HALCYON-Class Minesweeper ordered from JS White at Cowes, IoW on 5th February 1935 with sister ship to be named
HMS NIGER (i) as part of the 1st Group of this
Class. Her reciprocating propulsion machinery was supplied by the shipbuilder.
The ship was laid down on 14th August 1935 and launched on 24th March 1936 as the 11th RN warship to carry this name which had
been introduced for a Scots 48 Gun Ship taken as Prize in 1544. Build was
July 1936. After a successful
WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign in February 1942 this ship was adopted
by the civil community of Bilston, Staffordshire.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
ARMADA 1588 - LAGOS 1759 - BURMA 1852 - DUNKIRK 1940 - ARCTIC 1941-42 - NORMANDY 1944
H e r a l d i c D a t a
On a Field Red, a Salamander rampant, Gold
M o t t o
Per ignes et undas: 'Through fire and
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 Deployed with HM Minesweepers HALCYON, HARRIER, LEDA,
GOSSAMER, SKIPJACK, SPEEDWELL and SPHINX based
at Dover. as 5th Minesweeping
Flotilla mine clearance in Nore Command..
October Minesweeping based at Dover in continuation..
November Transferred to Grimsby with ships of Flotilla to ensure
clear passage of East Coast convoy routes.
4th Sustained slight structural damage in collision
with HMS SPEEDWELL
10th During operation near Humber LV detonated mine in
sweep which exploded causing damage, but
December Resumed Flotilla duties in North Sea on completion of repair.
1 9 4 0
January Transferred with ships of Flotilla to Rosyth for
minesweeping off Scottish east coast.
February Deployed with Flotilla in northern North Sea.
April Transferred with HMS HALCYON to 4th Minesweeping
Flotilla with HMS NIGER.
Deployed at Great Yarmouth for mine clearance of
convoy routes in North Sea.
May North Sea deployment with Flotilla in continuation.
17th Diverted from mine sweeping in North Sea and took passage to Dunkirk with
HMS NIGER for
support of the evacuation of troops from
Dunkirk (Operation DYNAMO).
18th Joined HM Fleet Minesweepers SHARPSHOOTER, GOSSAMER,
SKIPJACK and LEDA off
19th Embarked 324 troops and took passage to Dover
30th Disembarked troops in Dover and returned to Dunkirk.
31st Embarked 390 troops for passage and landed
passengers in Dover.
1st Return passage to Dunkirk and embarked 479 troops.
Came under air attacks whilst on return passage
and sustained damage to propulsion machinery.
Arrived at Dover after assistance from tugs and
2nd Passage to Sheerness for repair.
4th Under repair by HM Dockyard Sheerness.
July Under repair
August On completion of repair and trials resumed minesweeping
duties with 4th Flotilla based at
September Harwich deployed for mine clearance in North Sea in
6th Sustained weather damage during North Sea deployment.
1 9 4 1
January Nominated for completion of repair and refit.
Passage to Humber
10th Taken in hand for repair and refit by commercial
shipyard in Grimsby.
February Under repair.
10th On completion of shipyard work resumed duties with
April North Sea Flotilla duties in continuation
12th Nominated for special duties with HM Fleet
Minesweepers NIGER, HALCYON and
18th Deployed for Atlantic convoy defence during passage
to Seidisfjord, Iceland.
16th Deployed with HMS HALCYON and HALCYON to assist in
ss ATLANTIC CITY which had been hit by torpedo
in NW Approaches during
passage to Freetown with Convoy OS1.
Carried out anti-submarine operations.
30th Deployed in Iceland with same ships as part of Local
Escort Force for defence
of ships on entry or departure from Seidisfjord.
August Iceland deployment in continuation.
Nominated for service in North Russia after
10th Sailed from Hvalfjord to provide anti-submarine
protection with HMS HALCYON
and HMS HARRIER for ships of first convoy to
Other ships deployed for escort were:
HM Destroyers ELECTRA, ACTIVE and IMPULSIVE till
29th. with Home
Fleet ships providing Distant Cover between 24th
and 30th August.
For full details of all Russian convoy passages
with names of the escorts and
mercantiles see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg,
THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS
by B Schoefield, CONVOY ! by P Kemp and ARCTIC
CONVOYS by R Woodman.).
31st Detached from DERVISH convoy on arrival at
September Deployed for minesweeping, convoy defence and patrol in
1 9 4 2
January North Russia deployment in continuation.
February Nominated for return to UK
12th Deployed with HM Cruiser NIGERIA, HM Fleet
Minesweepers HARRIER, HAZARD
and two Soviet destroyers to provided Eastern
Local Escort for inward Convoy PQ11 from
Loch Ewe during final stage of passage to
Detached from QP11 on arrival.
1st Deployed with HMS HAZARD, HM Corvettes OXLIP and
SWEETBRIAR as Ocean
Escort for outward Convoy QP8 during passage
from Murmansk to Iceland.
11th Detached from QP8on arrival at Akureyri.
(Note: The passage was subject to extreme
weather and was temporarily dispersed
but able to reform. HM Cruiser NIGERIA deployed
to provide Distant Cover
did not find convoy which was not located by
enemy ships or aircraft.
