HALCYON-Class Minesweeper ordered from JS White at Cowes on 5 February 1935 with sister ship to be
named HMS SALAMANDER.. Her Propulsion machinery was to be
supplied this shipbuilder. The ship was
laid down on 1st April 1935 and launched on 29 January 1936 as the 6th RN warship to carry this name which
had been introduced for a 5th Rate in 1759. The last
warship to carry the name was a Torpedo Gunboat built in
1892, converted for use as a minesweeper in 1909 and sunk
by a U-Boat off Deal in November 1914. Her build was completed on 4th June 1936. During WW2
after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign
in February 1942 this ship was adopted by the civil
community of Swadlingcote, Derbyshire .
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
ATLANTIC 1941-2 - ARCTIC
H e r a l d i c D a t a
On a field Red a double
triangle Green within it a
Royal crown Gold.
(Note: The double triangle represents the Seal
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 Deployed with HM
Minesweepers HALCYON, HARRIER, HUSSAR, LEDA SALAMANDER,
SPEEDWELL and SPHINX in the 5th Minesweeping Flotilla.
Station at Dover.
September Passage to Dover for
British minelaying operation were planned for establishment of the Channel
October Dover deployment in
November Transferred with Flotilla
to Grimsby for minesweeping and convoy defence duties in North Sea.
December Note: Extensive enemy
minelaying using magnetic mines was being carried out in the North Sea
. See ENGAGE THE
ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett and the Naval Staff
Under repair at
1 9 4 0
January On completion took
passage to Rosyth to resume minesweeping in northern
had been transferred to Rosyth in continuation of North Sea duties
HMS HALCYON and
HMS HUSSAR remained at Grimsby as part of 4th Minesweeping
February Deployed in Moray Firth with Flotilla.
3rd Under air attacks in
snow storm 15 miles north of Kinnairds Head.
SPHINX was sunk during these attacks.
Convoy escort was
also carried out during this period.)
21st Investigated report
of submarine in position SE of Duncansby Head from aircraft.
attack carried out in vicinity of oil slick.
(Note: This was
later classified as having probably been damaged.)
March North Sea deployment in continuation.
Anti-submarine operations were carried out in this period.)
April Transferred to 4th
Minesweeping Flotilla with HMS SALAMANDER in place
Minesweepers HALCYON and HUSSAR.
North Sea duties in continuation with new Flotilla
May Deployed in North Sea with 4th Flotilla
20th Under dive-bombing
attack of Gravelines and sustained some fire damage.
Detached with HMS
SALAMANDER and took passage to Dover for the
allied troops from Dunkirk (Operation DYNAMO).
28th Deployed at Dunkirk
with HM Minesweepers SHARPSHOOTER, LEDA,
SKIPJACK, HALCYON, HEBE and SPEEDWELL from
1st, 5th and 6th
Flotillas and HMS SALAMANDER.
1st After several trips
with rescued troops made final trip to beaches and rescued party of sailors
who were adrift
in a lifeboat.
beaches and embarked soldiers from Guards Regiments and Kings Own Scottish
2nd Released from DYNAMO
and took passage to Grimsby for repair of defects.
14th Under repair..
8th On completion
resumed minesweeping and escort duties in North Sea with Flotilla.
30th Sustained damage in
collision with HM Trawler LAUREL in North Sea
Taken in hand for
repair in commercial shipyard in Grimsby.
August On completion resumed
Flotilla duties in North Sea.
September Nominated for special
duties in connection with anti-invasion measures.
Took passage to
Thames area to take part in Operation LUCID which was intended to place
25th Deployed with HM
Minesweeper ELGIN as escort for tanker WAR NAWAB during passage
LUCID during passage due to weather conditions.
26th Resumed Flotilla
duties based at Harwich for escort and mine clearance.
October North Sea duties in continuation.
8th Assisted damaged
minesweeper ELGIN which had been damaged by an acoustic mine during
of coastal convoy off Suffolk.
December Flotilla duties in North
Sea in continuation.
30th Taken in hand at
commercial shipyard in Grimsby.
1 9 4 1
January Under refit
21st On completion of
post refit trials resumed Flotilla duties in North Sea.
