Minesweeper ordered from HM Dockyard
Devonport on 2nd March 1936 with sister
ship to be
named HMS HEBE. Turbine propulsion
machinery was to
be fitted. This ship was laid down on
8th June 1936 and was launched on 10th
December that year. She was
the 5th RN warship to carry this name
which had been introduced for a 16 gun
Gun Brig, built at Brightlingsea in
1802. The last was an S-Class Destroyer
built by Beardmore
in 1917 and sold in 1927.
Build was completed on 17th December
1937 and she commissioned for service
in the 1st Minesweeping Flotilla based
at Portland. During WW2 this ship was
adopted by the civil
of Penarth, Glamorgan after a successful
National Savings campaign in March 1942.
B a t t l
e H o n o u r s
COAST 1917 - DUNKIRK 1940 - ARCTIC
1941-43 - ATLANTIC
1942-44 - SICILY
e r a l d i c D a t a
a field Green a
silver bow and a golden arrow.
M o t t o
M a n n i n g
D i v i s i o n
S u m m a r y o
P r e - W a r S e r v i c
9 3 7
Contractors trials and commissioning for
service in 1st Minesweeping Flotilla.
Build completion and commenced
1 9 3 8
On completion of trials and storing took
passage to join Flotilla at Portland
Deployed at Portland for minesweeping
training and support of Anti-Submarine
and mine clearance research and
(Note: Deployment to meet Home Fleet
exercise and visits requirements would
have been carried out in accordance with
Home Fleet programme.
Prepared to take up war station during
Resumed normal service with Flotilla at
1 9 3 9
Portland deployment with Flotilla in
e t a i l s o f
W a r
S e r v i c e
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Carried out minesweeping trial in Lyme Bay with ships of Flotilla..
(Note: This field had been specially
laid to establish minesweeping
Took up War Station with Flotilla at
Other ships in Flotilla were HM
Minesweepers BRAMBLE, BRITOMART, HAZARD,
HEBE, SEAGULL and SPEEDY
Deployed at Scapa Flow with Flotilla
(Note: Ships were engaged in ensuring
clear passages from Scapa Flow for Fleet
the gaps in East Coast Mine Barrier.)
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
ROYAL OAK at anchor in Scapa Flow by a torpedo from U47 which penetrated
Resumed North Sea Service to ensure
passages through East Coast Mine Barrier
clear of mines.
(Note: Extensive enemy minelaying using
magnetic mines was being carried
out in North Sea. See above references.)
Transferred to Stornoway for Atlantic
convoy escort duties with Flotilla.
East coast minesweeping in continuation
Sustained minor damage in collision with
1 9 4 0
Atlantic convoy defence in continuation
based at Stornoway
Deployed for escort of convoys during
passage to and from Canada.
Returned to Scapa Flow after anchorage made safe
Deployed at Scapa Flow with Flotilla for mine clearance in entrances and in
Transferred to 6th Minesweeping Flotilla
based at Dover and joined HM
HALCYON, HUSSAR, HARRIER, SKIPJACK, HEBE
and SPEEDWELL for
minesweeping duties in Dover Command.
Channel area minesweeping with Flotilla
including coastal shipping routes off
(Note: Ships of Flotilla came under air
attacks during these operations with HMS
HUSSAR and HMS HARRIER being badly
damaged by bomb hits on 15th
and 25th May.)
Pennant Number for visual signalling
purposes changed to J68.)
Joined HM Minesweepers NIGER, SALAMANDER, GOSSAMER, SKIPJACK, LEDA,
HALCYON, HEBE and SPEEDWELL. for support
of allied evacuation operations at
Dunkirk (Operation DYNAMO)
During evacuation of troops from Dunkirk sustained major
structural damage in collision
with Cross-Channel steamer ST HELIOL
after nightfall. Ship badly damaged
and taken in tow by tug FREMOST 22 to
position off Beaches.
Towed from Dunkirk to Dover for
After temporary repair took passage to
Sheerness escorted by HMS SALAMANDER.
