HALCYON-Class Minesweeper ordered from HM Dockyard
Devonport on 11 August 1937 and laid down on 1st January 1938 and launched on 23rd August that year. She was the 7th RN warship to carry this name which had been
introduced for a Brig Sloop captured at Copenhagen in September 1807. The last to carry the name was a
Gunboat built in 1899 and sold in 1920 for mercantile use. Build was completed on 24th August 1939 and during WW2 this ship was adopted by the civil community of Clowne, Derbyshire after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National
Savings campaign in February 1942.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
ARCTIC 1942 - NORMANDY 1944
H e r a l
d i c D a t a
On a field barry wavy of six white and blue a
Gold overall a net Black
e t a i l s o
f W a r S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 3 9
August Contractors trials.
War Station nominated as North Sea.
Commissioned for service in 1st Minesweeping
Flotilla and prepared for
24th Build completion and commenced Acceptance trials at
September On completion of trials and storing joined HM Minesweepers
BRAMBLE, HAZARD, HEBE, SHARPSHOOTER, SPEEDY and
SEAGULL in 1st Minesweeping Flotilla at Scapa
Deployed for minesweeping operations to ensure
clear passage for Home
Fleet ships in and out of Fleet anchorage.
October Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.
November Transferred with Flotilla to Clyde for continuation of
(Note: This transfer was made after sinking of
HM Battleship ROYAL OAK
at Scapa Flow when Home Fleet major ships were also moved to west
coast of Scotland pending the improvement of
at the main Fleet anchorages. See ENGAGE THE
CLOSELY by C Barnett and the Naval Staff
Deployed at Greenock.
December 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 above references.)
1 9 4 0
January Transferred with Flotilla for Atlantic convoy defence
based at Stornoway.
Deployed for escort of convoys during passage to
February Atlantic convoy defence in continuation.
March Passage to Leith for refit
(Note: Sister ship HMS BRAMBLE was also
refitted at Leith in this period,)
April Under refit
to (Note: NOT deployed for support of evacuation of
allied troops from Dunkirk
May (Operation DYNAMO.)
June On completion of post refit trials rejoined Flotilla
at Scapa Flow.
Deployed for mine clearance operations with
Flotilla to ensure safe passage
of Home Fleet ships.
July Scapa Flow deployment in continuation.
1 9 4 1
January Scapa Flow duties with Flotilla in continuation.
to Nominated for transfer to Harwich.
March Passage to Harwich and deployed with HMS BRAMBLE, HMS
and HMS SHARPSHOOTER for minesweeping of convoy
routes in Nore
Command to ensure safe passage of east coast and
15th Under air attack during minesweeping operations off
Rye, Sussex and hit by
bomb which exploded near Wardroom killing all
Damage sustained did not prevent passage under
own steam to Portsmouth
escorted by HMS SHARPSHOOTER.
April Under repair at Portsmouth
June On completion resumed operational detached service
with HMS HAZARD
to and HMS BRAMBLE as part of 3rd Escort Group.
August Deployed for Local Escort of Atlantic convoys based at
(Note: When not required for escort and
anti-submarine patrol carried out
minesweeping as required by Local Command.
Nominated for detached service in North Russia
for minesweeping operations
to ensure safe passage of Russian convoys to and
(Note: HM Minesweepers GOSSAMER, LEDA and
HUSSAR were also
nominated and the four HALYCONs were to join HM
HALCYON, HARRIER and SALAMANDER already at
September Prepared for arctic service and took passage to
29th Joined escort for Russian convoy PQ1 with HM Cruiser
GOSSAMER, LEDA and SALAMANDER.
11th Arrived at Archangel with PQ1 and commenced deployed
in North Russia.
(Note: For details of all Russian Convoy
operations with names of the
mercantiles and the escorts see CONVOYS TO
RUSSIA by RA
Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield,
by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
November Deployed in North Russia for minesweeping operations in
Barents Sea to
to ensure safe passage of traffic in and out of
Archangel and Murmansk.
1 9 4 2
January North Russian deployment
7th Joined inward joint
Russian convoy PQ9/10 as Local Escort with HMS
10th Detached from PQ9/10
on arrival at Murmansk.
13th Joined return convoy
QP7 for Local Escort during passage in Barents Sea
15th Detached from QP7 and
returned to Murmansk with HMS SHARPSHOOTER.
March North Russian deployment
return to UK
21st Joined Ocean Escort for return convoy
QP9 at Kola Inlet with HMS
3rd Detached from QP9 on arrival at Rekjavik and took
passage for return to UK.
Taken in hand for refit and for leave after
May Under refit during which Radar Type 271 was fitted.
(Note: For details of development and use of
radar by RN see RADAR AT
SEA by D Howse.)
June On completion of post refit trials took passage to
Iceland to resume duties in
27th Joined escort for Russian Convoy PQ17 at
with HMS HALCYON
and HMS SALAMANDER.
(Note: Ocean Escort for PQ17 included HM
Auxiliary AA Ships POZARICA
and PALOMARES, HM Destroyers FURY, KEPPEL,
LEDBURY, OFFA and WILTON, four Corvettes and
Cover was provided by ships of Home Fleet )
4th Convoy ordered to scatter by Admiralty in view of
presumed threat of attack
by German battleships TIRPITZ, SCHARNHORST and
(Note: For details of this ill-judged and
disastrous decision see the above
references and THE CONVOY IS TO SCATTER by J
5th Deployed with other smaller escorts in search for
Passage to Novaya Zembla with six mercantiles
Under air attacks.
