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

HMS ALBACORE (J 101) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

HMS Fancy, sister-ship (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Turbine propulsion machinery ordered on 15th November 1940 from Harland and Wolff, Belfast. Laid down on 24th July 1941 with sister ship HMS ACUTE, she was launched on 2nd April 1942 and eighth RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1781 for the captured US Privateer ROYAL LOUIS And last borne by a Destroyer built in 1906 and sold in 1919. Her build was completed on 16th June 1942. This warship was adopted by the civil community of Ashford, Kent after a successful WARSHIP WEEK National Savings campaign held in February 1942.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


NORTH AFRICA 1942-43 - SICILY 1943 - SALERNO 1943 - ANZIO 1944


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, two albacore in Saltire White.

(Note: Albacore – a large fish of the Mackerel family)



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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June                Contractors trials and commissioned for service in 12th Minesweeping Flotilla.

      16th          Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.

                       On completion took passage to Tobermory for work-up and preparation for

                       operational minesweeping duties.


July                After Work-up took passage to Port Edgar to carry out minesweeping training.

                       Commenced minesweeping training in Forth area.

      30th          First ship of the Class to raise a mine during training in Firth of Forth


August            Passage to Harwich to join HM Minesweeper ALGERINE and ACUTE serving with

                        9th Minesweeping Flotilla, pending formation of new Flotilla.

                        Deployed with 9th Flotilla for minesweeping off the East coast to ensure

                        safe passage of convoys to and from Thames estuary. Carried out escort duty

                        and patrol as required.


September       North Sea deployment with Flotilla in continuation.

                        Nominated for foreign service on formation of 12th Flotilla.


October          Joined 12th Minesweeping Flotilla on formation with HM Minesweepers

                       ACUTE, ALGERINE, ALBACORE and CADMUS.

                       Nominated for minesweeping duties in Mediterranean and support of planned

                       allied landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH – See Naval Staff History

                       and ENGAGE THE ENEMY MORE CLOSELY by C Barnett.)

      22nd         Joined military convoy KMS1 in Clyde as part of escort during passage to


                       (Note: Departure from UK of HMS ALGERINE which was leader of Flotilla was



November      On arrival at Gibraltar with Flotilla and prepared for service in TORCH.

                       HMS ALGERINE rejoined Flotilla and HM Minesweeper HUSSAR and SPEEDWELL

                       detached from 5th Minesweeping Flotilla also joined for this operation on arrival from UK.

       5th           Sailed from Gibraltar with ships of Flotilla as part of escort for assault Convoy KMS1A

                       during passage to Algiers.

       8th           Carried out minesweep with Flotilla and HM Minesweepers HUSSAR and in advance of

                       landings on BAKER Beach at Algiers.

      10th          Deployed for anti-submarine patrol.

                       On release from patrol took passage to Bougie to carry out minesweeping prior

                       to ,landings at Bougie (Operation PERPETUAL)

      11th          Deployed for minesweeping

      13th         Sustained damage in air attack of Bougie.

      15th          During deployment off Bougie with HMS ALGERINE, under attack by the Italian

                        submarine ASCIANGHI. After sinking of HMS ALGERINE took part in rescue of survivors.

                        (Note: All officers from ALGERINE and 80 of the ship’s company lost

                                    their lives.)


December       North African coast minesweeping, patrol and convoy defence in continuation

                        Sustained slight damage during air attacks whilst escorting convoy off North 


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January           Convoy escort and patrol off North African coast in continuation with HM Minesweeper

to March         CADMUS, HUSSAR and SPEEDWELL.

                        (Note: These were the only ships of the Flotilla which were operational due to loss and

                                    damage since arrival in the Mediterranean.)


April               North African coast deployment in continuation.

                        HM Minesweepers FANTOME, CIRCE and ESPIEGLE joined Flotilla .

                        (Note: HMS FANTOME replaced HMS ALGERINE as Leader)


May                 Flotilla nominated for joint operations with 13th Minesweeping Flotilla for mine

                        clearance of passage through Galita and Sicilian Channels.