Taken in for repair by HM Dockyard,
Transferred to Leith for repair
continuation and took passage.
Under repair at Leith
Transferred to Rosyth for completion of
Post Repair trials on completion or work
by HM Dockyard, Rosyth.
Resumed operational service with 1st
Minesweeping Flotilla. at Scapa Flow.
Fleet Minesweeping duties at Scapa Flow in continuation with HM Minesweepers
BRAMBLE, BRITOMART, SPEEDY, HAZARD,
SEAGULL and HEBE,
(Note: When not required for
minesweeping of passages used by major
carried out routine minesweeping in
North Sea and north of Scotland convoy
routes. HMS HAZARD and HMS HEBE detached
for refit during this period
Some ships of Flotilla were under air
1`9 4 1
Scapa Flow deployment in continuation
Transferred with Flotilla to Harwich for
clearance of convoy routes between
Sea and Solent to ensure safe passage.
Under air attack off Rye during which
HMS BRAMBLE was hit by a bomb whilst
recovering sweep gear and disabled. Bomb
hit forward structure and killed all
Escorted stricken ship to Portsmouth
when she was able to steam using one
Flotilla duties in Channel and North Sea in continuation.
(Note: Some ships of Flotilla were
transferred to Western Approaches
this period and deployed in NW
Approaches for Local Escort of Atlantic
Nominated for refit and took passage to
Cardiff for repair in commercial
Taken in hand for refit prior to service
in North Russia.
(Note: It is most unlikely that the ship
was “Arcticised” for service in North
during this refit.)
On completion of post refit trials and
shakedown took passage to Iceland to
Russian convoy PQ5 at Hvalfjord.
(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, CONVOY !
by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R
Sailed from Hvalfjord as escort for PQ5
with HMS HAZARD and HMS HEBE
during passage to Archangel.
Remained with PQ5 when HMS BRAMBLE and
HMS SEAGULL joined to
relieve HMS HAZARD and HMS HEBE.
(Note: HM Cruiser SHEFFIELD which had joined convoy on 1st December
also detached with the two minesweepers
and took independent passage
Detached from PQ5 on arrival at
Archangel without enemy interference.
Deployed for service in North Russia to
provide Local Escort of convoys and for
minesweeping to ensure clear passage for
convoys on entry and departure.
1 9 4 2
North Russia deployment in continuation
Provided Local Escort for Russian convoy
PQ8 into Murmansk with HMS HAZARD.
Detached from PQ8 on arrival at
(Note: HMS MATABELE, one of the Ocean
Escort was torpedoed and sunk
with heavy loss of life before arrival.
Joined return convoy QP7 with HMS
BRITOMART to relieve HMS HAZARD and
HMS SPEEDWELL as Local Escort during
part of initial stage of passage to
Detached from QP8 with HMS BRITOMART and
returned to Murmansk.
(Note: Ocean Escort was provided by HM
Destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID
covered by HM Cruiser NIGERIA.)
Deployed with HMS HARRIER, Russian
destroyers GREMYASCHI and GROMKI
as Local Escort for return convoy QP8
for passage from Murmansk.
Detached with HMS HARRIER and took
passage back to base.
(Note: Ocean Escort was provided by HMS
HAZARD and HMS SALAMANDER,
HM Corvettes OXLIP and SWEETBRIAR
covered by HMS NIGERIA and
units of Home Fleet deployed to counter
threat of attack by German battleship
TIRPITZ on this convoy and inward PQ12.
Deployed with HM Destroyer OFFA and HMS
BRITOMART as Ocean Escort for convoy
QP9 during passage to Iceland from Kola
Inlet covered by Home Fleet Fleet units.
(Note: HM Cruiser KENYA intended to join
on 22n February and carrying gold
from Russia to UK did not meet the
convoy as part of Ocean Escort.) Local
was provided by HM Minesweepers
GOSSAMER, HARRIER, HUSSAR,
SPEEDWELL and Russian destroyer
Sighted U655 on surfaced and carried out
Submarine turned over and sank without
survivors. See HITLER’S U – BOAT WAR by
C Blair and above references. Sustained
serious damage to forward structure.