March North Sea deployment in
service based in Iceland with 6th Minesweeping Flotilla.
5th Passage to Iceland
with HM Minesweeper SPEEDWELL to join Iceland Escort Force
deployed for convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol based in Iceland.
May Atlantic duties in
included support of convoys under threat during Atlantic passage and
June Atlantic deployment
based in Iceland in continuation
29th Deployed with HM
Catapult Armed Ship MAPLIN, HM Minesweeper SPEEDWELL, two
corvettes and three trawlers in support of passage of inward Convoy HX133
attack by U-Boats.
July Iceland duty
including detached service for special operation.
12th Detached for special
duties with HM Minesweepers SALAMANDER. HALCYON and
(Note: This may
have been a preparatory investigation of route to be used for convoys to
and from North
Russia which began the journey from Iceland. or an anti-submarine
15th Deployed at Aberdeen
for installation of equipment.
3rd Under repair in
28th Resumed minesweeping
duties after post repair trials
6th Taken in hand for
repair in Dundee
November Under repair
15th Nominated for
detached service in North Russia for local escort and minesweeping duties in
Barents Sea area.
1 9 4 2
January Under refit
included “Arcticisation” during which bow structure was strengthened and
insulation provided for deckheads and internal bulkheads.
Radar Type 271
may have been fitted prior to this detached service. For details of
use of radar by RN see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)
February On completion of Post
Refit Trials resumed operational service.
14th Joined Ocean Escort
as Senior Officer for passage of Russian Convoy PQ11 to Murmansk
with HMS HUSSAR,
HM Corvette OXLIP, three
Destroyers AIREDALE and MIDDLETON.
17th Trawlers detached and
HM Corvette SWEETBRIAR joined PQ11.
22nd HM Cruiser NIGERIA
joined PQ11 escort with two Soviet destroyers for Local Escort into
23rd Commenced duties in
21st Deployed with HM
Minesweepers GOSSAMER, HARRIER, HUSSAR, SPEEDWELL
and a Soviet
destroyer as Local Escort for return Convoy QP9
23rd Detached from QP9 and
returned to Murmansk to resume minesweeping
(Note: For full
details of all Russian convoy passages with names of the escorts and
CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS
by B Schoefield,
CONVOY ! by P Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
18th Deployed with HM
Minesweepers GOSSAMER, HARRIER and HUSSAR to join two
for Local Escort of Russian Convoy PQ14 into
Murmansk from Reykjavik.
19th Detached from PQ14 on
arrival and resumed local duties.
28th Joined return Convoy
QP11 as Local Escort for passage from Murmansk with two Soviet
Minesweepers GOSSAMER, HARRIER and HUSSAR.
29th Detached from QP11
with Local Escort on relief by Ocean Escort for passage to Reykjavik.
(Note: The Ocean
Escort for Home Fleet destroyers and Corvettes was joined later by HM
which was sunk on 2nd May with a large cargo of bullion
after being badly
damaged by submarine torpedo on 28th April. See above
May Local minesweeping and
patrol duties in Barents Sea continued.
June Nominated for duty
with Ocean Escort of return Convoy QP13
26th Joined HM Minesweeper
HUSSAR, HM Destroyers INGLEFIELD, INTREPID,
VOLUNTEER and Polish destroyer ORP GARLAND, four corvettes,
HM Auxiliary AA
Ship ALYNBANK and two trawlers Ocean Escort for QP13.
4th Detached from QP13
with HMS HUSSAR, Free French Corvette ROSELYS, HM Trawlers
and ST ELSTAN as escort for 19 ships of PQ13 for passage to
5th Detached from
Iceland section of QP13 with HMS HUSSAR to make landfall prior to
through gap in British minefield off Iceland.
detachment was made due to appalling weather conditions including fog which
visibility to less than one mile.
Detonated mine in
British field and sank very quickly. 80 of the ship’s company including
the captain, as
well as 39 survivors from the cruiser EDINBURGH lost their lives. Ships of
section of PQ13 then ran into this minefield and five were sunk after striking
mines. Only 183
survivors from these ships were rescued out of the 600 personnel carried.
carried out by the corvette ROSELYS and the two trawlers from the escort which
dangerous mined area at great risk.
note on casualties)
by Bill Burn