                        (Operation ANTIDOTE).

       5th            Deployed at Bizerta for ANTIDOTE with the two minesweeping Flotillas.

     20th            Took part in rescue operations after HMS FANTOME sustained major damage when

                        mine exploded in sweep gear. Remained with Flotilla when HMS CADMUS

                        detached to tow stricken ship to Bone.

                        (Note: HMS ACUTE took over duty as Leader)


June                 ANTIDOTE deployment with Flotilla in continuation

       7th            Mine clearance completed with destruction of 126 mines by the 12th Flotilla.

                        HM Minesweepers FLY and MUTINE Flotilla, the former taking over duty as Leader.

                        Nominated for minesweeping and escort duties during planned allied landings in Sicily

                        (Operation HUSKY)


July                 Detached with HM Minesweeper ACUTE and CIRCE for service with 14th Flotilla during


      10th           Passage to eastern sector of Assault area as part of escort for military convoy.

      12th           Carried out minesweeping prior to landings and remained in area for anti-submarine patrol

                        and escort duties for traffic between Malta, Bizerta and beachheads.


September       Nominated with Flotilla for minesweeping support of planned landings on Italian

                        mainland at Salerno (Operation AVALANCHE).

        8th           Deployed with Flotilla to ensure clearance of mines during passage to Salerno.

        9th           Under shore fire during minesweeping off beachhead.

      16th           Released from AVALANCHE and deployed in Bay of Naples for minesweeping with


                        (Note: Flotilla dealt with 135 mines in Salerno area.)

      30th           Nominated for transfer to Capri on completion of service in Bay of Naples.



        1st            Deployed for support of operations off west coast of Sicily including mine clearance of

                         positions to be used by allied warships for bombardments prior to military advances.

                         (Note: Minesweeping operations were frequently target of heavy fire from shore batteries

                                     in the Gulf of Gaeta and often restricted in their ability to rapidly change because of

                                     sweeping operation in progress.)


November        West coast minesweeping duties and support off west coast of Italy in continuation.

to December    (Note: At the end of 1943 the Flotilla had swept 770 mines since arrival at Gibraltar

                                     in December 1942.)

                         Nominated for minesweeping in support of planned landings at Anzio (Operation SHINGLE).

                         Based at Naples to prepare for SHINGLE.


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January            Passage to Anzio, 90 miles north of Naples.

       21st           Deployed with HM Minesweepers RINALDO and WATERWITCH of 19th Flotilla to

                         provide swept channel off Anzio for ships of the assault force.

                         On release from SHINGLE took passage to Naples.


February          Took part with ships of Flotilla and 19th Flotilla in minesweeping to ensure that

to April            clear channels for passage ships supporting military operations, including

                          clearance of areas selected for naval gunfire support by cruisers.


May                  West coast of Italy minesweeping in continuation with part of Flotilla

                          (Note: Some ships of 12th Flotilla were deployed off Malta for clearance of minefields.)

        11th           Deployed with HM Minesweepers FLY, CADMUS, ACUTE, ESPIEGLE 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

                          Monte Casino.

        12th           Carried out sweep close inshore prior to bombardment by HM Cruiser DIDO, US Cruisers

                          BROOKLYN and PHILADELPHIA during which the ships came under heavy fire from

                          shore batteries.

                          On completion of bombardment requirements rejoined Flotilla in mine clearance of channel

                          from Naples to Anzio. 89 mines were cut.


June                   Carried out joint minesweeping operations with ships of Flotilla, 13th Flotilla and 28th

                           Motor Launch Flotilla .

          4th            Cleared entrance to port of Civitavecchia with joint minesweeping force.

        13th            Deployed for clearance of mines in anchorage area off Civitavecchia.


July                    Joint minesweeping operations in continuation to ensure passage for ships supporting

                           military advance .