11th Arrived at Archangel escorting some of ships from
PQ17 formed into convoy
and survivors rescued from sea or small boats.
Resumed minesweeping duties in Barents Sea.
August North Russian deployment in continuation.
13th Part of Local Escort for return convoy QP14 with HM
HALCYON, HAZARD and SALAMANDER.
(Note: This convoy was taking some of the
survivors from PQ17 to UK
and had a particularly strong Ocean Escort
provided by Home Fleet.
See references for details including loss of HM
and HM Minesweeper LEDA.)
18th Joined two Soviet destroyers in escort of inward
Russian convoy PQ18 in
Barents see with Local Escort of QP14.
Under air attacks.
20th Detached from PQ18 on arrival and resumed local
minesweeping and patrol
October North Russian deployment in continuation.
17th Deployed with HM Minesweepers HALCYON, HAZARD,
and SHARPSHOOTER as Local Escort from Archangel
during passage in
Barents of Convoy QP15 to Loch Ewe.
20th Detached from QP15 and returned to Archangel with Local Escort.
December North Russia deployment in continuation.
1 9 4 3
January Nominated for escort of Russian Convoy JW52 and took
passage to join
this inward convoy at Loch Ewe.
17th Deployed with HM Corvettes LOTUS and STARWORT and
as part of Ocean Escort for JW52 from Loch Ewe.
(Note: Fighting Escort of seven Home Fleet
destroyers joined on 21st and
Distant Cover was provided by Home Fleet. See
24th Under air attacks which were ineffective.
27th Detached from JW52 on arrival at Kola Inlet and
resumed Local Duties in
February Deployed in North Russia for minesweeping and patrol
26th Joined inward Russian convoy JW53 as Local Escort
for passage to Kola
Inlet with five Soviet destroyers.
27th Detached from JW53 and resumed local duties.
March North Russian deployment in continuation.
(Note: Russian convoys from UK were suspended
due to need for escorts
to defend Atlantic traffic. See above
April Deployed for minesweeping and patrol in North
17th Deployed with HM Fleet Minesweeper JASON as escort
during passage of Russian icebreakers
during passage from White Sea to Kara Sea..
22nd Detached with HMS JASON from icebreakers on arrival
in Kara Sea and returned to Kola Inlet
July North Russian deployment in continuation.
to In this period, whilst minesweeping off Cape Artica came under air attack and
hit by two bombs
September that were deflected off deck without exploding.
(Note: Other minesweepers in North Russia were
HALCYON, GOSSAMER and SHARPSHOOTER.)
October Nominated for return to UK with HMS JASON.
Prepared for return passage.
1st Joined return Convoy RA54A at Kola Inlet as part
of Ocean Escort with
JASON, HM Norwegian Corvette SOROY and nine Home
which had made independent passage from UK for
this duty. Cover was
provided by Home Fleet. See references.)
14th Detached from RA54 on arrival at Loch Ewe after
Taken in hand for refit and leave for ship’s
December Under refit.
1 9 4 4
January Nominated for service with newly formed 1st
(Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM
GLEANER, HALCYON, HUSSAR, JASON, SALAMANDER,
SEAGULL and SPEEDWELL.)
On completion of trials carried out work-up
February Deployed for exercises, minesweeping and patrol in North
Sea with Flotilla.
to Nominated for minesweeping support during planned
allied landings in
March Normandy (Operation
April Took passage to Portsmouth to join Force S.
May Nominated with Flotilla for mine clearance of
approach Channels to the
beach head anchorage areas.
(Note: Three Motor Launches and four
Isles-Class Danlayers were
attached to Flotilla for this specialised
Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of
Force S (Exercise
FABIUS and carried out night sweeping exercises
For details of naval activities before and
during landings see LANDINGS
IN NORMANDY JUNE 1944 and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards.
June Deployed at Portsmouth for briefing and preparations
of Channel 9 in advance of Assault convoys.
4th Operation delayed by 24 hours.
5th Sailed from Solent to commence Channel clearance.
No mines cleared or exploded.
6th On completion deployed for mine sweeping of
8th Deployed for widening approach Channels and defence
Eastern Task Force landing areas.
Carried out Channel convoy escort as required.
July Channel minesweeping and convoy defence in
(Note: Under threat of attack by E-Boats and
August Channel deployment in continuation off Arromanches with
Minesweepers HARRIER, JASON, HUSSAR, GLEANER and
22nd Transferred to Le Havre area for mine sweeping
operation in anchorage
selected for bombardment of enemy positions by
WARSPITE, HM Monitors EREBUS and ROBERTS.
23rd Under shore fire during minesweeping operations.
26th Permission to remain in area instead of taking
passage back to Arromanches
approved in order to complete clearance.
27th During final clearance came under rocket attacks by
aircraft in which ship was hit and sank after
(Note: HMS HUSSAR was also hit and sunk, with
major damage in
SALAMANDER which lost stern structure and later
declared a Total
HMS JASON and two trawlers were also hit.
For Details see OUT SWEEPS by Lund and Ludlam,
FOE by P Kemp and Naval Staff History.
This disaster was directly due to failure of
Flag Officer British
Assault Area to ensure that approval of extended
operation had been advised to all concerned with
by Bill Burn