HALCYON-Class Minesweeper ordered from Ailsa
SB at Troon on
4th September 1936 with sister ship to be named HMS FRANKLIN as part of the 3rd
Group of this Class. Her turbine propulsion machinery was to be supplied John
I Thornycroft, Woolston.
The ship was laid down on 12th December 1936 and launched on 6th October 1937
as the 16th RN warship to carry this name which had been introduced for a Fireship purchased in 1673. The name is taken from Greek
mythology and was last used for an Armed Yacht hired in 1915. Build of this
ship was completed for use as a Survey Ship on 9th June 1938.but in November
that she was taken out of service and converted for use as a Fleet Minesweeper
by HM Dockyard Portsmouth. She was re-commissioned for deployment as a convoy
escort on 27th September 1939..After a successful
WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in December 1941 this ship was adopted
by the civil community of St Austell, Cornwall.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
1940 - NORTH SEA 1941-42 - ARCTIC 1943 - NORMANDY 1944
H e r
a l d i c D a
On a field Red, a golden
M a n n i n g D i v i s i o n
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
September Dockyard work completed
28th Commissioned at Portsmouth for service in 1st
Anti-submarine Striking Force.
October Completed Acceptance Trials and carried out
12th Sustained minor damage after grounding on Row Point.
November Deployed for convoy defence in Home waters with Force
1 9 4 0
January Transferred to 3rd Anti-submarine Striking Force for
service in Western Approaches Command.
to Deployed for convoy defence
July Pennant Number for visual signal purposes changed
to J99 as part of changes made to all those
used by RN warships after May 1940.
3rd Under repair at Belfast.
21st On completion of trials and shipyard work resumed
Convoy defence in NW Approaches.
28th Deployed with HM Corvette HIBISCUS for escort of
mercantile convoy during passage from
Clyde to Methil.
(Note: These 19 ships
had detached from inward
convoy HX66 for passage to east coast ports.)
30th Under attack by U32 and U28 during which four
mercantiles were sunk.
September Convoy defence in continuation
16th Sustained significant structural damage to stem in
collision with rescue tug SCHELDT.
20th Taken in hand for repair at HM Dockyard Rosyth.
23rd Resumed operational service on completion of
Deployed with Rosyth Escort Force for defence of
convoys to and from Clyde.
October Rosyth Force convoy escort in continuation
18th Deployed as part of escort for inward Convoy HX79 to
Liverpool during concentrated
U-Boat attacks during which 10 ships were sunk
For details see HITLER’S
U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.
(Note: Inward Convoy SC7 was also under attack
at this time.
The enemy attacks involving at least eight
submarines were one of the heaviest
made in 1940 )
November Rosyth deployment in continuation.
1 9 4 1
January Deployment with Rosyth Escort Force for convoy defence
21st Taken in hand for refit at Leith.
26th Resumed operational deployment at Rosyth on
completion of dockyard work and
September Convoy defence based at Rosyth in continuation
1 9 4 2
January Rosyth deployment in continuation
25th Under repair by HM Dockyard Rosyth
28th Resumed convoy defence duties at Rosyth
March Convoy defence based at Rosyth in continuation.
to Nominated for conversion for Fleet minesweeping
duty including “Arcticisation”.
August Released from Rosyth Escort Force
24th Taken in hand for conversion and refit by HM
September Conversion and refit.
24th During trials on completion of refit work retained
in dockyard for repairs
26th Under repair
1 9 4 3
5th Carried out sea trials on completion of repair.
On completion of trials deployed for
minesweeping trials and shakedown prior
to detached service in North Russia.
15th Joined Convoy JW53 with HM Fleet Minesweeper
HALCYON, HM Corvettes
BERGAMOT, POPPY and a Trawler. at Loch Ewe
part of escort during passage to Kola Inlet
(Note: This convoy experienced extreme weather
during passage and many mercantiles
had to return due to weather damage or defects.
HMS HALCYON detached and took passage to Iceland
19th Ocean escort of Fleet destroyers joined JW53.
20th HM Corvettes BLUEBELL and CAMELLIA joined JW53
26th Eastern Local Escort comprising HM Fleet Minesweeper
BRITOMART and five Soviet
destroyers joined .
27th Detached from JW53 on arrival and joined HM Fleet
HALCYON, HAZARD, GOSSAMER and SHARPSHOOTER for
and convoy defence in North Russia.
For details of all warships and mercantiles
involved in convoys to and from North Russia
see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN
CONVOYS by B Schoefield,
CONVOY! by P Kemp and THE RUSSIA CONVOYS by R
(Note: JW53 was last Russian convoy in the 1943
March North Russia deployment in continuation
17th Deployed with HM Fleet Minesweeper BRITOMART as
escort during passage of Russian
icebreakers during passage from White Sea to Kara Sea.