        14th            Took part in operation to clear a channel to port of Leghorn with ships of Flotilla, 19th and

                           13th Minesweeping Flotillas (Operation LOBSTER)

        25th            Port available for use by shipping.

                           (Note: 250 mines were swept during clearance of channel between Anzio to Leghorn and

                                       ships engaged were subject to shore fire.)


August               Deployed with Flotilla for clearance of mines off west coast of Italy to ensure safe passage.

to September     (Note: Aircraft minelaying was a common feature during this period )


October             Nominated for minesweeping service with Flotilla, in support of allied military operations

                          in Greece (Operation MANNA).

                          (Note: The Flotilla had swept 1013 mines by this date, an achievement recognised by

                                        the Supreme Commander, Mediterranean in a congratulatory signal)

        22nd          Transferred to eastern Mediterranean

                          Passage to Greek waters with HM Minesweepers ACUTE, ESPIEGLE and MUTINE.

                          (Note: 5th Minesweeping Flotilla deployed for this work had recently suffered two losses)



         1st            Carried out minesweeping operation to clear passage into Salonika from Skiathos

                          (Note: The four ships of 12th Flotilla were joined by HM Minesweepers SKIPJACK

                                       and TRUELOVE of 5th Flotilla


December          Aegean minesweeping in support of Greece re-occupation in continuation.

                          Nominated for special operation to ensure safe passage through Dardanelles for

                          warships taking US President and British Prime Minister to Yalta for meeting with

                          Russian leader, Joseph Stalin,

                          (Note: During Aegean mine sweeping new type of German mine (OBOE) was

                                      dealt with for the first time. These exploded after time delay from the

                                      instant of cutting and could caused damage to following minesweeper.

       17th            Commenced mine sweeping of Dardanelles with HM Minesweepers FLY and MUTINE

.                         of Flotilla which were being deployed with ships of 5th Flotilla for this operation.

        25th           Spent Xmas at Mudros.


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January                Resumed Dardanelles operations with HM Minesweepers ACUTE, ESPIEGLE and ships

                             of 5th Flotilla.

                             (Note HMS FLY was later relieved by HMS ACUTE and HMS ESPIEGLE by HMS


                             On completion resumed Flotilla duties off Greek coast including clearance of approach

                             channels near Doro and Thermia.

                             (Note: During Dardanelles operations 52 mines were swept an d HMS ACUTE went

                                          aground on Turkish coast but was towed clear .)

                             On completion took passage to Malta and taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.


February              Under refit

                              Resumed Flotilla duties.


March                   Deployed at Malta,

         23rd             Took passage from Malta with HM Minesweepers ACUTE, CADMUS, CIRCE, MUTINE

                             ESPIEGLE to resume minefield clearance operations based at Naples.


April                     Deployed with Flotilla for clearance between Leghorn and Genoa.


May                      Deployed off Genoa.

          9th              Port Anchorage at Genoa cleared of mines.

                             (Note: HMS ACUTE of this Flotilla was first major warship to enter Genoa.)


June                      West coast minefield clearance in continuation

to August


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS ALBACORE remained in the Mediterranean with the 12th Flotilla after VJ Day and was refitted in Malta during December 1945. On completion in February she resumed mine clearance based at Genoa. She sailed from Malta with the rest of the Flotilla on 12th April that year and had a further refit at Chatham in May. In June the ship carried out mine clearance in Home waters off the east coast, in the Channel and off the coast of Holland. The Flotilla was then withdrawn from service, but this minesweeper was retained for further deployment after a refit at Portsmouth. Her final duties were to take part in the destruction of German fortifications at Heligoland, Operation BIG BANG with other RN ships in April 1947 and later to carry out further mine clearance based at Cuxhaven. She Paid-off in October 1947 and was reduced to Reserve status at Chatham, Placed on the Disposal List in 1962 she was sold to BISCO for breaking-up by Messrs Cordron and arrived for demolition at Port Glasgow in tow on 9th September 1963.



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