HALCYON-Class 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
community of Penarth, Glamorgan after a successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in March 1942.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
BELGIAN COAST 1917 - DUNKIRK 1940 - ARCTIC
1941-43 - ATLANTIC
1942-44 - SICILY 1943
H e r a l d i c D a t a
On a field Green a
silver bow and a golden arrow.
M o t t o
'Swift and sure'
M a n n i n g
D i v i s i o n
S u m m a r y o f
P r e - W a r S e r v i c e
1 9 3 7
December Contractors trials and
commissioning for service in 1st Minesweeping Flotilla.
17th Build completion and
commenced Acceptance Trials.
1 9 3 8
January On completion of trials
and storing took passage to join Flotilla at Portland
February Deployed at Portland for
minesweeping training and support of Anti-Submarine
to July and mine clearance
research and development.
Deployment to meet Home Fleet exercise and visits requirements would
have been carried
out in accordance with Home Fleet programme.
August Prepared to take up war
station during international crisis/
October Resumed normal service
with Flotilla at Portland.
1 9 3 9
January Portland deployment with
Flotilla in continuation.
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
August Carried out minesweeping
trial in Lyme Bay with ships of Flotilla..
field had been specially laid to establish minesweeping capabilities.)
Took up War
Station with Flotilla at Scapa Flow.
Other ships in
Flotilla were HM Minesweepers BRAMBLE, BRITOMART, HAZARD,
HEBE, SEAGULL and
September Deployed at Scapa Flow with Flotilla
were engaged in ensuring clear passages from Scapa Flow for Fleet units and
the gaps in East
Coast Mine Barrier.)
14th Transferred to Clyde
and cleared British deep anti-submarine mine field off Gourock
Fleet units were moved to Clyde area after the sinking of HM Battleship
ROYAL OAK at
anchor in Scapa Flow by a torpedo from U47 which penetrated
November Resumed North Sea Service
to ensure passages through East Coast Mine Barrier were kept
clear of mines.
enemy minelaying using magnetic mines was being carried
out in North Sea. See above references.)
Stornoway for Atlantic convoy escort duties with Flotilla.
December East coast minesweeping in
5th Sustained minor
damage in collision with tanker.
1 9 4 0
January Atlantic convoy defence
in continuation based at Stornoway
escort of convoys during passage to and from Canada.
Returned to Scapa
Flow after anchorage made safe
February Deployed at Scapa Flow with Flotilla for mine clearance in entrances and in
April Transferred to 6th
Minesweeping Flotilla based at Dover and joined HM Minesweepers
HARRIER, SKIPJACK, HEBE and SPEEDWELL for
duties in Dover Command.
May Channel area
minesweeping with Flotilla including coastal shipping routes off Holland.
(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.)
for visual signalling purposes changed to J68.)
28th Joined HM
Minesweepers NIGER, SALAMANDER, GOSSAMER, SKIPJACK, LEDA,
HALCYON, HEBE and
SPEEDWELL. for support of allied evacuation operations at
30th During evacuation of
troops from Dunkirk sustained major
structural damage in collision
with Cross-Channel steamer ST HELIOL after nightfall. Ship badly damaged forward
and taken in tow
by tug FREMOST 22 to position off Beaches.
1st Towed from Dunkirk
to Dover for temporary repair
2nd After temporary
repair took passage to Sheerness escorted by HMS SALAMANDER.
3rd Taken in for repair
by HM Dockyard, Sheerness.
13th Transferred to Leith
for repair continuation and took passage.
July Under repair at
17th Transferred to Rosyth
for completion of repair.
14th Post Repair trials on
completion or work by HM Dockyard, Rosyth.
20th Resumed operational
service with 1st Minesweeping Flotilla. at Scapa Flow.
October Fleet Minesweeping
duties at Scapa Flow in continuation with HM Minesweepers
to December BRAMBLE, BRITOMART, SPEEDY,
HAZARD, SEAGULL and HEBE,
(Note: When not
required for minesweeping of passages used by major warships
routine minesweeping in North Sea and north of Scotland convoy
HAZARD and HMS HEBE detached for refit during this period
Some ships of
Flotilla were under air attack.)
1`9 4 1
January Scapa Flow deployment in continuation
March Transferred with
Flotilla to Harwich for clearance of convoy routes between southern North
Sea and Solent to
ensure safe passage.
15th Under air attack off
Rye during which HMS BRAMBLE was hit by a bomb whilst
gear and disabled. Bomb hit forward structure and killed all personnel
ship to Portsmouth when she was able to steam using one engine.
April Flotilla duties in
Channel and North Sea in continuation.
to July (Note: Some ships of
Flotilla were transferred to Western Approaches Command during
this period and
deployed in NW Approaches for Local Escort of Atlantic convoys)
August Nominated for refit and
took passage to Cardiff for repair in commercial shipyard.
6th Taken in hand for
refit prior to service in North Russia.
