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by Geoffrey B Mason, Lieutenant Commander, RN (Rtd) (c) 1998

HMS PLOVER (M 26)  - Coastal Minelayer

HMS Plover (Tony Martin, click to enlarge)

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Coastal Minelayer ordered in 1936 from Denny of Dumbarton and laid down on 7th October 1936. The ship was launched on 8th June 1916 as the 9th RN ship to carry the name which was introduced in 1652 when given to the Prize MORGENSTAAR. lt was last used for a destroyer built in 1916 and sold in 1921. After completion in September 1937 she was deployed as a tender to the Torpedo School HMS VERNON at Portsmouth and used for development and trials of new design mines. She was designed to carry 100 mines and was deployed throughout WW2 for minelaying in coastal waters off UK and off the continent. She was not intended for laying mines in open waters such as the North Atlantic. Full details of all minelaying operations during WW2 are given in Naval Staff History (MINING). There is no record of an adoption by a UK civil community following a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign during 1941 and 1942. Also see Royal Navy Minelaying Operations.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


PORTLAND 1653 - CHINA 1842 - CHINA  1856-60 - CHINA 1900 - NORMANDY   1944


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: on a Field Gold, a Plover with wings close proper.


M o t t o

Noli  me tangere:   'Do not touch me'



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



1 9 3 9


August                  Prepared for operational minelaying duties


September             Deployed in Firth of Forth for minelay off Bass Rock

                                (Operation BRM).

                                Transferred to Dover Straits for series of minlays in Dover Barrage.

                                (Operations GR, DM and HW - These were intended to prevent the passage of U-

                                Boats. They achieved this objective as following the loss of U12, U40 and U16

                                between 3 September and 24 October 1939, U-Boats were later forbidden to use this

                                route). (Note: U16 is now credited to surface ship depth charges)


October                  Dover Strait minelays in continuation.


November              Transferred to Rosyth for minelaying in Firth of Forth.

                                 (Operation CP).


December               Firth of Forth minelay in continuation.


1 9 4 0


January                  Deployed at Portsmouth

to                             (Note: No operations traced).

May                        Prepared for extensive minelaying in East Coast Barrier.


June                        Commenced minelaying in East Coast Barrier with HM Auxiliary Minelayer TEVIOT

                                 BANK (Operation BS10 to 19. See above reference for names of escorts).



                 2nd         Carried out Minelay in East Coast Barrier (Operation BS20).

                  5th         Laid defensive field in The Wash with Dutch minelayer VAN DER ZANN.

                                (Operation AW).

                                Transferred to Dover Straits on completion of Operation AW)

                14th         Laid anti-invasion field 8 miles from European coast covered by MTB's

                                 (Operation MN – Carried out by night.)

                30th         Resumed East Coast Barrier minelaying operations (Operation BS30)


August                   Deployed for East Coast Barrier minelays (Operations BS30-36).


September             Transferred to Dover area for minelaying in anti-invasion field with destroyers of 20th

                                 Flotilla (Operation MS).


October                  Resumed East Coast Barrier deployment  (Operation BS0-BS43))


November              East Coast Barrier deployment in continuation (Operations BS44 & 45)

                                 On completion took passage for refit.


December               Under refit in Humber shipyard.


1 9 4 1

August                  Carried out post refit trials.

                                Nominated for minelaying in SW Approaches.

                16th         On completion prepared for minelaying duties and took passage to Plymouth.



                11th         Commenced minelay of anti-submarine field in St George's Channel.

                                 (Operations ZME16 to 31)


March                     St Georges Channel minelays in continuation.


April                       Completed ZME Field minelays.

                                Passage to resume minelaying in East Coast Barrier.


May                        Deployed for minelay at southern end of Barrier.

                                Commenced lay (Operation BS56).


June                        East Coast Barrier minelays in continuation (Operations BS57 to 60).


July                         East Coast Barrier minelays in continuation (Operations BS66 and BS67).

                                Nominated for duty at Portsmouth and took passage.


August                  Deployed for minelaying trials.

to                             (Operation BZ - In Nore area).



