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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS SPHINX (N 69) - Halcyon-class Minesweeper

HMS Hebe, sister ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

HALCYON-Class Minesweeper ordered from Hamilton, Port Glasgow  on 26th August 1937 with sister ship to be named HMS SPEEDY as part of the 3rd Group of this Class. Her turbine propulsion machinery was supplied by White at Cowes, IoW. The ship was laid down on 17thy January 1938 and launched on 7th February 1939 as the 6th RN warship to carry this name which had been introduced for a 6th Rate built at Rotherhithe in 1748, sold in 1770. Last used for a Paddle Vessel built at Woolwich in 1882 and sold in 1919 the Build was completed on 27th July 1939


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


CAPE OF GOOD HOPE 1795 - BURMA  1852-53 - BALTIC 1854 - CRIMEA 1854-55 - CHINA 1860


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge:  On a field Blue, a Sphinx Gols.


M a n n i n g   D i v i s i o n




1 9 3 9


July                         Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 5th Minesweeping Flotilla, Home Fleet.

                27th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.



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



August                  On completion of trials and storing carried out Minesweeping work-up .

                                Joined HM Minesweepers HALCYON, HARRIER, HUSSAR, LEDA, NIGER,

                                SALAMANDER, GOSSAMER, SKIPJACK and SPEEDWELL and SPHINX.

                                Nominated with Flotilla for minesweeping in Nore Command based at Dover.


September             Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping in southern North Sea and English Channel to ensure

to                            clear passage for coastal convoys.

December              (Note: Extensive enemy minelaying including magnetic mines was being carried out.

                                For details see THE TORPEDOMEN by EN Poland, HM MINESWEEPERS (HMSO),

                                ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and the Naval Staff History.)


1 9 4 0


January                  Transferred with Flotilla to Rosyth in continuation of North Sea duties.

                                (Note: HMS HALCYON and HMS HUSSAR remained at Grimsby as part of 4th Minesweeping



February                Deployed in Moray Firth with Flotilla for minesweeping.

                3rd          Under air attacks in snow storm 15 miles north of Kinnaird Head.

                                Hit by bomb which exploded in forward structure.

                                Sustained extensive damage causing flooding of both Boiler Rooms.

                                Attempted tow by HMS HARRIER failed due to weather conditions.

                2nd         Ship capsized and drifted ashore 2 miles North of Lybster.

                                (Note: 54 of the ships’ company lost their lives and survivors were rescued by ships of Flotilla.

                                This was the first loss of a Fleet Minesweeper during WW2.)

                                (Casualty List - note on casualties)


F i n a l   N o t e


This name was carried forward on 20th April 1941 when given to an Accommodation Camp at Alexandria, Egypt on commissioning for use by Mediterranean Fleet.





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revised 31/10/10
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