Passage from Iceland to Humber
17th Taken in hand for repair at Grimsby
April Under repair
16th Shipyard work completed
Passage to Rosyth
(Note: Possibility of brief return to local
operational service in North Sea is to be confirmed.)
June Nominated for further service in North Russia. See
Awaiting further repair at Rosyth
(Note: It is possible this included “Articisation”.)
6th Taken in hand by HM Dockyard.
11th On completion deployed for Work-up prior to foreign
Passage to Iceland to join escort for Convoy
PQ17 to Archangel
17th Joined escort for Russian Convoy PQ17 at Reykjavik
with HMS HALCYON, HMS BRITOMART.
(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 HMS PALOMARES, HMS POZARICA, HMS
HMS HALCYON, HM Corvette LOTUS and three
trawlers in search for dispersed
ships and survivors from ships lost after
7th Rescued survivors from tanker ss ALDERSDALE.
Arrived at Matochkin Strait, Novaya Zemla with
convoy of re-assembled mercantiles.
10th Took passage from Matochkin Strait and came under
air attacks during which
two mercantiles were sunk.
For details see FLEET MINESWEEPERS AT WAR by J
Williams and above
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.
(Note: HMS BRAMBLE, HMS LEDA and HMS HAZARD met
during passage to Archangel.).
July North Russia deployment in continuation
to (Note: Ships carried out night patrols to prevent
enemy air minelaying activities and
August deal with mines dropped.)
13th Deployed with HMS BRITOMART, HMS HALCYON and HMS
HAZARD as Eastern
Local Escort for outward Convoy QP14 during
initial stage of passage from Archangel
Returned to Kola Inlet on release from QP14.
18th Deployed with HMS BRITOMART, HMS HALCYON and HMS
HAZARD to provide
Eastern Local Escort for inward Convoy PQ18
during final stage of passage from
(Note: This convoy was the last of the PQ
Series and had a much larger escort
including an escort aircraft carrier to provide
air cover. See references.)
21st Detached from PQ18 on arrival at Kola Inlet and
resumed local duties.
October Deployment in North Russia in continuation.
November Nominated for return to UK
17th Deployed with Ocean Escort for outward Convoy QP15
during passage from
Archangel to Loch Ewe.
(Note: Other ships in Ocean Escort included HM
AA Ship ULSTER QUEEN, four
corvettes and four Home Fleet destroyers. See
30th Detached from QP15 after passage with no loss of
Air attacks were possibly absent because of
adverse weather conditions but
Some U-boat attacks failed.
December Passage to Aberdeen for refit in commercial shipyard.
7th Taken in hand for refit
1 9 4 3
January Under refit
March Nominated for service in Home waters with 1st
1st Carried out post refit trials on completion of
Worked-up for operational service.
April Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping in Home
(Note: Main priority was for clearance of mines
in coastal waters
in Irish Sea and SW Approaches.
As ships of this Class were fitted with Sonar
they could also be used for convoy escort if
7th Taken in hand for repair at Milford Haven.
13th On completion of repair resumed minesweeping duties
June Flotillas deployment in Home waters in continuation.
October Nominated for refit
13th Taken in hand for refit at commercial shipyard in
November Under refit
1 9 4 4
January Under refit
13th Resumed Flotilla service in Home waters on
completion of post refit trials
Carried out Flotilla minesweeping exercises
April Nominated for support of planned allied landings in
Normandy with Flotilla.
Passage to Rosyth for repair.
4th Taken in hand by HM Dockyard Rosyth.
11th On completion of dockyard work took passage to
(Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM
GLEANER, HALCYON, HUSSAR, JASON, BRITOMART,
SEAGULL and SPEEDWELL.)
May Nominated with Flotilla for mine clearance of
approach Channels to the
beach head anchorage areas.
(Note: Three Motor Launches and four Isle-
Class Danlayers were
attached to Flotilla for this specialised
Took part in preparatory exercises with ships of
Force S (Exercise FABIUS).
Carried out night sweeping exercises with
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
12th Transferred to Le Havre area for mine sweeping
operation in anchorage
selected for bombardment of enemy positions by
WARSPITE, HM Monitors EREBUS and ROBERTS.
13th Under shore fire during minesweeping operations.
16th Permission to remain in area instead of taking
passage back to Arromanches
approved in order to complete clearance.
17th During final clearance came under rocket attacks by
aircraft in which ship was hit and stern
18th Passage to Portsmouth under tow.
(Note: HMS HUSSAR and HMS BRITOMART was also
hit and sank.
and two trawlers were also hit.)
(For 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
operation had been advised to all concerned with
September Paid off and deployed at Portsmouth for survey.
Withdrawn from operational service.
October Passage under tow to Hartlepool.
to Reduced to Reserve.
1 9 4 5
January Laid-up at Hartlepool in continuation
February Reduced to Reserve Category B
March Laid-up at Hartlepool.
s t W a r N o t e s
SALAMANDER remained in Reserve at Hartlepool and was
further reduced to Category C in December 1945. The
ship was placed on the Disposal List and sold to BISCO on 15th December 1946
for demolition by Hughes Bolcow. She
arrived in tow at the Breaker’s yard in Blyth on 7th May 1947.
by Bill Burn