1 9 4 2


January                  Carried out minelay of moored magnetic mines in Outer Ruytingen Channel.

                                (Operation NQ).

February                Involved in collision in Dover Straits and sustained serious damage.

                                Taken in hand for repair.


March                     Nominated for minelaying in East Coast Barrier on completion.

                11th         Resumed East Coast Barrier minelaying (Operations BS68 to 70).


April                       East Coast Barrier minelaying in continuation (Operations BS71 to BS76).


May                        No minelaying service can be traced.


June                        Deployed for minelaying in East Coast Barrier (Operations BS77 to 84).


 July                        Nominated for service in NW Approaches.


August                  Deployed in NW Approaches for support of mine clearance of Field SN3.

to                             (Note: This operation was frequently delayed by adverse weather conditions.)



November             No record of minelaying duty can be traced. Transferred to resume East Coast

to                            minelaying.



1 9 4 3


January                  Carried out minelay on Haddock Bank, east of The Wash for protection of shipping

                                from E-Boat attacks (Operations QV Series).


February                Carried out last minelay in East Coast Barrier off Humber estuary.

                                (Operation BS87. This was a trials lay of MkXVII  (Assy 6), moored magnetic mines

                                which were found to be unstable).


March                    No record of minelaying can be traced.




May                        Deployed in NW Approaches for minelay (Operation HV Series)


June                        Deployed at Portsmouth for mining trials conducted by HMS VERNON.




1 9 4 4


January                  Trials deployment at Portsmouth in continuation.

to                            Nominated for minelaying in support of planned allied landings in Normandy.

March                    (Operation NEPTUNE).


April                       Prepared for operational minelaying.

                18th        Carried out minelay of Fields in NL126 Series off Dutch coast (Operation MAPLE)


May                        Deployed at Dover with cruiser minelayer for lay of defensive minefields

                                No record of any minelay can be traced. See Naval Staff History and LANDINGS IN

                                NORMANDY,  JUNE 1944 (HMSO).


June                        Support of NEPTUNE in continuation.

                                No record of minelay can be traced.


July                         Nominated for lay of Deep anti-submarine minefields in English Channel for

                                protection of shipping from U-Boat attacks (Operation PASTURE).



                14th         Commenced first PASTURE minelay (Operations PASTURE Series D, E and H).



                  3rd         Completed PASTURE Minelays.


October                  Nominated for lay of further protective minefields in SW Approaches.

                                (Operations PASTURE Series CD).

                27th         Commenced lay of Deep Anti-submarine minefields Z7 and Z8 between Galley Head

                                and Fastnet.



                  3rd        Lay of Field Z9.

                10th        Lay of Field Z10.


December              PASTURE Series minelays in continuation.

                12th        Lay of Fields A1 to A8 commenced between Trevose Head and Hartland Point.


1 9 4 5


January                  Nominated for minelay at focal points of Channel Convoys for the protection of

                                shipping against the prevalent U-Boat threats (Operation BRAZIER).

                  3rd         On completion of lay of PASTURE Field A8 transferred to Portsmouth.

                                 Deployed for minelaying in BRAZIER operations based at Portsmouth.

                  5th         Laid minefields A to E around H10, K, H2, C2A and in mid Channel.

                30th         Completed BRAZIER minelays.


February                Nominated for Deep Anti-submarine minelaying in BUTTERMILK operations

                10th         Commenced lay of Fields A to E


March                     BUTTERMILK minelaying in continuation.


April                        Nominated for minelaying in SW Approaches (Operation ARTIZAN)

                  9th         Completed lay of BUTTERMILK Field E.

                                 Commenced lay of ARTIZAN B Field.

                  30th        Completed minelays in ARTIZAN Fields


May                        After VE Day deployed at Portsmouth as tender to Torpedo School for trials

to                            development duties.



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS PLOVER remained in commission after VJ Day and was deployed as tender to HMS VERNON for duty as minelaying trials tender until placed on the Disposal List in 1967. She was sold to BISCO in 1969 for demolition by TW Ward at Inverkeithing near Rosyth and arrived at the breaker’s yard in April 1969.



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