Minesweeper ordered from HM Dockyard Devonport on 11 August
1937 with propulsion machinery to be supplied by
Barclay Curle. The ship was laid down
on 22nd November 1937 and launched on 12th July 1938. She was the 9th RN warship to
carry this name which had been introduced for a 14 gun Brig
Sloop captured at
Ostend in 1656 and later expended in the Medway against Dutch
warships. The last to carry the name
was a Drifter hired during WW1. Build was completed on
22nd June1939 and this ship was adopted by the civil
community of Aireborough,
West Yorkshire after a WARSHIP WEEK National Savings
campaign in March 1942.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
ARCTIC 1941 - 42
H e r a l d i c D a t
On a Field White, a Bramble, slipped and leaved Proper
M a n n i n g D i v i s i
D e t a i l s
o f W a r S e r v i
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 3 9
June Contractors trials. Commissioned for service in 1st
22nd Commenced Acceptance Trials.
July On completion of trials and storing took passage to
Portland to join HM
Fleet Minesweepers BRITOMART, HAZARD, HEBE,
SHARPSHOOTER and SPEEDY in 1st Minesweeping
August Carried out minesweeping trial in Lyme Bay with ships of
(Note: This field had been specially laid to
establish minesweeping capabilities.
50 mines were swept.)
Took passage to War Station with Flotilla at
Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping operations to ensure clear passage for
Home Fleet ships in and out of Fleet anchorage.
October Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.
14th Transferred to Clyde and cleared British deep
anti-submarine mine field off
(Note: Home Fleet units were moved to Clyde
area after the sinking of HM
Battleship ROYAL OAK at anchor in Scapa Flow by
a torpedo from U47
which penetrated the anchorage.)
November Resumed North Sea Service to ensure passages through East
Barrier were kept clear of mines.
(Note: Extensive enemy minelaying using
magnetic mines was being carried
out in North Sea. See ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY
by C Barnett.
December Transferred to
Stornoway for Atlantic convoy escort duties
1 9 4 0
January Returned to Scapa Flow for Fleet duties.
February Home Fleet mine clearance duties in continuation.
April Remained at Scapa Flow for Fleet duties with HMS HAZARD, HMS SPEEDY
HMS SEAGULL and HMS BRITOMART.
Nominated for refit at Leith with HMS BRITOMART
and took passage to Forth.
(Note: This ship did not take part in
operations to evacuate troops from Dunkirk)
May Under repair in commercial shipyard.
June On completion of refit and trials took passage to
resume Flotilla duties at Scapa
July Scapa Flow mine clearance in continuation with Flotilla.
1 9 4 1
January Flotilla duties at Scapa Flow in continuation.
to Nominated for minesweeping operations based at
February Passage to Harwich.
March Deployed with HM Fleet Minesweepers HEBE, BRITOMART and
SHARPSHOOTER at Harwich for mine clearance
the Thames Estuary and Portsmouth
Hit by bomb during air raid at Harwich.
April On completion of repair resumed mine clearance
operations with Flotilla
in English Channel.
Transferred to Western Approaches Command for
Atlantic convoy escort
and took passage with Flotilla to Stornoway.
(Note: This change was required because of the
shortage of escorts caused
by the losses and damage during 1940 during
and the increase in threat of U-Boat attacks on
convoys after bases
in French ports became available. See HITLER’S
by C Blair and U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC
May Attached to 3rd Escort Group and deployed with HM
HAZARD, BRITOMART and HEBE.
Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes
changed to J11 as part of
Total revision of these identities.)
June Atlantic convoy defence with 3rd Escort Group and
Irish Sea Escort Force
to in continuation.
September (Note: During periods when not required for escort these
were deployed for minesweeping in Western
October Nominated for detached service in North Russia.
(Note: Three HALCYON Class Fleet Minesweepers
had been transferred
to North Russia in August for minesweeping and
in the White Sea based at Archangel.). They were
during October by three others of this Class.
This ship had not be “articised” for service in
18th Joined escort for outward Russian Convoy PQ2 (Six
ships) with HMS
SEAGULL and SPEEDY and took passage to
Archangel. HM Destroyers
ECLIPSE and ICARUS were also deployed as escort
for PQ2 cover provided
by HM Cruiser NORFOLK.
29th HM Fleet Minesweepers GOSSAMER, HUSSAR and LEDA
as Local Escort during final stage of passage.
