Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine
propulsion machinery ordered on 15th
November 1940 from Harland and Wolff,
Belfast. Laid down on 5th February 1942
at the same time as sister ship FANTOME,
the ship was
on 12th August that year as sixth RN
ship to carry
this name, introduced in 1793 for a
French 16 gun Brig Sloop
off Ushant. It was last borne by a
Sloop, reported as being last
RN ship to be built with a figurehead,
built at Sheerness
in 1900 and sold at Bombay in 1923.
Her build was completed on 1st December
1942 and she had been adopted
by the civil
community of Ellesmere Port, Cheshire,
following a successful WARSHIP WEEK
National Savings campaign in March 1942.
B a t t l
e H o n o u r s
1801 - MESOPOTAMIA 1914-16 - SICILY
1943 - SALERNO 1943 -
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9 4 2
Contractors trials and commissioned for
Build completion and commenced
On completion took
passage to Tobermory for work-up and
9 4 3
Work-up took passage to Port Edgar
to carry out minesweeping training.
minesweeping training in Forth
Deployed in Home waters.
Nominated for service with 12th
Minesweeping Flotilla in the
to join Flotilla at Bizerta.
Joined Flotilla at Bizerta with
HM Minesweeper CIRCE.
Deployed for convoy
defence and patrol off North African
coast based at Bizerta.
FANTOME later replaced HMS
ALGERINE as Leader)
nominated for joint
operations with 13th Minesweeping
Flotilla for mine
clearance of passage
through Galita and Sicilian
Deployed at Bizerta for ANTIDOTE
with the two minesweeping Flotillas.
Took part in rescue operations after
HMS FANTOME sustained major damage when
mine exploded in sweep
Flotilla in continuation
Mine clearance completed with
destruction of 126 mines by the 12th
HM Minesweepers FLY,
CADMUS and MUTINE of Flotilla, HMS FLY
duty as Leader.
minesweeping and escort duties during
planned allied landings in Sicily
Detached with HM Minesweeper
FLY, MUTINE and CADMUS for minesweeping
Passage to western sector of Assault
area as part of escort for military
Carried out minesweeping prior to
landings and remained in area for
escort duties for traffic
between Malta, Bizerta and beachheads.
minesweeping and escort duty with
Flotilla in continuation.
Flotilla deployment for
minesweeping support of planned landings
mainland at Salerno
(Operation AVALANCHE – See above
Deployed with Flotilla to ensure
clearance of mines during passage to
damage from near miss by shore fire
during minesweeping off beachhead.
Released from AVALANCHE and
deployed in Bay of Naples for
(Note: Flotilla dealt
with 135 mines in Salerno area.)
Nominated for transfer to Capri on
completion of service in Bay of Naples.
Deployed for support of operations
off west coast of Sicily including mine
positions to be used
by allied warships for bombardments
prior to military advances.
operations were frequently target of
heavy fire from shore batteries
Gulf of Gaeta and often restricted in
their ability to rapidly change because
operation in progress. Air attacks were
West coast minesweeping duties and
support off west coast of Italy in
December (Note: At the
end of 1943 the Flotilla had
swept 770 mines since arrival at
minesweeping in support of planned
landings at Anzio (Operation SHINGLE).
Based at Naples to
prepare for SHINGLE.
9 4 4
Passage to Anzio, 90 miles north
Deployed with HM Minesweepers
RINALDO and WATERWITCH of 19th Flotilla
provide swept channel
off Anzio for ships of the assault
On release from
SHINGLE took passage to Naples.
Took part with ships of Flotilla and
19th Flotilla in minesweeping to ensure
for passage ships supporting
military operations, including clearance
of areas selected for
naval gunfire support
Carried out minesweeping
operations off Malta when not required
for support of military
on Italian mainland,
Deployed with HM Minesweepers ACUTE,
CIRCE and SPANKER of Flotilla for sweep
of known minefield SW
of Anzio during which five mines were
out mine clearance northwards and
into Tiber River and under fire from
Deployed for clearance sweep in
western channel off Anzio and during
night period for
HMS CIRCE after of mine caught in sweep
exploded on board
Escorted HMS ACUTE and HMS SPANKER
during tow of damaged HMS CIRCE to
This involved a
passage of 100 miles..