Remained with QP9 as part of escort.
Detached from QP9 on arrival and
Reykjavik and took passage to UK
Taken in hand for repair at Leith.
Resumed operational service on
completion of post refit trials and
Deployed in Home waters
Nominated for escort of Russian convoy
PQ18 during passage to Murmansk and
further detached service in North
(Note: See above references for details
of the arrangements made for this
and provision of additional escorts.)
Joined HM Destroyers ACHATES, MALCOLM,
HM Auxiliary AA Ships ALYNBANK
and ULSTER QUEEN, HM Corvettes BERGAMOT,
BLUEBELL, BRYONY, CAMELLIA
and HM Minesweeper SHARPSHOOTER for
service as Close Escort for PQ18.
Passage to join PQ18.
Joined convoy and commenced service as
(Note: Air Cover was provided by HM
Escort Aircraft Carrier AVENGER screened
HM Destroyers WHEATLAND and WILTON with
a Fighting Escort comprising
HM Cruiser SCYLLA and 16 destroyers from
HM Destroyers MONTROSE and WALPOLE had
joined PQ18 escort on
HM Submarines P614 and P615 were also
deployed for defence of this convoy and
cruiser cover by HM Cruisers LONDON,
NORFOLK and SUFFOLK.
Home Fleet major warships provided
Under submarine attacks during which two
mercantiles were sunk.
Under air attacks during which six of
the mercantiles were sunk.
Under submarine attacks by U457 which
hit a mercantile, later abandoned and
Air attacks in continuation during which
another mercantile was sunk
(For details see references.)
Detached from PQ18 on arrival at
Archangel and commenced local duties in
North Russia Local Minesweeping
operations in continuation with detached
Deployed with HMS HALCYON and HAZARD for
minesweeping operations to ensure safe
passage of local convoys.
(Note: The operation was completed
successfully despite gale conditions and
Deployed with HMS BRITOMART, HALCYON and
HAZARD as Eastern Local Escort
for return convoy QP15.
Detached from QP15 and took independent
(Note: This ship is not recorded as part
of Ocean Escort which did include HMS
and further research is required.)
Sustained major structural damage in
collision south of Iceland.
Under temporary repair in Iceland (To be
Repair arranged at Hull in commercial
Passage to Hull
Taken in hand for repair in Hull
1 9 4 3
On completion of post repair trials
worked up for operational minesweeping
Deployed in Home waters for minesweeping
Nominated for foreign service with 12
Passage to Mediterranean as part of
escort for military convoy KMS14.
Joined Flotilla in Mediterranean and
deployed for minesweeping off North
coast to ensure safe passage for convoys
between Gibraltar and ports in Algeria
North African coastal duties in
Nominated for minesweeping support of
planned landings in Sicily (Operation
Preparation for Sicily landings
Passage to Sicily with Assault Convoys
Deployed with HMS HEBE and HAZARD for
mine sweeping in BARK WEST
beach head area prior to landings,
Remained in landings area for convoy
escort and patrol until 16th
Took passage to Malta on release from
Deployed in central Mediterranean for
minesweeping operations and convoy
(Note: This period included defence of
convoys to Adriatic.)
1 9 4 4
Central Mediterranean deployment in
Sustained structural damage after
collision with HM Auxiliary LAURANA.
(Note: This vessel was a captured
Italian prize used as a patrol vessel..)
Remained in operational use.
Transferred to 49th Escort Group and
deployed in Eastern Mediterranean for
convoy defence based at Alexandria
Damaged by explosion of GNAT torpedo.
(Note: No details of this incident can
be traced. It is not recorded in any
of U-Boat attacks. To be investigated.)
Taken in hand for repair in Haifa.
On completion of repair and refit
resumed duties with Group.
Convoy defence with Group in
Nominated for return to UK.
Joined military convoy MKS42 and took passage from
Alexandria to UK
as part of escort.
