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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMS SUTTON (N 78) - Old Hunt-class Minesweeper

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Sutton (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) return to Contents List

Later HUNT- Class coal burning minesweeper ordered from MacMillan of Dunbarton in May 1917 and laid down on  6th July 1917. Machinery was supplied by Yarrow of Scotstoun. The ship was launched on 8th May 1918 as the first RN ship to carry this name. Her build was completed on 23rd August 1918. After WW1 this ship was deployed for mine clearance work but later was placed in  Reserve at Alexandria. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign March 1942 this ship was adopted  by  the civil civil community of Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




C r e s t

Field: Gold with blue border

Badge: A Lion passant, Black


M o t t o

Cavendo Tutus: Safe by being cautious.



  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



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August                  Brought forward from Reserve at Alexandria for service in Eastern Mediterranean as 3rd

                               Minesweeping Flotilla with sister ships ROSS, PANGBOURNE, LYDD, ALBURY,

                               FERMOY and SALTASH.

                               (Note: To be deployed for patrol for interception of ships carrying illegal immigrants to Palestine.

                               Requirement cancelled and commissioned for minesweeping duties


September              Deployed with Flotilla for Contraband Control duties in eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea

       to                     for interception of mercantile traffic.



November              Contraband Control duties in continuation

                                Nominated for return to UK for minesweeping duties.

                                (Note: Increase in minelaying with magnetic mines had mad necessary an increase in

                                            minesweeping capability, especially off the East Coast of UK.)


December               Passage to UK

                                Deployed at Harwich for minesweeping off East Coast.

                                (Note: This ship was the first of the Flotilla to return.)


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January                   Deployed at Harwich to ensure convoy routes off East Coast were kept clear of mines.

       to                      (Note: Sister HUNT Class from Alexandria arrived in UK and these ships formed the 3rd

February                             and 4th Minesweeping Flotillas.)


March                     Part of 4th Minesweeping Flotilla based at Yarmouth with HM Minesweepers KELLETT,

                                FITZROY, DUNDALK, ELGIN, DUNOON and SELKIRK.

                                (Note: In addition to keeping convoy routes clear the Flotilla were also deployed to ensure  a

                                           clear passage for RN minelayers during the lay of the East Coast Mine Barrier to

                                           provide protection of convoy route from attacks by enemy craft.)


April                       East Coast deployment in continuation based at Harwich.

                               (Note: Sister ship HMS DUNOON was sunk after detonating a mine off Great Yarmouth on


May                       After German attacks on Low countries detached for special duties.

       24th                 Deployed with HM Destroyer VEGA, HMS FITZROY, HM Corvettes MALLARD

                               WIDGEON and SHELDRAKE to clear passage for mercantiles FLORENTINO and

                               TRANSEAS from North Goodwin area to Zeebrugge (Operation EF).

                               (Note: This operation was to place blockships across harbour entrance.).

        25th                After clearance operation completed. took passage to return to Harwich.

                                (Note: Blockships and escort came under air attack and operation abandoned.)

        28th                 Joined HM Minesweepers GOSSAMER, LEDA, PANGBOURNE, ROSS, LYDD,

                                KELLETT and ALBURY of 5th Minesweeping Flotilla with HMS FITZROY, HMS

                                SELKIRK and HMS DUNDALK of 4th Flotilla and took passage to assist in the evacuation

                                of allied troops from Dunkirk

                                (Operation DYNAMO).

         29th                Deployed off beaches to ferry troops to ships unable to go into shallow water.

                                Ships boats used to carry 200 troops from beaches to HM Cruiser CALCUTTA.

                                Under air attacks and continued rescue operations.

         30th                Embarked 193 troops and took passage to Dover to replenish with coal and victualling


         31st                 Return passage to Dunkirk to resume evacuation duties.

                                 Embarked 453 troops and took passage to Dover.


June                         Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to J78.

          1st                  On arrival at Dunkirk released from DYNAMO and took passage to Harwich to resume

                                minesweeping duties with Flotilla after Leave.

         10th                 Deployed with HM Minesweepers ALBURY, FITZROY, ELGIN, SELKIRK and

                                 DUNDALK as 4th Minesweeping Flotilla at Harwich for east coast minesweeping.


July                          Flotilla deployment in continuation.

        to                     (Note: Extensive anti-invasion measures were introduced during this period including

August                                 patrols  off East Coast ports to intercept invasion craft.)


September              Detached for special duty.

                                Took passage to Sheerness with HMS SELKIRK to join HM Minesweeper SALAMANDER

                                 for Escort of RFA WAR NIZAM during passage to Calais.

                                 (Operation LUCID – Later LUCIFER. The RFA was to be used as Fireship and placed

                                 inside the harbour. RFA WAR NABOB was similarly deployed and escorted to Boulogne

                                 by HMS ELGIN.)

         25th                 Passage to Calais with additional escort of  Light Coastal Forces craft.

         26th                 Operation cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and returned to Sheerness.



            4th                Took passage to Calais with RFA WAR NIZAM and additional mercantile MYTILUS also

                                  to be used as a Fireship. (Operation LUCIFER)

            5th                 Operation again cancelled due to weather and returned to Sheerness.

           10th                Resumed Flotilla duties at Harwich.

           16th                After HMS DUNDALK was damaged by a mine off Bawdsey during Flotilla mine sweep

                                   took sister ship in tow.

