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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS BRAMBLE (ii)  (J 273) - Algerine-class Fleet Minesweeper

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

ALGERINE-Class Fleet Minesweeper fitted with Reciprocating propulsion machinery and ordered from Lobnitz on 9th June 1943 and laid down on 30th June 1944. She was launched on 26th January 1945 and was the 9th RN ship to carry this name, introduced in 1656 for a 4 gun Dutch Privateer which was later expended as a fireship in the Medway during a Dutch incursion. The name was last used for a HALCYON-Class Fleet Minesweeper lost in December 1942 during the Battle of the Barents Sea. Build of this minesweeper was completed on 28th June 1945. Following a successful WARSHIP WEEK campaign for National Savings in March 1942 the 1938 built ship was adopted by the civil community of Aireborough in the West Riding of  Yorkshire and it is presumed continued their association with the new warship.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ARCTIC 1941-43 (Bramble (i))


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field White, a sprig of Bramble slipped and leaved proper.



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 4 5


May                Contractors trials


June                 Commissioned for service in 3rd Minesweeping Flotilla as Senior Officer’s ship.

28th                  Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.


July                  On completion took passage to Tobermory to work-up.

                         Passage to Forth on completion of work-up


August             Deployed in Forth for Minesweeping Exercises prior to joining Flotilla




October            Joined Flotilla or formation and deployed for mine clearance in Home waters.

                          (Note: Other ships in Flotilla were HM Fleet Minesweepers MAMELUKE, MARVEL,

                                       MYRMIDON, MARINER and ROMOLA of this Class.)


November         Deployed with Flotilla for mine clearance in Home waters.

to                       (Note: Extensive British and German minefields existed in May 1945 and Flotilla carried out

December                      clearance in Home waters. Some ships were based at Londonderry for operations in

                                       Irish Sea and NW Approaches based at Londonderry and others based in Forth for

                                       operations off East Coast of Great Britain.


1 9 4 6


January             Home waters mine clearance in continuation with Flotilla. 

                          HM Fleet Minesweepers MANDATE, MYSTIC, NERISSA, POLARIS joined MS3 and HMS

                          MARMION, MARINER and ROMOLA transferred to newly formed 4th Minesweeping Flotilla.


February           Mine clearance in Home waters in continuation.

to                       Deployed in SW Approaches based at Plymouth



November         Redesignated 1st Minesweeping Flotilla and continued Home waters mine clearance based at Plymouth.

to                       HM Fleet Minesweeper COCKATRICE joined Flotilla.



1 9 4 7


January           Home waters mine clearance duties with Flotilla in continuation in SW Approaches and North

to                     Sea.

December        HM Fleet Minesweeper HOUND joined Flotilla and in place of HMS MAMELUKE which was

                        reduced to Reserve status.


1 9 4 8


January           Nominated for reduction to Reserve status and Flotilla disbanded.


February         Paid-off and reduced to Reserve status at Harwich with HMS NERISSA and HMS COCKATRICE.


March              Accepted into Reserve and Laid-up at Harwich.


April                 At Harwich in Reserve Fleet.

to                      (Note: 22 other ships of the Class were in Reserve at Harwich.

December                     Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to Flag J Numerics 273 to

                                      conform with new system of identities used in the RN.


1 9 4 9   t o   1950


                         Laid-up at Harwich

1 9 5 1


January           Nominated for service in 4th Minesweeping Flotilla as Senior Officer’s ship (MS4) on formation.

to                    Brought forward and re-commissioned at Harwich.

April              (Note: This was part of a programme to increase RN capabilities following the outbreak of war in


                                   Other ships in Flotilla, all brought forward from Reserve were HM Fleet Minesweepers

                                   MANDATE, PICKLE, PINCHER, RATTLESNAKE and RINALDO.)


May                  Passage to Portland to work-up with Flotilla prior to operational service.



June                Passage to Harwich with Flotilla.


July                  Deployed at Harwich for minesweeping exercises and preparation for Fleet duties as required.

to                      (Note: HM Depot Ship MULL OF GALLOWAY had also been brought from Reserve and was

December                      to be based at Harwich for the support of the Flotilla.)

