Deployed with Flotilla in
joint minesweeping operations off Civitavecchia to clear a
channel north of
Cape Corso (Operation LOBSTER)
(Note: Ships of 12th
and 13th Minesweeping Flotilla also took part.)
18th On completion of LOBSTER continued
west coast deployment for clearance of
August Returned to Naples with ships
of Flotilla to prepare for planned allied landings in
(Operation DRAGOON formerly ANVIL)
(Note: Royal Navy
ships were under overall command of Vice Admiral HK Hewett
US Navy. This ship was
allocated to DELTA Attack Force under command of
Admiral Rodgers, US Navy to whom Commander CH Corbet-Singleton,
Navy as Senior Officer 19th Minesweeping Flotilla in HMS RINALDO
12th Deployed with HM Minesweepers
RINALDO, ANTARES, ARCTURUS, ROSARIO,
BRAVE and five US
Navy Patrol Craft as escort for military convoy SF2A (DELTA)
during passage to
comprised three Landing Ships (Infantry).)
13th Called at Ajaccio with SF2A
14th Sailed with convoy from Ajaccio as
escort to St Tropez for landings.
15th Detached from escort with ships of
Flotilla to carry out minesweep in advance of
assault convoy. No
mines were swept.
On completion of
swept channel work cleared area to be used for naval gunfire support.
(Note: Ships assigned to DELTA area for gunfire support included:
US battleships USS TEXAS
and USS NEVADA, US cruiser
PHILADELPHIA, French Cruisers GEORGES LEYGUES and MONTCALM)
(For details of
Operation DRAGOON See INVASION OF THE
FRANCE (HMSO) and
ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett).
18th Transferred from command of Task
Force Commander to Task Group 80.12 ton carry
out programme of
19th Deployed for minesweeping off assault
area with ships of Task Unit.
(Note: During this
period mine clearance was carried out to enable ports at Toulon and
Marseilles to be used. Both
German and French mines had been laid in these
22nd Entered harbour at Porquello Island and
accepted surrender of German garrison after
which the island
was taken over by forces from US cruiser USS OMAHA.
24th Minesweeping with Flotilla to
clear entrance to ports of Toulon and Marseilles
September Task Unit minesweeping
operations deployment in continuation.
Extensive mining had been carried out by Germany and France during
period before DRAGOON.)
4th Flotilla released from service
with US Navy and took passage to Malta.
15th Resumed service under RN
administration after R&R Period
ships of Flotilla were then deployed at Taranto for minesweeping and
October Deployed with Flotilla for
minesweeping in Gulf of Taranto.
2nd Detached with HMS RINALDO and HMS
BRAVE for minesweeping at Ancona
on NE coast of
Adriatic south of Rimini.
12th Deployed off Ancona during which
many mines were encountered and dealt with.
November Transferred to carry out mine
clearance off Split.
11th Deployed with HMS RINALDO, HMS
ARCTURUS, HMS ANTARES and
HMS BRAVE in
advance of HM Cruiser DELHI to clear passage through islands
off Split. On
completion based at Split for further mine clearance and night interception
prevent enemy minelaying or other E- Boat activities.
one patrol ship opened fire against suspected ship target but none was
sighted when starshell round fired from main armament.)
December Completed clearance of mines at eastern end
of channel into Split.
(Note: In nine
weeks the Flotilla swept 214 mines including 15 moored Magnetic
mines and some new German type OBOE which were designed to explode
when surfacing after being cut from mooring wire, thus inflicting damage
Returned to Ancona for Xmas.
1 9 4 5
January Adriatic deployment in
to Took part in Operation
ANTAGONIZE III for mine clearance in southern Adriatic.
March (Note: During this operation HMS ANTARES
struck a mine and had to be withdrawn
from Flotilla for repair. Her replacement HMS FANCY joined in March.)
April Minesweeping in Channel
towards Taranto in continuation.
Arrived at Ancona on completion.
ships of Flotilla for joint operation to
provide clear passage for shipping
Adriatic to Trieste and Genoa.
nominated for clearance of passage to Trieste.)
1st Commenced sweep with Flotilla.
12th Entrance to Trieste cleared. 77
mine were swept.
returned individually to Ancona for R&R during this operation.)
in Northern Adriatic with HM Minesweepers ARIES, ARCTURUS, FANCY
ROSARIO to widen existing swept channel into Porto
this period minesweeping was assisted by US dirigibles which
provided surveillance ahead of the minesweepers.)
ARCTURUS detonated a mine and withdrawn for repair to major damage.
mines were cut and 27 exploded in sweeps in last week.
July Deployed for minesweeping
at Trieste with Flotilla
(Note: HMS ARIES
exploded a mine caught in the sweep which caused
damage to the stern structure with four fatal casualties
P o s t W a r
N o t e s
HMS SPANKER remained in the
Mediterranean area for mine clearance in the Adriatic and later was deployed off Malta and in the
Aegean until returning to UK in May 1946
with ships of the Flotilla. After giving leave she was
transferred to Cuxhaven, Germany for local mine clearance until December when
she went Port Edgar, near Rosyth for minesweeping training. Paid-off in
December 1947 she was laid-up at Port
Edgar until placed on the Sales List and sold to Belgium in 1952. After a refit
in Hull between June 1952
and February 1953 she was renamed DE
BROUWER on 25th February and served in the Royal Belgian
Navy until 1963 when removed from the Active List. The ship was sold and
broken-up in Ghent in
For more about Algerine-class Minesweepers, see