September Under refit
to October (Note: It is most
unlikely that the ship was “Arcticised” for service in North Russia
10th On completion of post
refit trials and shakedown took passage to Iceland to join
PQ5 at Hvalfjord.
details of all Russian Convoy operations with names of the
the escorts see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA
RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, CONVOY !
by P Kemp and
ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
27th Sailed from Hvalfjord
as escort for PQ5 with HMS HAZARD and HMS HEBE
during passage to
7th Remained with PQ5
when HMS BRAMBLE and HMS SEAGULL joined to
HAZARD and HMS HEBE.
Cruiser SHEFFIELD which had joined convoy on 1st December
with the two minesweepers and took independent passage
13th Detached from PQ5 on
arrival at Archangel without enemy interference.
14th Deployed for service
in North Russia to provide Local Escort of convoys and for
ensure clear passage for convoys on entry and departure.
1 9 4 2
January North Russia deployment
16th Provided Local Escort
for Russian convoy PQ8 into Murmansk with HMS HAZARD.
17th Detached from PQ8 on
arrival at Murmansk.
MATABELE, one of the Ocean Escort was torpedoed and sunk
with heavy loss
of life before arrival. See references.)
13th 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
15th Detached from QP8
with HMS BRITOMART and returned to Murmansk.
Escort was provided by HM Destroyers FAULKNOR and INTREPID
covered by HM
1st Deployed with HMS
HARRIER, Russian destroyers GREMYASCHI and GROMKI
as Local Escort
for return convoy QP8 for passage from Murmansk.
3rd Detached with HMS
HARRIER and took passage back to base.
Escort was provided by HMS HAZARD and HMS SALAMANDER,
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. See references.)
21st Deployed with HM
Destroyer OFFA and HMS BRITOMART as Ocean Escort for convoy
passage to Iceland from Kola Inlet covered by Home Fleet Fleet units.
Cruiser KENYA intended to join on 22n February and carrying gold bullion
from Russia to UK
did not meet the convoy as part of Ocean Escort.) Local Escort
was provided by
HM Minesweepers GOSSAMER, HARRIER, HUSSAR,
Russian destroyer GREMYASCHI.)
24th Sighted U655 on
surfaced and carried out ramming attack.
over and sank without survivors. See HITLER’S U – BOAT WAR by
C Blair and above
references. Sustained serious damage to forward structure.
24th Remained with QP9 as
part of escort.
3rd Detached from QP9 on
arrival and Reykjavik and took passage to UK
14th Taken in hand for
repair at Leith.
May Under repair
11th Resumed operational
service on completion of post refit trials and work-up.
July Deployed in Home
August Nominated for escort of
Russian convoy PQ18 during passage to Murmansk and
service in North Russia.
above references for details of the arrangements made for this transit
and provision of
September Joined HM Destroyers
ACHATES, MALCOLM, HM Auxiliary AA Ships ALYNBANK
and ULSTER QUEEN,
HM Corvettes BERGAMOT, BLUEBELL, BRYONY, CAMELLIA
Minesweeper SHARPSHOOTER for service as Close Escort for PQ18.
Passage to join
7th Joined convoy and
commenced service as Close Escort.
(Note: Air Cover
was provided by HM Escort Aircraft Carrier AVENGER screened by
WHEATLAND and WILTON with a Fighting Escort comprising
HM Cruiser SCYLLA
and 16 destroyers from Home Fleet.
MONTROSE and WALPOLE had joined PQ18 escort on
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 Distant Cover.)
12th Under submarine
attacks during which two mercantiles were sunk.
13th Under air attacks
during which six of the mercantiles were sunk.
14th Under submarine
attacks by U457 which hit a mercantile, later abandoned and sunk..
Air attacks in
continuation during which another mercantile was sunk
(For details see
21st Detached from PQ18
on arrival at Archangel and commenced local duties in North Russia.
October North Russia Local
Minesweeping operations in continuation with detached minesweepers.
16th Deployed with HMS
HALCYON and HAZARD for minesweeping operations to ensure safe
passage of local
operation was completed successfully despite gale conditions and thick fog.)
17th Deployed with HMS
BRITOMART, HALCYON and HAZARD as Eastern Local Escort
for return convoy
20th Detached from QP15
and took independent eastward passage.
(Note: This ship
is not recorded as part of Ocean Escort which did include HMS SALAMANDER
research is required.)
27th Sustained major
structural damage in collision south of Iceland.
December Under temporary repair in
Iceland (To be confirmed)
at Hull in commercial shipyard.
Passage to Hull
23rd Taken in hand for
repair in Hull
1 9 4 3
January Under repair.
February On completion of post
repair trials worked up for operational minesweeping service
March Deployed in Home waters
for minesweeping duties.
April Nominated for foreign
service with 12 Minesweeping Flotilla.
Mediterranean as part of escort for military convoy KMS14.