22nd Detached with HMS BRITOMART from icebreakers on
arrival in Kara Sea and returned to
July North Russia deployment in
to (Note: During service in North Russia these ships
were frequently under air attack
October during patrol and minesweeping . In one attack HMS
hit by two bombs which skidded along the upper
deck and fell overboard
Service on board and during limited shore leave
was far below standards
found during service in Home waters.
Nominated for return to UK
1st Joined Convoy RA54 with HMS BRITOMART in Kola
Inlet for escort during passage to
(Note: Other escort for return passage included
Home Fleet destroyers and a corvette..
14th Detached from RA54A on arrival in Home waters.
Passage to Portsmouth
22nd Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.
December Under refit
1 9 4 4
February Carried out harbour and sea trials.
Resumed service with 1st Flotilla.
Passage from Portsmouth to join ships of 15th
Minesweeping Flotilla in Cromarty
Firth for night minesweeping exercises.
28th Took passage from Cromarty Firth on completion and
sailed for Scapa Flow.
March Carried out anti-submarine exercises based at Scapa
Flow with HMS HARRIER, HMS
HUSSAR and HMS SPEEDWELL.
Nominated with ships of Flotilla for
minesweeping support during planned
allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).
9th On completion of anti-submarine exercises carried
out minesweeping exercises with other
ships of 1st Flotilla.
4th Under repair by HM Dockyard Rosyth.
10th On completion rejoined Flotilla.
Passage to Portsmouth from Scapa Flow with
Flotilla and called at North Shields and Harwich.
Joined Force S with ships of Flotilla.
May Nominated with Flotilla for mine clearance of
approach Channels to the beach head anchorage
(Note: Two minesweeping Motor Launches, one
Isles-Class Trawler and three trawlers
were attached to Flotilla for danlaying during
this specialised operation
Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of
Carried out night sweeping exercises with
For details of naval activities before and
during landings see LANDINGS IN
NORMANDY JUNE 1944 (HMSO), OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards
. and D-DAY SHIPS by J de Winser.
June Deployed at Portsmouth for briefing and preparations
for minesweeping of Channel 9 in
advance of Assault convoys.
4th Operation delayed by 24 hours.
5th Sailed from Solent to commence Channel 9 clearance.
No mines cleared or exploded.
6th On completion deployed for mine sweeping of
8th Deployed for widening approach Channels and defence
patrols off Eastern Task Force landing
17th Carried out Channel convoy escort as required.
18th Involved in collision and sustained significant
damage and flooding in forward structure.
Released from Force s and took passage to
20th Deployed at Portsmouth to await repair
July Under repair
14th Carried out trials after repair and resumed Flotilla
Deployed for minesweeping off Normandy for
minesweeping and patrol off Arromanches
with HM Minesweepers HARRIER, HUSSAR, BRITOMART
, GLEANER and
22nd Transferred to Le Havre area for mine sweeping
operation in anchorage
Selected for bombardment of enemy positions by
HM Battleship 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 Deployed as Senior Officer’s ship during final
clearance, came under rocket attacks by
RAF TYPHOON aircraft. Sustained major damage.
(Note: HMS BRITOMART and HMS HUSSAR were sunk, HMS SALAMANDER
damaged beyond economic repair
and two trawlers damaged..
details see OUT SWEEPS by Lund and Ludlam,
FRIEND OR 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 minesweeping operation
had been advised to all concerned
with air operations.)
Passage to Portsmouth
September Deployed at Portsmouth to await repair
9th Taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard
25th Carried out post refit trials on completion of
Resumed Flotilla duties
November Deployed with the Flotilla for minesweeping off coast of
to (Note: Ships returned to Ostend to anchor each
1 9 4 5
January Transferred to Harwich for mine clearance in southern
to (Note: Extensive minelaying
was being carried out by E-Boats and midget submarines
February to disrupt passage of military convoys to ports in
Belgium for support of
military operations. See HOLD THE NARROW SEA by P Smith.)
Returned to Downs anchorage overnight and every
10 days individual ships returned
Nominated for refit.
March Under refit at Thames commercial shipyard.
25th On completion of post refit trials rejoined Flotilla
May Southern North Sea minesweeping
to (Note: After VE Day Flotilla remained in Harwich
for mine clearance.)
26th Sustained serious structural damage in collision
with HMS HAZARD in North Sea.
(Note: Ships was holed below boat deck.)
August Passage to Thames to await repair in commercial
P o s t W a r
N o t e s
HMS JASON resumed Flotilla
deployment for mine clearance in November 1945 on
completion of repair. The ship remained in commission until
1946 when Paid-off at Portsmouth and placed on the Sales List. She was placed
on the Sales list and acquired by
Wheelock Marden &Co for
use as a mercantile. Renamed JASLOCK this ship used in trade until 1950 when sold
to T W Ward for demolition at Grays,
Essex where she arrived in tow later that year.
by Bill Burn