West coast of Italy
minesweeping in continuation with part
(Note: Some ships of
12th Flotilla were deployed off Malta
for clearance of minefields.)
Deployed with HM Minesweepers FLY,
ACUTE, ALBACORE, CADMUS of 12th Flotilla
and HM Minesweepers
ROSARIO and SPANKER of 19th Flotilla for
night sweep off Gaeta
to ensure bombardment
area for naval gunfire support of
offensive by allied troops on
(Note: Air attacks
were also a constant hazard.)
Carried out sweep close inshore
prior to bombardment by HM Cruiser DIDO,
PHILADELPHIA during which the ships came
under heavy fire from
On completion of
bombardment requirements rejoined
Flotilla in mine clearance of channel
from Naples to Anzio.
89 mines were cut.
Carried out joint
minesweeping operations with ships of
Flotilla, 13th Flotilla and 28th
Motor Launch Flotilla
Cleared entrance to port of
Civitavecchia with joint minesweeping
Deployed for clearance of mines in
anchorage area off Civitavecchia.
operations in continuation to ensure
passage for ships supporting
military advance .
Took part in operation to clear a
channel to port of Leghorn with ships of
Flotilla, 19th and
Flotillas (Operation LOBSTER)
Port available for use by shipping.
250 mines were swept
during clearance of channel between
Anzio to Leghorn and
engaged were subject to shore fire.)
Deployed with Flotilla for
clearance of mines off west coast of
Italy to ensure safe passage.
Aircraft minelaying was a common
feature during this period )
Nominated for minesweeping service
with Flotilla, in support of allied
Greece (Operation MANNA).
(Note: The Flotilla
had swept 1013 mines by this date, an
achievement recognised by
Supreme Commander, Mediterranean in a
Transferred to eastern Mediterranean
Passage to Greek
waters with HM Minesweepers ALBACORE,
ACUTE and MUTINE.,
supplemented by HM
Minesweepers SKIPJACK and TRUELOVE of
Minesweeping Flotilla deployed for this
work had recently suffered two losses)
Carried out minesweeping operation
to ensure clear passages for ships
deployed in Aegean for
re-occupation of Greek mainland and
Aegean minesweeping in support of
Greece re-occupation in continuation.
Passage to Malta for
9 4 5
Dardanelles with HMS FLY for
Dardanelles mine clearance as relief
MUTINE. On completion
rejoined Flotilla to continue mine
clearance off Greek mainland.
Deployed in Aegean for mine clearance
Deployed at Malta,
Took passage from Malta with HM
Minesweepers ALBACORE, ACUTE, CIRCE,
MUTINE and CADMUS to
resume minefield clearance operations
based at Naples.
Deployed with Flotilla for
clearance between Leghorn and Genoa.
Deployed off Genoa.
Port Anchorage at Genoa cleared of
First major warship
to enter Genoa.
Gulf of Genoa area mine
clearance in continuation.
o s t W a r
N o t e s
ESPIEGLE remained in the
Mediterranean with the 12th Flotilla and
continued deployment for mine clearance
Malta and the North African coast until
being deployed for interception of
ships carrying illegal immigrants
into Palestine from October until 1948
when this patrol ceased. She had
transferred to the 5th Flotilla in
December 1946 and returned to UK to
Pay-off and reduce to Reserve status in
1948. The ship was laid up at
Hartlepool but never recommissioned
although she was refitted for use as an
Anti-submarine Escort whilst in Reserve.
Sold to BISCO in 1966 for breaking-up by
Arnott Young at Dalmuir she arrived at
Dalmuir on the Clyde in
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