Detached from MKS42 on arrival in UK and joined
1st Minesweeping Squadron
for minesweeping operations in English
(Note: Flotilla also comprised HM
Minesweepers HARRIER, HALCYON,
SPEEDWELL, GLEANER, HAZARD, JASON and
HMS BRITOMART and HMS HUSSAR had been
on 27th August when attacked by RAF
aircraft. See FRIEND OR
FOE by P Kemp.)
Deployed off Belgian and French coasts.
Nominated for repair and took passage to
Taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Chatham
Under repair at Lowestoft
On completion resumed operational
service with Flotilla and deployed for
minesweeping and convoy defence in Nore
1 9 4 5
Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping
in North Sea to ensure safe passage of
to ports in re-occupied Europe and North
(Note: During this period extensive
minelaying was being carried out by
aircraft, submersibles and coastal
warships, mainly to disrupt military
convoys to French and Belgian ports.)
Nominated for post war deployment as a
On release from operations to be
Paid-off and de-stored prior to
u m m a r y o f
P o s t W
a r S e r v i c e
Released from Flotilla and Paid-off at
Taken in hand for conversion to Survey
Vessel by HM Dockyard, Chatham.
1 9 4 6
Acceptance Trials and re-commissioned
Prepared for Survey duties
Work-up for survey deployment.
Involved in collision with mv FEALTIE in
Woolwich Reach. holed above
waterline and subsequently collided with
Taken in hand for repair locally.
Resumed work-up in Home waters
Nominated for survey in Far East and took passage to Singapore.
Deployed for Hydrographic duties based
at Singapore on arrival.
1 9 4 7
Far East survey in continuation.
Sustained damage in collision with mv
CELEBES during survey work,
Taken in hand for repair.
Resumed survey work.
1 9 4 8
On release from duty took passage from
Singapore to re-commission.
Paid off and under refit prior to
resuming survey duties.
Re-commissioned for service in Homed
Waters for Hydrographic deployment
Pennant Number for visual signalling
purposes changed to A310.
Deployed for survey duties in Home
1 9 4
o 1 9 5 2
Home Waters survey duties in
(Note: Based at Lowestoft during this period for North Sea
Re-commissioned for further Home waters
1 9 5 3
Under repair by HM Dockyard, Chatham
Home Waters survey duty in continuation
(Note: Carried out surveys of west coast
To be renamed HMS SHACKLETON
Attendance at Coronation Review to be
Re-commissioned as HMS SHACKLETON in
of Home Waters deployment.
Home waters deployment in continuation
1 9 5
4 t o
1 9 5 7
Deployed for surveying duties in western
Home waters coastal areas
1 9 5 8
West coast UK deployment in
Grounded during survey in Bristol
Resumed survey work in Bristol Channel
after replacement of
1 9 5 9
West coast UK survey work in
Diverted from survey work to carry out
search for an RAF VICTOR Bomber
aircraft which crashed in the Bristol
(Note: 25 square miles of the area were
search and when the wreckage was
located the site was combed by 11
trawlers charted by the Government
in order to recover parts. Over 70% were
found and sent to the Royal
Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough
Resumed survey work in Irish Sea.
1 9 6 0
Completion of survey in Irish Sea and Bristol Channel.
Nominated for refit prior to reduction
to Reserve Status.
(Note: New Survey Ships had been built
with latest electronic
equipment designed for Hydrographic
1 9 6 1
Under refit by HM Dockyard, Devonport,
Carried out post refit trials prior to
reduction to Reserve.
Completed de-storing and removal of
Accepted into Reserve Fleet and laid-up
i n a l P h a s e
SHACKLETON laid-up at
Devonport until placed on the Disposal
List in 1965. The ship was sold to BISCO
on 3rd November 1965 for breaking-up at
Troon by the West of Scotland
Shipbreaking Co. Ltd. On 20th
November that year she arrived in tow at
the breakers yard to terminate her 28
years of naval service as a minesweeper
during WW2 and as Survey Ship in