May Joined Flotilla in
Mediterranean and deployed for minesweeping off North African
coast to ensure
safe passage for convoys between Gibraltar and ports in Algeria
June North African coastal
duties in continuation.
minesweeping support of planned landings in Sicily (Operation HUSKY).
July Preparation for
9th Passage to Sicily
with Assault Convoys
10th Deployed with HMS
HEBE and HAZARD for mine sweeping in BARK WEST
beach head area
prior to landings,
11th Remained in landings
area for convoy escort and patrol until 16th
17th Took passage to Malta
on release from HUSKY
August Deployed in central
Mediterranean for minesweeping operations and convoy escort.
to December (Note: This period included
defence of convoys to Adriatic.)
1 9 4 4
January Central Mediterranean
deployment in continuation.
5th Sustained structural
damage after collision with HM Auxiliary LAURANA.
vessel was a captured Italian prize used as a patrol vessel..)
February Transferred to 49th
Escort Group and deployed in Eastern Mediterranean for
to April convoy defence based at
5th Damaged by explosion
of GNAT torpedo.
details of this incident can be traced. It is not recorded in any record
attacks. To be investigated.)
10th Taken in hand for
repair in Haifa.
16th On completion of
repair and refit resumed duties with Group.
July Convoy defence with
Group in continuation.
return to UK.
August Joined military convoy
MKS42 and took passage from
Alexandria to UK
as part of
September Detached from MKS42 on arrival in UK and joined 1st
operations in English Channel.
also comprised HM Minesweepers HARRIER, HALCYON,
GLEANER, HAZARD, JASON and SEAGULL.
HMS BRITOMART and
HMS HUSSAR had been tragically lost
on 27th August
when attacked by RAF aircraft. See FRIEND OR
FOE by P Kemp.)
October Deployed off Belgian and
repair and took passage to Chatham.
Taken in hand by
HM Dockyard, Chatham for refit.
November Under repair at Lowestoft
to December On completion resumed
operational service with Flotilla and deployed for
convoy defence in Nore Command.
1 9 4 5
January Deployed with Flotilla
for minesweeping in North Sea to ensure safe passage of
to March to ports
in re-occupied Europe and North Sea.
this period extensive minelaying was being carried out by
submersibles and coastal warships, mainly to disrupt military
convoys to French
and Belgian ports.)
April Nominated for post
war deployment as a Survey Vessel.
On release from
operations to be Paid-off and de-stored prior to conversion.
S u m m a r y o f P o s t W a r S e r
v i c e
May Released from Flotilla
and Paid-off at Chatham. De-stored
15th Taken in hand for
conversion to Survey Vessel by HM Dockyard, Chatham.
June Under conversion
1 9 4 6
January Under conversion
March Acceptance Trials and
April Work-up for survey
3rd Involved in
collision with mv FEALTIE in Woolwich Reach. holed above
subsequently collided with moored barge.
4th Taken in hand for
May Resumed work-up in
June Nominated for survey
in Far East and took passage to Singapore.
July Deployed for
Hydrographic duties based at Singapore on arrival.
1 9 4 7
January Far East survey in continuation.
13th Sustained damage in
collision with mv CELEBES during survey work,
Taken in hand for
November Resumed survey work.
1 9 4 8
January On release from duty
took passage from Singapore to re-commission.
April Paid off and under
refit prior to resuming survey duties.
June Re-commissioned for
service in Homed Waters for Hydrographic deployment
to July Pennant Number for
visual signalling purposes changed to A310.
August Deployed for survey
duties in Home waters
1 9 4 9 t o 1 9 5 2
survey duties in continuation
(Note: Based at
Lowestoft during this period for North Sea
for further Home waters deployment
1 9 5 3
January Under repair by HM
March Home Waters survey duty
to May (Note: Carried out
surveys of west coast of UK)
June To be renamed
Coronation Review to be confirmed.
July Re-commissioned as
HMS SHACKLETON in continuation
of Home Waters
August Home waters deployment in
1 9 5 4 t o 1 9 5 7
surveying duties in western Home waters coastal areas
1 9 5 8
January West coast UK deployment
28th Grounded during
survey in Bristol Channel.
November Resumed survey work in
Bristol Channel after replacement of
to December ASDIC Dome
1 9 5 9
January West coast UK survey
work in continuation.
August Diverted from survey work
to carry out search for an RAF VICTOR Bomber
crashed in the Bristol Channel.
(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
Establishment at Farnborough for examination.)
September Resumed survey work in
1 9 6 0
survey in Irish Sea and Bristol Channel.
refit prior to reduction to Reserve Status.
Survey Ships had been built with latest electronic
designed for Hydrographic work.)
1 9 6 1
January Under refit by HM
September Carried out post refit
trials prior to reduction to Reserve.
November Completed de-storing and
removal of special equipment.
9th Accepted into
Reserve Fleet and laid-up at Devonport.
F i n a l P h a s e
HMS 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 peace-time.
by Bill Burn