                         HMS COCKATRICE and HMS CHEERFUL joined MS4 after delay.)


1 9 5 2

January           Harwich deployment in continuation.

                        HMS Fleet Minesweeper LAERTES replaced HMS MANDATE which went into Reserve.


February          Harwich training and Fleet duties in continuation

to                      (Note Ships of Flotilla were deployed for NATO and other RN exercises during this period

December                  and visited ports in UK and NATO countries during routine programme.

                                    Designation of Flotilla changed to 4th Minesweeping Squadron.)


1 9 5 3


January            Squadron duties based at Harwich in continuation.

                          HMS PINCHER detached for service in Fishery Protection Squadron


March               Squadron deployment in Home waters

to  April            Nominated for attendance at Royal Review with ships of Flotilla.


May                 Prepared for Review


June                 Passage to Portsmouth

                         Attended Fleet Review


July                  Resumed Squadron training and exercise programme at Harwich.




1 9 5 4


January           Squadron deployment in Home waters for minesweeping training and Home Fleet duties.




November       HMS CHEERFUL and HMS COCKATRICE left for transfer to Reserve.


December       Squadron deployment in continuation


1 9 5 5


January           Home waters deployment with Squadron in continuation.

to                    (Note: These included NATO and Home Fleet exercises



April                 HMS PINCHER rejoined Squadron.


May                 Squadron duties in continuation


June                Paid operational visit to Cuxhaven and Hamburg with ships of Squadron.


July                 Made independent visit to Antwerp and Brussels to take part in NATO celebration of the opening

                        of canal between Antwerp and Brussels.

                        On completion rejoined Squadron to take part in exercises with Royal Netherlands Navy.


August             Resumed Squadron deployment for training and Fleet exercises.




October           Paid visit to London with HMS RINALDO, RATTLESNAKE and PINCHER.

November       Squadron nominated for disbandment and nominated for duty in Fishery Protection Squadron

                         (MS5) with HMS RATTLESNAKE.


December       Carried out final training exercises


1 9 5 6


January           Joined Squadron based in Humber and deployed for patrols to ensure regulations relating to

                        use of Internationally agreed limits were correctly observed, including fishing in British Home

                        waters and adherence to net sizes.

                        (Note: Other ships in Squadron included HM Fleet Minesweepers RATTLESNAKE,

                                    COQUETTE, MARINER, ORESTES, HOUND, TRUELOVE and LENNOX.)


1 9 5 7


February         Deployed for Fishery Protection duties.

to                    (Note: Patrols were carried out in areas remote from the UK to follow the long established

December                   practices by fishermen of all nations. These included the Arctic Sea off North Russia

                                    and Norway, Icelandic waters as well as the North Sea, Irish Sea and SW Approaches,

                                   which were  determined in some cases by the annual movement of types of fish.

                                    Ships were also deployed for Home Fleet service during NATO and other exercises.)


1 9 5 4


January          Fishery Protection duties with MS5 in continuation.

to                    (Note:  ALGERINE Class minesweepers to be replaced in Squadron by new Type 14

October                        A/S Frigates during 1958-9

                                     During this period opposition to use of Icelandic waters was increasing and the first

                                     signs of active opposition were evident. This culminated in the 1st “Cod War” which

                                     began in 1958.)


November      Nominated for reduction to Reserve with HMS WELCOME.

                       (Note: HMS WELCOME had recently joined Squadron after foreign service.)


December       Paid-off and destored prior to reduction of status.


1 9 5 8


January           Prepared for Reserve Fleet lay-up

                       (Note: Ships going into Reserve had their main armament and upper-deck equipment

                                   preserved, but this was not always carried out prior to being laid-up and if so

                                   deferred until  a routine period whilst in Reserve.)


February        Accepted into Reserve




F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS BRAMBLE remained in Reserve until placed on the Disposal List in 1961. Although offered for sale to Dominica  in place of FLOWER Class Corvettes, this was not taken-up and ship was sold to BISCO for demolition by King’s at Gateshead . The ship arrived in tow at the breaker’s yard during August 1961.



For more about Algerine-class Minesweepers, see



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revised 23/4/11
further editing and formatting is required