30th Detached from PQ2 with escort on arrival at
3rd Deployed with HMS LEDA and HMS SEAGULL as Local
outward convoy QP2 (12 ships) during initial
stage of passage to UK from
Archangel. HMS ECLIPSE and HMS ICARUS formed Ocean Escort
with cover by HMS NORFOLK.
5th Detached from QP2 with Local Escort and took return
passage to Archangel
For minesweeping and patrol duties.
20th Joined inward Convoy PQ3 (8 ships) with HMS SEAGULL
SPEEDY as Local Escort during final stage of
passage into Archangel.
Ocean Escort comprised HM Destroyers BEDOUIN and
by HM Cruiser KENYA.)
22nd Detached from PQ3 with escort on arrival and deployed
for local minesweeping
and patrol duties.
7th Joined inward Convoy PQ5 (7 ships) with HMS SEAGULL
as reliefs for the
Ocean Escort from Iceland, HM Fleet Minesweepers
HAZARD and HEBE
(Note: HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD had been deployed
as Cruiser cover since 1st
December and also detached on 7th.)
13th Detached from PQ5 on arrival at Archangel.
29th Deployed with HMS HEBE as Local Escort for outward
(13 ships) on departure from Archangel.
(Note: Ocean Escort comprised HMS LEDA, HMS
SPEEDY, HM Trawlers BUTE and STELLA CAPELLA.)
1 9 4 2
5th Detached from QP4 when HM Cruiser EDINBURGH, HM
ECHO and ESCAPADE joined Ocean Escort on 5th January during passage,)
10th Deployed at Archangel for local duties.
Nominated for return to UK ton be refitted and “Articised”.
25th Joined HM Cruiser
TRINIDAD and HM Destroyer SOMALI
in Ocean Escort
for outward Convoy QP6 (6 ships) with HMS HEBE
when HMS HARRIER
and HMS SPEEDWELL of Local Escort detached.)
27th Russian destroyers GREMYASCHI and SOKRUSHITELNY of
28th Took independent passage to Sunderland when QP6 dispersed.
February Taken in hand by commercial shipyard in Sunderland.
March Under refit.
10th Carried out post refit trials on completion of
Nominated for further service in North Russia.
(Note: Commanding Officer, Captain J H F
Crombie DSC, RN.)
Passage to Iceland to join Ocean Escort for
inward Convoy PQ15.
26th Sailed from Reykjavik with HMS SEAGULL and HMS LEDA as Senior
Officer for Ocean Escort with three trawlers for
inward Convoy PQ15
(26 ships) during the passage to Murmansk.
(Note: HM Escort Destroyer also joined as
escort for the oiler GRAY
RANGER and three trawlers were deployed for
28th HM AA Ship ULSTER QUEEN, HM Destroyers BADSWORTH,
BOADICEA, MATCHLESS, SOMALI, VENOMOUS and
ST ALBANS joined to supplement Ocean Escort during Arctic transit.
HM Submarine STURGEON was also deployed with
escort and HM Cruiser
NORFOLK provided cruiser cover.
30th HM Cruiser LONDON deployed for additional cover till
2nd HMS NIGERIA cover concluded.
(Note: Additional Distant Cover was provided by
ships of Home Fleet
which included US Navy ships. For full details
of all Russian
Convoy operations with names of warships and
See CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN
CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P Kemp and
ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.
HM Destroyer PUNJABI was sunk after collision
Battleship KING GEORGE V whilst deployed with
Distant Covering force.)
Convoy under heavy and sustained attacks by
submarines and aircraft
after sighting by reconnaissance aircraft. Three
mercantiles were lost.
Submarine contact by HMS SEAGULL and HMNorS ST
was attacked and later it was established that
this was the Polish
JASTRZAB which had been out of her allotted
patrol area and had been sunk.
3rd During further air attacks one mercantiles was hit
and damaged but
able to reach Murmansk.
(Note: 15 of the mercantiles in PQ15 were US
5th Detached from PQ15 with escort on arrival at
6th Deployed at Murmansk for local duties including
Guardship, patrol and local escort.
21st Joined outward Convoy QP12 with HM Fleet
GOSSAMER, SEAGULL, Soviet destroyers GROZNI and
SOKRUSHITELNY as Local Escort during initial
phase of passage from
(Note: Ocean Escort including HMS ULSTER QUEEN
and Home Fleet
ships from PQ15 together with HM Fleet
returning to UK for North Russian service.)