           17th                Embarked crew of HMS DUNDALK when ship had to be abandoned.

                                   (Note: HMS DUNDALK sank later.)


November                  East coast minesweeping duties based at Harwich with Flotilla in continuation..

           to                     HMS PANGBOURNE and  HMS LYDD transferred from 5th Flotilla to 4th Flotilla.

December                   (Note: These ships replaced HMS DUNDALK and HMS ELGIN which was lost on

                                                8th November.)


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January                     East coast minesweeping with Flotilla based at Harwich in continuation.




April                         Transferred to Granton, near Edinburgh for minesweeping off Scottish East Coast.

           to                    (Note: 5th Flotilla which had been deployed for this duty had been disbanded.

June                                       The 4th Flotilla was the only one of this Class deployed in Home waters.)


July                           Transferred with Flotilla to Aberdeen and continued duties off Scottish coast.

          to                     Flotilla nominated for clearance of British mines in Northern Barrage between Faroes and

October                     Iceland.

                                  (Note: This was to create a Gap for passage of allied ships.)


November                 Deployed in NW Approaches.

          to                     Under air attacks during passages to and from operational area.



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January                     On completion of clearance in Atlantic resumed duties in southern North Sea.

                                  Took passage from Aberdeen to Yarmouth.

          19th                 Involved in collision with  HMS ALBURY which sustained serious damage.

                                  (Note: After return Flotilla was deployed with HM Coastal Minelayer PLOVER off the

                                              Dutch coast as escort during minelay (Operation HS – See Naval Staff History,


February                    East coast deployment with Flotilla at Yarmouth in continuation.





           27th               During minesweeping operation by Flotilla off coast of Norfolk, ENE of Great Yarmouth

                                 sister ship HMS FITZROY was sunk after detonating a mine.


June                          Transferred with Flotilla to Dartmouth for minesweeping in SW Approaches.


July                           Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping to ensure safe passage for coastal convoys and

           to                    passage of allied warships for the interception of enemy convoys off French coast.



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January                     Channel deployment in continuation.




June                           Transferred with Flotilla to Milford Haven for clearance of existing minefield off Irish

            to                    coast.  This proved a long task due to weather conditions in the area which restricted

December                   sweeping. Carried out final check of area prior to new minelay by HM Cruiser



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January                      SW Approaches minesweeping duties with Flotilla based at Milford Haven in continuation.




March                        Transferred to Portsmouth Command and took passage to Portsmouth.

                                   Deployed with Flotilla for minesweeping operations prior to allied landings in Normandy

                                   (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                   (Note: Ships transferred in Flotilla were ALBURY, ELGIN, KELLETT, LYDD,

                                               PANGBOURNE, ROSS, SALTASH and SELKIRK.)


April                         Deployed with Flotilla for mine clearance in area to be used by cross-channel invasion

                                  convoys. Detached to take part in preparatory exercises with Assault Forces.

                                  (Note: These included minesweeping during darkness.)


May                           Mine clearance in Channel and exercises deployment in continuation.

             4th                HMS ELGIN seriously damaged by acoustic mine off Portland and later declared beyond

                                  economic repair after survey at Chatham.

             8th                Detached from Exercise FABIUS to recover bodies of personnel drowned after the

                                  sinking of US Landing Ships during Exercise TIGER IN Lyme Bay.

                                  (See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).)

                                  On release resumed minesweeping duties in English Channel

                                  (Note: Allocated for mine sweep in Channel 4 ahead of ships of Assault Force O to



June                           Deployed for support of Operation NEPTUNE.

              5th                Carried out sweep in Channel 4 ahead of invasion craft.

               6th               Completed sweep of Channel 4 without any incident.

                                   Commenced sweep of area between Channels 4 and 5 to create new Channel 34.

                                   (Note: Canadian 31st Minesweeping Flotilla, Danlayers and Motor Launches were

                                                also deployed. For details see above Reference.)

               7th               Returned to Portsmouth with Flotilla when Channel 34 work completed

                8th              Deployed for minesweeping away from beachhead.

                                   (Note: Ships of this Class were not suitable for patrol deployment off the beachhead.)

              30th              After completion of NEPTUNE support Flotilla and resumed minesweeping in SW

                                   Approaches  with Flotilla.



                 5th             Deployed in Lands End area after report of  mine explosion by convoy escort.

                                   (Note: U-Boats concentrating attacks in coastal areas frequently laid mines.

                                                See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)


August                       Transferred with Flotilla to Swansea for minesweeping operations in Bristol Channel and

                                   St Georges Channel.

                                   (Note: Atlantic traffic was still being routed through Irish Sea as mercantiles using

                                               English Channel were still vulnerable to air attacks.)

                                               HMS LYDD and HMS ALBURY were under repair at Devonport.)


September                  SW Approaches deployment based at Swansea in continuation.

             to                   Nominated for withdrawal from operational use with ships of 3rd Minesweeping  Flotilla.



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January                       Passage to Milford Haven to Pay-off.

             to                   Reduced to Reserve status at Milford Haven. Paid-off and destored.

February                     Laid-up at Milford Haven.


F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS SUTTON remained in Reserve until 1946 when she was placed on the Disposal List. The ship was sold to Dohmen and Habets of Ghent in July 1947 and towed to Belgium for Demolition.


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