23rd Detached from QP12 with Local Escort and returned to
30th Joined inward Convoy PQ16 (29 ships) during passage
into Kola Inlet
with HM Fleet Minesweepers GOSSAMER and SEAGULL.
Detached with Fleet Minesweepers, HM Destroyer
MARNE and HM AA
Ship ALYNBANK as escort for six ships of PQ16
Under air attacks without casualties.
1st Detached from convoy with escort on arrival in
(Note: PQ16 was the largest convoy to North
Russia up to this
date and had sailed from Reykjavik with 26
2nd Resumed North Russia local duties.
10th Deployed with HMS HAZARD, HMS LEDA, HM Corvette
and two Russian destroyers after despatched from
Archangel to carry out
search for surviving ships and personnel from
inward Convoy PQ17 which
had been dispersed on orders from Admiralty
because of threat of attack by
German battleship TIRPITZ, armoured ships
ADMIRAL SHEER, LUTZOW
and cruiser ADMIRAL SCHEER. For details see
above references, Naval
Staff History and THE CONVOY IS TO SCATTER by J
(Note: By 24th June five ships from PQ17 had
been escorted into
Archangel.39 ships sailed with convoy from
Reykjavik and 24 were
lost during passage.)
26th Sailed from Archangel with HM Fleet Minesweepers
SEAGULL, Russian destroyers GROZNI, GREMYASCHI
as Local Escort for ships during passage to join
outward Convoy QP13
28th Detached on merger of mercantiles with ships from
Took return passage to Archangel with same
(Note: Ocean Escort included HM Fleet
Minesweepers NIGER and HUSSAR
returning from service in North Russia. HMS
NIGER was lost after
striking a mine in a British field off Iceland,
July Deployed for local duties in North Russia.
to (Note: No Russian convoys were sailed during July
and August after the
August disastrous passage of PQ17. See references.)
September Nominated for return to UK with HMS LEDA and SEAGULL.
13th Joined Ocean Escort for outward Convoy QP14 (20
ships) with HM
ALYNBANK, POZARICA, PALOMARES, HM
BLANKNEY, MIDDLETON, HM Corvettes DIANELLA, LA
(Free French), LOTUS, POPPY and four trawlers.
(Note: Local Escort from Archangel comprised HM
BRITOMART, HALCYON, HAZARD and SALAMANDER.)
17th Ocean Escort supplemented by HM Escort Aircraft
HM Cruiser SCYLLA, 16 destroyer and two
(Note: Ships in this convoy carried survivors
from PQ17 and Distant Cover
was provided by the Home Fleet.)
20th Under submarine attacks during which HMS LEDA was
sunk by U435 and
the mercantile SILVER SWORD (a PQ17 survivor)
sunk by U255
HM Destroyer SOMALI was damaged by a torpedo
from U703 and disabled.
24th HMS SOMALI sank whilst under tow by HM Destroyer
See above references.
26th Detached from QP14 with AA Ships and trawlers on
arrival at Loch Ewe.
Took independent passage..
27th Involved in collision and sustained significant
structural damage to hull.
Repair arranged in Humber
October Under repair in commercial shipyard in Humber.
November Under repair
30th Carried out post repair trials on completion of
December Nominated for further service in North Russia.
Prepared for service in Home waters.
22nd Joined inward Convoy JW51B with HM Corvettes
RHODODENDRON and two trawlers as Escort.
24th First German sighting.
25th HM Destroyers ACHATES, OBEDIENT, OBDURATE, ONSLOW,
ORIBI and ORWELL joined as Fighting Escort
during passage to
Passage delayed by weather conditions and some
27th Cruiser cover provided by HMS SHEFFIELD and HMS
with Distant cover from Home Fleet ships
including HM Battleship
30th Convoy under threat of attack by German armoured
Cruiser ADMIRAL HIPPER and destroyers which had
been sailed from
Altenfjiord after sighting report from U354.
31st Detached from escort to search for stragglers.
Returned toward JW51B after enemy report made by
after coming under fire from German ships.
Encountered ADMIRAL HIPPER with 11in main
destroyers which carried out attack.
Sustained immediate fatal damage and sank in
position 73,18N 30,06E
with no survivors.
note on casualties)
(Note: HMS HYDERABAD had sighted enemy ships
beforehand but made
no enemy report as the ships were believed to be
This delay may not have been significant but at
least would have
given earlier warning of the presence of the
by Bill Burn